5 days of V/GF low waste meals - Yay for Earth challenge Round dos!

5 DAYS OF VEGAN/ GF /LOW WASTE MEALS - YAY FOR EARTH CHALLENGE ROUND DOS!

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There are a couple thoughts that go on in my head when I am writing this. The first one is noticing that I have not written in my blog since June and the second is that I have about 5 drafted topics waiting to be posted. Alas, I apparently cannot find anything more important than doing this dinner challenge again with Amanda (Mama Eats Plants)! If you want to see the first one to get a feel for what this challenge is about, do not look far and wide, just scroll right below this and its the last blog I posted, haha. 

Anyhow, I love that Amanda phrases it as a "free community offering" because not only is this meal plan free, but it brings us altogether every night from around the world. I feel social media can sometimes feel isolating but if we practice these types of things often, we can feel like a family! This is why its important you hashtag #yayforearthchallenge when you are on board with us so we can check out what you make!  Please don't think you need to make every single meal, or that it has to be exactly the same recipe. Alter it freely and do it when you can! This is also up on the blog so you can make any of them anytime you'd like!

Meals include :
MONDAY // creamy butternut soup with spicy roasted chickpeas + simple arugula salad
TUESDAY // greek salad bowl with dill and creamy tzatziki
WEDNESDAY // spiced roasted sweet potato + black bean bowl with crunchy lime slaw
THURSDAY // creamy Alfredo pasta with lentil meatballs
FRIDAY // red lentil ginger + coconut curry

For funsies include:
anytime // dark chocolate granola with vanilla nice cream
anytime // blueberry zucchini smoothie

GROCERY LIST:
PRODUCE
5-8 bananas (for dessert and smoothies)
blueberries (for smoothies)
1 medium apple, any type except a tart green one
1 medium zucchini ( will feed 2 people)
4 medium sweet potatoes (1 for every person eating)
1x 2 lb butternut or other orange fleshed sweet winter squash like kabocha
1 jalapeño
3 cucumbers
2 carrots
1 medium cabbage
2-3 cups spinach or other type of green (1.5 cups for every person)
1 large handful arugula for every person eating
3 avocados (if for 1 person, 1 is fine.  If for 2 people, you’ll need 2.  For 4 people, 3.)
3 limes
3 lemons
½ – 1 cup mushrooms for each person (shiitake/chanterelles/your choice)
2 tomatoes
olives/capers
2 red onions (1 medium + 1 small)
2 yellow onions (1 medium + 1 large)
1 small red bell pepper

SEASONINGS/HERBS
fresh parsley
fresh cilantro
fresh dill
fresh basil
1 large head garlic
2.5 inch chunk of fresh ginger
paprika
oregano
thyme
rosemary
cumin
medium curry powder
crushed red pepper flakes

LEGUMES, SEEDS, GRAINS
1 cup brown lentils (amount will yield leftovers)
3/4 cup red lentils
1 cup gluten free oats
1 cup hemp seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (2 tablespoons for every person eating)
1 box brown rice pasta - feeds 2-3 people (or your favorite kind in bulk! I love the Jovial brand if I can’t find bulk) 
3 cans chickpeas (save the chickpea juice too! (aquafaba))+ this equates to 2.25 cups dried if you’re making your own from scratch
2 cans black beans (1/2 can for every person eating) + this equates to 1.5 cups dried if you’re cooking your own
1 cup cashews (this amount will yield leftovers)
optional: Flax seeds or vegan protein powder for the smoothie
optional: 2 cups dried basmati or other long grain rice, to make the curried lentil dish heartier- 1/2-1/3 cup dried per person.

PANTRY:
1 jar of tahini
2TBSP corn starch or arrow root starch
1 small bottle cooking white wine (you’ll need ¼ cup)
olive oil
3 cans full fat coconut milk
grapeseed oil or avocado oil (or any high smoke point oil)
coconut aminos or tamari or soy sauce( your preference)
nutritional yeast
1x 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (or add 4 fresh roma tomatoes to your produce list)
2 cups broth(either DIY or better than bouillon brand comes in a glass jar)

DESSERT:
2 cup gf oats
maple syrup or brown sugar
vanilla extract + almond extract
½ cup cocoa powder
½ cup chocolate chips
olive oil or coconut oil
1 can of coconut milk (use the leftovers of one or use any other nut milk and you can make your own HERE)
optional: Dried cherries, pecans or walnuts
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MONDAY:
CREAMY BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH SPICY ROASTED CHICKPEAS + SIMPLE ARUGULA SALAD
for the chickpeas:
3 cups chickpeas (I used home cooked, but if you used canned, it’s 2 cans), drained well and patted dry
drizzle oil, enough to coat the chickpeas
seasonings- I like chili flakes, harissa, cayenne or hot paprika (anything spicy) and salt and garlic.  The spicy goes well with the sweetness of the soup.  But please use whatever you like!

for the soup:
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large sprigs thyme, leaves stripped, stems composted or saved for stock making
1 butternut squash or other orange fleshed sweet squash, or even sweet potatoes, mine was about 2 lbs.  Cut into small cubes.
1 apple (any kind except don’t use a tart green one), cut into small cubes.
1 can full fat coconut milk
2 cups veggie broth
s+p to taste, start with 1/2 tsp and add more as needed
optional nutmeg or cinnamon to make a more sweet/autumnal flavor

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400, and while its coming up to temperature:
1. Chop onions and squash
2.Toss chickpeas with drizzle of oil and seasonings, place on a single layer on a baking sheet.
3. Put chickpeas into the oven and set timer for 20 mins.
4. Meanwhile, in a large pot or dutch oven, heat up the oil and then add the onions. Sauté until softened and golden, about 10 minutes.
5. Add in the apple + thyme and sauté another minute or two till fragrant. Add in the butternut and veggie broth and simmer till tender, about 15 minutes.
6. Add the coconut milk and cook until heated through. Turn off heat and use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
7. By this time the chickpeas should be ready, when ready to serve, add the chickpeas on top of the bowls of soup along with a sprinkle of fresh minced thyme.
8. Serve with a simple salad- I like arugula (1 large handful for every person eating) tossed with plenty of lemon juice and olive oil and either a sprinkle of vegan parm if I have it, or simple s+p.
options:

make it heartier: add a scoop of quinoa, rice, or serve with bread.

make it faster:  peel, deseed and cube the squash on the weekend.  Store in a sealed container like a mason jar in the fridge.

take it to the next level: roast the squash and then proceed with the recipe.  this will deepen the flavor.

less waste: rinse the seeds of the squash, pat them dry, and toss with seasonings and a bit of oil.  Roast on a separate pan while the chickpeas are roasting for a nice snack.
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 Picture from  Shape mag . Not same recipe, but photo will be updated soon!

Picture from Shape mag. Not same recipe, but photo will be updated soon!

TUESDAY: 
GREEK SALAD BOWL WITH TZATZIKI & SPECIAL SAUCE
Serves 1-2 (Double recipe if you want to feed 3-4)
Ingredients: 
2-3 cups spinach
1/2 cup sliced cabbage
1 carrot sliced thin
1 cucumber
1/4 cup diced red onion
1-2 tomatoes sliced
For Falafel:
3 TBSP grape seed or avocado oil (or any high smoke point oil)
1 can chickpeas ( or 3/4 cup dry chickpeas to cook yourself)
1/2 cup oat flour or oats ( add more if need be)
4 TBSP Aquafaba
1 tsp salt ( or more to taste)
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
pinch of coriander
For Tzatziki:
(Will have leftovers)
1 cup soaked cashews or sunflower seeds (3 hours to overnight is best but 1 hour in warm water is good too!)
 1/4 cup hemp seeds
3 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP packed chopped fresh dill
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
pinch of black pepper
1 cup cucumber chopped
1/2 cup water
optional : handful fresh finely chopped mint
For the tahini dressing:
3 TBSP tahini
4 TBSP hot (boiling water)
1 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
pinch of salt to taste
(optional: tsp paprika, cumin, and/or cayenne)

Directions:
NOTE: I would make the tzatiki (and the falafel mix if you want) an hour before eating or earlier if your schedule calls for it. Tzatziki consistency is best when refrigerated and falafel will be firmer for frying if refrigerated first.
For tzatziki:
1. Drain soaked cashews/sunflower seeds and rinse well. 
2. Add to food processor or blender with 1/2 cup water and hemp seeds until smooth and creamy.
3. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt, and black pepper and blend until smooth. Add water if too thick.
4. Transfer into a bowl and add cucumber, fresh dill and mint. 
5. Put in fridge.
For tahini dressing:
1. In small bowl add tahini and hot water and with a fork whisk until really smooth (may take a moment)
2. Add lemon juice and salt and optional spices.
3. BADA BING BADA BOOM! Set aside.

For falafel: 
1. In food processor or high speed blender, add chickpeas, oats, salt, garlic aquafaba, fresh parsley, red onion, paprika, cumin, and coriander and blend well. Taste and add more spices to your liking. If looks too moist, add more oats!
Pop in fridge for 20 minutes to an hour for firmer texture.
2. Take bowl of falafel mix out of fridge and roll into balls.
 In skillet or frying pan with your high smoke point oil - drop balls in and rotate occasionally until light brown on all sides.
4. Assemble bowls - add spinach, carrot, cabbage, tomato, and onion. Add falafels, big scoop of tzatziki and drizzle tahini sauce all over and enjoy!!!

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WEDNESDAY:
SPICED ROASTED SWEET POTATO + BLACK BEAN BOWL W/ CRUNCHY LIME SLAW
Ingredients: 
1x medium sweet potato for every person eating
1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (2 tablespoons for every person eating)
1 jalapeño, sliced thinly, seeds removed if you don’t like spice
1/2 bunch cilantro
approx 4 loose cups cabbage (1 large handful for every person eating)
1 large juicy lime, zested and juiced
1 small red onion
1 small red bell pepper
1 tablespoon oil
s+p to taste
2 cans black beans (1/2 a can for every person eating)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin, 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
2 avocados (1/2 for each person), cubed or sliced
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
While it’s preheating:
2. Scrub, dry, and cube sweet potatoes into 1/2 inch chunks
3. Toss them in oil to coat + the spices and salt
4. Place on a baking sheet and into the oven when its up to temp. and let cook until tender, about 25-30 minutes.
5. Heat up a dry skillet (no oil) till hot, add pumpkin seeds, and toast, shaking pan often, until they start to turn color and pop.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, start on the slaw:
6. With a knife or mandolin, thinly slice the cabbage and place in a large bowl
7. Chop and add in the cilantro
8. Thinly slice and add in 1/2 of the onion + the bell pepper and jalapeño
9. Zest and juice the lime and add to the bowl
10. Drizzle in a tablespoon oil and sprinkle salt and pepper
11. Toss it all together and taste.  Adjust as needed and set aside.

Then, make the beans:
12. Chop the remaining 1/2 onion finely and heat up some oil in a pot.
13. Add onion and sauté until softened and golden
14. Add the 2 cloves minced garlic and sauté till fragrant, about another minute.  Add in the 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I also like to add 1/2-1  tsp ground cinnamon, a trick I learned from @ohdeardrea, but up to you, ground coriander is also great if you have it)
15. Open the cans of beans and dump into the pot
16. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 5 minutes
-taste and add salt as needed

Now, assemble the bowls with the sweet potatoes, black beans, and slaw.  Add avocado on top and sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds.  Enjoy!
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 This photo is the same thing but with different cheese! The alfredo will be marinated with the noodles with the following recipe! YUM!

This photo is the same thing but with different cheese! The alfredo will be marinated with the noodles with the following recipe! YUM!

THURSDAY:
THE VEGAN ITALY : ALFREDO WITH LENTIL MEATBALLS

Ingredients:
Brown rice pasta or your favorite kind of pasta ( I use Jovial or bulk brown rice pasta)
1.5 cups shiitake, chanterelles, or your pick (mushrooms optional)
2 tomatoes (to garnish)
handful fresh basil (to garnish)
Ingredients for Ingredients for lentil meatballs:
1 cup green or brown lentils (cooked)
2.5 cups water
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup gluten free oats (blend into flour- tutorial HERE)
2 TBSP Coconut aminos
4 TBSP aquafaba (or 1 TBSP chia with ¼ cup water)
4 TBSP avocado or grapeseed oil
1 small red onion
1/2 TBSP maple syrup
1 tsp of pink salt
1/2 tsp each of thyme, dried oregano, paprika, and cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
Pinch of cayenne (if you want a kick)
Ingredients for alfredo:
Serves 3-4
Adapted from Minimalist Baker
Soaked 1 cup of cashews (soak anywhere between 30 minutes to overnight)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
salt to taste
2 - 2 1/2 cups water
3 TBSP olive oil
2 garlic cloves chopped finely
2 TBSP cornstarch or arrow root starch
1/2 cup cooking white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup coconut milk (or any other milk)

NOTE: I went ahead and added the directions in the order it should be made in. There are a few parts to this recipe and I find that its a lot easier to make each part in this order! Read over it and adjust if you need.

Directions to begin the lentil meatballs (start here first):
1. In a saucepan, add olive oil, chopped red onion, maple syrup, salt, pepper and paprika. Let caramelize on medium low while stirring frequently for 5-8 minutes.
2. Rinse lentils and then add lentils to saucepan with the onions. Toss frequently and let simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Add 2.5 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce boil and let simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
4. While lentils are simmering, grab big bowl and add 1 cup gf oat flour in along with the thyme, dried oregano, paprika, cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne. 
5. When lentils are ready (they should be soft consistency and not watery), pour into the oat mixture bowl. 
6. Add aquafaba and coconut amigos. Mix altogether really well.
7. Pop bowl in refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes.
Saute mushrooms:
NOTE: I do this before the alfredo because I don't have enough pans. After I sauté these, I set aside in a bowl.
1. Add olive oil and mushrooms to a pan with salt, pepper, and thyme and then cover.
2. Let simmer. The key is slow and steady - if you cook mushrooms too fast they can turn out gummy.
3. Stir occasionally until they are soft, yet lightly crispy.
4. Set aside
Work on alfredo sauce now!
Directions to begin alfredo sauce (start here second): 
1. Drain soaked cashews and add them into a blender with 2.5 cups water, nutritional yeast, and salt. After blending, leave mixture in blender.
2. In a skillet or sauce pan, put in your chopped garlic and your oil and let simmer on medium until garlic starts to brown a little.
3. Add in cooking white wine (careful it may pop!) and let the wine reduce in half.
4. Then add cornstarch and stir - it will be clumpy!
5. Add your coconut milk (or other milk) and stir and then transfer it into the blender where your cashew mix is.
6. Blend altogether!  Now transfer it back to same skillet or deep pan after mixed and reduce to lowest setting (not boiling at all). 
Finishing it all up (this is third!):
1. Start boiling water for your pasta at this time. Whenever it starts to boil - add pasta.
2. Take lentil oat spice mix out of refrigerator and roll into balls (any size you'd like).
3. In a frying pan, add the grapeseed or avocado oil (or your high smoke point oil) and turn heat onto medium.
4. Add the meatballs and turn them every now and then - should be light brown and crispy all around. You will have to turn them occasionally.
5. When pasta is done, drain and throw into the alfredo already in the skillet/deep pan. Toss well until pasta is coated.
6. Add mushrooms and stir also. DONE!
7. Put into bowl or plate and top with meatballs, basil and fresh tomato! Voila!

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FRIDAY
RED LENTIL + COCONUT CURRY
Recipe originally from HERE
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 2½-inch piece ginger, peeled, finely grated
1 tablespoon medium curry powder (such as S&B)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¾ cup red lentils
1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes
½ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus leaves with tender stems for serving
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken well
Lime wedges (for serving)

Directions: 
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Cook onion, stirring often, until softened and golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
2. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add lentils and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
3. Add tomatoes, ½ cup cilantro, a generous pinch of salt, and 2½ cups water; season with pepper. Set aside ¼ cup coconut milk for serving and add remaining coconut milk to saucepan.
4. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft but not mushy, 20–25 minutes.
Season soup with more salt and pepper if needed.

  • To serve, divide soup among bowls. Drizzle with reserved coconut milk and top with more cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

 Photo from  Minimalist Baker

Photo from Minimalist Baker

DARK CHOCOLATE GRANOLA WITH NICE CREAM
Granola adapted from Minimalist Baker

To make granola:
Serves 2-3 (double batch to save for later)
Ingredients:
2 cups gluten free oats
1/3 cup maple syrup
3 tbsp brown sugar/ coconut sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
1 tbsp cinnamon
(Optional: 1/2 cup dried cherries, 1/4 cup sunflower seeds and/or 1/2 cup pecans or any other nut, 1/3 cup coconut shreds)

To make nice cream:
Serves 2-3
3-4 Frozen bananas
1/4-1/2 cup coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)


Directions to make granola :
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In blender or food processor - add oats, brown sugar/coconut sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt (or any other optional dry ingredients) and pulse a few times to combine it all and chop a bit - if you pulse too much, its too fine. Add more oats if necessary.  Transfer into big bowl.
3. In a saucepan, heat up oil and maple syrup until well combined.
Once liquids are melted, pour over gluten free oats, add vanilla and stir well.
5. Pour the mix into a silicone reusable baking mat, parchment paper or well oiled baking sheet and pop in oven for 20-26 minutes!
6. Let cool, pour into a big bowl and add chocolate chips.

Directions to make the nice cream:
1. In a food processor, blender or other type of mixer (should function well), add all the ingredients. Start off with 1/4 cup of the milk and blend. If its too thick to blend, add more milk. Should resemble soft serve so less milk the better. 
2. You're done!
Note: If you accidentally added too much milk - add a couple ice cubes or enjoy it as a smoothie form.
Top nice cream with granola and enjoy!!!!

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ZUCCHINI-BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE
Serves 1
Note: Peel and freeze your bananas, freeze your blueberries, and optional to dice and freeze the zucchini!!
-1 Frozen banana
-1/2 cup diced zucchini
-3/4 cup frozen blueberry
-2- 3 tablespoons hemp seeds, flax or a scoop of vegan protein powder
-1 tsp almond extract
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1.5 cups walnut milk you can make HERE or any other alternative milk of your choice

Directions:
1. Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy and enjoy! Top with granola or your favorite nut butter if you want yum!