10 Fast and Simple Plant-Based Meal Ideas in under 20 minutes

Ask just about anyone what keeps them from switching to a plant-based/vegan/healthier diet, and one of the most common answers (besides ‘I love my cheese/bacon too much’) is likely going to be, ‘I just don’t have the time to make those elaborate meals’.

Okay, I understand that making a fresh, wholesome plant-based dinner every night sounds like too much work, especially if your schedule runs crazy, you work long hours, you’ve got kids, etc.

So today I’ve made a list of 10 meal ideas that will show you how to have a quick and healthy homemade meal even when you’re pressed for time. Nothing fancy or complicated, just 10 meals that’ll keep you from making a bad decision even when all else fails.

Staying on track with your plant-based diet has never been easier – after all, where there is a will, there is a way, right?

10 Fast and Simple Plant-Based Meals to Save the Day

1. Chickpeas + [BBQ sauce/teriyaki/salsa] + rice. A quick and easy meal that’s full of flavor, and provides a complete protein: toss some home-cooked or canned chickpeas with some flavorful vegan sauce (make sure to read the label to avoid junk), and serve it on a bed of rice (use quick-cooking microwaveable rice if pressed for time). Got 30 minutes? Make it a little fancier by baking the chickpeas like I do in my BBQ Chickpeas and Rice recipe.

2. Green salad on a bed of cooked grains. Use any fresh salad veggies you have on hand, and serve them over a cooked grain of choice – barley, rice, quinoa, millet, etc. You can either use the quick-cooking varieties (stock up in advance), or make a large pot of grains once a week and use it as you go. Don’t do grains? Mix in some quick-roasted potatoes, like I do in my Warm Potato Salad recipe.

3. Hummus and veggies in a wrap. This is my go-to combo for lunch and sometimes dinner: spread a tortilla with hummus, throw in any available vegetables (I love kale, red onions, carrots, tomatoes and olives), squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the mix, and wrap up burrito-style. Healthy, tasty, never fails.

4. Quick stir-fry. Microwave a bag of mixed frozen vegetables, toss in teriyaki sauce or a combo of equal parts of soy sauce and brown sugar, and serve over a grain of choice. Want more protein? Add some edamame or other beans to the veggie mix.

5. Loaded baked potato. Rinse a medium-sized potato, microwave it for 3 minutes, cut it open with a fork along the top (be careful not to burn yourself with the escaping steam!). Top with any veggies/beans/sauces that you have on hand – I like the Southwestern combo of black beans, salsa, and some sliced avocado. If you have more time, you can wrap the raw potato in tin foil and bake it in the oven for 45 min to an hour instead of microwaving.

6. Quick pita pizza. Spread marinara sauce/hummus on a pita, top with any vegetables available (onions, peppers, spinach, olives, sundried tomatoes work great), add some tofu/tempeh/seitan/vegan sausage if you have them. Got some vegan cheese? Throw it on too! Bake at 350°F for 5-10 min.

7. Veggie tacos. Warm up a few small tortillas in the microwave between two sheets of moist paper towels. Rinse and drain any canned beans of choice, season with cumin and chili powder. Assemble the tacos by putting some beans onto the tortilla and topping with salsa/sliced avocado/lettuce, etc.

8. No-cheese quesadillas. Spread some mashed sweet potato on a large tortilla (you can microwave the sweet potato for 3 min to cook it quickly), add peppers/onions/any kind of beans, etc. to one half of the tortilla and cover with the other half. Grill on a large dry skillet for 2-3 min per side, cut into wedges, and serve. Alternatively, see my recipe for Veggie-Loaded Quesadillas where I use refried beans and hummus instead of sweet potato.

9. Nut butter and banana/jelly sandwich. I love the classic Elvis (PB&B) sandwich every now and again that I usually make with my homemade nut butter. A cashew or almond butter sandwich with jelly or bananas is always a better choice than greasy fast food.

10. Green smoothie. Ain’t nothing wrong with a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The smoothie doesn’t have to be green in color – ‘green’ stands for ‘made with vegetables and fruits’. Most green veggies work fine in smoothies (except lettuce – some people find it weird-tasting when blended). To make the smoothie more filling, add rolled oats, nut butter, seeds, nuts, etc. – see my Swamp Monster Smoothie recipe for more tips.

I hope that this list will make it easier for you to stay on track with eating healthy! The naysayers now have one less reason to say ‘no’ to going vegan…

By the way, if you have any quick plant-based meal ideas that I didn’t bring up here, please let us all know in the comments!

Raw Joy, Jackie

July 80/20 Meal Plan

Don’t tackle a healthy diet all at once. Start by replacing empty calories with whole food options. Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. It won’t be long before you realize just how good “good food” feels. Before you know it, your cravings will change from greasy burgers and fries to healthful nutrition.

In this meal plan you will find multiple options for “real” food and will feel satiated and satisfied  beyond what you thought possible.  You will notice the meals are easy, take very little time and are duplicated throughout the week, this is to create a simplistic approach to a weekly schedule to ensure you can easily stick to a lifestyle of delicious commitment.

All of these meals have been picky kid and hurried husband tested with the busy life in mind. Having 7 starving people look at my with forks and knives in hand, I know I have to be quick to prepare and ready to serve my army favorites so they walk away fat and happy without the feeling of slow and sluggish.

Here are some simple changes you can make for a healthier diet:

  • Have fruit for breakfast.
  • Clean your fridge and pantry. Get rid of processed food in the process.
  • Buy snacks from the produce section of the grocery store.
  • Say no to an unhealthy food temptation.
  • Consume smaller portions, more frequently. Try eating twice as often and half as much.
  • Eat a food with no nutrition facts label – whole food.
  • Reread this post that really guides you through the process of meal planning.

Truly Raw Joy, Jackie

July 2017 SOSRAW MEAL PLAN

Beans Cause Gas

So many folks avoid all nutritious and delicious legumes because of the bloating and flatulence they cause. The culprit here is not the bean itself, but the cooking of the bean. Cooked beans, as well as other vegetables essentially decompose inside our intestines. This decomposition creates gases which causes the bloating. Over time, the cooked vegetables and the legumes actually slow down our digestion. This allows the cooked food to sit in our intestines and he essentially putrefy. The key to a happy gut and flat stomach is make sure that you are eating raw sprouted legumes. This way you can get all the nutritious value of the colorful, flavorful and crunchy, peas and beans.

Beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains contain phytic acid, a compound that inhibits the body from absorbing nutrients and minerals. Most people don’t realize the importance of soaking your legumes and grains before you eat or cook them to break down the phytic acid and other anti-nutrients to make them more digestible. The soaking process is extremely simple; all you need to do is soak your nuts, seeds, beans or grains in water for the appropriate amount of time. (See Soaking & Sprouting Times chart in this post below.) 


Soaking simulates “rain” that tells the legumes, grains and seeds that it is time to come out and grow. You can either choose to soak these foods and consume them or continue along on the journey to sprouting.

Sally Fallon, in her book Nourishing Traditions, speaks to modern-day eaters about what they can learn about healthy eating from the traditional diets of our ancestors. The Chinese were the first people to sprout beans as they sailed on voyages overseas. It was the vitamin C in sprouted mung beans that prevented the crew from getting scurvy. The instructions to sprout dried peas for soups were found in old French cookbooks and the popular Middle Eastern grain, bulgur, is made from sprouted wheat. Our ancestors all over the world were aware of the benefits of eating live foods and Fallon gives an excellent overview of why it is beneficial for 21st century eaters to soak and sprout their legumes, grains and seeds.
“The process of germination not only produces vitamin C but also changes the composition of grains and seeds in numerous beneficial ways. Sprouting increases vitamin B content, especially B2, B5, and B6. Carotene increases dramatically–sometimes eightfold. Even more important, sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains [and in legumes and seeds] that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc; sprouting also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds. These inhibitors can neutralize our own precious enzymes in the digestive tract…Finally, numerous enzymes that help digestion are produced during the germination process.”
Here is where you get to choose your own soaking and sprouting adventure.

  1. Soak your legumes/grains/seeds. Put your legumes/grains/seeds in a glass bowl or half-gallon canning jar and cover with twice as much filtered water as your nuts and seeds or beans. (So for one cup of almonds cover with two cups of filtered water.)
  2. * Optional: add 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar OR ½ TBS of salt for every 2 cups of nuts/seeds/beans to help breakdown the phytic acid.
  3. Wait and let your legumes/grains/seeds soak for the appropriate amount of time. (See Soaking & Sprouting Times chart in this post.)
  4. Rinse your soaked legumes/grains/seeds until the water runs clear. You can either use a strainer or sprouting jar lid.
  5. Here is where you can choose to stop your journey or continue down another path. Now that your legumes/grains/seeds have been soaked you can dehydrate them in a dehydrator (at 120 degrees overnight) or in an oven at lowest setting (170 degrees) for about 12 hours or until completely dry. If you are using nuts you could also proceed to make your own nut milk (see recipes) and then use the pulp to make granola. Or if you are making beans, you can cook them right away and eat them. Note that sprouted beans take less time to cook.
  6. Sprout! Take your soaked legumes/grains/seeds and place them in a jar with a sprouting lid face down in your dish rack. This allows the excess water to drain off and the air to circulate so that the legumes/grains/seeds can grow. Shift yourself into caretaking mode because you need to “water your indoor garden” by rinsing the legumes/grains/seeds several times a day (at least twice). See the chart below for sprouting times.
  7. Grow. As you continue to rinse your legumes/grains/seeds you will notice a white or green tail start to grow. That means they have sprouted!
  8. Store. Keep your sprouts in the fridge for 3-4 days or dehydrate them.
  9. Important note! Sprouts are at risk for contamination, which can result in bacterial growths, such as E. coli leading to foodborne illnesses. Always purchase organic fresh products from a reliable source, wash your hands thoroughly before handling foods, and keep sprouting jars and all kitchen surfaces clean to avoid cross contamination. Always consume sprouts within a few days, fresh and straight out of the fridge.

Sprouts are “Truly Livng Food”!

Spotlight Saturday, in the kitchen

Spiral vegetable slicer

Zucchini noodles prepared using a spiral slicer

Spiral vegetable slicers (also known as spiralizers) are kitchen appliances used for cutting vegetables, such as zucchinis, potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, apples, and beetroots, into linguine-like strands which can be used as an alternative to pasta.


 Spiralizers usually contain three blades: a round blade for spaghetti, a small flat blade for ribbons, and a large wide blade for spiral strands. Vegetables are clamped between the blade and crank. As the handle turns with a bit of pressure, the vegetable is pressed between the turning handle and the blade, which cuts it into spirals.

Spiralizers are often used to produce vegan or vegetarian meals or to transform high calorie meals into healthier options. Recipes containing spiraled ingredients are available on health blogs, (particularly vegan, vegetarian and paleo) and on social media sites or like this Tangled Thai Salad here.

I have to admit, not only am I learning to love easy, simple and quick creations but I’m also really loving being in the kitchen! And that’s HUGE!

So go spin a veggie, Jackie

P.s. I’d love to hear what you create.

Marinated portobello cashew cheese burgers with herbs,sprouts & tomatoes


Marinated mushrooms:
4 portobello mushrooms

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon liquid aminos 

1 tablespoon maple syrup
Cashew cheese:

1 3/4 cups cashews

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup nutritional yeast 

Juice from 1 lemon

2 peeled garlic cloves

2 tablespoons miso

Pink Himalayan Salt and Italian seasoning, to taste 
Guacamole:

2-4 avocados (I use Hass)

1 juiced lime

1 Roma tomato chopped (optional)

1/2 medium red onion minced

1 Tbs pink salt

2 Tbs fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp chipotle powder

Toppings:

Sliced tomatoes

Fresh chopped chives, spinach and parsley 

Anything else your heart desires 
To marinate the mushrooms: rub them down with the olive oil and liquid aminos then place in your dehydrator or oven at its lowest temperature for about 3 hours, or until they have softened and darkened and smell amazing. 

Sidenote:I ate mine RAW and they were amazing!
While they are marinating, make the cashew cheese: blend all the ingredients until smooth and thick. Taste and adjust accordingly. Scoop into a bowl lined with cheesecloth and let it sit somewhere for at least 2 hours (or, if you’ve got time, let it age for a few days).
When everything is ready, spread your cheese and guacamole generously onto your mushroom tops and bottoms of the inside (like you’re spreading on a bun) and layer with herbs, sprouts, thinly sliced red onion and tomatoes. You can double-shroom it (that is now a term) if you want, and/or use fresh mushrooms instead of marinated. Note: you’re gonna have lots of left over cashew cheese. Let it sit in a quiet spot overnight then put in the fridge and eat within a week.

Simple Changes, Make Simple Habits

Looking to build healthier habits? Remember, you don’t have to change everything all at once. Start with small steps that you can feel good about. #onesimplechange 

Add nutrient-rich foods. Instead of thinking about what not to eat, think about the things you can add to your diet. Strive to incorporate more greens and colorful veggies into your meals.


Eat closer to nature. Concentrate on whole foods in their natural forms, such as fruits and vegetables. If it looks like it did when it grew from the earth, that’s your cue that it’s a healthier choice.
Go for whole grains. Instead of reaching for regular pasta or white bread, look for varieties made with 100% whole grain flour. Better yet, fill your belly with whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa or barley.
Find alternatives to oil. Believe it or not, you don’t need added oils to make the foods you love. You can steam fry those onions and replace the oil in those muffins with applesauce.
Reorganize your plate. Think of lean meat and fish as flavor boosters instead of the main event. Put beans, whole grains and veggies in the spotlight, and keep servings of meat and fish at 3 ounces or less (that’s about the size of a deck of playing cards).

Make whole foods your NEW Normal!

Frozen Pineapple Margarita

I thought it would be nice to put a spin on a margarita. Well, that’s partly true. I really had this poor, sad, forgotten pineapple just sitting all alone on my counter (we can address my produce addiction another time). Now, I’m not telling you to use a rotten pineapple, but if it’s just a bit too ripe, cut it up into cubes, lay them out on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper and throw them in the freezer until frozen. From there you can use some to whip up this drink then put the rest in a zipper bag and back into the freezer for future margaritas or smoothies. Cheers!

Frozen Pineapple Margarita

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about 9 ice cubes
2 C. frozen cut pineapple
1 C. orange juice

1 can organic coconut milk
1  1/4 cup (depending on the sweetness of your pineapple)

2 lemons, juiced

1 lime, juiced
zest of one lime
turbinado sugar for serving

lime wedge for serving

Put all ingredients into the blender. Blend on high speed for about one minute. If you’d like to rim the glasses with the turbinado, fill one shallow dish with lime juice and water and one with some sugar in it. Dip the glass into the lime water. Let the excess drip off, then dip into the sugar. Pour the margarita into chilled margarita glasses and garnish with a wedge of lime.

Serves about 4 margaritas.

Peel me off the floor! 

  
The only thing that could possibly make this better (if that’s possible) would be my plant protien mix. It tastes like birthday cake batter, I’m making this NOW, bye! 

P.s. Tell me how you like it in the comments below, thanks!

Rawfully yours, JR