Hey! Welcome to my first week vegan meal plan. I call it ‘first week vegan’ because I based it around all the things I gravitated towards when I was newly vegan and it has very limited uncommon ingredients so you don’t have to buy a big bag of some unfamiliar thing just to use a couple tablespoons. It doesn’t contain any meat or cheese alternatives that are hard for people to accept freshly coming off of an omnivorous diet, but it does contain a good amount of fat to help make the transition easier while you’re likely still used to eating cheese everyday. It’s also leftover focused so you’ll always have something ready to go in the fridge! Being vegan means more planning ahead as you’re no longer able to count on easily finding food when you’re out and about running errands or on the road. And while that is rapidly changing, and the availability of mainstream vegan convenience foods goes up by the day, in the beginning it’s good to have an abundance of food you can eat, that you can’t wait to eat, ready to go so you don’t dwell on what you can no longer have. I know I say this a lot, but while being vegan means I technically have limited my food options, I eat a far wider variety of foods now than I ever have before! Veganism has completely liberated my palate and the way I think of food and flavors.
Deciding to go vegan was the best decision I’ve ever made, and it is just that – one decision. Keep telling yourself you’re going to ‘cut back’ or ‘try to eat less meat/cheese’ and you’ll be fighting against yourself forever. Please take this as an opportunity to really experience the benefits of not eating animal products and don’t, like, use dairy cream cheese for the sweet potato wraps, or have non-vegan additional snacks to this meal plan. Give your gut microbes and taste buds a fair chance to adapt to a new diet and you’ll will be endlessly happy to leave the disease causing, unsustainable and violent food options behind you. The duration of this first week vegan meal plan is the same amount of time it took me to solidify my views and know that I never want to eat animal products ever again. A year and a half later and that sentiment just keeps getting stronger. For more reading on my takes after my first year as a vegan with tons of info about where food cravings come from, the effects of slaughterhouses on the employees and the low income, Black neighborhoods they’re only ever placed in and so much more, here’s a Facebook post I wrote.
This meal plan comes out to be about $35/week per person. I priced it at Target to use a store nationwide, but utilizing bulk purchases like Costco and shopping at Woodman’s specifically for fellow Wisconsinites will very likely result in spending less than $35/week on these recipes. My boyfriend and I only eat breakfast on the weekends really, which you see here, but if you’re a daily breakfast eater, tofu scramble each day would only add an extra few dollars to the cost of these recipes. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for a shopping list!
The recipes listed make more than 1 week’s worth of food, enough for almost 2 weeks. If you’re not interested in eating these foods over the course of two weeks, be sure to freeze the extras! I try to include reheating instructions on all my posts but if I don’t have them and you’re unsure, feel free to message or leave a comment! It also goes without saying that I’m not a nutritionist and this is not meant to be nutritional advice.
If you think eating tofu twice a day is weird, how many times do people eat cheese in a day, or multiple dishes containing cheese in the same meal? Or drink a glass of milk while having a meal involving cheese or eat ice cream afterwards? Tofu twice a day is baller. While dairy milk significantly increases your risk of cancers, soy milk lowers it! If you have a soy allergy, my recommendation here would be to check out Burmese chickpea flour tofu. And if you’re new to eating tofu, I really recommend not getting the cheapest stuff available as you might think that texture and quality is indicative of tofu in general, but high quality tofu is *everything*. So damn good. When I shop for tofu, I look for blocks that use calcium sulfate/gypsum as the coagulant, which I personally prefer and think it creates a smoother, more cohesive tofu with a perfect density.
Regarding the enchiladas here, I can’t believe as an omnivore I’d cover enchiladas in cheese, then top with avocado and sour cream. That’s a big reason why I stress having an ample amount of fat in your diet when you’re transitioning to veganism and not restricting your diet further for the first ~6 months. Allow yourself time to adjust, to find balance and explore. A lot of people go vegan and instantly go oil-free or dramatically reduce their calories and the amount of processed foods they eat and then blame veganism itself for the lack of energy or satisfying foods/think it’s an unsustainable diet. The difference between chicken and cheese enchiladas and the lentil ones in this meal plan is over 30g of fat per serving! That’s an entire extra avocado or 3 tbsp of butter worth of fat. That’s absolutely wonderful for your health in the long run but you don’t want such a stark contrast in your diet, so ease in slowly especially while your taste buds are still adjusting.
The sweet potato wraps are totally a labor of love like I say in the post. If you’re looking for the quickest lunch ever, try my Chickpea Salad Sandwiches. If you want to try what Burton and I think is, like, the best lunch ever…make the sweet potato wraps!
My mom would also think I’m insane for not mentioning another alternative lunch option here, Roasted Chickpea Cauliflower Salad. She is obsessed with that salad and for good reason (it is the best).
Tuesday: Sweet Potato Wraps, Leftover Lentil Enchiladas
Thursday: Leftover Chickpea Tikka Masala, Leftover Lentil Enchiladas
Friday: Sweet Potato Wraps, Leftover Stuffed Shells
Saturday: Tofu Scramble, Leftover Chickpea Tikka Masala, Leftover Stuffed Shells
2 yellow onions
1 red onion
one head garlic
4″ knob ginger
3 blocks of firm tofu
9 oz bag of spinach or one bunch
1 bunch parsley
3 pounds sweet potatoes
8 oz mushrooms of choice
2 heads of romaine
4 cans chickpeas/garbonzo beans
2 cans full fat coconut milk
small can roasted chilis (or sub with 2 fresh jalapeno)
28 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 jar pasta sauce of choice
apple cider vinegar
vegan mayo (I prefer Hellman’s brand for the price!)
hot sauce for the buffalo tofu
panko breadcrumbs (1/2 cup)
corn tortillas (at least 12)
burrito sized flour tortillas
lentils (ideally small brown but any type other than red will work. 2 cups)
flax seeds (you’ll be using ground though recommend buying them whole if you have an option for grinding as they oxidize quickly and to store them in the freezer)
basmati rice (at least 2.5 cups)
jumbo pasta shells
vegan bouillon cubes – vegetable and chicken
walnuts (2 cups)
quinoa (1/2 cup)
vegan butter (cultured cashew if price isn’t a consideration, otherwise smart balance works great)
vegan cream cheese
unsweetened soy milk (you don’t need much for these recipes but a half gallon is the most economical size)
spices you’ll need: garam masala, cumin, smoked paprika, curry powder, garlic powder, oregano, allspice, cocoa powder, dill, chipotle, black pepper, turmeric