Back to the fall rou­tine with meat­less meal ideas

The Amherst News - - COMMUNITY - Jil­lian Reid

Food Wise

As sum­mer comes to an end, now is the time to pre­pare for get­ting back into a fall rou­tine! You’ve likely heard many times how im­por­tant meal plan­ning can be when it comes to healthy eat­ing. Plan­ning ahead and or­ga­niz­ing meals makes gro­cery shop­ping and meal prepa­ra­tion much eas­ier, es­pe­cially if you’re chal­lenged with a busy week.

Think about what works for you when it comes to your rou­tine and then in­tro­duce more small changes grad­u­ally. For ex­am­ple - meal prep on days that you have more time; when you can, make ex­tra food at sup­per­time to have on hand for the next day or to use in an­other meal later in the week. Some foods freeze well, so take ad­van­tage of this by freez­ing ex­tra soup, lasagna, home­made sauces, cut-up veg­eta­bles or shred­ded cheese. Keep healthy foods on hand, like pre-cut veg­eta­bles, fruits, hard-boiled eggs or trail mix for quick snacks or to add to a meal.

Chal­lenge your­self to include more meat­less meals in your rou­tine this fall! Meat al­ter­na­tives have been linked to re­duced risk of heart disease, di­a­betes and can­cer and can help you main­tain a healthy weight. Even if you are not fol­low­ing a veg­e­tar­ian diet, in­clud­ing a cou­ple meat­less meals each week could ben­e­fit your health! Meat al­ter­na­tives not only con­tain pro­tein but some are high in fi­bre and many are low in sat­u­rated fat. They are also more eco­nom­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly.

Start by pick­ing a meat al­ter­na­tive that you haven’t tried or would like to try in a new way. Tofu, also known as soy­bean curd, is a ver­sa­tile choice. Soft tofu is great in smooth­ies, dips and dress­ings and firm/ex­tra firm can be used in casseroles, stir-fry, on the grill or in soups. Tex­tured Veg­etable Pro­tein (TVP) is made from soy­beans and can be used as meat sub­sti­tute in al­most any recipe that calls for ground beef/turkey. Try it for tacos, meat­loaf or chili. You can even cook a dou­ble batch of TVP and keep it in the fridge for a cou­ple of days or freeze for later. Tem­peh, which is made of fer­mented soy beans, is an­other meat al­ter­na­tive. Try Tem­peh steamed, mar­i­nated, grilled or even crum­bled into casseroles or soups, to add a nutty flavour and source of pro­tein. Like tofu, tem­peh takes on what­ever flavour it’s cooked with.

More meat­less meal ideas for busy week­days:

– Whole grain pasta salad

add veg­gies, beans/chick­peas and a sim­ple vinai­grette. (Try canned No Salt Added or new PC Blue Menu frozen kid­ney beans or chick­peas that are ready in min­utes!)

Stir-fry –

Steam frozen mixed veg­eta­bles and serve over brown rice, topped with mar­i­nated tofu.

Use al­ready­mar­i­nated PC Blue Menu Ba­con Maple Flavour Tem­peh s strips.

Pre­pare with lentils and TVP in­stead of ground beef. Make ahead and cut into in­di­vid­ual serv­ings to store in the freezer.

BLT Sand­wich – Lasagna – Veg­e­tar­ian Chili –

Try us­ing TVP, lentils, beans, and even crum­bled tofu or tem­peh along with an abun­dance of veg­eta­bles. Make a large batch and freeze in in­di­vid­ual bags.

Look­ing for a new meat­less recipe? Con­sider this hearty spiced curry that in­cludes tofu and kid­ney beans. Try top­ping it with green onion, chopped fresh toma­toes and plain yo­gurt! In­gre­di­ents:

1-½ cups (375 mL) PC® Brown Bas­mati Rice, rinsed

1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves gar­lic, minced

1 jalapeño pep­per, seeded and finely chopped

2 tbsp (25 mL) minced peeled fresh gin­ger

1 tsp (5 mL) each ground co­rian­der and ground cumin

1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground turmeric

1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pep­per 1 can (796 mL) PC® Blue Menu Whole Toma­toes, crushed by hand

1 pkg (500 g) frozen PC® Blue Menu Red Kid­ney Beans

1 pkg (350 g) PC® Blue Menu Ex­tra Firm Tofu, cut into 1/4 inch (5 mm) cubes 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh cilantro 1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh lemon juice

1 tsp (5 mL) salt


1. Com­bine rice and 2-½ cups wa­ter in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Stir, cover and re­duce heat to low. Sim­mer un­til all wa­ter is ab­sorbed, about 25 min­utes. Re­move from heat. Let stand 5 min­utes. Fluff with a fork.

2. Mean­while, heat oil in sep­a­rate large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til soft­ened, about 5 min­utes. Add gar­lic, jalapeño, gin­ger, co­rian­der, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pep­per; cook, stir­ring of­ten, un­til fra­grant, about 3 min­utes.

3. Add toma­toes; bring to a sim­mer. Stir in frozen beans and tofu; re­turn to a sim­mer. Cook, stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til beans are ten­der and liq­uid is slightly thick­ened, 15 to 20 min­utes.

4. Re­move from heat; stir in cilantro, lemon juice and salt. Serve over rice.

Chef’s Tip – Cut back the amount of jalapeño if you pre­fer a milder curry.

Makes 6 serv­ings

Per serv­ing: 430 calo­ries, fat 10 g (2 g of which is sat­u­rated), sodium 420 mg, car­bo­hy­drate 65 g, fi­bre 10 g, pro­tein 22g

Recipe source:

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