A very kaleful vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

Too tired to say anything interesting! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I have an awesome new roommate. More on him later. Sorry I haven’t posted. Here’s my menu for the week. (Hopefully all this kale will restore my energy.)

Gluten-free Menu Swap this week has the theme Simple Meals, hosted by Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness. Lots more meal plans at OrgJunkie. Yay!

Thai yellow curry

Monday
Tunaless casserole (add frozen peas)
Raw kale salad with raw corn, avocado, and basil

Tuesday
Thai yellow curry with tofu, potatoes, basil, cabbage, and Chinese broccoli
Thai cucumber salad
Brown basmati rice

Wednesday
T’s bday dinner, menu TBD

Thursday
Red lentils & kale with coconut, spring onions, and crispy shallots

Friday (soak 1/2 cup cashews in advance)
Kale with millet and tahini sauce (I lightly steam the kale first)
Crash hot potatoes

Saturday
Roasted sweet potato and lentil salad
Farmer’s market vegetable side

Sunday
TBD based on farmer’s market

Shopping list, store: 1 cup tvp, 1 tsp dulse flakes, 1 bunch kale, 1 ear corn, 2 yellow potatoes, tofu, Chinese broccoli, 2 cucumbers, 1 lg shallot, 1 cup spinach

Shopping list, farmer’s market: 2 bunches kale, 3 spring onions, 1 lb small red new potatoes, 2 sweet potatoes, veggie for side dish, veggies for Sunday’s meal

Celebrating a full pantry with a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

I let myself completely run out of olive oil, then grapeseed oil, then sesame oil, then peanut oil. I ran out of chickpea flour which meant no socca pizza for fast and easy meals. I ran out of balsamic, onions, thyme, tofu, tempeh, and tamari, and how do you cook without the basics? (My mom would laugh at me for considering balsamic a “basic” – I remember I amused her greatly when I called her from college and said, “I don’t know how our grocery bill is so high, we just bought the essentials, you know cheese, bread, vegetables, capers…”) I’ve still managed to feed myself pretty well thanks to the farmer’s market and the generosity of friends and family. (I was treated to dinner or cooked for three times last week!)

Socca Pizza

Late last week I finally managed to make the grand tour, from the Indian market to Rainbow Grocery, my vegetarian co-op, to Trader Joe’s. I really love the full-pantry feeling. It just makes me feel so safe and secure. And it makes me want to cook! My well-stocked pantry has inspired my first proper menu plan in over a month. (I’ve still been doing less formal private menu planning – I can’t really remember how I used to cook and shop without it – but it’s better when I get to share it with you!)

Edamame, Corn, and Tofu Succotash

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Heather of Celiac Family with the theme of corn. I am super, super excited about corn. I didn’t make it to the farmer’s market last week so I’m not sure if it has arrived there yet (or actually if any of the farmers at my market grow corn – there are so many fewer produce stands than there were last year), but I’ve certainly been seeing it in all the grocery stores, from Rainbow and Whole Foods to Trader Joe’s. Corn is one of my favorite parts of summer. Like asparagus, it is an entirely seasonal treat that I only get to eat for a few months a year. Unlike asparagus, it doesn’t cost $6 a pound. I’ll be trying a new recipe with corn this week, the Post Punk Kitchen’s fresh corn johnnycakes. And I’ll be making one of my favorite easy dinners, The Splendid Table’s edamame and tofu succotash with fresh corn. If there is indeed corn at the farmer’s market, I’ll get a bunch and make my absolute favorite corn recipe, Fresh Corn Polenta, every morning. Oh, my mouth is watering just thinking about it…

Fresh Corn Polenta with Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes

Have a great week of cooking, everyone! For a giant round-up of menu plans, check out the Menu Plan Monday compendium over at orgjunkie.

Monday
Socca pizza with chard, cream cheese, and red onion
Impressionist cauliflower

Tuesday
Red lentils & kale with coconut and crispy shallots

Wednesday
Fresh corn johnnycakes
Brazilian shredded collard greens (Viva Vegan, sub collards for kale)
Warm sweet potato and black bean salad

Thursday
Edamame and tofu succotash with fresh corn (marinate/broil tofu instead of buying smoked)
Green salad

Friday
Chickpea picatta with mashed potatoes

Saturday
Leftovers

Sunday
Tempeh helper,
Steamed broccoli
Chocolate cupcake brownies

Shopping list: 3 red onions, chard, 2-3 spring onions, 1 bunch kale, 5 shallots, 4 ears corn, collard greens, 3 sweet potatoes, frozen shelled edamame, tofu, 1 large tomato, scallions, 4 cups arugula, potatoes for mashing, (capers?), broccoli

A quiet and colorful vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

Nothing much to say this week. I’m feeling kind of blue, and I just want to get my menu posted. There are so many things I’ve been cooking that I want to tell you about, but I’ve been busy with financial woes and pre-grad-school stuff so I’ll have to get to them when I can.

“Mish-mash bowl” with quinoa, fleur de sel, flax oil, and nori, topped with sweet potatoes, broccoli, avocado, grated carrot, radishes, pumpkin seeds, cashews, sunflower seeds, parsley, mint, and green onion, with tahini sauce (picture taken before the tahini sauce, 'cause it's prettier!)

I hope this week’s menu isn’t overly ambitious. It has a lot of stuff I’ve made before, so that should make things easier. This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Angela of Angela’s Kitchen with the theme of celebrations. I wish I were feeling more celebratory right now. Sorry! My favorite celebration that has been chronicled on my blog is the first, extremely ambitious vegan, gluten-free Thanksgiving that I hosted for family and friends. I love parties and dinners and celebrations! It just happens that this week I am cooking for one, and I’m not feeling too festive about it.

Edamame, Corn, and Tofu Succotash

I hope everyone has a fantastic week of cooking! For the ultimate Menu Plan Monday round-up, check out the giant compendium over at OrgJunkie.

Spinach salad with avocado and pink grapefruit)

Monday
Edamame and tofu succotash (marinate/broil tofu instead of buying smoked, save some for mish-mash bowl)
Roasted broccoli with lemon zest

Tuesday
Gnocchi in vodka sauce
“Venice in your mouth” escarole

Wednesday
Spinach, avocado, and grapefruit salad
Tempeh reubens

Thursday
Mish-mash bowl with quinoa, steamed kale, avocado, sweet potato, grated carrots, radishes, cashews, sunflower seeds, flax oil, nori, and tahini sauce

Friday
Chickpea picatta

Saturday
Coconut curry noodles

Sunday
Leftovers?

Shopping list 1: Broccoli, tofu, frozen corn, frozen edamame, tomato, scallions, escarole, 5 oz. spinach, 2 avocados, grapefruit, tempeh

Shopping list 2: Sweet potato, radishes, kale, 1 C. shallots, 4 C. arugula, carrots, 1 C. mushrooms, coconut milk?

A vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday, hold the commentary

I have a long week ahead of me, so I’m just going to post my menu without any extra commentary. This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by wonderful Wendy of Celiacs in the House with the theme of noodles, in honor of National Noodles Month! (Who knew? Wendy did!) I’ll be making Sunrise Noodles this week, a perpetual favorite here, so easy and so satisfying.

As always, you’ll find many more menu plans (with an ever-increasing number of vegan participants!) at the giant Menu Plan Monday compendium over at OrgJunkie.

Sunrise noodles with gingered greens

Monday (strain, grind, and ferment dosa batter)
Nori rolls with raw sunflower seed pate (follow directions in Vitamix p.269)
Roasted sweet potatoes with red onions
Beginner blueberry kale smoothie

Tuesday
Potato spinach pea patties with green chutney
Red lentil dahl
Pickled onions
Rice

Wednesday
Sunrise noodles with gingered greens and tofu

Thursday
Cauliflower and red onion uttapam
Coconut chutney
Ethiopian red lentil soup as sambar

Friday-Sunday ~ Meals with family

Extra: Crockpot caramelized red onions

Shopping list 1: 4 large or 6 medium tan-fleshed/white skinned sweet potatoes, 2 C. parsnip, 2 carrots, cucumber, sprouts, avocado, 2 potatoes, 2 C. spinach

Shopping list 2: Red chard, tofu, green onions, 3 C. spinach, cauliflower, 1 lb potatoes

Behold!

When my mom called to tell me she had a birthday present for me (my birthday was at the end of January, but I’m terrible at figuring out something to ask for, so I put it off as long as possible and hadn’t yet picked anything), but that it was impossible to bring it on BART (that’s our subway) so I should come by her house with the car, my friend and I had a great time speculating what it could be. We ultimately decided it was a helper monkey that would scamper about and wash dishes for me.

When I unwrapped it, it would be an understatement to say my jaw dropped, I was stunned speechless, and my socks were knocked waaay off. (That last one is a turn of phrase. Socks stayed on in real life.) I was so proud of myself at Christmastime for actually having a list of things I wanted that I could pass on to my mom – that’s how I ended up with all those awesome cookbooks. I keep the list for myself, of wishes big and small, and when I emailed the list to my mom it was annotated, “And, just for fun: Vitamix 5200 blender (hahahahah, a girl can dream, right? I need to get married so I can register for one!).” I would never seriously ask my mom for a $500 blender for Christmas. That would be absurd.

But apparently last month the stars aligned when a friend asked if my mom wanted to use her very significant employee discount before she left her job, and Vitamix blenders were one of the items her company sold. And my incredible, loving, generous mom figured “it’s now or never,” picked the fanciest model they had (the Professional Series 500), and completely made my day, my week, my year. The next seven years, even (the Vitamix comes with a seven year warranty), and it even seems common for Vitamix blenders to last for decades.

I’ve just unpacked it and have begun to watch the enclosed “Getting Started” DVD, so I’ll write more at a later date about actually using it. Today it is my delightful project to plan a menu for the week that highlights my new toy, puts it through its paces, and lets me explore all that it can do.

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Cheryl, our organizer, at her blog Gluten Free Goodness. The theme she picked is “quick and easy,” and that’s one of the most enticing aspects of the Vitamix. You can make hot soup in the blender. The blades go so fast they can actually heat soup. I found a fun blog, Cindalou’s Kitchen Blues, with lots of vitamix recipes, and one of my favorite features is that she shows a picture of the ingredients in the blender before she blends them. Check out this post with a picture of the ingredients of a carrot-pear smoothie. Two whole carrots and a whole pear. You just put the carrots in the blender without cutting them, and the pear without coring it. Because the Vitamix blends with such strength that it makes everything perfectly smooth and you are just getting extra fiber? Even with pear core/seed stuff? This is somewhat unbelievable to me, but I am certainly excited to start experimenting! Considering that my current blender is iffy about frozen fruit and absolutely balks at ice, this is a huge step up for me in the field of blending.

For a huge compendium of menu plans from all over the web, check out OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday round-up. And without further ado, let’s get blending!

So many tasks the Vitamix can perform! (Sorry for blurry.) I used this as my guide in deciding what to make this week.

Monday (defrost 1 C. stock)
Quick and easy potato soup
Tomato rosemary scones

Tuesday
Spinach artichoke dip (so happy to find a recipe that doesn’t call for 1 C. vegan mayo and 1 C. vegan sour cream!) follow directions in Vitamix book, p. 135
Mary’s crackers
Triple berry smoothie (Vitamix book p. 38)

Wednesday (defrost 8 cups stock)
Carrot ginger soup with cashew cream (One Bite at a Time p. 30, make 1/2 recipe cream)
Savory Swiss chard pie
Frozen yogurt (Vitamix p. 226)

Thursday (defrost 3 cups stock, soak sunflower seeds for tomorrow)
Triple corn soup
Salad with creamy avocado dressing

Friday
Leftovers

Saturday
Nori rolls with raw sunflower seed pate (follow directions in Vitamix p.269)
Green smoothie

Sunday
Potato spinach pea patties with green chutney
Red lentil dahl
Pickled onions
Rice

Extras:
Vegan flourless chocolate cake – made in a vita-mix

Shopping list: Frozen spinach, TJ’s soy yogurt to freeze, 3 lb carrots, 1 C. cashews, 1 bunch chard, frozen fruit, 1 lb frozen corn (+ extra), romaine, 3 avocados, 1 C. sunflower seeds, 2 C. parsnip, cucumber/sprouts (for nori rolls)?, apple, kale, 2 cups spinach, green onions

High pressure experiments on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

I own a pressure cooker but I’m terrified of it and so have never used it. It’s an old Mirro Matic, with a heavy metal jiggler, and I stare at this device invented to make my life easier and simply have no idea how to proceed. Vegetarian Times has an article on pressure cooker recipes this month, and I made myself read it in the hopes that it might entice me to actually learn how to use the darn thing. I was right! When I read the recipes – which involve notoriously slow-to-cook ingredients like butternut squash and eggplant – and saw that the instructions say things like “Cook 6 minutes,” I was totally intrigued. Now that my evening social calendar is packed full, I’m always torn between making a nice dinner or just eating a bowl of quinoa and getting out of the house in time to keep my plans. Could my pressure cooker be the magic solution to this dilemma?

So hopefully this week will be the week that I conquer my fear of that hulking aluminum beast. After all, what’s the worst that can happen? Oh, right, I could have my face burned off by an explosion of steam or be decapitated by a flying pot lid. Hmm. On second thought, maybe I’ll stick with my bowl of quinoa…

I peeked at the Gluten Free Menu Swap this week and originally thought that this week’s theme was “food as love.” Learning to use my pressure cooker and make delicious, superfast meals would be a real gift of love to myself (not to mention my friends who are unsurprisingly not super pleased with the fact that I’m frequently an hour late to meet them when I try to cook and go out on the same night). But it turns out that’s the theme for next week (Valentine’s Day!).

This week our GFMS is hosted by Gluten Free Smiles with the theme of chia seeds. I think this is a sign that it’s finally time to make the Vegan Overnight Oats everyone has been raving about for ages. I haven’t bought a banana in years because they’re not local (and hence can never be in season here), but breakfast is such a tough meal for me that I really want to give myself the chance to add something wonderful to my breakfast arsenal. I’m also going to try Pear Skillet Bread from lovely Cheryl at GF Goodness. She experimented a long time before discovering that chia is the secret to holding it together! Thanks for doing all the experimentation, Cheryl, so I can reap the rewards.

We're making kimchi!

This Sunday is Culture Club! We’re making napa cabbage kimchi, oji (fermented millet porridge), and Satsuma mandarin cordial in my Cordially Yours cordial maker. I can’t wait to spend a day fermenting with people I love.

As always you’ll find hundreds more menu plans at OrgJunkie’s giant Menu Plan Monday compendium.

Tuesday (thaw: 1 cup frozen peas)
Curried potatoes with cauliflower and peas (Vegetarian Times, Jan/Feb 2011)

Wednesday (thaw: tempeh, 3.5 cups frozen corn, 1 cup stock)
Creamy corn-crusted tempeh pot pie (Viva Vegan, p. 144)

Thursday (thaw: 2 cups stock)
Toasted millet with harissa and sweet potatoes (Vegetarian Times, Jan/Feb 2011)

Friday (make in the morning)
Crock pot curried red lentil, quinoa, and chickpea stew

Saturday (dinner with Farmer B, make filling & salad at least 1 hour in advance)
Arepas with sexy avocado-tempeh filling (Viva Vegan, p. 181)
Salvadorean marinated slaw (Viva Vegan, p. 80)

Sunday (Culture Club!)
Leftovers

Other dishes to make:
Vegan Overnight Oats
Pear Skillet Bread

Shopping List: Millet (1.5 cup), large sweet potato, 5-oz bag baby spinach, 1/2 lb potato, basil, onions, 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, 1 cauliflower, tempeh, Vegenaise, green onions, jicama, 2 ripe avocados, cabbage, 2 jalapenos, cilantro, almond milk, small ripe banana, ripe pears to equal 1.25 cup, green veggies for sides, restock agave nectar

Growing ever more frugal on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

The title of this post totally refers to last week, not this coming week. Last week I spent a grand total of $15 on food, and $13 of that was a single take-out meal I treated myself to after a rather unpleasant medical procedure. This coming week is my birthday/party, and the food budget is going out the window. As it should, I think. I am totally birthday-phobic and a dear friend has basically had to hold my hand (and prod me gently) through every step of planning and executing a party. So the last thing I want to pile on top of that is worrying about money. I’ll just eat lots and lots of dry beans in February. Who doesn’t love beans?

Pinto bean corn cake fritter things with harissa

Speaking of beans… I really enjoyed the pinto bean corn cake fritter things from last week’s menu. I made them with home-cooked cranberry beans I cooked and froze last week (and actually remembered to defrost ahead of time – we’ll make a budget mealmaker of me yet!) and they were very tasty, with a light, airy quality I hadn’t expected. The amount of batter in the recipe was insufficient to hold the fritters together in the pan, so I mixed another maybe 1/4 cup of chickpea flour with some water and added that to the mix. I didn’t have any salsa so I had to eat them with harissa, which was fine, but salsa (and vegan sour cream) really would be the best way to go. The recipe was so fast, easy, and tasty that I’m adding it to my “Steady Pulse” collection of bean and legume recipes.

The stars of the show last week were hands down the Chesapeake tempeh cakes from Post Punk Kitchen. I’m planning to give those babies their own post. Creamy (vegan) millet and kale salad ended up being super yummy, too. I deviated from the recipe by lightly steaming the kale, though. My bunch of kale was pretty tough, not tender, and I didn’t think it would get edible from the heat of the millet and sauce alone, which is how the original recipe does it. Sweet potato fries with vegan aioli are a household favorite and continued to live up to their excellent reputation.

In fermenting news (didn’t you know there’s a whole separate category for fermenting news?) the giant batch of sauerkraut Farmer B and I made in my new crock continues to merrily do its fermenty thing. It’s taking a while, though, I think because my (frugal!) house is so cold right now. Farmer B and I finally have another Culture Club meeting scheduled (I have to catch her when she’s in town between farm gigs) with an exciting crew of new club members and a plan to make cabbage kimchi, oji (a fermented millet porridge), and mandarin orange cordial.

The most important thing that happened this past week was that the dear brother of a close friend died after a long, courageous time spent living with cancer. He was in his mid 20s and will be deeply missed by so many people whose lives were touched by his love, his passion, his intellect, and all the unique and amazing gifts he brought into the world. Yesterday friends and family gathered at his home to remember him and a tiny, remarkable rainbow appeared and stayed with us for hours. Rainbows are an important symbol for my friend and her family and I think this rainbow was one more amazing gift from a loving brother, son, and friend.

It seems quite strange to transition from that to my menu for the week, but onward I go, as planning menus is one of the ways I take care of myself, and taking care of ourselves and the people we love is the one of the best ways to honor those who are gone. This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Angela of Angela’s Kitchen with the theme of Slow Cooking. I dug up some vegan crock-pot recipes from the internet and they seem to fit with my general easy/frugal menu planning so we’ll see how they do. As always there are a bazillion menu plans over at OrgJunkie, the great goddess of Menu Plan Monday!

Monday
Snobby Joes (VCon) on GF toast
Roasted carrots with rosemary
Salad

Tuesday (defrost brussels sprouts)
GF version of VCon’s Chickpea Cutlets, made into nuggets, with vegan ranch dressing
Roasted brussels sprouts (defrosted from last week’s mega sprouts cooking)

Wednesday
Birthday dinner with my mom before seeing Next to Normal!

Thursday
Crock pot curry with coconut milk
Brown basmati rice

Friday
Kale, tofu, and quinoa

Saturday
Sushi party! I’m having everyone bring a vegan ingredient to put into sushi rolls.
Cucumber sunomono
Vegan mochi ice cream!!

Sunday
Crock pot curried red lentil, chickpea, and quinoa stew

Extras:
Make turnip pickles

Shopping list: 1 cabbage, 3 carrots, 1 gold or sweet potato, celery, kale

A “maybe I will or maybe I won’t” vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

I’ve had it marked off on my calendar for weeks. From November 28th through December 4th runs a big blue line reading “Personal Retreat?” It has been a really, really busy few months. Since March I’ve been enjoying a level of activity and socializing I hadn’t experienced since getting sick over five years ago. But even though I’ve been having a great time, now I’m in an energy deficit, so I thought it might be nice to take a week off from plans and activities and just hunker down at home.

A variety of vacuum-packed meals from Gobble Green

A few weeks ago I signed up through Groupon to get a heavily-discounted delivery of a week’s worth of vegan, gluten-free meals from a company called Gobble Green. They’re down in my giant second freezer now – seven days worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snacks. One of the things I spend the most energy on each week is planning, shopping, and cooking for meals, so I thought I might take advantage of having this week of prepared food to treat myself to a real break. But here’s the thing… I really like seeing my friends. I don’t have enough time as it is to see everyone I’d like to as often as I’d like. And I’m going on an actual weeklong silent meditation retreat later in December. So now that the time has come I’m finding myself reluctant to stick to this personal retreat plan.

Mostly what I want to catch up on (besides rest, which is the most important thing, obviously) is my darn Project Life. It’s a very cool photo-a-day project that I began back in January and was doing really well on. But then I started to get behind this summer and now I haven’t made it past June! My printer broke, so I couldn’t keep up with printing photos, I got behind on the “journaling” (which is writing a little card to go with each photo) because it takes a good amount of time, and at a certain point I started forgetting or actively putting off taking my photo each day. But I really want to see this project through. I do have photos for a lot of the days between June and now (significantly more than I would have if I hadn’t been doing this project), so I just need a good chunk of time to organize the photos on my computer, have them printed at Walgreen’s, and then write up the sixty million journal cards to go with each picture. This is the kind of project I never finish, so I really want to show myself I can do it. And that means getting caught up before the end of 2010.

All this is a really long way of saying I’m going to make a menu plan for this week. I do have a CSA box coming on Wednesday, for one thing. If I decide to keep running around like a wind-up toy this week, I’ll have the menu to follow. If I decide to do the personal retreat thing, I can just nosh on veggies and stuff from my box but mostly live on my Gobble Green meals and use the menu the following week. Either way I’m a winner, right?

Cranberry sauce cobbler to use up Thanksgiving leftovers

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by our lovely organizer Cheryl of Gluten-Free Goodness with the theme of sweet potatoes. I have sweet potatoes left from my last box and another two pounds coming in this week’s box, so it is definitely a sweet potato menu this week! I have sweet potatoes on the menu almost every day! Good thing I love them, eh?

For a giant round-up of menu plans from all over the web, check out the Menu Plan Monday compendium over at OrgJunkie!

Monday
Kohlrabi, sweet potato, and celeriac rosti, veganized
Green salad with apple, radish, and carrots

Tuesday (defrost soup!)
Roasted root veggies with carrots, sweet potato, beets, white potato, onion, and garlic
Lentil soup (from the freezer)

Wednesday
Sunrise noodles with gingered greens and tofu, with baby bok choy and chard

Thursday
Sweet potato, pea, and spinach curry
Quinoa

Friday
Pumpkin polenta with avocado salsa
Green salad with pumpkin seeds and pears

Saturday (defrost 3 C. broth!)
Acorn squash, sweet potato and apple soup
GF biscuits

Sunday
Leftovers

Desserts
What Do I Do With My Leftover Cranberry Sauce? Cobbler
Cranberry sorbet

A busy girl’s vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

The last few months have been so busy! I almost never get my menu plan written and posted on Sunday nights anymore, and I’m lucky if I actually make even three or four of my planned meals. I am having a ton of fun, though, so no complaints! This week I’m going to try to focus on really simple food that I can make in the squeezed-time between social events! Of course it’s me we’re talking about… so wish me luck with that whole “really simple” thing!

Falafel with GF pita, baba ganoush, and turnip pickles, from last week's menu plan

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Heather of Celiac Family with the theme of potatoes. I try not to eat too many white potatoes, but they are a marvelous treat! I have some pretty fingerling potatoes that came in my box and I’m planning to make vegan Nicoise salad with them this week. I absolutely love potatoes in Nicoise dressing (minus the anchovies, of course)! I’ll also try to pick up a few more potatoes and a cauliflower at the farmer’s market on Wednesday so I can make yummy and super-easy Tofu Aloo Gobi from Vegan Express. Other simple potato favorites are wasabi mashed potatoes and of course putting leftover french fries into decadent breakfast tacos (the recipe link isn’t vegan, but I make them now with vegan cream cheese and no scrambled egg. No less delicious!).

For a huge selection of menu plans, check out the Menu Plan Monday compendium over at OrgJunkie, the lovely lady who keeps this whole menu-plan ball rolling, all over the web!

Nicoise Salad (on this week's menu)

Monday
Nicoise salad with green beans, tomato, and fingerling potatoes

Tuesday
Pasta with caramelized fennel and zucchini

Wednesday
Tofu aloo gobi
Brown basmati rice

Thursday
Edamame and Smoked Tofu Succotash
Quinoa

Friday
Polenta (cooked in rice cooker)
Steamed broccoli
Olive tapenade

Saturday
Kale with kale sauce
Creamy chickpea curry
Quinoa

Sunday
Sloppy sushi with brown sushi rice, shitake mushrooms, avocado, and cucumber

Shopping list: 3 zucchini, 2 large potatoes, 1 head cauliflower, smoked tofu, frozen edamame, 2 ears corn, 3 large tomatoes, red onion, scallions, broccoli, kale, cucumber

Cooking with friends on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

The past couple of months have been wonderfully full of cooking with friends. Having a menu plan is so helpful – I can invite someone over for dinner and say, “Take a look at this week’s menu plan and pick the meal that sounds best to you,” which totally takes care of the “what shall we have for dinner?” conundrum. This also gives the added bonus that, because I’ve planned for these meals in advance (usually to take advantage of what comes in my CSA box), I always have the ingredients on hand for what we want to make.

Some friends are just learning to cook, some are quite competent, others are masters. I am attempting to teach one of my friends to cook starting almost from scratch (which is harder than it seems – my curriculum so far has been pretty haphazard; more on all of that later). Several others are happy to make whatever I set them to as long as I give them explicit instructions. Still others would rather do the washing up while I cook. It all makes me happy! I adore sharing cooking and eating with the people I love. Last night after an epic game of Arkham Horror my fellow investigators and I proceeded onwards to an epic sushi-rolling extravaganza. As we sat sipping our gin and tonics and eating our unlimited supply of vegan sushi I looked around the table and thought to myself, “It absolutely, truly doesn’t get any better than this!”

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Heather of Celiac Family with the theme of Beans. I eat refried beans almost every day in my vegan breakfast quesadilla, so I don’t tend to crave them in my dinner planning. I am planning to make one of my favorite easy, delicious go-to recipes, Tangy Red Lentils, and lentils are definitely in the “bean” category, for me at least. A while ago I hosted a blog event gathering up people’s very favorite, tested and true bean and legume recipes (in an attempt to get over my phobia of cooking with beans), and I encourage you to take a peek at the great recipe collection that resulted, organized by type of bean and legume.

Thai yellow curry with potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, and peas

For a huge and comprehensive collection of Menu Plan Monday posts from all over the web, check out the MPM compendium over at OrgJunkie!

Sunday
Sloppy-style sushi (many rolls cut into pieces) made with cucumber, avocado, shitake mushroom, kanpyo, ume (sour plum paste) and vegan cream cheese

Monday
Tempeh reubens on GF bread (Vegan with a Vengeance)
Homemade sauerkraut
Sweet potato fries with vegan aioli

Tuesday (start marinating tofu for next day)
Pear salad with toasted or candied walnuts and Sheese-brand blue “cheese” on red leaf lettuce with this dressing or this dressing (make without poppy seeds?) or this dressing
Bruschetta on GF toast made with heirloom tomatoes

Wednesday (marinate tofu overnight!)
Tommy’s tofu tikka masala
Roasted broccoli with lemon zest and pine nuts
Brown basmati rice

Thursday (defrost frozen peas)
Yellow curry with potatoes, carrots, cabbage, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, basil, and peas with Bhutanese red rice

Friday
Leftovers

Saturday
Tangy red lentils
Kale with kale sauce
Quinoa

Shopping list: Kale, zucchini, 1 tomato?, Thai basil

Sweet potato fries!