Friday, March 2, 2012

30 Day Vegan Challenge

This week I started The 30 Day Vegan Challenge, hosted by Amanda at Run to the Finish. I participated in her Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge over the holidays and really enjoyed it. She puts on a new 30 day challenge every month, so if you are interested in participating in any of them visit her blog for details.

There was a time around 2008-2009ish that I was vegan for probably a whole year and a half. I stopped when we moved up to Philly from DC. While DC seemed very vegan-accesible, I found it much more difficult to stay vegan easily while in Philly. Since I stopped in 2009 I have been trying to go back to being vegan every so often, usually without much success.

I have been vegetarian since New Year's, give or take a piece of fish. After two months, I'm pretty used to it and I think I'm ready to tackle veganism again. I figured this challenge was a good opportunity to do so since there are a whole community of other bloggers behind it for support! Though the challenge started Thursday on the first of the month, I started on Monday to coincide with my food shopping. Plus that also gave me a few days to ease into it before the challenge officially started.

For me, the biggest challenge in moving from vegetarian to vegan is lunch. I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning: a cup of green tea, a granola bar, and a banana. Dinner is usually a veggie/tofu stir fry with some kind of grain or whole grain pasta with veggies. For lunch, however, I usually eat some kind of cheese sandwich, so this is where the replacements would really come in.

Here are some highlights from this week's meals:

Hummus & Quinoa Salad Sandwich

I started with some TJ's Tricolor Quinoa. Quick and easy to make.

 While the quinoa was cooking I chopped up a yellow pepper, half a cucumber, half a red onion, a tomato, and opened up a can of black beans. Once the quinoa had cooled I mixed them all together along with some dried cranberries. I love colorful meals!

This week I chose Tomato & Basil Hummus Dip. I imagine I'll be eating a lot of hummus over the next 30 days, so I'll probably sample a different flavor every week. 

I sliced a whole wheat pita in half, lathered the inside with the hummus, and filled each pocket with the quinoa salad. It was delicious! I had lots of the quinoa salad leftover so I had it a few times over the week. 

Walnut Pear Spinach Salad

Lately I've really been loving salads with fruit in it (must be a spring thing!) so I decided to make it happen this week for lunch.

I was super happy when I found these candied walnuts at TJs. I had to stop myself from eating them all straight from the bag.

For a quick salad I threw together baby spinach, diced pears, candied walnuts, and dried cranberries.

I bought this champagne caper vinaigrette to put on top.

Good thing I've got my Salad Blaster Bowl from the Container Store to make packing salad for lunch super easy!

Tofu Veggie Stir Fry

Mike and I usually make a veggie stir fry at least three nights a week, sometimes with tofu, sometimes without.

Let's start with the grain. TJs sells these pre-packaged double servings of rice. I usually don't like buying frozen food, but these are quick, easy, and one less thing to worry about. If we don't pair our stir fry with one of these we usually cook up some quinoa or whole wheat cous cous.

Next up comes to tofu. Lately we've really loved this sprouted tofu, again from TJs. The packaging is great because each side is separately wrapped and sealed so you can just use one at a time.

And, lastly, it's time for the veggies! Lots of color just like I like. This dish included broccoli, brussel sprouts, red and yellow peppers, and a pinch of red cabbage on top. All cooked up in a pan with olive oil and some spices and then tossed over the grain. And don't forget the Sriracha chili sauce!

I also usually add a generous handful of chia seeds to my stir fry for good measure!

Vegan Chili

This week Mike decided to make vegan chili in our slow cooker.

Made of corn, black beans, chick peas, red and yellow onion, celery, tomatoes, green pepper, garlic, black bean soup with a dash of oregano and chili flakes. Set timer to 3 hours and pour over brown rice.

So far I'd say week one being vegan is going really well! I look forward to playing around with more recipes over the next month!

Are you vegan or vegetarian? What are your favorite go-to recipes for lunch and dinner?


  1. Just recently found your blog, it's great! I hope you heal up soon. Injuries suck.

    I'm vegetarian. I've tried vegan but i like cheese and honey and the occasional yogurt, so I failed!

    Heidi Swanson's site has a lot of great veggie/vegan meals. I like to make a big batch of quinoa patties (with kale or swiss chard) and use them for lunches. They're awesome, in my opinion ;)

    Your chili and salads look yummy!

    1. I'm with you on the cheese thing. I've really been enjoying my grilled cheese sandwiches since I went vegetarian. I'm a little sad to say goodbye.

      Thanks for the website. I will definitely check that out!


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