Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

Vegetarian Picnic Recipes | Naturally Ella

When I was in college, at the first sight of spring, we would haul all our books out into the grass and stay there for hours. Coming out of the Chicago winter meant that anything 60 (with sun) felt amazing (even though we probably looked a bit out there in shorts!) And of course, I’d always haul out snacks too. I love a good picnic whether it’s after a long hike, a swim at the beach, or a quick rest area stop on a road trip. Over the years I’ve really upped my picnic food game and below are just a few of my favorite vegetarian picnic recipes.

Sandwiches and Wraps

Curried Cauliflower Wraps | Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

I have to admit that the sandwich feels a bit boring in comparison to the other items on this list. However, there are numerous ways to make a veg sandwich exciting. Layer on the vegetables, make some fun sauces, and if all else fails, egg salad!

 

Salads

Cucumber Peanut Salad | Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

Picnic salads have to be hearty- usually no light greens involved. I love using whole grains, firm greens, and legumes. Don’t be afraid of big spices and lots of herbs.

 

Grain Bowls/Salads

Spelt Grape Salad with Chickpeas | Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

Give me a good grain-based salad any day. There are so many combinations that it is easy to feel inspired. I usually just pick up whatever is fresh at the market and cook up one of my favorite grains. During the warmer months, I love fruit in my salads- so refreshing!

 

Legume Bowls/Salads

Black Bean Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes | Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

Whenever we leave the house for stretches of time, I always make plenty of protein-heavy meals and snacks. These legume bowls and salads are hearty, filling, and hold up to time in a cooler.

Click to see more picnic ideas.

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Vegetarian Lunch Ideas: One Sauce / Three Lunches

This post is about taking one favorite tomato sauce, and working it into three different lunches. The lunches I had in mind are work, school, or on-the-go type lunches that don’t require reheating. The basic idea is you tweak the main sauce a bit day by day, and create a pasta bowl (day one), a lazy chana masala (day two), and a spicy dipping sauce for quinoa patties (day three). The video goes into all the specifics, and you can see how I pull together a handful of weekday friendly lunches (with some diversity) using a lot of the basic ingredients many of you already keep on hand. The general idea is this – even if you’re busy, these lunches aren’t crazy to throw together, especially if you plan ahead a bit.

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Related, meal prep has a tendency to make my head explode a little. I love the idea, but find it overwhelming. I’m always trying to find middle ground, and to simplify, but not-oversimplify 😉 So, I’ll include a few tips that work for me here. The main thing that keeps things easy is the following:

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EVERY WEEKEND: Good to keep on hand

– Cook a favorite grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
– Cook a favorite pulse or bean (lentils, mung beans, etc.)
– Hard-boil 6 – 12 eggs (if you eat eggs)*
– Wash, cut, & prep a few quick-cooking vegetables (kale, broccoli, asparagus)

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If you’re into this general idea, please let me know(!), and I can show you how I build off other core recipes or ideas (for example, I do a week based on my favorite saag paneer). Hope you find some of this helpful! -h

Continue reading Vegetarian Lunch Ideas: One Sauce / Three Lunches…

Sunchoke Soup with Fennel

Sunchoke Soup with Fennel | Naturally Ella

When the first signs of spring start to show, I notice it in my cooking first. The flavors I use tend to brighten and recipes have an overall fresh feel. This sunchoke soup is the perfect example. The mild, earthy flavor of the sunchoke blends well with the punch of fennel and high note from the lemon. Pureed together, these three items become a perfectly creamy soup for a just-warm spring day.

Read more and see the recipe.

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Spicy Tempeh Breakfast Sausage

Spicy Tempeh Breakfast Sausage

If you follow us on Instagram, you know I’ve been sitting on this recipe for a while now with ample excitement.

I’d been pondering how to make this recipe work for weeks, and after finally giving it a try, I’m SO pleased with the results.

If you’re plant-based or trying to eat more that way, this breakfast “sausage” is going to satisfy that savory morning protein craving like no other.

Spicy Tempeh Breakfast Sausage from Minimalist Baker →

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potatoes

Lentil Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potatoes | @naturallyella

This recipe is in partnership with Frontier Co-op. See below for more details.

I’m always hesitant to share a recipe that has been done many times before. There are countless recipes for lentil Shepherd’s pie floating around but I’m really in love with my version. The major differences: no mushrooms (sorry to the mushroom lovers) and bulgur. I love bulgur as a meat-swap. Most notably, in this chili. Bulgur, combined with lentils, a mirepoix and Frontier Co-op’s garlic powder, make for a stellar and hearty filling. Perfect for a Shepherd’s pie! Read more and see the recipe.

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Vegan “BLT” Sandwich

Vegan “BLT” Sandwich

As promised, my take on a vegan “BLT” sandwich! Trust me, it was worth the wait.

This sandwich is seriously easy once you have your Eggplant Bacon (or Coconut Bacon) and Vegan Mayo prepared. And it only requires 6 ingredients!

The base for this beauty is bread, such as my Easy Vegan Seeded Whole Grain Bread! Next comes a spread, either vegan mayo or hummus! Then comes the “B” (bacon), “L” (lettuce), and “T” (tomato) and onion.

Vegan “BLT” Sandwich from Minimalist Baker →

Homemade Black Bean Chipotle Baked Tostadas

Recently I had the most delicious tostadas at a Mexican restaurant so I thought why not whip some up…and so here we have Homemade Black Bean Chipotle Tostadas. Tostadas are usually fried, and so to switch it up, we baked these bad girls perfectly for a similar, delicious effect. These tostadas have incredibly vibrant and […]

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The post Homemade Black Bean Chipotle Baked Tostadas appeared first on Food Heaven Made Easy.

Harissa Potatoes over Garlicky Kale

Harissa Potatoes over Garlicky Kale | Naturally Ella

In my kitchen, I have two pantry drawers devoted to produce storage: one for alliums and one for potatoes. Both are always stocked, ready to make any meal. As such, I have an arsenal of recipes that use these ingredients. I’ve made harissa potatoes before but this meal is a bit more substantial with help from chickpeas and crushed tomatoes. These harissa potatoes are also wonderful reheated the next day. Read more and see the recipe.

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Vegetarian Spring Recipes for Dinner

Vegetarian Spring Recipes for Dinner | Naturally Ella

It’s hard for me to choose a favorite season. I love the coziness of fall, the sunshine of summer, the intimate winter nights, and the renewal of spring. Spring in California feels rather abrupt. One day you look up and all the trees have beautiful flowers. It feels almost instant. Which is where we are now. There is fresh air, sun, and thanks to a hefty amount of rain, quite a bit of green. So it felt appropriate to kick off March with a round-up of my favorite vegetarian spring recipes.


Vegetarian Spring Recipes for Dinner

Asparagus

Cheesy Millet Polenta with Roasted Asparagus

I always joke that it’s hard for me to make a recipe with asparagus because my preferred method of eating asparagus is to lightly grill it then toss with a bit of olive oil, salt, and lemon. However, it’s far from the truth. I love having an arsenal of asparagus recipes so that I can get my fill during the short season. I could easily eat asparagus for every meal during spring.

 

Radish

Spicy Lentil Tacos with Radish Salsa | @naturallyella

I start to feel bad for the radish. Often relegated to a side salad, these crisp and slightly spicy beauties can be a lovely star of a meal. My favorite way to prepare radishes is to roast them with a bit of olive oil. The heat mellows the bite of the radish but really brings the flavor to the forefront.

 

Rhubarb

Flavorful curried lentils paired with tangy rhubarb chutney | naturallyella.com

I have a soft spot for rhubarb- it’s a family thing. We’ve had plants in our family that my great-grandfather planted and while I doubt I will ever get them out to California, I plan on planting rhubarb wherever we live. My favorite recipes for rhubarb are the non-traditional including chutneys and enchilada sauces.

 

Peas

Vegetable Lo Mein

Peas are one of the few items I always have stashed away in the freezer but the flavor of fresh always brings a burst of spring. I also love to grow peas, primarily for the pea shoots. These delicate greens are a lovely topping for crostini or a nice addition to salads. Look for pea shoots at the market and use within a day or so of purchasing.

 

Spinach

Spinach Enchiladas with Lentils and Homemade Enchilada Sauce

While kale appears almost everywhere now, I’m still a spinach girl. I love the delicate leaves that wilt with ease but also can serve as an easy salad base. I toss it raw onto pizza, use it as a base for pesto, and build big salads with baby spinach. It’s easy to grow and is best in the cool weather.

 

Strawberries

Millet Porridge with Roasted Strawberries

It’s hard to think spring and not go straight to strawberries. It’s like the treat for coming out of winter. There’s nothing quite like biting into a perfectly ripe strawberry. This list is also what I’m calling the ‘breakfast for dinner.’ We occasionally eat breakfast for dinner and pancakes smothered with fresh berries is just about the best.

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