I’m working on March’s menus for Delivered Dish of the Week and having a hard time choosing only eight dishes! I guess I’ll move some into April, then.
My process is the same as how you might plan meals at home.
First, I look at what bulk items I have in stock and want to use up: garbanzo beans, fava beans, oat groats & barley, brown rice, quinoa, tofu and TVP; left-over beets, frozen organic green beans and butternut squash. I note that I haven’t featured collards or carrots in a while.
Second, I come up with a list of dishes that include those. Here I take care to choose a wide variety of flavors, balance the carbs between whole grains, beans and root veg, and balance cold dishes with hot. Third, I make sure vegetables are in all dishes. Some dishes are heavy on protein (beans), some are heavy on carbs, and some are mostly vegetable (therefore, paleo-friendly).
Right now I find scads of inspiration from the drool-worthy and incredibly useful cookbook Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One-Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings, by Joyce Goldstein. I want to eat every single thing in it! In fact, the mix-and-match method is exactly how I cook and eat. And, I adore her repertoire of Italian, Spanish, Tunisian, Moroccan, Turkish and French dishes. They are intense and authentic. Her Moroccan Chermoula Dressing has become a staple, and is reprinted on my Recipe page.
My cooking lesson students learn this mix-and-match method hands-on. For instance, with just brown rice, a pantry of spices & herbs, plus a few vegetables and/or beans, you could make a different hearty rice dish every night of the week (and still not have exhausted the possibilities). See Nov 2012 post “Spice is the Variety of Life” for details.
How else would I be able to come up with 24 different vegan dishes for a 3-month seasonal menu?
OK, so back to March menu options list. It includes some of my tried-and-true, and recipes from Goldstein.
- Garbanzo, Peppers & Capers salad w/ spicy Harissa dressing GF, V
- Fava bean Zahlouk Salad (cauliflower, chermoula, moroccan olives) — a rice version was FAB. GF, V
- Potato, Cauliflower & Artichoke Salad w/ Harissa dressing P, GF, V
- Potato & Green Bean Salad w/ Lemony Horseradish Vinaigrette P, GF, V
- Curried Barley/Oat Groat & Veg Salad w/ craisins (very popular) V
- Quinoa, Carrot & Kale Salad w/ Citrus Ginger dressing (see Recipe page) GF, V
- Hearty Kale Salad (avocados + Tahini dressing) — Superfood Kitchen by Julie Morris P, GF, V
- Jambalaya w/ spiced TVP, Garbanzo and peppers GF, V
- Butternut Fava Bean Thai Curry GF, V
- West African Mafe Stew w/ beans, turnip greens (tomato & peanut butter sauce) P,GF, V
- Braised Collards w/ Raisins & Butternut Squash P,GF, V
- Beets w/ either Harissa or Tarator dressing (tahini + nuts) P, GF, V
- Cauliflower Squash Red Lentil Soup — thanks Denise! P, GF, V
- Green Parsnip Soup — b/c I love it P, GF, V
And then there’s the Paleo list featuring animal protein:
- Corned Beef and Roasted Cabbage P, GF, V
- Cauliflower, Collards & Bacon (pasture-fed) P, GF, V
- Sweet Potato Frittata P, GF, V
- Salad Nicoise w/ tuna mayo dressing P, GF, V (first ate ‘tonnato” sauce on cold beef in Florence, sigh….)
P = Paleo-friendly, ie no grains or beans
GF = Gluten-free
V = Vegan
See what I mean?! Decisions, decisions….!