moroccan chickpea salad

The final amazing meal in this Prep Ahead Week 4 menu is Moroccan Chickpea Salad.  This salad features chickpeas marinated with dried apricots in a garam masala sauce. It is then added to greens and steamed rapini. The salad is served with Seasoned Pita Wedges and is completely unique and delicious.


The sweetness of the apricots mingled with the spices from the marinade, meld perfectly with the bitterness of the rapini. There is plenty of sauce to act as a marinade and a dressing and everything is whole foods plant-based.

I loved this salad and even my husband, who does not care for fruit in his savory dishes, loved this as well. The almonds add a light crunch and the pita wedges help scoop everything up.

This is very easy to throw together on the Prep Ahead menu, but in this case, I recommend allowing the chickpeas to marinade overnight.







Moroccan Chickpea Salad
Serves 4 

Marinade ingredients:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tahini
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon sweetener
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup parsley (1/4 bunch), minced
1/4 medium onion, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (about 2 cups, cooked)

1 bunch rapini (or see below for substitute)
Marinade chickpeas
3/4 cup almonds or 1/2 cup pepitas
2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

4 pita breads.
1 tablespoon vegetable broth

1. In a medium storage container, combine the lemon juice, vegetable broth, tahini, garam masala, smoked paprika and sweetener. Mix very well. Add the apricots, the parsley, the onion
and the chickpeas. Mix well and cover. Refrigerate overnight. 
2. Steam until tender, about 5 minutes, and chop. 
3. Taste and adjust seasoning of marinated chickpeas.
4. Toast the almonds, if desired. Chop the almonds (not pepitas). 
5. Divide lettuce among 4 bowls. Add the steamed rapini. Add the chickpea salad and the almonds. 
6. Brush the pitas with the broth. Season with salt and pepper. Add to a baking dish and broil until toasty. Cut into wedges. Serve the salad with the pita.


Substitute 1 bunch watercress for the rapini. Do not steam the watercress. Add it on top of the romaine lettuce.



© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

black bean chili

Meal 4 in the Prep Ahead Week 4 plan is a warm and comforting Black Bean Chili. This chili is packed with wholesome hull-less barley, black beans, bell pepper, onion, tomato, spinach and spices.


On the prep ahead menu the vegetables are cooked before hand, the barley soaked the night before and the whole dish is assembled and cooked in the slow cooker. It takes about 6 hours to cook on low (you can set the delay function).

Add some chopped canned tomatoes and a bunch of spinach during the last five minutes of cooking, and your chili is ready for the tables.

I topped mine with some finely grated vegan cheese, cilantro and chopped onions, but you can serve it as you like.

The chili is a welcome meal on a long cold day and there is wonderful chew that comes from the whole grain barley.








Black Bean Chili
Serves 4 to 6 

The night before:
3/4 cup hull-less barley
4 cups vegetable broth

1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (use gloves, if needed)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 1/2  tablespoons chili powder
2 cups cooked black beans (1 can)

1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 bunch spinach

For serving:
1/2 cup cilantro (1/2 bunch), minced
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 cup vegan shredded cheese
Vegan sour cream (optional)
Tortilla chips (optional)

1. Soak the barley in the vegetable broth the night before. 
2. Add the onion to a large skillet or pot (on the Instant Pot insert). Cover and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, jalapeno, garlic, oregano, cumin, bay leaf and
the mustard. Cover and cook until the onions are golden, about 5 to 8 minutes. 
3. Add chili powder and the black beans and move to a slow cooker, if needed. Add the soaked barley with the broth and cook on low for 6 hours, until the barley is tender. 
4. When the chili is ready, chop the tomatoes and add to the chili. Add the spinach and cook 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve the chili with the cilantro, onions, cheese, sour cream, and tortillas, if using.




© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

baked broccoli and seitan pasta

Meal 3 in the Prep Ahead Week 4 plan is a creamy, cheesy, pasta bake. The sauce is a sun-dried tomato bechamel that coats the pasta perfectly. In fact, if you aren't a fan of whole grain pasta, this sauce is the ultimate foil.



The sauce has just the right amount of sun-dried tomatoes and gives the sauce its own unique flavor. I love sun-dried tomatoes but even I notice when there is just too much of it, so I was very pleased with the flavor outcome of this bake.

For the Prep Ahead meal the pasta and broccoli are cooked the night before and then melded with the sauce and seitan. For this stand alone version, you cook the pasta and broccoli and bake. You can even increase the broccoli in this dish to 2 pounds and skip the seitan altogether, if that's your wish.

I had a little bit of a Daiya block leftover from another dish that needed using up, so I finely grated some on the pasta, but that is just extra icing on the cake. If you like your broccoli green and crisp-tender, cook it separately and add it to the pasta in the last few minutes of baking.






Baked Broccoli and Seitan Pasta
Serves 4 to 6 

B├ęchamel ingredients: 
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme

12 ounces penne pasta
12 ounces broccoli, chopped
1/2 pound seitan, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees F. Combine the broth, miso and nutritional yeast in a bowl or blender. Whisk or blend until smooth. Set aside. 
2. Add the onion to a large pot over medium heat. Cover and cook. Chop the tomatoes into 1/4-inch slices and add to the pot. Add garlic to the pot. Add a splash of broth if the onion is burning. Cook until the onion is golden. Add the flour. Add the thyme and mix well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring.
3. Slowly add the broth mixture to the pot and use a whisk to mix until the sauce is smooth. Bring to simmer to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. 
4. Cook the pasta al dente. Add the broccoli during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water and add to a 13x9-inch baking dish.
5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Spray with oil or add 1 teaspoon oil. Cook the seitan until golden. Add the seitan to the baking dish.
6. Add the bechamel sauce to the baking dish and toss well. Add some of the reserved cooking water, as needed to make a creamy sauce. Bake until bubbly and heated-through, about 30 minutes. Stir once halfway through baking. Serve.




© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

firecracker chickpeas and vegetables

Meal 2 of Week 4 Prep Ahead menu is Firecracker Chickpeas and Vegetables.  This delicious dish is full of vegetables and beans and is cooked in a spicy chili sauce.


This fiery dish is very versatile because you can adjust the heat level to suit your taste. You can use the called-for jalapeno or not. Or you can use 3 jalapenos. You can increase the garlic chili sauce or reduce it - the choice is yours.

This is a very easy and quick dish to make - made even faster as a Prep Ahead meal, but can still be ready in around 30 minutes, if you make the rice using my Fast and Easy Brown Rice recipe.

The dish is served with steamed broccoli but you can serve it with mustard greens, bok choy or even cauliflower.



Firecracker Chickpeas and Vegetables
Serves 4 to 6 

Firecracker sauce ingredients:
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon sweetener

12 ounces broccoli, cut into florets
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (use gloves if needed)
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (2 cups cooked)
3 cups cooked rice

1. Combine the ketchup, vegetable broth, garlic chili sauce, garlic, tamari, cornstarch and sweetener in a small bowl. Stir very well and set aside. 
2. Steam the broccoli until tender. 
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced peppers and onions. Stir-fry (cook, stirring constantly) until lightly charred. Add the chickpeas, cook to heat. Mix the sauce and add to the vegetables. Cook until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Serve the stir-fry with the broccoli and rice.



© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


chili potato taco

The first meal in the Prep Ahead Week 4 plan is Chili Potato Tacos. I love these tacos because they are full of vegetables and flavor: cauliflower, pepitas, potatoes and refried black beans. They are served with guacamole and salsa. If you want to kick up the heat, add some Fresh Pickled Jalapenos.


This recipe is amazingly easy on the Prep Ahead menu because everything is prepared ahead of time, including the vegetables for the guacamole, so it really all comes together in a matter of minutes, but you can certainly do it as a stand alone recipe.

Use whatever taco vessel you like: tortillas, chips or hard tacos. I had a little vegan cheese hanging around, so I finely shredded on some, but that is just icing on the cake and the tacos are terrific without it.

I served the hard tacos for the kids and enjoyed these on whole wheat tortillas myself.







Chili Potato Tacos
Serves 4 to 6 

Refried Black Beans
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (15-ounce) can black beans (2 cups cooked), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water or bean cooking water

Filling
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 pound potatoes, cut into 1/4 -inch dice
3/4 cup vegetable broth, divided
1 pound cauliflower, minced fine
1/4 cup almonds or pepitas (chop the almonds)
1 tablespoon chili powder

Guacamole (recipe below)
Salsa
Taco shells or tortillas
Lettuce, shredded
Shredded vegan cheese (optional)
Fresh Pickled Jalapenos (recipe below) (optional)

1. For the Beans: Add the onion to a medium pot over medium heat. Cover and cook. Add the garlic to the pot and cook. Cook until onion is golden. Add a splash of broth if the onion is burning. Add the cumin and the oregano. Cook 30 seconds. Add the beans and 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Use a potato masher to mash the beans. Cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
2. For the Filling: Add the onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook. Add a splash of broth if the onion is burning. Add the garlic. Add the potato to the skillet. Add 1/4 cup broth. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add the the cauliflower and 1/4 cup broth at a time, as needed, until vegetables are tender. 
3. Add the almonds or pepitas and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the chili powder. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Warm the taco shells or tortillas and serve. 



Guacamole
5 medium ripe Hass avocado, mashed 
3/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 to 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt and black pepper

1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl using a spoon. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper and lime juice.

Pickled Jalapenos
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced cilantro
2 medium jalapeno or Fresno peppers, sliced very thin using a mandoline
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, oregano and black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir well to melt the sugar and salt. Add the cilantro, peppers and garlic. Set aside to pickle for at least 20 minutes. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

prep ahead week 4

Prep Ahead Week 4 features 5 dishes and all the recipes can be prepared mostly in advance on one day. This week I am including an easy seitan recipe to mix things up, along with 4 legume recipes.

The meals here are mostly whole foods, all contain greens, protein and a whole grain. We really enjoyed these meals and finishing them on the day of serving was easy and quick.

Meal 1 is Chili Potato Tacos. The potato tacos have potatoes, pepitas and cauliflower. The roasted vegetables are served with refried black beans, guacamole and salsa. Serve these with lots of shredded green lettuce.


Meal 2 is Moroccan Chickpea Salad made of chickpeas, dried apricots and garam masala. The salad is served with steamed rapini on a bed of lettuce. Seasoned Pita Wedges complete this delicious exotic meal.


Meal 3 is a quick baked pasta dish, Baked Broccoli and Seitan Pasta. The sauce is a sun-dried tomato bechamel that is creamy and cheesy. The pasta is baked with broccoli and seitan that was prepared on Prep Day.


Meal 4 is a warming and comforting Black Bean Chili full of whole grain barley and black beans. This is a slow cooker recipe that is ready in 6 hours on low, thanks to soaking the hull-less barley the night before.


Meal 5 is Firecracker Chickpeas and Vegetables. Traditionally this dish is fiery-spicy, but you can control the spice by leaving out the seeds of the jalapenos and using the garlic chili sauce judiciously. The dish is served with brown rice and steamed broccoli.


Preparing all the meals took about 2 hours and finishing them on the day of serving took less than 30 minutes.

PDFs below are the Overview of the meals (basically what will happen throughout the week), Shopping List (all the ingredients are listed so check over it and cross out what you already have), Prep Day Instructions (follow in the order given for speed and efficiency), Prep Day Recipes (these are the recipes that are called for in the Instructions) and Day-of Recipes (cut these in half and staple them together in the order you plan to serve the meals).


Overview

Shopping List

Prep Day Instructions

Prep Day Recipes

Day-of Recipes

curried chickpea soup

The final meal of Prep Ahead Week 3 menu plan is Curried Chickpea Soup with Seasoned Pita. This soup is packed with nutrition and flavor, but it doesn't require a ton of exotic ingredients. A curry powder (preferably homemade), a cinnamon stick, fresh ginger and garlic supply all the interesting flavors needed.



The heft of the soup is made up of brown rice, chickpeas, spinach and carrots. Because the rice is cooked in the soup, it takes a shorter time to cook than regular brown rice is typically cooked. (See my Fast and Easy Brown Rice for cooking brown rice as an accompaniment.)

The pita bread is simply brushed with vegetable broth, seasoned with salt and pepper and toasted or broiled until crisp. The soup is perfect for a cold night and is ready fast.








Curried Chickpea Soup
Serves 4 to 6 

2 celery ribs, cut thin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-inch knob ginger, finely grated
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup brown rice
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (2 cups cooked), rinsed and drained
8 cups water

1 bunch spinach, chopped

4 pita breads
1 tablespoon vegetable broth

1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add  the celery, onions and carrots. Cover the pot and cook until golden. Stir often and add a splash of water, if needed. Add the garlic, ginger, jalapeno, curry powder, cinnamon stick and the rice. Toast, stirring, until the rice is aromatic.
2. Add the chickpeas and water. Cover, bring to boil and reduce to a strong simmer. Cook uncovered until the rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Add the spinach. Cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove the cinnamon stick. Taste and add salt and pepper.
3. Brush the pita with vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper.  Toast until crisp. Serve the pita with the soup.


© 2017 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

char siu pizza

Meal 4 of the Prep Ahead, Week 3 menu was a unique pizza: Char Siu Pizza.

The pizza dough is homemade, but can certainly be store-bought. My Fridge Dough is made using aquafaba and is wonderfully crisp and tender. I have a video on making the dough, which is incredibly versatile and is ready when needed: HERE.



The toppings are what make this pizza unique. Char Siu is Cantonese barbecue that is a little sweet and a little tangy. My Char Siu is made using hoisin sauce, tomato paste, ginger and Chinese 5-spice.

Cannellini beans, shiitake mushrooms and bell peppers are quick marinated and the pizza is topped with steamed chard and shredded vegan cheese.

We loved this pizza! It is just unique enough to put some pizzazz into pizza night.





Char Siu Pizza
Makes two (12-inch) pizzas 


Marinade:
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sweetener
1 tablespoon tahini
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans (2 cups cooked beans)

Sauce:
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon tahini
1-inch knob ginger, grated

1 bunch chard
1 cup shredded vegan cheese

1. Remove the dough from the fridge to warm while the oven preheats. Preheat oven to 450-degrees F. Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Place a piece on a parchment paper and push it out into a circle; the size depends on whether you like thin crust or thick crust. 
2. Marinade: Combine the hoisin, vinegar, sweetener, tahini, garlic and 5-spice in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the sliced mushrooms, bell pepper strips and beans. Mix gently and set aside.
3. Sauce: Combine the hoisin sauce, tomato paste, tahini and ginger in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
4. Steam the chard until tender. Cool enough to handle and squeeze out the liquid. Chop the chard and set aside.
5. Spread 1/2 of the pizza sauce on one of the pizza doughs. Add 1/2 cup of cheese on the pizza and 1/2 of the vegetables and beans. Bake for 6 minutes. Remove the paper and continue to bake until crisp about 8 to 10 more minutes.  Add 1/2 the chard. Repeat with the other portion of dough and toppings. Serve.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.



pickled vegetables salad

Salad is probably the last thing you truly want to have in the middle of the winter, but this Pickled Vegetables Salad features roasted home-pickled cauliflower, so there is a warming element to the meal.


I originally served this with Smoky Seitan, but when I cut the Prep Ahead Week 3 menu from 7 to 5 days, I also cut the seitan. I think the salad is just great with or without it, so I am including it here, just in case you'd like to make it with seitan, too.

The salad doesn't just have roasted pickled cauliflower, it also features quinoa, greens and a bean salad filled with celery, olives, roasted bell peppers, and cannellini beans. The dressing for the bean salad can be made with yogurt or with oil.

Serve this salad as is, or toast some slices of French bread and rub them with a large clove of garlic. If nothing else, this is a very unique salad to enjoy in the middle of winter.




Pickled Vegetables Salad
Makes 4 servings

Cauliflower Ingredients:
1/2 cup vinegar, white wine or other
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 pounds cauliflower

1 cup chopped seitan (optional)

Bean Salad Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
1 cup green olives, chopped
1/4 cups olive oil or unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt
2 cups or 1 (15-ounce) can cooked cannellini beans 

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well

2 heads Romaine lettuce, chopped

1. For the cauliflower: Combine the vinegar, water, bay leaf, sprigs of oregano, and salt  in a medium pot. Bring to boil. Break the cauliflower into florets. Add to the pot. Cook, covered, low  
until crisp-tender, about 8 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup of brine to cool and set aside. Drain the cauliflower. Add the cauliflower to a baking sheet. Add the chopped saiten. Broil until golden, about 10 minutes. Spray with oil, if desired. Remove and discard the bay leaf and oregano stalks.
2. For the bean salad: Add the celery to a medium bowl. Add the red peppers, the olives, the olive oil or yogurt, the reserved brine and the beans. Mix and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. For the quinoa: Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, cover, reduce to simmer and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside (still covered) for 10 minutes. 
4. Serve the salad: place romaine lettuce in a bowl, top with quinoa, top with bean salad and finally with the roasted cauliflower.

© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.


sriracha artichoke rolls

Seafood rolls are very popular on the Northeastern coast of the US and I want folks to have some great alternatives for the sandwich that lots of people see as quintessentially coastal.

And if we throw in some sriracha, then it can only be better!



This sandwich is featured on my Prep Ahead Week 3 menu: HERE.

This sandwich features roasted artichokes, chickpeas and vegetables. The dressing can be either vegan mayo or vegan yogurt. I opted for the yogurt since it is just as creamy as mayo and the tang is welcome.

The sandwich is laced with cilantro and shredded carrots and perfect served in whole wheat hot dog rolls.

As the easy green accompaniment, I served it with a simple vinaigrette on a green salad. Easy and satisfying.










Sriracha Artichoke Rolls
Makes 4 servings

1 teaspoon olive oil or oil spray
1 (14-ounce) can artichokes, squeezed of excess water and chopped
2 cups cooked or 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
3 garlic cloves, minced 

3 celery ribs, sliced thin
2 medium carrots, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup unsweetened plain nondairy yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
1 tablespoon sriracha

4 to 6 hot dog buns

1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the artichokes and chickpeas. Cook until golden, without stirring much. Add the garlic and cook until golden. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool while you chop the vegetables.
2. Add the celery, carrots, cilantro, yogurt, lime juice and sriracha to a large bowl. Add the roasted beans and artichoke. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3. Toast the buns. Serve the salad in the buns. Serve with a green salad. 



© 2016 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.