Simple inspiration for a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

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At last I return, with another week of retroactive menu planning! Putting together this week’s menu plan was a bit of a triumph. I have chronic fatigue syndrome, which means I am very, very tired. Quite often I am can’t-get-out-of-bed tired, which means lots of delivery and take-out and burritos from the place down the street.

The reason I participate in Menu Plan Monday is because I love to get inspiration from other people’s menus, so I want to offer my own inspiration and ideas in turn. I am one of the few people creating menu plans that are vegetarian (mostly vegan) and gluten-free, as well. What this all means is that usually my “weekly” menu plan is a compression of several week’s worth of meals, since my actual week looks more like: cook something, eat leftovers, get delivery, go to bed without dinner, cook something, eat leftovers/get delivery, go out to eat.

But not this week, kiddos! This week was an awesome week full of easy-to-make food with plenty of fresh veggies and fruit for dessert. This week I ate out three times less than before.

Here are the dishes that kept the home fires burning:

Monday:
Tangy red lentils (this recipe sounds so unassuming but it is AMAZING)
Steamed brussels sprouts with Hollyhock dressing*
Sweet potato fries (from TJs) with vegan wasabi mayo
Red quinoa

Tuesday:
Roasted parsnips and carrots
Steamed kale and beet greens with kale sauce
Deborah Madison tofu
Brown rice

Wednesday:
Tinkyada brown rice spiral pasta with baby broccoli and white beans sauteed in fresh rosemary and garlic (a distant relative to Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers, p.187)

Thursday:
I am DIY Rice Bowl with black Chinese “forbidden” rice, avocado, kale, scallions, nori and sesame seeds

Friday:
Sweet potato and kale soup (from freezer)
GF toast with olive and pine nut spread (Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, p.49)

Saturday:
Stir-fried baby bok choy with hijiki (MRCH, p.89)
Broiled marinated tofu (MRCH, p.261)
Brown rice

Sunday:
Spanish stew with chick peas, potatoes, and artichoke hearts
Red chard with pine nuts and raisins

*(Duck used to make this dressing all the time when he was a cook at the meditation retreat center where we used to live)

You can find a bazillion more great menu plans over at Organizing Junkie. This week Asparagus Thin is hosting the delicious Gluten-Free Menu Swap, with the theme umami. There is umami all over this menu! The original umami research began as an investigation of kombu, a kind of seaweed that infuses the Tangy Red Lentil recipe with absolutely no seaweed or fishy flavor but plenty of savory deliciousness. There’s also nori (another umami heavy-hitter) on the rice bowl and hijiki with the baby bok choy. Add to that nutritional yeast in the Hollyhock dressing, balsamic vinegar in the kale sauce, soy sauce in the rice bowl dressing and the tofu marinade, sweet potato fries and yellow potatoes in the Spanish stew, and this week’s menu is an umami explosion! I also find that broiling and roasting are two cooking methods that bring out that savory, “meaty” umami flavor, and both found their way into this week’s cooking.

Read on after the break for more about how I avoided eating out ALL WEEK! and download my what-to-cook-when-the-fridge-looks empty spreadsheet to tape to the fridge! Continue reading