September 12, 2023

Plant-Based Whole30 Meal Template, Part 2

Plant-Based Meal Template

In Part 1 of my plant-based meal-planning series, I shared one of my favorite Whole30 “meal templates,” Tofu ‘n Things. Meal templates are barely recipes, requiring little to no measuring, tons of flexibility in terms of ingredients, and offer several days’ worth of meals with just one meal prep and cooking session.

Part 2 of the series brings us to my most famous meal of all—but we’re making it plant-based by using plant-based “meat,” beans, or chickpeas as our protein base. Now you can mix, match, prep, and eat to your heart’s content—and build some kitchen confidence while you’re at it.

Template 2: Plant-Based Stuff over Stuff

Ground “meat”

Cook 2-4 packages of Abbott’s Butcher (or any Plant-Based Whole30 compatible “meat”) depending on how many people you’re cooking for. Plan for leftovers—that’s the whole point! If you would rather use legumes, this also works with cooked black beans, white beans, or chickpeas.

Diced veggies

Use any veggies you happen to have on hand. You can’t get this wrong. Leftovers or scraps, frozen veggies, or jarred/canned veggies work great here, too. Dice them all to around the same size so they cook evenly.

Base

This is what you’ll put your protein + veggie mixture in or over. You can use anything from salad greens to jicama shells to sturdy lettuce wraps; or serve over mashed, riced, or spiralized veggies like sweet potato, butternut squash, or cauliflower. This adds more texture, substance, and nutrient-density to the meal.

Sauce

This is where all the flavor comes from, so get creative here! Any Plant-Based Whole30 compatible dressing, sauce, and/or spice mixture can totally change the flavor profile of the meal. You can use a Whole30 Approved marinara sauce, Yai’s Thai Red or Yellow curry sauce, Primal Kitchen’s Vegan Ranch, a compatible hot sauce, or your favorite plant-based dressing or marinade.

Cook

Drizzle some cooking oil into a non-stick pan on medium heat. Once your pan is warm, add your ground “meat” to the pan, stirring occasionally and breaking up with a spatula. Cook until browned and transfer to a large glass storage container or bowl. (If you’re using legumes as your base, cook as usual, then transfer into a large glass storage container or bowl.)

In the same pan, add your diced veggie mixture. (You may need to add a bit more cooking oil here). Saute, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender. Remove from the pan and add it to the container with the ground “meat” or beans. Stir to combine.

Cook or prepare your base. (You can do this ahead of time, or while your protein and veggies are cooking.)

Serve

Plate your base, then add a scoop or two of your protein + veggie mixture over the top. Add your seasoning, fresh herbs, dressing, and or/sauce and serve.

Store

Store the leftover protein + veggie mixture plain in the fridge. You can easily swap out your base and toppings for your next meal to give the dish a totally new flavor profile with little effort.

Combos I love

While these aren’t “recipes” per se, I’m going to share some combinations I love 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: Abbott’s Butcher ground “beef” with bell pepper, sweet onion, grape tomatoes, and sliced mushrooms; over cauliflower rice; topped with our Plant-Based Whole30 Chipotle Ranch.

Combo 2: Chickpeas with artichoke heart, kalamata olives, sun-dried  tomatoes, and roasted red peppers; mixed with Oomph! flavor packet No. 1; over chilled, fresh greens like baby spinach or arugula; dressed with our Plant-Based Whole30 pesto sauce.

Combo 3: Abbott’s Butcher “chorizo” with bell peppers, onion, jalapeno, and grape tomatoes; over thickly sliced roasted sweet potato rounds; drizzled with a healthy portion of Noble Made Smoky BBQ Sauce; sprinkled with diced red onion.

Combo 4: Abbott’s Butcher ground “beef” and white beans with green peas, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, and green onion; over steamed zucchini noodles; topped with Yai’s Thai Yellow Curry Sauce.

Tips and tricks

  • The ground “meat” + veggie mixture makes for some beautiful and easy breakfasts! Reheat and drizzle with your favorite hot sauce and add a side of sliced avocado (feel free to skip the base).
  • I can usually prep and cook the base in around 15 minutes, but plan ahead if you want to bake potatoes or roast spaghetti squash. I usually chop the veggies while I’m browning the ground “meat” to save time.
  • If you’re using jarred or canned veggies, drain them well to avoid excess water in the mixture. 
  • Choose frozen veggies carefully–try frozen peas, carrots, and diced butternut squash, as those are far less watery than frozen zucchini or squash.
  • If you’re throwing potatoes into the mix, remember these take a lot longer to cook than peppers and onions. Your best bet is to roast them ahead of time, then toss them into the mixture fully cooked at the very end.
  • Spice mixtures like Danielle Walker’s seasoning mixes, or Primal Palate spice blends are another quick and easy way to add flavor.  Just serve a portion of protein + veggies first, then add spice to each meal individually. This helps keep the mixture in your fridge versatile.
  • Get creative with your sauces, and don’t be afraid to double up! You can also use salsa or guacamole, fresh herbs, seasoned salts, nutritional yeast, or chopped and roasted nuts, flax, or chia seeds to add flavor before serving.

Explore the full series of plant-based meal templates. See how you can use tofu in Part 1. And discover the best ways to maximize your sheet pan with Part 3 of the series.

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