5 Make-Ahead Vegan and Gluten-Free Lunches: Part 1

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Last week, a blog reader, Mary, asked me if I could put together a post on healthy lunches that could be made ahead of time. I thought it was a great challenge for back to school, so I got to work planning!

I spent a few days coming up with different lunches that could be prepped on Sunday.

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Complete with food stained paper!

I had several goals for the lunch recipes:

1) Most, if not all, of the prep work could be done on Sunday.

2) It would be made mostly from scratch for maximum savings (for example, using dried legumes instead of canned)

3) It would be vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free with easy nut-free options

4) In each lunch, I would have each of the following: protein, healthy fats, fibre, fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to make a well-rounded meal.

5) Chocolate, as necessary.

This challenge certainly lit a fire under my apron!

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For the recipes, I decided on the following grains and legumes (1/2 cup dry, each):

  • Millet or Quinoa
  • Wild brown rice
  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Lentils

 

Of course, you can use pretty much any grains and legumes that you desire. I purchased these from Bulk Barn and it was much cheaper than buying the canned or non-bulk variety. More money in my pocket means more money for chocolate covered cacao nibs! Wheee.

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Next, I had to figure out all of the various prep and cook times for each. I consulted the wonderful Clean Food Cookbook for some tips!

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It went from this…

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To this…

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All of that food only cost me about $3.50. Talk about savings!

While the legumes and grains were cooking, I did some other prep.

This trail mix, below, was one of my favourite recipes of the day. In fact, I’m munching on it right now. :)

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Eric and I are seriously obsessed with this mix. The chocolate covered cacao nibs are phenomenal and something I’m going to have to re-create at home!

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I also chopped up 1 cucumber, 1 large red pepper, and 4 carrots. I put them into a big container filled with water as this will keep them fresh and crisp all week long. Quick and easy snacks paired with hummus or other dips.

Note: I would not advise putting the peppers and cukes in water as I just discovered that they don’t crisp up, but get soft! The carrots were fine all week though.

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When I had a burner free up, I made the Carrot Apple Ginger Soup using some beautiful garden carrots. Yes, my carrots are finally ready to harvest after planting tiny seeds way back on May 24. Happy!

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Dare I say it turned out even better using my garden carrots? ;)

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Once the prep work was done, I started assembling lunches.

First up, Monday’s lunch!

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I had this lunch yesterday and it was delicious! (I forgot to include the avocado in the picture, but it really makes the salad.)

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Up next, Tuesday’s lunch:

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Tuesday’s Lunch featuring Carrot Apple Ginger Soup

Ingredients:

  • Carrot Apple Ginger Soup (click for recipe) in a mason jar for portability
  • 1 cup cooked millet (or quinoa), with Earth Balance, salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup Go Go Glow Mix (above)
  • 1 plum
  • Lemon Water

 

Be sure to heat up the millet with a bit of Earth Balance and seasoning. It’s also good mixing it into the carrot soup.

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All the prep work I did yesterday took me the entire morning (about 4 hours), but I’m glad that I did it now because I have a ton of food prepped for the week.

Here is a grocery list, if you want to follow along. Keep in mind that it’s just a guide and you can make any modifications that you desire! I just used mostly what I had on hand…I’m not suggesting you go out and buy the entire list, but get creative and see what you can use in your own pantry and fridge. :)

In Part 2, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday’s lunches are coming on up! Click here for the post.

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Like many of you, I was touched deeply by the tragedies of 9/11. I’m watching along today and sending my thoughts to those innocent lives that were lost and families and friends who were impacted. Red heart Bless you all…

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