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 }

Averie @ Averie Cooks April 14, 2012

Awesome when a dinner (that happens to be vegan) comes together in 20 minutes. LOVE that.

And love these colors; the yellows and greens. So pretty for spring!

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Alex April 14, 2012

Usually when i saute chickpeas I do it til they’re nice and crispy they get a real nice flavour and crunch that way.
I do not have herbamare available to me but I was wondering what herbs are in it ?? so I could sub a few of my own dry herbs. Looks so quick and easy.
I agree with you too, when I was new to cooking I thought that cooking without a recipe was unthinkable but now I love it!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

Hey Alex,

I found this on their website: “Organic celery, leek, cress, onions, chives, parsley, lovage, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme and kelp are combined with natural sea salt and allowed to steep for many weeks before the moisture is removed at low temperature by a special vacuum process. This allows all the qualities, aroma and taste of the herbs to be absorbed.

Herbamare and Herbamare Spicy can be used as a direct replacement for salt – during cooking or at any time you want the taste and aroma of fresh herbs in your food.”

source: http://www.avogel.co.uk/Lifestyle/Herbamare.php

I hope that helps!

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Ashley April 14, 2012

One of our favorite go to meals involves asparagus as well. It’s actually an adaptation from the Happy Herbivore cookbook. I roast a ton of asparagus on a baking sheet with sliced garlic and as many cherry tomato halves as I can fit, sprinkle it generously with black pepper and bake it for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Once it is done I drizzle balsamic vinegar over the veggies and serve it over cooked cous cous or quinoa (or the original recipe calls for whole wheat angel hair pasta). Whichever grain you use just mix in some Italian seasoning and garlic powder. DELICIOUS!

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers April 14, 2012

Wonderful recipe! My favorite staples for dinner is already cooked rice medley and canned tomatoes. With those two items I can whip anything together!!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 14, 2012

I love simple dinners like this – it just goes to show that healthy and delicious food doesn’t have to be complicated! One of my favourite easy dinners is a tofu and vegetable stir fry with brown rice and a Sunbutter sauce. I make it at least once a week!

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 14, 2012

PS. What restaurant did you go to? I would LOVE to read some restaurant reviews on your blog now that you live in the next town over. And if you ever seen Burlington restaurant recommendations, let me know! ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

we were supposed to go to the works, but we ended up eating here & going to a pub instead! I’ll def. try to blog about it when we go.

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Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon April 14, 2012

Red quinoa is so pretty! Love it!
My staple easy dinner this week has been flatbread/pita pizzas with spinach, pear, figs, walnuts, and chickpeas!
I also like microwaved sweet potatoes loaded to the brim with toppings.

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Hailey April 14, 2012

This is awesome Angela!! It is so tough sometimes to come up with a quick vegan meal that is satisfying and doesn’t take a long time to cook on the weeknights. My favorite weeknight meal lately has been whole grain noodles, tomato sauce, frozen spinach, and a can of white beans with lots of red pepper flakes. Surprisingly delicious!! :-)

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Jaime April 14, 2012

Thinking of going to The Works tonight…did you have the Portobello Burger? Any feedback?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

Hey Jaime,
We actually didnt make it to the Works yet…we were planning on it but just ended up eating here and went to a pub instead. I’ll try to post about it when we do go though!

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Jaime April 14, 2012

We went. The Portobello Mushroom Burger was awesome! I had it with avocado, salsa, and eggplant. Very yummy.

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Sarah @ Fresh Living April 14, 2012

I love using nutritional yeast in my cooking. Thanks for the great recipe!

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kelli April 14, 2012

quinoa is perfect for quick meals – it’s what i always make when i have nothing planned! i make a similar quinoa dish but with sun-dried tomatoes too. it’s one of my favorites!

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LizAshlee April 14, 2012

I love simple meals like this one!!

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Meg | One Love Meg April 14, 2012

This looks absolutely fabulous. My staple meal is probably pretty similar to this but I love the idea of chick peas. Yum!

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Valerie April 14, 2012

This looks wonderful! Thank you so much for all the recipes that you share. I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve tried from your blog. I also really appreciate that you have a ‘top recipes’ section.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 14, 2012

Thank you valerie, Im happy to hear that!

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Amber K April 14, 2012

I love quick and easy meals. This looks absolutely perfect for an easy weeknight dinner.

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Brooke April 14, 2012

This looks great! I’ll have to try it. Bread crumbs are a good idea.

My go-to quick meal is cooking kale in a big pot with garlic, olive oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds, a little brown rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. When it’s almost done, I toss in some chickpeas, and serve it over quinoa.

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Nadiya @ Milk and Honey April 14, 2012

There is nothing wrong with cereal for dinner :P You can always pre-soak your grains to decrease the cooking time. I know my grandparents soak buckwheat overnight and then it cooks super fast :)

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Kiki April 14, 2012

I don’t know why, but chickpeas always taste boring to me! I do like hummus though. :p

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Bridget April 14, 2012

I love “use stuff up” meals. My philosophy is: Throw it on pasta, throw it on pizza, throw it on a baked potato, or throw it in a wrap. Beans, veggies, salsa, leftover sauces, leftover grains…. They are never the same but they are always delicious!

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Caitlin @ Cake with Love April 14, 2012

Angela, I love the simplicity of this dish, however I think I would need some sauce, I go vegan 100 days a year (religion) and I usually like to have my grains with some sauce, like a mushroom sauce, very simple and quick to make, just sauteed mushrooms, vegan mayo, flour and water!

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Janet April 14, 2012

This was so good. I’m so glad I went to Whole Foods and got the Herbamare to go with it, that stuff is delicious! Thanks, Angela.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 15, 2012

Hey Janet, Im happy to hear that! Thanks for letting me know.

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Kelan April 14, 2012

I made the asparagus from this post and it was awesome! Totally recommend the breadcrumb/nutritional yeast combo for someone that’s looking for a new way to eat asparagus. I only wish that I would have made double. Yum.

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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts April 14, 2012

Sometimes those quick, recipe-less meals are the best sort :) This looks great!

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Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes April 15, 2012

Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with vegan meals ideas! And ones that can be made in 20 minutes!! I’ll have to try this, it looks delicious!!

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers April 15, 2012

Thanks so much for this. I’d like to have more vegan meals, but I am always so uninspired for quick dishes. The only inspiration I find online are real “recipes” that I usually don’t have time to make until the weekend.

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Lea @ iCooklea April 15, 2012

WHEN are asparagus arriving in France?! I’m dying here!

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K April 15, 2012

one pot cooking, sauteed veggies and quinoa, brown rice and a legume thrown in!
Also, roasted veggies with quinoa and raw spinach.
Miso soup is also quick and easy and my other favourite is one pot veggie chili!

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natalie April 15, 2012

Fast and healthy! Genious (-:
- check out my fashionblog, currently i have a competition !http://agoodiebag.blogspot.com/

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Karen April 15, 2012

I love how simple and easy this is- thank god you make veganism easy and affordable!

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Anastasia@healthymamainfo.com April 15, 2012

Asparagus is so rich in Iron, Magnesium and Zinc. Such a beautiful and healthy side dish!

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Astrid April 15, 2012

Hi Angela, I just tried you peanut butter chocolate recipe, and it was soo delicious. I have to stop myself from eating the whole jar.
So my boyfriend is nuts over pistachios hehe, and I was wondering if you have tried making pistachio butter?

:)

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Burnsy April 16, 2012

Weighing in on the calorie issue (pun intended) – throwing the calories in for the cookbook would be great because that will help the people that are being concious of their intake. Otherwise, portion control is the easiest way to go about this. I’ve always struggled taking the time to count my calories – I’ve got too many other things to do! I’ve started using my salad plates for main courses and not going back for seconds (and not heaping my plate full of food!). It’s also a good strategy to help me focus on and really enjoy my meal without thinking ‘I’ve got to get through this so I can get more!’ LOVE your recipes Angela and so excited for your cookbook! Quick meals like this that I can throw together for my lunches are superb! THANK YOU! :)

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Carissa April 16, 2012

This meal looks so good! 3 of my favorite foods, rolled into one super simple meal. It’s nice to see simple combos once in awhile.

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Dee April 16, 2012

I tend to do the same with cooking. Grab whatever there is in the fridge and invent my own recipe. For our family of three. There has never been a complaint so I must have been doing it right. Asparagus is not only tasty and nutritious it is also good for cancer cure. Better than any chemotherapy. Just liquidize cooked asparagus and eat a little twice a day.

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April April 17, 2012

WOW! I couldn’t have found your blog at a better time! Making this dish right MEOW! <3 Thank you & I also love that you're Canadian :D

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donna April 23, 2012

The sad part on these impromptu spontaneous meals is that they are SO awesome and yummy but often not recreatable! When i make a great fridge clean out soup its yummy but then I never have all the same ingredients again!
YUM recipes!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 23, 2012

I know what you mean…I’ve been there too!

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Lisa Alber April 23, 2012

Hi Angela,

I’ve been lurking around for about six weeks because I’m recently vegan. (Rather, almost vegan–I blow it with dairy sometimes but I’m steadily improving!) Your site is such an inspiration. Today’s post, for example, is a prime example. Since I’m a novice, I don’t have a cooking repetoire yet. So the quick meal you described, plus those of your commenters, are just fabulous. I’m typing all the ideas up into a cheat sheet!

Two snacky things that are saving me during I-want-to-munch moments: salt and vinegar garbanzo beans and the almond butter/rice cereal/chocolate balls (except I used unsweetened cacao powder with agava nectar).

Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 23, 2012

Hey Lisa, it’s a pleasure to meet you! Thank you so much for your feedback, that means so much to me.

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Tim September 5, 2012

Have you thought about sharing more full-dinner recipes similar to this one? I would love to have more ideas for similar meals. Those that are easy, fast, and well balanced. :)

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April September 26, 2012

Love this quick and easy recipe! Made it tonight and made a coconut curry with shredded carrots and raisins to pour over my Quinoa. Yum!

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Svetlana April 7, 2013

I just made the asparagus and they were really good! I made the chickpeas the way you did them in your “salt & vinegar” baked chickpea recipe. Win for both dishes!

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