20-Minute Vegan Dinner for Two

142 comments

IMG 9120   20 Minute Vegan Dinner for Two

My favourite way to cook is to just grab things from the fridge and improvise. If you asked me to do this 5 years ago, I would’ve looked at you like you had two heads. It gets easier with practice though. Something that used to cause me so much stress is now one of my favourite ways to unwind and relax. Other days, I seem to be allergic to cooking and will do anything to avoid it. Like on a Friday. We’re going to take advantage of this beautiful spring weather and walk downtown for beer & burgers tonight. Now that is relaxing!

When I do cook, my goal is to have a balance of the following:

  • veggies
  • grains
  • protein
  • healthy fats

 

It’s a goal and not always reality, mind you. Life isn’t always perfectly balanced and well-rounded and I don’t expect all of my meals to be either. But I do try my best, even if some nights we sit down – happily – to big bowls of cereal.

For quick meals, I like to sauté vegetables because they are ready in about 10 minutes or so. Steaming is also quick and healthy. I also rely on quick-cooking grains like quinoa and couscous if I’m in a rush. Quinoa is ready in about 15 minutes and couscous in about 10 minutes. That’s hard to beat.

For this meal, I threw asparagus into a skillet with olive oil, lemon juice, zest, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, Herbamare, and pepper. Meanwhile, I cooked the quinoa on the stove-top. Just before serving, I threw in a (drained and rinsed) can of chickpeas and heated it with the asparagus mixture.

IMG 9106   20 Minute Vegan Dinner for Two

20 Minute Vegan Dinner for Two

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For the quinoa:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Herbamare or salt, to taste
  • pat of soy-free Earth Balance spread, stirred in at end

 

Rinse and drain the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Add into pot with water and stir. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Set aside (you can leave the lid on until ready to serve). Stir in a pat of Earth Balance and season with Herbamare or salt and pepper.

For the asparagus & chickpeas:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and ends broken off
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs (Panko)
  • Lots of Herbamare (or kosher salt) + freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch or two of lemon zest
  • Can of chickpeas (BPA-free), drained and rinsed

 

In a large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the asparagus in the olive oil and lemon juice and season generously with Herbamare and pepper. Add a minced garlic clove if preferred. Cook for about 10 minutes, tossing frequently, until tender and slightly browned. Reduce heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, and zest. Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and stir into the asparagus mixture then sauté until heated through.

This meal serves two portions at about 450 calories each.

IMG 9118   20 Minute Vegan Dinner for Two

There’s no need to go to complicated measures for a meal that feels special. Sometimes simple trumps anything else. Plus, it’s fancy…did you see that lemon slice?

What are your favourite staple dinners?

In other news, the Vegan Online Shopping Guide is now updated as of this morning. There are SO many cool stores to check out. Thanks for all your suggestions!

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{ 142 comments… read them below or add one }

Jasper {crunchylittlebites} April 13, 2012

I used one of your online shopping suggestions to order some Rawtella, Angela. They seriously need to compensate you for the referrals they get from you site, just sayin’

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

hah nah…just spreading the love.
The Rawtella is one of the best things I’ve tasted. Did you get plain or coffee? I had the coffee one and it was to die for.

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Michelle@Peachy Palate April 13, 2012

Lovely idea! Loving asparagus at the moment and chickpeas are always special!

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Karen April 13, 2012

Oh yumm!!! Looks almost like what we had last night- except we mixed it all up into a cold salad.. the quinoa, chickpeas, and instead of asparagus we had roasted peppers and mushrooms :)

Have a fun night tonight! My hubby and I are heading to downtown Oakville tomorrow night with friends for beers!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

We are too! Maybe we’ll bump into each other :)

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bitt of raw April 13, 2012

This looks great! The types of meals I make most often are like this, we don’t often have the energy for complicated stuff and don’t like to overheat the kitchen.

I noticed you mentioned the calorie count on the meals again. Are readers asking for this or do you count calories? I am just curious because not many vegans do count calories as much as others I suspect, no judgement, just curious…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Hi Bitt,
Yes it’s something that has been asked of me by readers so I do it from time to time. I don’t personally count calories though and haven’t for over 3 years.

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ruth April 19, 2014

I am interested in percentage of fat/fat content in the recipes so I like full nutritional info. I subscribe (in theory) to McDougal/Esselstyn whole food, plant based, no added fat school of nutrition. Not because of watching calories for weight management; but because of family cardiac history.

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carri April 13, 2012

looks DELISH and so fresh!
and no judgement here either,
but i prefer the no calories.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Thanks for your input. If it’s not desired then I won’t go to all the trouble of doing so.

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Audrey April 13, 2012

Well, I always appreciate it when you *do* add calorie counts! But, hey, you can’t please everyone, so do what works best for you! :D

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Thanks Audrey…might be a good discussion topic perhaps. Take care!

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Fiona April 13, 2012

That would be a great discussion topic! I would be interested in reading about that, and maybe even join in! But I don’t care personally whether you do or you don’t. :)

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Fiona April 13, 2012

Whether you do or don’t include calories, I mean. Also, I love the fancy lemon slice! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

Thanks, I will keep it in mind. It’s also something I’m going to do a poll on for my cookbook.

Julia April 20, 2012

I appreciate when you do too! xo

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Prepel April 15, 2012

I was going to ask the same question since I realized calorie counts have been appearing lately!

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Ellie @ healthy belly ellie April 13, 2012

Anything with chickpeas is a GO for me! Especially hummus!

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kaila@ healthy helper blog! April 13, 2012

Okay that asparagus sounds so good! Its one of my fave veggies as is but the addition of nutritional yeast is genius! Love cheesy veggies! Mmm mm!

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Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) April 13, 2012

That looks great! Quick, and nice and light. I really enjoy asparagus but often avoid it at the grocery store because I don’t really know what to do with it. This is a great, simple option and I bet it’s delicious with the lemon. :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

you can’t go wrong with a simple saute…roasting them is good too :)

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suzi fichman April 13, 2012

this is exactly how we roll!! simple, balanced meal with room for dessert at the end, right?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

I like the way you think!

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh April 13, 2012

This looks great and what exactly is nutritional yeast? Does it have a flavor? Is it more of a topping than a main ingredient? I’ve always been curious but have never gotten any.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that has a flavour a bit similar to cheese, so it’s a great sub in mac ‘n cheese, sauces, etc. It’s also high in protein and often fortified with B12. I didnt like the taste at first but it grew on me quickly.

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Sara C April 13, 2012

My favorite is “What’s in the fridge Fried Rice.” I always have leftover cooked grains (rice, quinoa, barley, whatever). I saute an onion, some tofu or seitan, throw in whatever veggies are in the fridge (or even frozen if that’s all I have) and then throw in the cooked grains. Heat until warm, then a splash of Mirin, and a tbl of Tamari, sprinkle chopped nuts on top and voila..dinner in 15 minutes!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

I love that!

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Jaime April 13, 2012

Where do you get Seitan (in Canada?), or do you make it yourself?

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Sara C April 13, 2012

Jaime- I am actually in Los Angeles so it’s readily available at Whole Foods or even Trader Joe’s and some supermarkets. You can easily make it yourself though – just google it!

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Colleen April 13, 2012

Ha Ha Sara! My mom always did that when we were kids. She called it “Leftover Casserole”. I have done the same with my roommates or boyfriends. :)

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Heather April 13, 2012

That looks yummy and such a quick & easy meal. Are you guys going to the works – very yummy!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

yea I think so! going to try this famous portobello burger I keep hearing about.

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Heather April 13, 2012

I’ve heard it is delicious. I would say save room for the chocolate coconut ice cream at circus but you guys probably won’t have room! My kids love the works – just be prepared for a bit of a wait.

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sarah April 13, 2012

Just had it on Friday! It’s great! The Works just opened up here in Guelph. They also have sweet potato fries…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Measuring cups? That is funny.
Glad to hear it’s a good one!

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sarah April 13, 2012

Ha! No the portabello burger! I guess it’s good to be more specific! I think the measuring cups are weird–I feel like they ran out of clean glasses…

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Laura April 13, 2012

I LOVE going to the works. And drinking out of measuring cups has such a cozy laid back feel!

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated April 13, 2012

Thanks for the idea … I love simple dinner ideas. Sometimes you just don’t want to spend an hour on dinner! :)

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Janae April 13, 2012

This looks like the perfect meal. A perfect balance of protein, fat, carbs–and of course, greens!

Never heard of herbamare–is that a Canadian thing?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

I believe it’s a Canadian product, but I think I’ve heard it’s available in some places in the US. Not positive.

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Alise April 13, 2012

I bought my Herbamare on Amazon.com here in the US. It comes in a pack of 2 and I love it. Thanks for the tip, Angela

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Deb April 13, 2012

Just to chime in—-Herbamare is available in the U.S. Whole Foods carries it. (Well, at least the ones here in California do!)

Which reminds me….the only reason I even discovered (the magic of) Herbamere was because I saw it on this site. :) So, a much belated thanks to you Angela for that!

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Hailey April 14, 2012

I found it at a health food store in Indiana!

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osgmom April 14, 2012

I found Herbamare at Whole Foods in the U.S.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

Glad to hear that! Thanks for letting us all know.
You can all thank my mother in law…she’s the one who got ME hooked! :)

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Juliet April 13, 2012

Amazing blog!! I know this has NOTHING to do with your post, but could you tell me what juicer you use? I am looking to buy one soon… thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Hey Juliet, I used to have a Breville Fountain Juice Plus (I think it was called anyways!), but I have since donated it when we moved, not enough room. It did an ok job, but I think I must have used too many beets on it because it started to produce less juice with time. I would check Amazon for reviews too.

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Lindsay April 13, 2012

This is exactly what I’ve been doing for meals lately and I agree it is becoming less stressful and more enjoyable than winging it once was! I have been re-trying tofu a little too, thanks to you! Your tofu dippers are a hit at our house.

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Alex @ Raw Recovery April 13, 2012

The asparagus looks great! I have just started using brown rice udon noodles that take about 8 minutes to cook. I fry up some tofu in olive oil, add teriyaki sauce and veggies and stir it all together. It takes less than 30 minutes and it’s very filling. I also making polenta and adding some kind of bean or other protein and nutritional yeast.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

I love those noodles…just tried them not long ago.

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Nadine Veroba April 13, 2012

I love these posts! Your blackbean butternut squash burritos have become a staple for dinner. I think we have it once a week now! So amazing! Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Glad to hear that Nadine!

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Sarah beee April 13, 2012

Wait a minute…..is that a lemon slice? Ohh-lah-dee-dah!! :) I love this combo!! And I love this is sooo quick and cheap to make!! More $$ for wine!! :D

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Indeed it is. I can whip out the fancy when I need to. lol

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Willow April 13, 2012

Haha – The Boyfriend and I *frequently* sit down to big bowls of cereal for dinner. Partly because we love cereal, but also because sometimes I’m just too beat to cook (or have been cooking/baking all day, but not for dinner).

This looks like a great simple meal – and I love using quinoa on the fly. So important to get that complete protein in!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

Glad we arent the only ones :) We loooove cereal. I like to throw dried fruit, hemp seeds, chopped nuts on top. mmm

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Moni Meals April 13, 2012

This is a dream meal! Any time any where AND THE BEST PART…easy and FAST! Healthy too. Plus Quinoa is always in my belly! haha.

Great one Ang. :)

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Anna April 13, 2012

This looks amazing and so classy (and 20 minutes!?).
Tonight we’re having pasta with tinned sauce due to lack of time — should have read this about 20 minutes earlier!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table April 13, 2012

I love these “quickie” meals. I will often do a quickie tomato sauce to slather over spaghetti squash or make a quick lentil stew. Always with a massive salad on the side – lots of greens, left over veggies, and toasted nuts.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2012

I havent had spag. squash in too long. Its so good.

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Sara Nickel April 13, 2012

Quinoa is my go-to staple. I use it as a side, a pasta replacement, and even recently experiemented with using it as a pizza crust. Gluten-free, protein packed, you just can’t go wrong:)

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Lauren April 13, 2012

My only go to meal is veggies stir fried with soy sauce and red wine vinegar over pasta. I got the original idea from The Kind Diet’s Rustic Pasta, but I mostly just use whatever vegetables I have at the time and it is always delicious. Other than that, I am pretty much always trying new recipes. There are too many great vegan blogs in the world and I can only eat so much. The list of recipes I want to try is overwhelming sometimes. :) I am going to repeat and make your Perfect Veggie Burgers again this weekend though, because they are just amazing!

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lesley April 13, 2012

Our go-to quick meal is a beans, greens and grains bowl. I might use quinoa, or pre-cooked & frozen brown rice, or sometimes whole wheat pasta, roasted chick peas are my favorite, but skillet browned white beans with lemon and nutmeg are good too. Then, sauteed kale. For seasoning I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, Red Pepper Flakes, & an All Purpose, Salt Free Chef’s Shake. It’s the most delicious meal and on the table in about 20 minutes!

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oren April 13, 2012

It’s rare to read posts about cooking that do not ignore the time factor.. this makes them practical and about a real way of life.

Two comments:
1. There actually is a compatitor grain in terms of cooking time and nutrients, and this is the buckwheat . I love it, and it beats the couscous in terms of protein.
2. What wastes my time is the sorting of grains. I do it rather too slow, and I cant let myself skip thia part.. any tips?

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jen April 13, 2012

Any suggestions on what brands/where to find BPA-free cans in big box grocery stores, eg Zehrs/RCSS/Sobey’s/Metro etc?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

The brand I buy is Eden Organics, but Im not sure it it’s available in those stores. I buy it from the natural food section though. Still trying to cook them from scratch but there are always those times when I need it *now*, like in that meal. I want to start cooking big batches of beans/lentils and freezing them though!

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Michelle @ Esculent Dreams April 13, 2012

i LOVE the nutritional benefits of quinoa and chickpeas but for some reason they don’t fill me up very easily =/ does anyone else experience this or is it just me…?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

That happens to me sometimes…if that’s the case I just eat more. heh. But my hunger varies a lot each day. Sometimes I need twice the amount to feel satisfied and other times not.

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Michelle @ Esculent Dreams April 14, 2012

Totally agree with you on that one! i don’t count calories (i used to), but I do try to do an estimate in my mind each time i’m eating so i don’t overdo it. Quinoa’s surprisingly high in calories so it worries me whenever I eat and I try not to go for seconds… (Btw do you know why that is?)

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Somer April 13, 2012

Beautiful and simple! Sometimes we forget that a vegan dinner does not require hours of prep or 50 ingredients. Thanks for the reminder! Is that red quinoa? It’s gorgeous!

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Simone April 13, 2012

Yumm that looks delicious! Anything with Asparagus is my friend ;)
Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog! I nominated you today for the Versatile Blogger Award. Check out my post for the details. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas! http://wp.me/p1SLLp-w4

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 15, 2012

Thank you Simone, I will check it out!

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Kit-Kat April 13, 2012

Couscous is my staple go-to meal, with fresh or frozen stir-fried veggies, and a vegan burger!

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jo @ includingcake April 13, 2012

my thoughts exactly! I love how you also have big bowls of cereal as meals too (i so often do that for dinner especially when i’ve had a big lunch as my main meal), one of my main tricks is to have loads of things ready to go in the feezer- soups, ready cooked quinoa and veggie burger type things…so versatile and quick!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

Leftovers in the freezer are always a fun surprise! I need to start making double batches of things and freezing.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 13, 2012

What an elegant garnish! ;) hehe! This looks so good Ange, and I love the simplicity. I would have never thought to use nooch on asparagus but it sounds very tasty now that I think about it! My go-to staple dinners are usually whatever veggies I have in my fridge (usually zucchini, peppers, red onion, sometimes eggplant, and Brussels sprouts from the freezer) heated in a skillet with balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. Then I throw in some crushed tomatoes and italian herbs, paprika and pepper, and some sort of protein (usually fish, chickpeas or beans), and let everything heat through. I guess it’s sort of like a marinara dish, but the sauce I seem to come up with tastes so much better than anything I’ve found in a bottle! On cooler days, I’ll usually take the veggies that I like raw (celery, carrots, peppers, radish, spring onion etc), toss them together with some quinoa and beans, and pour a light fruity balsamic on them. That one never gets old!

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Catherine April 13, 2012

It’s so nice to see this because this is the prototype for so many of my weeknight meals when I’m just too tired to do much! Great idea to add breadcrumbs to the asparagus.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

Thanks Catherine. And yes the breadcrumbs were key!

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Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 13, 2012

I’m the same way… I naturally gravitate towards a balanced meal. It packs in the nutrition and usually ends up being what I’m craving anyways!

Those asparagus look amazing!

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Amanda April 13, 2012

Sounds and looks yummy. I assume you use the original Herbamare with salt?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

yup :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

they also have a spicy one (and other flavours) too which Ive been meaning to try.

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape April 13, 2012

Such a perfect meal!

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Leah @ DeLeahLicious April 13, 2012

What beautiful pictures, Angela!

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Sara April 13, 2012

Hello!
I’m wondering what brand chickpeas you use? I prefer them canned, simply for convenience, however the BPA in cans makes cringe!! Thanks :)

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Ashley April 14, 2012

Eden organic canned beans are BPA free! You can get them at Whole Foods, Sprouts, etc.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

yup Eden Organic is the only one I have found so far.

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Von L. April 15, 2012

Thank you – I was going to ask the same question!

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Jen April 14, 2012

I didn’t even know BPA was in cans?
Is this why people say not to use tomatoes from a can – the acid of canned tomatoes eating away at the lining?

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Alex April 13, 2012

I feel like I’m the only vegan that detests nutritional yeast! I feel like I must be using it wrong or something.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

I didnt like it when I first tried it…for a while actually. The smell and taste seemed weird to me, but now I love it. Less is more though!

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Randi July 8, 2014

I’m not a fan of nutritional yeast either **yuck**

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