Plant Based Pantry Recipes that won’t break the bank
When the world ended as we knew it I was determined to cook up lower cost, plant based meals and chalk my freezer full. I wanted to have a great stock pile so that when I eventually returned to work I would have so many healthy, ready to go meals that I prepared myself (I think this might be every mom and Dietitian’s dream). I also wanted to keep costs low and trips to the grocery store minimal. You might ask why I was so driven to do this? Well, home cooked meals are always lower in fat and sodium than anything you will find in the freezer isle or a restaurant. Secondly, plant based sources of protein are cheaper (hey…we are all trying to work on a budget in these strange times), they contain little to no “bad” fats and are higher in fibre. All this adds up to a happier tummy (because you know…we all like to be regular), a happier heart and a happier wallet.
My main goal when I develop new recipes is to increase vegetables and fibre in my diet. High fibre, low fat diets are incredibly beneficial to everyone but most certainly individuals who already have health issues like Diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, thyroid issues, a history of any of these health concerns in their family and the list goes on. This is why Canada’s Food Guide was revamped to encourage plant based eating. At the end of the day, it is a healthier way to live.
At this point you might be saying…well I tried increasing my plant based protein but I found that my body suddenly turned into a small orchestra of noises otherwise known as dun dun dun…gas. I totally get that and I used to have this issue as well (Dietitians you will find don’t mind talking about gas or poop).
So…here we go. If you are cooking with dried beans or lentils, studies have shown that soaking them for at least 12 hours reduced the amount of gas causing sugars and therefore caused less gas in participants. I can also attest to this as I have eaten lentils without soaking them. I can honestly say I will never do that again and I found soaking my beans and lentils decreased gas and bloating. Side note, if you have celiac disease, you should always pour out and comb through your dried beans and lentils to make sure there is no other grains mixed in. Once you have soaked your legumes overnight, give them a little rinse and put them in the pot with fresh water, broth or whatever you are cooking them in. Discard the water you soaked them in. If you are using canned legumes, you can simply give them a quick rinse and discard any fluid/syrup in the can. This rinse will again decrease some of those gas producing sugars and also any excess salt, unless you have chosen a no salt brand.
Now we’re all set up to check out my favorite go-to, time saving, budget friendly, plant based meals (phew that was a mouthful). I should also mention that all these items have been frozen and hold well upon reheating!
Recipe #1 Black Bean Burgers
I would so much rather make my own plant based burger because I know what’s in them. Some processed plant based burgers have ingredient lists as long as your arm…I want something simple…with ingredients I can pronounce.
- 1 (16 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
- ½ green bell pepper
- ½ onion
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot sauce
- ½ cup quick oats
- If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375°F, and lightly oil a baking sheet.
- In medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
- In a food processor (or by hand if you’re so inclined), finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
- In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin and chili sauce
- Stir the egg mixture into mashed beans. Mix in bread quick oats until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into 5 patties
- If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.
Recipe #2: Vegetarian Chili
- 2 15oz cans Black Beans
- 1 15oz cans Chick Peas
- 2 Peppers (any color)
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped or diced
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar free ketchup or small can of tomato sauce
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Curry Powder
- ¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper (optional)
- Drain and rinse the cans of Black Beans and Chick Peas
- Chop peppers and onions and add to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Simmer for 1 hour on low stirring fairly often so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom
- Serve up and enjoy!
Recipe #3: Red Lentil and Vegetable Soup
This one is my absolute favorite. Makes about 8 cups; serves 6.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 red Bell Pepper
- 1/2 cup celery
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 1 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- In 4-quart saucepan, heat oil on medium until hot. Add carrots and onion, and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Stir in cumin; cook 1 minute.
- Add tomatoes, broth, lentils, 2 cups water, salt, and pepper; cover and heat to boiling on high. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 8 to 10 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Recipe # 4: Avocado hummus
I freeze portions in an ice cube tray and then put them in a zip lock bag in the freezer for easy portion sizing. We usually take 2 ice cubes of hummus as a serving. Pair this with whole grain crackers or veggies for dipping.
- 1 can chick peas
- 2 avocados
- 1 close garlic
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp tahini
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
- Mix all ingredients in food processor until smooth
There you have it! Hopefully I have inspired you to try some plant based options! If I can turn my meat and potatoes husband into a lover of plant based foods and have my toddler eating beans and chick peas hand over fist, you can too!