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September 18, 2023

Plant-Based Meal Template, Part 3

Plant-Based Meal Template

Part two of my plant-based meal templates series featured  another one of my favorite Whole30 “meal templates,” Plant-Based Stuff Over Stuff. Meal templates are barely recipes, requiring little-to-no measuring, tons of flexibility in terms of ingredients, and several days’ worth of meals, with just one meal prep and cooking session.

In this third and final part,, we’re onto the easiest meal of them all—and the easiest to clean up after. Now you can mix, match, prep, and eat to your heart’s content—and build some kitchen confidence while you’re at it.

Template 3: Sheet pan suppers

  • Firm or extra-firm tofu
  • Seasoning or spice blend
  • Assortment of veggies
  • Sauce or dressing

Tofu: Press firm or extra-firm tofu to remove the water, then slice into thick cubes or triangles. For extra protein, you can also add rinsed and drained chickpeas, cooked lentils, or cooked black beans.

Seasoning or spice blend: Use your favorite Whole30 Approved spice blend from Danielle Walker’s Healthy in a Hurry spice line or Primal Palate,  or create your own using spices and herbs from your pantry. Brush or rub seasoning evenly over the tofu.

Veggies: Hearty vegetables work best for sheet pan meals. Try cubed potatoes, thickly sliced red pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, grape tomatoes, green beans, red or sweet onion, or mushroom tops. Cut these generously–you want thicker chunks of veggies, not a small dice.

Sauce or dressing: You can add lots of flavor here, so get creative! Any plant-based dressing or sauce can totally change the flavor profile of the meal.  Try our Plant-Based Whole30 Herb Tahini Sauce; just add to a bowl and mix until well combined:

PLANT-BASED SHEET PAN SUPPER WITH TAHINI HERB SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp water or more (as needed to thin)
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, chives)
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Cook: Lightly oil a baking sheet, or line it with parchment paper. Add the seasoned tofu and optional legumes to the sheet. Toss your veggies lightly in oil, then add to the sheet. Roast at 400 F for 15-30 minutes (depending on the veggies) until the tofu is lightly browned and the veggies are crisp-tender. 

Serve: Plate your sheet pan meal, then drizzle with tahini herb sauce (or you favorite dressing or sauce). 

Store: Store the leftover protein + veggie mixture without any dressing or sauce in the fridge. You can easily swap out your sauce for the next meal to give the dish a new flavor profile with little effort.

Combos I love

While these aren’t “recipes” per se, I’ll share some combinations to inspire you. Remember, the whole point of these templates is to mix and match whatever you have on hand,  because I promise it’s all delicious.

  • Combo 1: Tofu with fingerling potatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper, and red onion, topped with parsley and mint, with a drizzle of tahini and squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Combo 2: Tofu and chickpeas with broccoli, bell pepper, carrots, and cauliflower, with Noble Made Carrot Ginger dressing and sprinkle of sesame seeds.
  • Combo 3: Tofu and black beans with red peppers, onion, sweet potato, and zucchini, with a chunky guacamole and Plant-Based Whole30 sour cream.
  • Combo 4: Tofu, broccoli, purple cabbage, bell pepper, and carrots, served with cauliflower rice and a splash of Primal Kitchen No-Soy Teriyaki.

Tips and tricks

  • Follow dietitian Rhyan Geiger’s tips for draining and pressing your tofu to ensure each cube develops a crisp, browned crust.
  • Spread your ingredients in a single layer on the baking sheet, and don’t crowd the tray. If things are too close together, they’ll steam instead of roast.
  • Do your best to “match” vegetable cooking times. If you’ve got potatoes on your sheet pan, roast those for 15 minutes, then pull them out and add more delicate veggies like zucchini or grape tomatoes. Or, par-boil your potatoes before adding them to the sheet.
  • If you’re using jarred or canned veggies or beans, drain them well to avoid excess water in the oven. 
  • Frozen veggies are a great option for sheet pan suppers! You don’t even have to defrost them first; just coat them lightly in oil and toss them on the tray in a single layer with plenty of space. Flip once about 15 minutes in. (Choose heartier frozen veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots, versus more watery veggies like zucchini.)
  • Get creative with your sauces! You can also use salsa or guacamole, fresh herbs, seasoned salts, nutritional yeast, or nuts, flax, or chia seeds to add flavor before serving.

Thanks for joining me  for all three parts of my fun and easy Whole30 meal templates! Revisit Part 1 and Part 2 if you want! And tag me @melissau and @pbwhole30 in your creations and share YOUR favorite combos with the Whole30 community.

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