Fall has arrived and the holidays are quickly approaching! It can be challenging to prepare wholesome, delicious vegetarian meals when rushing through the days, running kids here and there and trying to keep up with work and other responsibilities. I feel your pain! I don’t have young kids at home anymore, at least not my own, but I am working 2 jobs at the moment (my day job plus writing a new cookbook) and I help my son and daughter-in-law with their 2 kids (6 and nearly 2) so I know how challenging it can be to get a healthy meal on the table. I have ideas for you. See if any of these help you as you rush through your day!
Stock up on Rudi’s GF Pizza crusts (note: these pizza crusts are not vegan for they contain eggs) when at the store and put them in the freezer so they are always available when you need a quick but nutritious meal. Consider some of these topping options.
- For an Italian style pizza, top with Sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, artichoke hearts, steamed or roasted veggies, such as red bell pepper, brussel sprouts, asparagus, zucchini, and capers. Add a wee bit of mock or parmesan cheese, bake and serve with a leafy green salad.
- Since it is fall, it’s squash season, so try roasting a butternut squash ahead of time and then cut into slices and put on the pizza sauce, squash, grilled onions and fresh heirloom tomatoes. Yum. Sprinkle cheese on top if desired, but certainly not necessary.
For a Mexican dinner, try making some quick dinners using Rudi’s Gluten-Free Tortilla’s!
- Veggies and bean burrito’s or tostada’s
- Lentil and cheese Taco’s
Pasta: Keep GF pasta in a variety of shapes on hand and you can quickly whip up a healthy dinner in the time it takes to boil the pasta. For instance:
- Pesto pasta-make this using either spinach, basil, parsley, or a combination of all 3. Add olive oil, garlic, mock/or dairy parmesan and toss. Serve with a lovely green salad and you have dinner in less than 20 minutes.
- Left over pasta. What’s this? If you have left over veggies, sauté them up with onions and garlic and add some marinara or tomato sauce, seasoned with basil, oregano and a dash of red wine. Cook your noodles while the veggies are simmering in the sauce and toss together when noodles are hot (drain first and rinse) .
- Soup! If you have left over veggies on hand, or even if you don’t and you have fresh veggies in the fridge, chop them, sauté until fork tender and add some veggie broth, tomatoes, if desired and toss in some penne pasta and presto, in 30 minutes, dinner is done and it will be filling and wholesome. Add some tofu if you wish to increase the protein in the soup or beans/quinoa (one of my favorites).
Another quick and healthy option for dinner is veggie stew or chili. I have once again become a fan of the crock pot and often prepare dinner in the early morning hours. I just put everything into the crock pot, turn it on and when I am ready for dinner 6 hours later, it is waiting for me. Love it!
It is possible to make quick, easy dinners that fill you up and support your health. You just need to keep a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator! I have included my pantry guide for your use.
Take good care of yourself during the fall and winter months by eating well!
Gluten Free Pantry Guide
- Bob’s Red Mills All Purpose Flour
- Sorghum four
- Brown rice flour
- Coconut flour
- Quinoa flour
- Millet flour
- Chick pea flour (garbanzo bean)
- Potato flour
- Amaranth flour
- Tapioca flour
- Almond Flour
- Buckwheat flour
- Arrowroot flour
- Teff flour
Other dry ingredients:
- Chia seeds
- Flax seed meal or seeds
- Almond meal
- GF oats
- Baking Yeast, Nutritional yeast
- Egg replacer such as Bob’s Red Mills or EnerG egg replacer
- Cocoa powder
- Organic maple syrup
- Brown rice syrup
- Sorghum syrup
- Agave cactus nectar
- Mystic Lake Dairy fruit sweetener
- Organic coconut palm sugar
- Organic cane sugar
- Pure fruit jams
- Enjoy Life Foods chocolate chips (vegan)
Oils and other fats:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Canola oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Spectrum palm shortening
- Earth Balance buttery spread
- Spectrum vegan margarine
- Brown rice
- Red rice
- Arborio rice
- Wild rice
- Black rice
- Mung beans
- Soy beans
- Kidney, pinto, black, cannolini beans
- Dried peas and seeds
- Nuts (walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia
- Raisins, medjool dates, dried cherries
- Balsamic vinegar, Bragg apple cider vinegar, brown rice vinegar
- Tamari sauce
- Vegetable broth
- Kosher and sea salts
- Fresh and dried herbs
- Candied ginger
Susan O’Brien is the author of Gluten Free, Sugar Free Cooking, The Gluten Free Vegan and Gluten Free Vegan Comfort Food. She is also a cooking instructor, Food coach and national medical education consultant. Susan loves to help others achieve optimum wellness by assisting clients in transitioning from a diet that doesn’t support their optimum health to one that does! Susan recently moved to Southern CA to be near her grandchildren and loves living in CA. You can reach her at email@example.com if you wish to learn more about how she can help you learn to shop, cook and enjoy foods that truly support your well-being! Susan is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glutenfreevegancomfortfood.