Meatless Monday Recipe Roundup
Happy Monday y'all. I'm back at it today with another roundup of Meatless Monday recipe ideas to hopefully get your gears turning in the kitchen this week!
Now that I'm a full month out of bikini competition prep, and back to "normal people" food, I've decided to gear this week's roundup toward foods that are a little less tofu/macro bowl and a lot more comfort, All-American.
Specifically, this week's list is inspired by the dudes in my life...quite a few of whom I've been helping recently to ramp up their grocery shopping skills, learn how to slowly replace the dairy and meat in their diets with plant-based swaps, or even go full-on vegan in one case.
I got in a whole discussion the other night with someone about how much harder it does seem to be for men to embrace a vegan (or even sometimes vegan) lifestyle, since there's unfortunately such a deep-rooted connection in our society being eating meat and being a "real man."
I'll spare y'all a whole in-depth rant on the ties between American food marketing and gender roles right now, but if you're a dude and reading this, or have dudes in your life you care about and would love to help go vegan or partially vegan even, I highly, highly recommend keeping your eyes out for the new James Cameron documentary, "The Game Changers," which is being released later this year. It features interviews with vegan NFL players, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mike Tyson (yes, both vegan), the guy who holds the title of "strongest man in the world," and a slew of vegan bodybuilders--in other words the most bro-y, manly men imaginable. I think a lot of vegan books and documentaries out there neglect to speak directly to the male crowd, so this documentary is so needed.
In the meantime, since it hasn't yet been widely released, this book, Vodka is Vegan: A Vegan Bros Manifesto for Better Living and Not Being an Asshole, and in fact, everything by The Vegan Bros, is top notch. Pick it up and read it, but also give it to guys in your life you care about.
So let's dive right in. I asked the guys in my life for their favorite meals that they'd need vegan versions of, and they delivered--so, straight from the source, here's a roundup of recipes that should satisfy the appetite of even the most bro-y dudes in your life....or of course, anyone with tastebuds and a pulse.
Breakfast Idea #1 (Easy): Make-ahead breakfast sandwiches
These are crazy easy to whip together en masse and stick in the freezer. When you're in a rush in the morning, you can simply pop one in the microwave and have a breakfast sandwich to go that's cheaper, better, and about a thousand times healthier than what you'd get from Dunkin.
Grab the recipe here, which is actually more like 5 recipes in one since it gives you tons of options as breads, proteins, fats, etc.
Breakfast Idea #2 (Easier): Frozen Van's Waffles
I've shared my deep love of waffles on here before, so I was thrilled to find a healthy, freezer aisle brand I could get behind, since realistically, I don't usually have the time or patience to make from-scratch waffles. This brand comes in a ton of gluten free and regular flavors (I always go for the gluten-free blueberry) and have an ingredient list you truly don't have to feel about. I love topping mind with PB2 or agave syrup and sliced bananas. You should be able to find these at most any grocery store--I've seen them at Target, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Kroger, Sprouts, etc.
Lunch Idea #1 (Easy): DIY Chipotle Bowl
There's endless ways to do a DIY and vegan take on Chipotle. It's really my most basic go-to lunch. You can also get as crazy or simple with it as you want, but the basic approach I always take is making a bowl of cooked brown rice, topped with canned black and/or pinto beans, maybe some canned corn, shredded romaine, and then topped with a crap ton of salsa, Cholula hot sauce, and diced avocado.
Of course you can add/subtract anything to that mix: vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, tomatillo sauce, sauteed fajia veggies, tofu scramble, vegan ground beef or chicken, or roll the whole thing up in a tortilla.
Grab one recipe version of it here.
I'm obsessed lately with the Beyond Meat brand grilled "chicken" strips, and have gotten a few friends hooked on them now too. I was never personally a big red meat fan even when I ate animal products, but chicken was my go-to protein. The first time I tried these bad boys, I literally ran to check the bag because I thought I'd accidentally grabbed real chicken...that's how real this tastes.
A super easy lunch is to heat these up in a pan on the stove-top and have in a salad of romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, or whatever veggies you like, and top with your choice of dressing. I like Follow Your Heart brand honey mustard, or this simple DIY version, or Daiya ranch.
Click here to use the store locator on the Beyond Meat site to find them in a store near you.
Dinner Idea #1 (Easy): Spaghetti with "meat" sauce
This is hardly even a recipe it's so easy, and is about as filling, cheap, and bro-friendly as it gets. (Sidenote, who doesn't know at least one guy in their lives who can pretty much only cook spaghetti...it's an epidemic.)
Anyway, all you have to do to have dinner ready in moments is cook up some spaghetti noodles, crack open a jar of your favorite marinara sauce, and saute or even microwave any number of brand of vegan "ground beef." This is one of the faux meats that's the most convincing, in my opinion. I've cooked it up and thrown vegan crumbles in tacos or pasta sauces for numerous guys and vegan-skeptics in my life, and not one of them has ever complained. The texture is very beefy, they're loaded with protein, and they really make a basic pasta sauce into a complete meal.
My personal favorite brand is once again, Beyond Meat, but you can find tons of brands from Moringstar to Trader Joes to Gardein--just hit up the frozen aisle and look for the "healthy" entree section and you're bound to find some.
Dinner Idea #2 Beyond Burger
I couldn't finish this list without mentioning the vegan meat that is, in my opinion and basically everyone's else's at this point, the mecca/King/last word in vegan burgers. It wasn't long ago at all that the veggie burger scene was honestly, pretty lame. There have been veggie burgers available as long as veganism has been a thing, but they have always been either bean or grain based, and while delicious, certainly weren't an accurate copy of meat. That was the case until the Beyond Burger, and then the Impossible Burger (which is a very similar cousin of the Beyond Burger) hit the scene in the last year or so.
These burgers are honestly so similar to the texture and taste of beef that if, like me, you aren't a beef fan, you might not love them. However, if accuracy is what you're going for, you truly cannot top these. They even "bleed" when you bite into them, thanks to some beet juice/voodoo magic.
This was the first meal I wanted to sink my teeth into after I came off stage from my bikini competition, and it was heavenly. They're a little tricky to find in stores these days, though you can use the Beyond Meat site store locator to see if your local grocery carries them. My best suggestion is to treat yourself to a night out and hit up your local TGIFridays, which has added the Beyond Burger to their permanent menu. Burger Fi always serves them, as do lots of local burger joints, so you can always Google to find the restaurants that serve them in your town.
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