What do vegans eat? If you are just going vegan, then you probably have an idea of what vegans eat – like veggie burgers, hearty salads, and fruity oatmeal. But coming up with ideas of what to cook every single day of your new vegan life can be pretty challenging. This is where vegan meal plans can come in handy.
There are actually a lot of vegan meal plans already available on the web. Heck, even Oprah has a vegan meal plan on her site! I’ve been overwhelmingly disappointed with all these vegan meal plans though. Too many rely on mock meats like veggie sausage crumbles and deli “meats” made from hydrolyzed soy protein. These foods do certainly make going vegan easier, but they are highly processed and shouldn’t make up the main part of your diet. Other vegan meal plans use too many complex ingredients that the beginner vegan probably won’t have at home. So, I’ve decided to take a different approach to vegan meal planning.
For starters, I’m doing vegan meal plans by season (it’s cheaper and fresher this way plus shopping is easier). I’ve collected recipes from some of the best vegan recipe bloggers around. All of these recipes are super simple to make (despite the fact that some look really fancy) and should please even the pickiest eaters’ palates.
I’ll be adding more later. Let me know what you think!
If you want to make sure you have all of the ingredients for these recipes (or pretty much any vegan recipe) on hand, then check out this uber-practical vegan shopping list.
Summer Vegan Meal Plan
Fall Vegan Meal Plan
Winter Vegan Meal Plan
How to Get Ready for a Healthy Winter
Unless you happen to live in an area with a year-long temperate climate, then chances are you won’t have access to fresh, local fruits and veggies during the winter. Sure, there are always potatoes, cabbage, and beets to fall back on – but they can get boring pretty quickly. To stay healthy as a vegetarian during the winter, you will have to get creative with all the winter fruits and veggies. But you may also want to plan ahead for winter while there is still an abundant selection of produce.
Learn to Pickle
Before our ancestors had supermarkets to turn to in winter, they would pickle foods to eat during winter. Aside from preserving foods, there are a lot of good reasons for vegetarians to start pickling: real pickled foods are rich in vitamin K2 (which is needed for calcium absorption), increase the bioavailability of many nutrients, and also help maintain healthy gut flora. Pickling doesn’t have to be limited to just cucumbers. Read these super easy lacto-fermentation instructions or try this recipe for pickled kohlrabi.
Fill Your Freezer with Peppers
Peppers are loaded with antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C (which is important for iron absorption). By the time winter comes along though, the price of peppers will have skyrocketed. Any peppers which you do find in the stores will also probably have come long distances and be loaded with pesticides. Don’t go the winter pepperless. Instead, buy mass amounts, chop them into little bits, and freeze them in baggies. A lot of other warm-weather foods also do well in the freezer, like greens and beans.
Make Some Pinjur and Ajvar
Eggplants don’t freeze or dehydrate very well, so if you want some yummy eggplant goodness in winter, you may want to do as the Macedonians do. They grill or cook up large amounts of eggplant, peppers, carrots and tomatoes. Then they mash all the grilled veggies together to make a really delicious spread. It goes into jars and can last all year. The eggplant-heavy spreads are called pinjur and the ones heavier in red peppers are called ajvar. These homemade spreads will beat any of that jarred stuff you find at Trader Joes.
In late fall, you can find fruits like apples and pears for really cheap. Take advantage of this by cutting them into slices and dehydrating them (my dehydrator is definitely one of my favorite kitchen gadgets). You might also want to dehydrate tomato slices, apricots, tropical fruits, zucchini chips, or pretty much anything you can think up.
Rethink Your Supplement
Our nutrient intakes can vary considerably in the winter. So, if you take a vegetarian supplement, you may want to rethink it. Consider switching to a supplement which has vitamin D in it as it is pretty common for people (veg and omnivores alike) to develop a deficiency during wintertime.
These recipes come from some of the best vegan recipe bloggers around! Visit their websites for lots of great vegan recipes.
Susan Voisin’s recipes at blog.fatfreevegan.com
Angela Liddon’s recipes at Ohsheglows.com
Julie West’s recipes at thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com
Jackie Sobon’s recipes at veganyackattack.com
Allyson Kramer’s recipes at www.allysonkramer.com
Carrie Forrest’s recipes at carrieonvegan.com