Eating vegan can be insanely overwhelming at first because you have to rewrite all of your rules, meals, and shopping lists. In our society, meat is usually the star of a dish, so when you take that away from center plate, theres a lull, a loss, and a confusion of “ok, now what?”
When I first went vegan I spent a fair amount of time just eating bananas and granola bars while I sat frustrated in front of a computer, cruising through food blogs. I was reading recipes that required things like flax seeds, nutritional yeast, chia seeds, sunflower seed butter, and a myriad of other things my wallet couldn’t afford even if I knew where I could find them. Plus I didn’t have the prep time in my schedule to craft a vegan meal that “you wouldn’t even know was vegan!”
Behold the bowl. So simple, so easy, and something I never get tired of. Basically everything in my fridge can be thrown into a bowl for a meal. When you go vegan, you have to disconnect yourself from the idea of spaghetti and meatballs, tacos, pizza, burgers, and other typical meals you had as a child, not because they don’t exist as vegan options, but because grains and veggies are now the center of your food universe. It’s food in a way that I hadn’t thought of before. Beans just being beans instead of a burrito. Rice just being rice instead of sushi. Appreciating these ingredients for what they are in all their simplicity, and they really are delicious and beautiful on their own.
Here are three vegan variation bowls for breakfast, lunch, dinner & dessert!
Breakfast bowl: Most every day starts out with a smoothie bowl. Tasty & fuels you up for a full day ahead of you. Big oily or sugary breakfasts taste great but in an hour I am just dead energy.
the base: Frozen fruit + some liquid. That’s all you need. The frozen fruit can be bananas, blueberries, mango, raspberries, peaches, or whatever else you want to turn into creamy goodness. I usually add coconut water until its the right consistency, but you can also use soy milk, almond milk, or any other nut milk.
granola + nuts: Grab you favorite granola and add some almonds or even drizzle some peanut butter!
fruit: Finally, cut up some bananas or strawberries or top with berries and finish off your perfect breakfast!
Whole bowl: So many variations and flavors can come from this simple formula. You can add spice, add creaminess, add earthy flavor or implement any cuisine style. The secret lies in the spices and sauces. For lunch or dinner!
the base: Start with a grain or starch. Any kind of rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash etc.
protein: Build it up with some bulk. Any type of bean: kidney, black, garbanzo, white bean, lentils, edamame, etc. Or you can use some seitan or tofu. Or leafy greens have a ton of protein! Kale & spinach are a powerful protein. + P.S. theres plenty of protein in the veggies you are going to top it with.
veggies: This is my favorite part because it adds so much color and personality to your dish. Chop up some tomatoes, shred carrots, steam broccoli, bake brussel sprouts. You get the picture. Any veggie your heart desires goes here.
sauce & spice: This is what gives your bowl it’s character. Are you going to go with soy sauce, lime, tahini, tomato sauce, salsa, salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, cashew cream, pesto, curry… this party is where you get creative & craft something new every time.
Nice Cream: Simple & tasty dessert that is made with fruit and not much else.
the base: Bananas and a blender. That’s literally it. I cut up my bananas before I freeze them because I find it is easier to blend. After a few minutes it will turn into a smooth ice cream like texture and turn almost white. From here you can add in flavoring if you want: chocolate sauce (yes hersheys chocolate syrup is vegan) oreo cookies (yeah also vegan), peanut butter, berries, pistachio, lemon, whatever flavor you want your ice cream to be.
toppings: Top with some semisweet chips, fruit, syrups, nut butters, or anything else you find!