a week of meals in late november

This Saturday, I’m sitting here, house to myself, sipping my lovely puerh tea and enjoying the silence that you don’t normally get to indulge in with kids around.  It’s fantastically soothing and I’m savoring every last drop.  I’m dreaming up what I want to eat this week, inspired by the produce I picked up from the market.  It’s rained here the last few days, a very welcome respite from the dry + smoky air we’ve been experiencing after the fires whipped through the country north of us.  The wonderfully amazing Molly of Ambatalia has put together a website HERE selling wares that artists and makers have donated- all proceeds benefit the fire victims and it might knock out any holiday gift shopping you were planning to do, while also supporting those who have been devastated and ripped wide open by this disaster.

fall pumpkin shopping

Needless to say, the rain has been most welcome and gratitude given for it coming.  I just planted some lettuces, green onions, kale, and garlic this week- late as usual- and they’ve loved the rain, too.  When it rains, I get into a nesting sort of mood, so I’ve been also organizing the house, doing little things that summer makes seem tedious, but winter I don’t mind.  You know- organizing, cleaning out the silverware drawer, taking control of my spice cabinet and such tasks.  I’ve also felt pulled to meal plan a bit.  I usually don’t totally stick to meal plans as I find them stifling and restrictive sometimes, but I also can feel totally afloat if I don’t have a vague plan or library of things to make.  It’s all a balance, I suppose.  I probably won’t stick to this, but it’s more to give me a kind of library in my head of what I’m interested in eating right now.  I hope it inspires you, too, to cook some fresh, warming food for yourself this week.  (you can find a ton more meal plans HERE.)

copper kettle thrifted pumpkin haulfridge

basics | I plan to restock a few basic recipes that I use for many other things- coconut yogurt, big batch of chickpeas cooked from scratch, almond milk for lattes, and hoping to make some GF bread- this recipe looks really nice!

buffalo chickpea chili with mushrooms | yep, you heard that right.  I’ve been wanting to make this bad boy for months but never got around to it.  I’ve had a buffalo obsession the last few weeks and I’m going for it!  Recipe via The First Mess HERE.

lentil bolognese | I always come back to this sauce recipe.  Its so delicious, easy and hearty and I often make a double batch to have leftovers.  This + GF pasta + some vegan parm + plenty of chopped parsley and a side salad is such a delicious meal.  Recipe HERE.

moroccan chickpea soup | I remember many years ago having a moroccan spiced chickpea soup with lamb and I have been wanting to recreate the same soup, but vegan- with all those warming spices, tomato, and the pleasant bite of chickpeas throughout.  I’m going to use THIS recipe as a base, using my leftover chickpeas, and go from there.

kale + roasted squash orzo with salted yogurt | THIS pasta dish looks so good, simple, and seasonal- I’ll be swapping out the pasta for GF, and the yogurt for coconut yogurt.

lentil and butternut slow cooker stew | THIS slow cooker recipe is always one I come back around to this time of year.  The herbes de Provence really make it have a lovely flavor + the toppings round it out nicely with a creamy and crunchy counterpart to the tender, yielding stew.  It takes very little time to prepare and makes quite a bit.

lentil crockpot stew vegan butternut

beet tartlets | the beets at the market have been so flavorful, sweet, and thin skinned that I can’t stop buying them.  Their bright colors and earthy flavor is so comforting.  I most often eat them pickled, roasted, or grated raw into salads, BUT I have been dreaming up some sort of tarte tatin or other pastry situation.  THIS recipe looks great, with the fennel and white bean creamy filling.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend!

xx Amanda


yay for earth II: recipes, links, and “schedule”

Hello friends!  Heres the recipe list, “schedule” for the meal orders, and applicable links.  To access the grocery list and more challenge information, click HERE.  These recipes are in collaboration with my beautiful friend Stevie- access her blog HERE.  Feel free to switch up the schedule for yourself to make it work best for you.  Cant wait to see all your creations Monday!  All my love xx


MONDAY // creamy butternut soup with spicy roasted chickpeas + simple arugula salad: recipe HERE.

TUESDAY // greek salad bowl with dill and creamy tzatziki:  recipe HERE.  Scroll past the grocery list.

WEDNESDAY // spiced roasted sweet potato + black bean bowl with crunchy lime slaw: recipe HERE.

THURSDAY // creamy Alfredo pasta with lentil meatballs: recipe HERE.  Scroll past the grocery list.

FRIDAY // red lentil ginger + coconut curry: HERE.

anytime // dark chocolate granola with vanilla nice cream:  recipe HERE.  Scroll past the grocery list.

anytime // blueberry zucchini smoothie:  recipe HERE.  Scroll past the grocery list.

blueberry zucchini smoothie

yay for earth challenge II: 5 days of v/gf meals

Hello everyone!  So excited to announce round two of the #yayforearthchallenge, a 5 day v/gf meal plan put on by me and fellow fire sign sister Stevie @stevieyaaaay!  Head over to the first meal plan HERE to get more of a background!  We are so excited to put forth this free community offering and hope that you will join us.  We will be cooking along each night in our IG story and would love to see you do the same!  Tag #yayforearthchallenge so we can all see and get inspired by each other.  Starts Monday 9/10!

-Please feel free to substitute when needed to make it accessible and fit right for you.  We’ve added notes next to certain ingredients so that you can get the right amount for you depending on how many people are eating with you.
-Meals include: alfredo pasta with lentil meatballs, greek salad bowl with falafels and tzatziki, butternut soup with spicy roasted chickpeas + arugula salad, red lentil coconut curry, and a spiced roasted sweet potato +black bean bowl.  
-Extras include dark chocolate granola with vanilla nice cream +an any day zucchini blueberry smoothie.  
-Recipes and photos will be posted 9/16 Friday.  Thank you for being a part of this!  We so look forward to seeing your cooking and variations.
-5-8 bananas (for dessert and smoothies)
-blueberries (for smoothies)
-1 medium apple, any type except a tart green one
-1 medium zucchini (for every 2 people eating)
-4 medium sweet potatoes (1 for every person eating)
-1x 2 lb butternut or other orange fleshed sweet winter squash like kabocha
-1 jalapeño
-3-4 medium cucumbers (about 1 for each person)
-2 carrots
-1 medium cabbage
-6 cups spinach or other type of green (about 1.5 cups for each person)
-1 large handful arugula for every person eating
-3 avocados (if for 1 person, 1 is fine.  If for 2 people, you’ll need 2.  For 4 people, 3.)
-3 limes
-3 lemons
-½ – 1 cup mushrooms for each person(shiitake/chanterelles/your choice)
-2 tomatoes 
-2 red onions (1 medium + 1 small)
-2 yellow onions (1 medium + 1 large)
-1 small red bell pepper
seasonings and herbs:
-fresh parsley
-fresh cilantro
-fresh dill 
-fresh basil
-1 large head garlic
-2.5 inch chunk of fresh ginger
-medium curry powder
-crushed red pepper flakes
legumes, grains, and seeds:
-1 cup brown lentils
-3/4 cup red lentils
-2 cups gluten free oats
-1 cup hemp seeds
-½ cup sunflower seeds
-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds(2 tablespoons for every person eating)
-1 box brown rice pasta (or your favorite kind in bulk! I love the Jovial brand if I can’t find bulk) 
-3 cans chickpeas (save the chickpea juice too! (aquafaba))+ this equates to 2.25 cups dried if you’re making your own from scratch
-2 cans black beans(1/2 can for every person eating) + this equates to 1.5 cups dried if you’re cooking your own
-optional: Flax seeds or vegan protein powder for the smoothie
-optional: 2 cups dried basmati or other long grain rice, to make the curried lentil dish heartier- 1/2-1/3 cup dried per person.
-1 jar of tahini
-1 small bottle cooking white wine (you’ll need ¼ cup)
-olive oil
-2 cans full fat coconut milk
-grapeseed oil or avocado oil (or any high smoke point oil)
-coconut aminos or tamari or soy sauce( your preference)
-nutritional yeast
-1x 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (or add 4 fresh roma tomatoes to your produce list)
-2 cups broth(either DIY or better than bouillon brand comes in a glass jar)
-cornstarch or arrowroot powder
dessert ingredients:
-1 cup gf oats
-maple syrup or brown sugar
-vanilla extract + almond extract
-½ cup cocoa powder
-½ cup chocolate chips
-olive oil or coconut oil
-1 can of coconut milk (or any other nut milk and you can make your own HERE)
-optional: Dried cherries, pecans or walnuts

#yayforearthchallenge : 5 days of vegan, gluten free meals

Zero waste groceries

Hi everyone!  If you follow along on my Instagram you probably heard that I’m collaborating with Stevie (@stevieyaaaay on Instagram and of yayforearth.com, also read my interview with her HERE) to provide you all with a workweek of 5 gluten free, vegan, low waste dinners.  There’s 5 meals, a dessert recipe, and a micronutrient green smoothie recipe.  If you need healthy ideas for breakfasts, check out THIS post for plenty of vegan/gf breakfasts.   We are SO excited to do this together as a community- getting more plants, less waste, and more energy from our food and living more compassionately.  Read more on lowering your FOODprint and why what you eat has a direct impact on the earth HERE.  We hope you can join us!  Below, you’ll find a shopping list and all the recipes in the order we will be cooking them.  If you’re curious about zero waste shopping, check out how I do it HERE.  Fridge storage without plastic?  click HERE.

If you’re planning on participating, let’s shop together this weekend (share your haul on your story and tag us!) and cook together all week!  We will be kicking off on Monday and sharing on our story the process of cooking and the finished dish each day.  We can tag and inspire each other along the way with the hashtag #yayforearthchallenge !  We would LOVE to see your grocery haul, cooking stories, and finished meals and how you tweaked them to your taste/local produce!

Zero waste shopping kit

We are also BIG advocates of moving your body daily whether in a big or small way to feel amazing and boost energy levels, health and mood!  Stevie loves to run and I love to do yoga and bike.  If you’d like resources on it, check out THIS post about running and easy tips to get started, and/or THIS YouTube for beginner yoga classes I love- I’ve been practicing virtually with Ali for 5 years!

other notes: We’ve allowed for generous portions here to accommodate all appetites.  If you have leftovers, they would be great for lunch the next day, perhaps eaten in a tortilla, collard wrap, or on a bed of fresh greens.  We’ve also added 1 extra lemon and fresh ginger for daily hot water with ginger and lemon.  When you wake up, heat up a mug of water and slice off a few thin slices lemon and ginger (adjust to how strong you want it) and place in your mug.  Pour over the boiling water and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes while you go about your morning routine.  After you drink it , you can add more boiling water on top to “brew” a fresh mug.  I find you can get 3 or so cups out of the same lemon/ginger.  If you’re looking for other caffeine-free healthy warm drinks in the morning, check out this turmeric latte and/or this medicinal chaga mushroom brew.

For the recipes, feel free to sub out ingredients based on local availability.  That’s what makes it fun!  Allow yourself to relax while cooking.  Put on some music, perhaps have a glass of wine if that resonates with you (or kombucha haha)…either way just let your mind soften up and let go.  Really pay attention when chopping, sautéing, washing, to the smells, sounds, textures, the sensual nature of the produce and your relationship with it.  I promise it makes cooking so much more enjoyable and is like a mini meditation (in action).  Before you eat, take a minute to pause and express gratitude for the beautiful abundance you are about to eat, for the pleasure it brings you, for the beautiful way you are choosing to nourish your body.  We hope you find joy in these recipes.

Let’s do this!!



1 small red onion

1 medium yellow onion

2 heads garlic

2 shallots

1 medium portabello mushroom (or sub equivalent of other mushrooms)

2 large sweet potatoes

4 or so small baby (about 2 inch or so) potatoes

1 butternut squash

1 spaghetti squash OR 2 medium zucchini (for noodles)

2 bunches kale

1 bunch chard

1 serving size of arugula

2 beets, golden or red, with greens attached (or buy another green in their place like kale, spinach, chard etc)

2 large carrots

5 plum tomatoes

1 banana

1 apple

2 avocados

1 pint blueberries

fresh ginger

3 lemons

1 orange

spices and dried or fresh herbs


chile powder

chile flakes

salt (we like pink or other unrefined salt)




1 bunch fresh thyme

dried oregano

1 bunch parsley

legumes, grains and seeds

1 cup dried lentils (green or brown)

1 cup beluga or french lentils if you can find them, otherwise just get 1 more cup of the same ones as above)

chickpeas, either 2 cans or 1.5 cup dry and then soaked and cooked ahead of time (click HERE for a primer on how to cook chickpeas to have aquafaba leftover too to use for the brownies).

½ cup gluten free oats (to make oat flour)

1 cup quinoa

hemp seeds or flax seeds

3 tablespoons hazelnuts

milks and condiments

coconut milk (either one can or make your own)

1 cup any nut milk  (optional, for the micronutrient smoothie- OR use some of your almond butter to blend it up- 2 tablespoons + 1 cup of water and blend till smooth and frothy)

braggs coconut aminos (tamari will also work if you’re ok with soy/already have it on hand)

olive oil/grapeseed oil/avocado oil (any will work)

veggie stock (homemade cubes, or store bought plastic free ones like better than bouillon)

apple cider vinegar

red wine vinegar

1 jar tahini

1 glass jar marinara sauce

whole grain mustard (I like the Maille brand and it comes in a glass jar)- if you already have dijon in the fridge feel free to sub that.  Just don’t use yellow.

maple syrup (small amount is fine- will only need a few tbsp)

dessert list (optional but amazing)

1 cup almond butter

cocoa powder

almond extract and vanilla extract

aquafaba (from can of chickpeas OR DIY from cooking your own)

1/2 cup coconut sugar (sub another dry sweetener if you already have it on hand)

chocolate chips (optional)

coconut oil

baking soda

optional add ons:
fermented veggies (kraut, kimchi etc)
 Yay for earth challenge
Monday:  Lentil meatballs + pasta
Tuesday:  Beet, chickpea, quinoa bowl
Wednesday:  Sweet potato hazelnut salad
Thursday:  Lentil and carrot sauce with crispy potatoes
Friday:  Nourishing sweet potato chickpea soup

Optional micronutrient smoothie- have it daily, once, twice, never, whatever.


LENTIL MEATBALLS (with ****spaghetti squash, zoodles, or pasta as base*** see note)
Adapted from www.willcookforfriends.com


Lentil meatballs zoodles

3-4 TBSP avocado or grapeseed oil

1 small/medium onion chopped 
2 cloves garlic
1 cup green or brown lentils
2 ¼ cup water
1 glass jar of marinara (I use Raos) (or home made if you like)
½ tsp of pink salt
½ cup gluten free oats (blend into flour- tutorial HERE)
3 TBSP aquafaba (or 1 TBSP chia seed with ¼ cup water)
1 TBSP coconut aminos 
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp chili powder
Pinch of cayenne (if you want a kick)
1/4 cup fresh parsley (finely chopped)
Pink salt & black pepper to taste (¼ tsp to start)
1 Spaghetti squash or pasta or 1-2 zucchini (depending on what base you want)

1. Rinse and drain lentils. Put aside.
2. In a saucepan, caramelize onions and garlic with 2 TBSP olive oil until lightly brown and translucent.
3. Add lentils, pinch of salt, water to saucepan and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and let simmer for 30-35 minutes. Should be mid-soft with chew. Add more water if you need or drain a bit out if it’s ready with too much water.
4. At the same time the lentils are simmering, process oats into flour using what you have (I used a magic bullet). In a large mixing bowl, put aquafaba (or chia seeds) at bottom of bowl.
5. Add oat flour and the rest of the ingredients besides parsley and salt.
6. When the lentils are done, put with the rest of the ingredients in the bowl. Mash with fork or masher until lentils are broken up and it’s sticky enough to be rolled into balls. Add parsley and toss in enough to combine.
7. On skillet (cast iron preferably) add grapeseed oil (or another high heat oil) and then add the lentil meat balls and grill all sides of each ball until nice and crispy brown on all sides.
8. Heat up your marinara sauce in a sauce pan.
8. Put your base at the bottom of your bowl, then load it up with your lentil meatballs then top with marinara sauce!
9. YAY!

Buddha bowl tahini dressings
2 small beets, with greens attached
1 shallot, sliced crosswise into rings
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 portabello mushroom or equivalent other mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced or chopped
coconut aminos, about 1 tablespoon or more or less to taste
1 can chickpeas (about 1.75 cups)
1/2 sliced avocado
citrus ginger dressing:
1/4 cup tahini
1 small or 1/2 a large lemon, zested and juiced
1 orange, zested and juiced (you can save your peels to make all purpose cleaner!  recipe HERE)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
grated ginger- amount depending on your spice level, I use about 1 teaspoon- if you have a high speed blender you can just throw a chunk in, no need to grate
1 small clove garlic
2 tablespoons maple syrup, or other sweetener of choice like agave or honey
Cut 2 beets into wedges and place in a steamer basket, cook until tender.
Wash and add the beet greens to the steamer the last couple minutes.
Sauté shallot and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil and salt for a few minutes until softened.  Add quinoa and water and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook 15 minutes or until tender.  Turn off heat and set aside.  (can be made ahead of time).  Save 1/2 for tomorrow’s lunch if desired.
Meanwhile, slice your mushroom(s), and the onion (save the other half of the onion for tomorrow).  Place in a pan over medium high heat and cook, adding oil or splashes of water or broth until tender, then drizzle in the aminos and stir around until absorbed.  Set aside.
Drain and rinse your chickpeas.  If you have time/prefer crispy chickpeas, you can toss with a little oil, smoked paprika, and salt and bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes while the quinoa cooks.  You probably won’t eat all the chickpeas but you can save leftovers for lunch the next day with your leftover quinoa!
Blend all the ingredients for the dressing until super smooth.  You can also whisk it (really well) if you want.  This should make extra for lunches!  Keeps up to a week in the fridge in my experience.
Assemble bowl and drizzle the dressing on top and add avocado.
totally optional add ons: toasted pumpkin seeds and pickled/fermented veggies.
Lentil sweet potato hazelnut
1 sweet potato, cut into cubes or slices
3 tablespoons hazelnuts (small handful)
1 cup dry french or beluga/caviar lentils
handful parsley, either chopped or left in whole leaves
serving size of arugula
mustard vinaigrette:
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
optional: bit of sweetener like maple, agave, honey etc (about 1/2-1 teaspoon)
Preheat oven to 400.
Roast sweet potato (either drizzled with oil and salt or without, up to you) on a lined baking sheet (parchment or silicone mat) at 400 until tender, about 30 minutes. (alternatively, do this ahead of time to reduce overall time till dinner).  In the last 10 minutes, add the hazelnuts to the oven (either on a free spot on the baking sheet with the sweet potatoes, or a separate baking sheet.  Depending on the size of your hazelnuts, you may need a bit shorter or longer time to toast.  Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
Meanwhile, cook the lentils. Cover with plenty of water and some salt in a medium pot, cook till tender (about 15-20 minutes), drain and set aside.  This can be also be done ahead of time.  Save half of the lentils for tomorrow.
In the bottom of a medium sized bowl, add all dressing ingredients and whisk to combine.
Roughly chop a handful parsley.
Roughly chop the toasted hazelnuts.
Into your bowl, add a few big handfuls salad greens.  Add as much or as little lentils as you like and toss to coat the dressing over.  Add the sweet potatoes on top and the parsley, and sprinkle hazelnuts over.
4 or so small baby (about 2 inch or so) potatoes
1 bunch kale, washed and chopped (I don’t remove stems but feel free to if you  prefer)
1 tablespoon oil
1 large carrot, shredded/grated
1 large garlic clove, pressed/minced/crushed
leftover lentils
1-2 tablespoons coconut aminos
chili flakes
1/2 sliced avocado
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees if baking- or not, if sautéing.
Into a pot with a steamer basket, add your potatoes and cook till fork tender.
On a lined baking sheet, place the potatoes and take a flat bottomed cup or glass a gently press down to smash them to a 1/2 inch or so thickness.  Brush with a bit of oil and bake until crispy, about 20-30 minutes (alternatively, you could pan fry if you prefer for a shorter time till dinner).
Put a dry (no oil) skillet over high heat and let heat up for a minute or two empty.  Add in your kale and let cook without stirring for a few minutes until the edges start to get a little toasty.
Now add in your oil and stir fry the kale around the pan, tossing until tender- about 3 minutes or longer depending on how soft you like it.
Add in the grated carrots and garlic and toss constantly for about 30 seconds until you start to smell the garlic (don’t let it burn).  Add in the leftover lentils and aminos and toss to heat through.
Serve with potatoes, leftover citrus tahini sauce, avocado and chili flakes.
sweet potato chickpea soup

3 TBSP oil of your choice
1 small red onion (thinly sliced)
1 ½ tsp maple syrup
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 large sweet potato (small cubes)
1 butternut squash (cut in half long ways)
4 plum tomatoes or one can of diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Coconut milk (either ¼ can or home made before)
2-3 TBSP Braggs coconut aminos
1 cup chickpeas – either 1 can (save the aquafaba juice!) or make before from dried
5 kale leaves (chopped in small pieces)
3 chard leaves (chopped in small pieces)
salt/pepper/paprika/chili powder/cumin (about 1 tsp each and adjust  to taste)
4 cups gluten free veggie stock (homemade cubes or glass or paper bought store condensed ones)
1 cup water (if you want it more soupier)

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop everything as directed.
2. Slice a butternut squash in half and place face down on oven sheet at 400 degrees.
3. In a big pot caramelize onions by adding oil, onions, spices, & maple syrup until onions are lightly browning and translucent on medium heat. Stir occasionally.
4. After about 10 minutes add cubes of sweet potato, garlic and braggs coconut aminos, sautee for 15 more minutes on medium heat. Cover with lid stirring occasionally.
5. Add veggie stock, tomato paste and diced tomatoes and let simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Take out butternut squash, dice and scoop out of skin.
7. Add butternut squash, coconut milk, chickpeas, and all the greens, and water if you want it to be more soupy. Let simmer a bit longer so the flavors can all hang out and party together.
8. YAY!!! Enjoy!

(Via Dr. Rhonda Patrick)

micronutrient smoothie vegan

½ -1 frozen banana
¼ apple
½ carrot
½ tomato
⅓ avocado
2 leaves kale
2 leaves chard
2 big handfuls spinach
½ cup frozen blueberries
2 TBSP hemp seeds or flax seeds
1 cup alternative milk (home made nut milk/coconut milk or just water) OR blend 2 tablespoons almond butter with 1 cup water in the blender till smooth and frothy before doing step 1 for an instant milk
1 tsp cinnamon
3-5 pieces of ice
1. Add the kale, chard, spinach, and choice of milk or water to your blender, bullet, or food processor (whichever you have). Blend until smooth and no big green chunks present.
2. Add rest of items – frozen banana, apple, carrot, tomato, avocado, blueberries, hemp or flax seeds, cinnamon and ice.
3. Blend until smooth and creamy! Enjoy! This yields a really big 32 oz jar, it’s filling and a perfect way to get a big dose of micronutrients in the am!


Flourless cookies vegan

1 cup almond butter
2 ½  tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp Almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp Aquafaba
½ tsp cinnamon
½  cup Coconut sugar (you may want it more sweetened, try dough and then sweeten to taste)
⅓ cup chocolate chips (optional)
1 ½  tsp baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In big bowl, mix all ingredients together. Stir until it is all combined and place in freezer.
3. Leave in freezer anywhere from 20 minutes to 24 hours! (I’m not patient so 20 minutes is just right for me)
4. Form into golf sized balls and place on a reusable silicone baking mat, parchment paper, greased aluminum foil or greased cooking sheet.
5. Let bake for 10-12 minutes

spring produce + what i plan to cook with it this week

farmers market haul spring plastic free

Another week has flown by and my fridge is fully stocked with spring goodies- local, mostly organic and seasonal, from the market and co-op yesterday.  (click here to read about my zero waste shopping routine).  In the past, I used to be kind of bored with spring food- all the flavors seemed mild to me- but I’m really enjoying everything fully this year.  The gentle breezes, the mild afternoons and crisp mornings, technicolor blooms everywhere you look, the intensely sweet fragrance of blooms from my citrus trees heavy in the air.   I’m appreciating this fleeting moment and all the food that comes with it, since soon it will be scorching hot summer- slow and deliciously lazy days, watermelon juice running down sticky chins and hands, the crunch of salty sea hair, shoulder tops a burnished bronze.

Farmers market Davis healthy eating

This year was the first year that I started buying almost exclusively local produce.  No buying plastic wrapped cherry tomatoes and cucumbers and blueberries from Trader Joe’s and Costsco in the dead of winter this year.  I used to go to the farmer’s market for incidentals, just a few items, whatever struck my fancy, and then purchase cheaper items trucked/flown in from Mexico, Costa Rica, and more for out of season produce- packed in plastic most of the time.  Not to mention the social cost- this video about pineapples really opened my eyes.  Frozen, plastic bagged fruit was a staple in our house.  Honestly I never thought I could quit it, or that I would even want to.  But I did, instead focusing on fruit that was available- pears, pomegranates, apples, citrus, plumping up local dried raisins for our oatmeal, and preserves from the summer.  This is what my grandparents always did, and it felt so good this year, eating this way.  Now eating out of season foods seems unnatural and unappealing to me.  Local produce is much more fresh than anything I could buy in a store, with produce from the farmers market often picked less than 24 hours before, which translates to more nutrients and better taste.

Zero waste farmers market

I feel like with all the affordable, local, and seasonal bounty at my fingertips in California, it’s almost my duty to shop and eat this way, since many people don’t share this privilege.  It’s kind of like having access to fresh clean tap water but still buying bottled water while people in our own country (Flint, MI comes to mind) and beyond don’t have access to clean drinking water at.  What’s available, realistic, and  sustainable for you may differ.  I’m just sharing my experience and hopefully inspiring you to adopt a more seasonal, local diet if you can.  This is what I bought and what I’m planning to cook this week with it all.  (click here to read about plastic free fridge storage for produce)

local seasonal spring produce meals vegan

At the farmers market:

tangerines: going out of season and I’m enjoying the last of them, on the kids morning chia oats, chia pudding, and as a snack in the afternoon (especially good with some dark chocolate- I love the lily’s stevia sweetened sea salt one).

pink lady apples: chopped into oats with cinnamon, walnuts, and brown sugar; as a snack with almond butter, apple pie spice, and dates.

strawberries: for oats, chia jam, with rawnola, cacao nibs, and cashew milk.

asparagus: for a chickpea flour fritatta, something like this base recipe (such a great creamy, custardy protein rich sub for egg based fritattas).

Frittata vegan asparagus chickpea flour

leeks:  the leeks vinaigrette last week was SO good, I had to make it again, and I will add cooked french green lentils this time for a texturally interesting protein boost.

beets:  chopped, steamed, and tossed with french lentils, parsely leaves, thyme, mustard vinaigrette, and tofu feta.

beet Radish linen bag vegan

kale:  chickpea caesar again.  It was that good.  Update: we took it to the farmers market concert in the park Wednesday for a picnic dinner and it was perfect.  Pictured below, with hummus and veggies.

vegan kale caesar

broccoli and spring onions: roasted and tossed with pasta, in a sandwich, tucked into a tortilla with some refritos …options are endless here.

fava beans: I’m thinking a sort of spring polenta like this one with millet.

fava Beans spring vegan local zero waste

mushrooms:  shiitakes and a portabello for this mushroom “stoup”– a standby in our house, I use gf all purpose blend instead of the regular flour and it works well.

mushroom Stew dumplings soup river cottage vegan

collards: for collard wrap lunches; I tuck in whatever leftovers I have, or hummus + roasted sweet potato + avocado and herbs is always a good combo.

carrots:  for snacking and this french grated carrot salad.

carrot salad vegan french David Leibovitz

radishes: for pickling and eating with hummus.

potatoes: for the mushroom stoup and also to slice thinly, boil, and toss with leftovers or veggies, chickpeas + vinaigrette for Carmela’s lunch.

avocados: self explanatory.

red leaf lettuce: for sandwiches.

cucumbers: I literally squealed when I saw these tiny Persian beauties back at the market.  They are the ultimate crunch and are perfect size for lunches, or i love to make this smashed cucumber salad with ginger and red onion.

zero Waste cucumber

sourdough baguette:  I slice this into sandwich appropriate pieces and then freeze in a cloth bag for the week.  We pull out and bake or broil as needed.

kids vegan shopping zero waste

At the store I bought:

coconut milk for more coconut yogurt

hand of bananas for Carmela’s lunchbox cookies (one of the only non local produce items I still buy, but a way smaller amount than we used to- I used to buy a whole case every month)

coconut shreds: for the cookies and the aforementioned rawnola.

sesame seeds: we were out, I pan toast these and put them on everything.

olive oil: we were out, I’ve been using it for salads and soups and such.

black pepper: cost me less than $1 to refill.

red chili flakes

celery:  I love celery for snacking and soups, (this one in particular, which makes use of all the leaves, too) and sometimes I can’t get it at the market.

carrots: double carrots?  We go through a lot.  I went to the store the day before the market and wanted them.  They’re still local.  see above for the carrot salad.

chickpea flour:  for the fritatta.

Vegan zero waste groceries

We still had a lot of beans/lentils/oats/rice from last week in the pantry, so I didn’t need to buy much this week.  I’ll update throughout the week with photos of what I make.  I’ll also make some basics, like a big pot of chickpeas for hummus and chickpea salad sandwiches.

Click here to see more spring meals that I cooked last week.  Thanks for reading, lots of love and enjoy the little bit left of the weekend!