One of the [seemingly] hardest parts of our new, plant-based diet is lunchtime. Dinners tend to have more thought put into them in our society, and there is of course more time to cook at night after work. Lunch time often has to be prepared quickly in the a.m. before work, or picked up on a 30 minute to 60 minute lunch break. Below are a few of my go-to lunches which may work for you too!
I think there are few things more fantastic than the rice cooker. Having had a roommate in college, for two years from Japan, I learned that the rice cooker can cook almost anything! There was nothing more fantastic than walking into our apartment after a cold hike home from class on campus, to find Mao cooking something delicious in her rice cooker. The brilliance of the rice cooker comes in it’s ability to be set, and then forgotten! Like the slow cooker, a rice cooker can be turned on electronically, and cook your food while you’re away. This is great for times when I need to be studying or cleaning and cooking too. While it, of course, cooks rice to perfection. It can help you prepare other items like steamed veggies (if you get one with a veggie steamer). I have cooked cabbage in it on occasion. Mao used to make rice covered meat-balls in it…. I’m sure there are plenty of other options too.
This being said, beans and rice is one of my favorite go-to quick and hearty meals. Sometimes I’ll make large batches of cooked black beans and freeze individual services. Or, I’ll go the easy route and buy canned or frozen black beans. I may make a delicious black-bean soup with tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and onion, or just eat them plain, but seasoned.
This was a version of my black bean soup that I created.
I added a few noodles to the bowl, because we had some on hand and I thought “why not.”
Soups have tended to be my go-to for lunches recently, after many days below freezing, several of them with a snow-covered ground. I also tried a recipe for miso-soup that turned out… ok.
It was a great way to get a large amount of kale and leafy-greens in, but wasn’t my favorite flavor. (Yes, the author of rawmazing has the dishware that I so badly wanted!)
Often, because I had trained my body to eat snacks rather than 3 large meals, I just snack throughout the day. One of my big go-to snacks is whole wheat toast with a bit of natural peanut butter, honey and sliced banana.
I’ve also frozen a banana (one that was a little too ripe for my taste) and made “ice cream” using vanilla and cinnamon. This was quite a treat, although something I’d probably do more of in the summer. (Stay tuned for a whole new variety of snack ideas during warm months!)
Michael and I made a walnut-pesto a few days ago that we ate with plant-based crackers. It was absolutely phenomenal except that it had a bit too much oil in it for my taste! It lasted us for several days too.
It’s also easy to marinate tofu and fry it in a pan. We did this last night, with an entire package of firm tofu (drained and dried.) I marinated it in a japanese style dressing and fried it in a bit of grapeseed oil, making a nice, crispy-brown crust around the edges. This made a really wonderful main dish to our dinner, but there is plenty leftover for a salad or to add to another dish.
Rice and beans are obviously a staple in most plant-based households, but there are so many fantastic recipes for quick meals out there. Find a good plant-based recipe book, or search online, or on pinterest for some good ones. Make meals at dinner that are too big for you and save the leftovers in serving sized containers for a quick grab on-the-go.