My week as vegan

MAJOR apologies – I’ve been meaning to get this post out there for what feels like forever – but things keep getting in the way! I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving full of love, family, and of course pumpkin pie.

To give you a quick recap if you don’t follow me on Instagram: I announced that I wanted to make some lifestyle changes. Basically, I’ve been feeling exhausted and I haven’t felt as healthy as a 22 year old could or should be. I used to love doing yoga and hitting the gym but I dropped both of those. I used to be a veg-head but burgers and fries have crept into my weekly diet. I decided that I needed a serious cleanse.

I had been scrolling on Facebook when I discovered a post from Spoon University on a Week’s Worth of Vegan Meals for under $30 from Trader Joe’s. I took inspiration from that in order to plan a week’s worth of vegan meals! These meals were QUICK to make, healthy, and yummy. So really, there’s no reason not to try them.

I will note that my meals were specifically for lunch and dinner, and that I made enough at night for lunch the next day. Also, I made quite a few modifications to each recipe which you can find on the recipe cards!

Day 1: Chunky Chickpea Quinoa Tabbouleh

You can find the original recipe here. I made some modifications – to make the flavors a little bolder.

tabbouleh_vegan

tabbouleh_vegan

Would I make this again: YES! And it seriously took all of 20 minutes to make. 

Day 2: Sofrita Bowl

Before I get to the bowl, if you’re wondering about breakfast – I started with a simple but yummy breakfast – two slices of whole wheat toast with almond butter (I didn’t have bananas but you can slice some and add it on top!) and cold brew with almond vanilla milk. It’s great for being on the go!

You can find the original recipe here.

burrito_bowl_vegan

During the making of my bowl, I ran into a few minor issues. Trader Joe’s didn’t have any ripe avocados so I had to skip that. I also completely forgot to get salsa, so I had to wing it with that (I just chopped up some tomatoes and white onions. Then added hot sauce, salt, pepper, and cayenne)

I also would have some tortilla chips or pita chips on hand for that added crunch. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how yummy the dish (specifically the tofu and kale) was.

Would I make this again: YES! I won’t pretend and say that the tofu was better than maybe chicken…but still a good meal!

Day 3: Chickpea, Sweet Potato & Apple Farro Salad

You can find the original recipe here.

farro_salad_vegan

farro_salad

I had never had farro before and was super excited. I loved the flavor profile of the dish – the richness of the squash, the tartness of the lemon, the crunch of the apple. I think the chickpeas could have been omitted– they were okay but a little starchy.

Would I make this again: ABSOLUTELY! This was by far my favorite dish of the week and I couldn’t stop talking about it to everyone around me at the office. 

Day 4: Kale Salad with Tempeh and Lemon Dressing

You can find the original recipe here.

kale_tempeh_salad

 

I’ll be totally honest (and I don’t want to offend any tempeh lovers), but when I got the package I was freaked out looking at it since it looked like compacted brains.

The recipe doesn’t call for sauteeing or marinating the tempeh, which I did because obviously adding flavors must taste better than raw tempeh, right?

The verdict: NEVER again. In fact, I thought it was so horrible that I’m not sharing a recipe card since my modification would be not making it at all. Everything from the salad dressing to the tempeh was just a total disaster. Yuck. 

Day 5: Vegetable Stir-Fry with Tofu and Sesame Ginger Sauce

You can find the original recipe here.

I didn’t make any modifications of this recipe (okay I added black beans from earlier in the week that were leftover). I also forgot to take a picture of the food *eye roll*

The verdict: probably would make again. I think this was a great way to use the veggies in my fridge. And it’s such a versatile recipe that you could really use whatever you have laying around. It was a quick meal to make and you could just use soy sauce instead of the ginger sauce if you’re in a bind!

Day 6: Everything under the kitchen sink

By day 6, I was feeling pretty lazy and had a bunch of leftover ingredients which I threw together into a salad. It was basically roasted butternut squash, farro, kale, spinach and chickpeas.

Overall Feelings: 

The good: I discovered so many things (like farro) that I would never imagine cooking with. It really got me out of my comfort zone and I felt like I was expanding my culinary palette. I also loved how the meals were really quick and easy to make. After a few days I was feeling so much better – I felt more awake and less exhausted by the end of the day.

The bad: By day 4 of cooking I just didn’t want to cook anymore. I think this had more to do with the fact that I’m used to eating out 2-3 days a week. So cooking 4 days in a row was pretty tiring. (I guess that has nothing to do with vegan food LOL). My only other comment is that as my main social activities tend to me around food, I had to turn down quite a few invites because the menus weren’t vegan.

Should you do this: Yes! I think it’s important to reset the system every once in a while. I think it’s also a great way to realize that you don’t need to have meat every day or for every meal.

Have you tried this challenge before? I’m excited to hear your thoughts!

sweaters & Sunsets

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3 Comments

  1. November 27, 2016 / 4:28 pm

    What a great little experiment to try! I may have to do this over my Christmas break when finals are long gone :))

    • November 27, 2016 / 8:54 pm

      Please do!! Let me know how it goes 🙂