Beyond tofu scramble and nutritional yeast ...
July 6, 2013 2:50 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some delicious, filling vegan, gluten-free breakfasts and lunches that are relatively low-starch and don't use too many fake meats.

I've decided to try Mark Bittman's "vegan before 6" routine for health and environmental reasons. I like that it's a fairly moderate plan oriented around reducing one's meat consumption in a semi-structured way without going crazy about it.

I was a vegetarian a long time ago and a vegan for about two seconds, so I know a lot of the basics, but that was in college when neither I or any of my veggie friends knew much about cooking or nutrition (I have occasional flashbacks to horrible veggie curries).

Right now, this is my routine, and I'd love some ideas on how to veganify it:

Breakfast: either eggs and toast or cereal with milk. Obviously, I could just use soy or almond milk with the cereal, but to be honest I haven't found any gluten-free cereals that I love and that keep me full, so I'd appreciate some other breakfast suggestions. Not a fan of "non-breakfast foods" for breakfast or of tofu scramble (sorry!). I do like smoothies though!

Lunch: This is where I really need some ideas. Usually I have either leftovers from dinner, a frozen meal from Trader Joe's, or takeout from the Thai restaurant near my office.

I'm thinking that for this plan, I'll rely a lot on salads plus ... something. I'm already thinking I'll be baking a lot of tofu and making some bean salads. In the winter, cooking and freezing soups in bulk will be good but I never want soup in the summer. So ideas for protein-rich (or otherwise filling) summery things I can make ahead and have with my salads would be great.

Oh, and I'm doing a CSA so I'll have plenty of veggies to work with, at least through September.
posted by lunasol to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm a big fan of the blog Oh She Glows, tons and tons of vegan breakfasts and lunches with very little tofu to speak of. For the past year or so it's been a lot of gluten free, too.
posted by telegraph at 2:55 PM on July 6, 2013 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Cook good veggie dishes for/with dinner and have leftovers for breakfast.

Rice pilaf with herbs; potato and spinach curry; stir-fried anything (probably best to just make fresh for breakfast, for that case); fried rice; spinach with garlic; roast vegetables (eggplant, squash, asparagus, peppers, onions, and broccoli all roast up really nicely with just some oil and salt).

And fresh fruit can also be really nice for breakfasts, and relatively easy to do on the go.
posted by Lady Li at 3:07 PM on July 6, 2013

Do you like natto?
posted by oceanjesse at 3:10 PM on July 6, 2013

posted by seemoreglass at 3:19 PM on July 6, 2013

I made a bunch of (accidentally) vegan veggie burgers recently that work great for lunches (less so for breakfast), and can be reheated at work after cooking somewhat successfully in a a microwave, more so in a toaster oven. I had them with lightly toasted gluten free burger buns...delicious.

I got lots of ideas from this thread.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 3:20 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Mash chickpeas up with lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Add chunked avocado and mash a little more. This makes a great protein-y 'mock tuna' salad that you can just scoop onto your salad greens. It has a nice mouth feel since you're mashing and not blending. It's also absolutely incredible as a dip for tortilla chips (gluten free) and I eat it regularly as a full meal. You can use tahini dressing (like Goddess) if you prefer a creamier texture to your salad dressings.
posted by semaphore at 3:34 PM on July 6, 2013 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Overnight oats are easy and good for breakfast, and you can bulk them up with nuts for protein. The above-mentioned Oh She Glows blog is where my basic recipes have come from.
posted by something something at 3:47 PM on July 6, 2013

Cereal-wise, perhaps make your own granola using gluten-free oats and lots of nuts? That's pretty dang filling. Good with either a non-dairy milk or coconut yogurt.
posted by redfoxtail at 3:49 PM on July 6, 2013

Best answer: Healthy Happy Life blog is full of excellent smoothie and breakfast ideas. She just published a book of smoothie recipes.

I don't do soy protein/tvp/seitan or other meat analogues, but I do love, love, LOVE Lightlife tempeh bacon. It's just strips of tempeh in a smoky bbq sauce, not adulterated any more than that. 3 strips of smoky tempeh and some tomato slices on a whole grain english muffin is an amazing, filling vegan breakfast.
posted by apparently at 3:49 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Every day for the past 2 months, I've had the following salad:

120g baby spinach
100g feta (not vegan, but makes it more filling and delicious)
1 tomato

1T extra virgin olive oil
2T red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves
2t dijon mustard
1t oregano
1T yeast flakes

Sometimes I add 1/2 sliced onion or 10 olives. The recipe above is approx 500 calories, but 275 of that comes from the feta and 110 is the olive oil. If you're purchasing yeast flakes, get the kind with added vitamin B12, since a vegan often lacks that.

I also drink what I call a "deluxe coffee" during the day (I keep most of my calories for the evening). The coffee is instant coffee, 1T extra virgin coconut oil, 1T cocoa powder, and 1/2 scoop vanilla protein powder. I blend it and it gets a nice froth at the top. Keeps me full and energetic for the afternoon. Some people add 1T of grass-fed, unsalted butter, but I think the coconut oil is enough.

I've been using reddit for a lot of my meal ideas. If you want low carb recipes, check out /r/keto. There's also /r/vegetarianketo; /r/vegetarian; and /r/vegan. There's probably about a million more subreddits, but those are the main ones I find helpful.
posted by fruitopia at 4:08 PM on July 6, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I started making a smoothie for breakfast about 2 months ago.

The results in terms of feeling satisfied and having energy throughout the day have been amazing. It's the only thing I have now because if I miss a couple of days I really feel it. I've ended up losing ten pounds since starting it even though I'm not on a diet. My thinking is that it's so packed with nutrients and is so filling that I'm just not eating as much during the day.

Basic recipe is:

Half a banana
Almond and coconut milk
approx table spoon each of chia seed, maca powder and flax seed
table spoon or more of raw cacao powder or nibs

That's the base. Depending on what I have around I add berries, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, goji berries
Any other nuts or seeds.

I put a lot of cacao powder in mine because I love chocolate. The sweetness comes from the fruit. It's just like drinking a chocolate shake.

Just adjust the amount of liquid and ingredients to your desired consistency. You can't make it wrong.

Another plus is that I love telling people who notice the weight loss and ask what I'm doing that all I changed was I now eat chocolate for breakfast.
posted by Jalliah at 4:14 PM on July 6, 2013 [58 favorites]

fyi, eggs are not vegan.

add tempeh and TVP to your rotation.

you can eat lots of beans in chilies or tacos.

beans + steamed veggies + some non-gluten starch = full meal

eg: pinto beans, steamed brocolli, and couscous

i've made a cold soup for the summer which is basically gspacho(sp) with chickpeas for a protein.

you can make bread with chickpea flower.
posted by cupcake1337 at 4:45 PM on July 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I've been adapting VB6, too, and here's some of my meals from the past few weeks:


1. Oatmeal, a couple of tablespoons of interesting seeds and nuts (chia, hemp, flax, pepitas, walnuts), 1/2 to 1 cup fresh berries, a little soy milk[1].

[1] I just got some plain, unsweetened Silk last week and really quite like it. It has a short, simple list of ingredients, 80 calories per cup, and it's delicious. The mouthfeel is a little like homemade eggnog, minus the egg, vanilla and sugar.

2. Fruit and greens smoothie: A scoop of whey (I know, non-vegan) or soy protein powder, 1-2 cups of fruit that may or may not include a half banana, some ice cubes, soy milk, some ground flax seed, and 1-2 cups of baby spinach. It might look green, but you taste fruit, not salad.


1. A variation on my chow recipe, with beans and gluten-free grains like quinoa, brown rice, or amaranth added.

2. A really good veggie burger (or crumble, depending on how well it sticks together). You may have to use an egg for binding in some recipes, so it all depends on how much space you're giving yourself on the VB6 concept. I think one egg spread over, say, 4 patties eaten over a week is fine for anyone except an ethical vegan. Some Bittman vegetarian (not vegan) burger recipes.

3. Black bean soup or harira, which is SO tasty
posted by maudlin at 4:51 PM on July 6, 2013

Best answer: Love this question! I recently started focusing on a plant based diet, and although I haven't lost a lot of weight yet, I already feel way better. I'm not great at knowing exactly what has gluten in it, but I'll do my best. Like you, I also try to stay away from lots of fake meat and soy (it's really hard for your body to digest soy). I've been playing around with almond milk a lot, and just bought hemp milk today, though I have yet to try it.

First, for breakfast, I make a smoothie every day, and the immersion blender is my best friend.
It's similar to what Jalliah makes
1 banana
tbls nut butter (i like almond butter, and some stores have a grinder so you know you aren't getting added sugar or salt)
2 tbls flax seed
handful spinach
coconut water

Sometimes I add other fruit, but I've found that the less added sugar, the more sustained I am throughout the day. I also really love that I get a huge serving of veggies in the morning.

Today, I made this Coconut Cashew curry, but with butternut squash, and I'm thinking you could put it over a gluten free starch, or skip the rice part altogether (I used brown rice).

I also made broccoli leek soup, which there are millions of recipes for, and it's a great source of lots of green veggies. (I would serve this next to or on top of a baked potato).

I've found that a lot of the frozen entrees I gravitate towards are both vegan AND gluten free (Amy's mac and cheeze, some of the veggie burgers I like, etc)

Also, there are two bars I like to keep with me for emergencies, both vegan and gluten free, NuGo Organic bars, and Rise energy bars. Also, there is a brand of nut butter, called Justin's that make single serving foil packs of chocolate hazelnut butter, or maple almond butter, and these are also great when I'm on the go...I've realized that just a spoonful of nut butter can be super satisfying once you get past the weirdness of eating straight peanut butter. Also, quinoa and black bean salads are great. Memail me for more recipes if you're interested!
posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 4:58 PM on July 6, 2013

Best answer: I quite like green smoothies for breakfast. The night before, peel and slice a banana and freeze the slices in a baggie. In the morning, put a couple big handfuls of fresh baby spinach into the blender. Add the frozen banana slices, a spoonful of peanut butter, and half a cup or so of soy or almond milk. Blend until smooth. (If it won't blend, pour in a splash more of the milk.) It tastes like peanut butter and banana, not like spinach at all. And it's such a pretty bright green color.

Note: Do not use frozen spinach. Fresh baby spinach only. (Trust me on this. I learned through terrible, terrible experience.) You can replace bananas with any other white or yellow fruit, like peach, pineapple, mango. (If you use a red fruit like strawberries, it will still be tasty, but the red and green will combine to make a weird-looking brownish color.) You can replace peanut butter with almond butter, walnut butter, or any other nut butter. Or, as maudlin suggests, you can add protein powder.

Lunch: You can do robust bean-and-grain salads. One of my favorites is quinoa, black beans, and roasted corn. (To roast the corn, you can literally just take some frozen corn kernels, thaw them, and saute them in a pan with some oil until they get brown spots.) Toss the quinoa, beans, and corn with some chopped red onion, chopped bell peppers, chopped cilantro, and a dressing made from lime juice, olive oil, ground cumin, and minced jalapeno.

Sautéed tempeh slices and sliced avocado are nicely filling things to have with lighter salads.

Stir-fried vegetables are delicious with deep-fried tofu cubes added to the stir-fry. (Seriously, deep-fried tofu is great. So much sturdier and more substantial in texture.)
posted by snowmentality at 5:10 PM on July 6, 2013 [5 favorites]

Do you like sweet potatoes? I like to do a microwaved sweet potato with a bit of brown sugar for breakfast a couple of times a week. Super healthy, and keeps you full for a while.
posted by crunchysalty at 5:29 PM on July 6, 2013

Best answer: A favorite lunch salad of mine:

Lettuce, onion and other veggies
Canned black beans, rinsed
Black olives
A sprinkle of garlic powder and onion powder
Salsa (I find that the fresh stuff you get in the refrigerated section of the store is much tastier than the jarred stuff--my favorite is Whole Foods' "cantina-style")
Dressing made with the following mixed in a blender:
-Cashews (might need to soak these if you don't have an industrial-strength blender such as a Vitamix)
-A spoonful of sweet white miso
-A spoonful of nutritional yeast
-Water enough to blend it

This salad is darned substantial and tasty, almost like a taco salad. It keeps me full for hours.
posted by whistle pig at 7:32 PM on July 6, 2013

This chickpea recipe is good reheated or cold.
posted by kjs4 at 3:10 AM on July 7, 2013

Best answer: One of my favorite meals is brown rice or quinoa with mixed steamed veg (broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkin, squash, green beans, capsicum, carrot etc) boiled potato or sweet potato, mushrooms fried off with balsamic, chickpeas and a dressing of tahini, lemon juice, crushed garlic salt & pepper mixed well & thinned with water, this dressing is delicious, if you make extra for dinner then you can pack a lunch. Just use your favorite veggies

Miso is also a great, soup drink throughout the day. I also like miso paste & avocado on toast, or tahini & honey on toast, or macadamia paste or avocado with Vegemite on toast.
posted by Under the Sea at 3:33 AM on July 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks so much for all the great suggestions! I marked as best answer the ones I plan to try in the next few weeks, but all of this was very helpful.
posted by lunasol at 5:06 PM on July 7, 2013

Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson is fantastic in this area, and you may cringe, but Gwyneth Paltrow's goop recipes are usually great too and there are many breakfast ones.
posted by misformargaret at 8:20 AM on July 9, 2013

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