For the last four years our family has predominantly been plant based, but trust me when I say my steak loving children, didn’t set out to turn their eating habits this way. The truth is, this way of eating came to fruition after we hand raised baby chickens in our living room through the winter. Something our “winging it” approach to life now regrets for a handful of reasons. The first, being that it isn’t ideal to house farm animals INSIDE your house for cleanliness reasons and the second being that it is impossible not to get attached to said chickens when they hang out with you while you watch your favourite netflix shows together. (I’ll save the other reasons for another post.)
Although it’s been fun to have our pet chickens: Michelle, Linda and Hazel, the kids have refused to eat any type of animal since falling in love with their unusual pets. Hence, I have really had to work hard at making cooking continually fun and delicious! When I am in a rut where creativity is involved, you’ll know it by the salad dinners I serve our family night after night. B-O-R-I-N-G!
If you ask most vegetarians, vegans and plant based families, it can be difficult to create meals that are both parts delicious and kid approved, but it IS possible. I share our family approved plant based meals here in this space, to hopefully inspire your next meatless Monday and to also, REMEMBER exactly how to recreate a family approved dish over and over. Truth be told, I am all about winging it in ALL areas of my life, and continue to do so when I’m playing chef in our kitchen. 😉
Recently, I happened upon the idea of adding nuts to pasta sauces to recreate the meaty texture of traditional sauces and the whole family fell in love with the notion of squeezing even more protein into our meals. I couldn’t find a recipe that I had all of the ingredients for, so I came up with my very OWN version of bolognese sauce and believe after the first bite, that this recipe couldn’t be easier and more delicious!
Without further ado, here is our newest plant based recipe that is packed with protein while being gluten free and vegan! SO GOOD!
To save time I used my small NINJA food processor to ground and chop these ingredients, using one that’s similar or using a food processor will be extremely time effective for you as it was for me. Grind and blend all of the following ingredients (except for your lentils) in your Ninja or use a similar chopping/mixing machine.
- 2 tsp olive oil for sautéing
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 large carrot
- 1.5 cups of cooked brown lentils
- 28 ounce can of chopped tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp of chilli flakes
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 3/4 tsp salt ( or to taste)
- 1/2 cup of filtered water
- First sautés your chopped yellow onion in two teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil until browned.
- Next add in your ground carrots for two minutes or until slightly cooked.
- Add in your zucchini, celery, can of tomatoes and spices.
- Next fold in your walnuts, lentils and your extra bit of water.
- Simmer with your pot’s lid slightly for approximately 15 minutes. (Note, this sauces flavours will intensify the longer it is heated, ideally cooking it for 45 minutes will ensure a nice complete flavour)
This turned out to be one of those recipes where texture, flavour and bite reign supreme which makes any plant based person’s palette satiated to the max. It’s a meal that gets you out of the rut of making veggie stir fries and salads on repeat. It’s taste and satisfying protein punch reminds one that lentils and nuts are key to making a satisfying vegan meal. Lastly, it’s deliciousness will remind you to double this recipe the next time you make it.
Do you guys love a good meat hack as much as we do? Would you opt for a meatless monday and make this yummy goodness instead?
Also,some chicken advice? DON’T get baby chicks until it is warm enough to leave them outdoors in a coop, I promise you they are easier to fall in love with than you ever could have guessed! 😉