Plant-Based Lunch Recipes for Energy and Endurance

By Marni Wasserman

The best way to tackle lunch as a beginning plant-based eater is to make a fantastically filling salad or satisfying soup. Both of these options can be modified with different veggies and enjoyed any time of year; however, you may want to lean more in the salad direction during the warmer months and toward soups in the colder ones.

Edamame Hummus

Preparation time: 8 minutes

Yield: 10 servings

2 cups cooked, shelled organic edamame beans

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon chopped or minced ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon ground dry ginger

1 teaspoon tamari

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

black sesame seeds (optional)

  1. Combine the edamame, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, tamari, sesame oil, and olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth.

  2. With the motor still running, slowly add the water and sea salt until the desired consistency is reached.

  3. Put the dip in a bowl and sprinkle with the black sesame seeds (if desired) and a few drops of sesame oil. Serve with brown-rice crackers.

Per serving: Calories 102 (From Fat 72); Fat 8g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 141mg; Carbohydrate 5g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 4g.

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Dressing (see the following recipe)

1 cup quinoa

1-1/2 cups water

Pinch sea salt

1 cup chickpeas

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

2 cups spinach, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

  1. Rinse the quinoa and strain it through a fine mesh strainer.

    Add the rinsed quinoa to a pot and heat over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the moisture has evaporated and it smells kind of nutty. Add water and a pinch of sea salt, bring to a boil, and cover.

  2. Lower the heat and simmer the quinoa for 12 to 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

  3. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa stand for 2 minutes. Then remove the quinoa and spread it out to cool.

  4. Place the quinoa into a bowl and combine with chickpeas, onions, parsley, mint, spinach, cucumber, and tomatoes.

  5. Add the dressing to the quinoa mixture and gently stir from the bottom up.

Dressing

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dry basil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar

1 teaspoon honey or coconut nectar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Combine all the ingredients until well mixed.

Per serving: Calories 192 (From Fat 81); Fat 9g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 108mg; Carbohydrate 24g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 6g.

New Age Minestrone

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 60 minutes

Yield: 12 servings

1 white onion, cut into large cubes

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried basil

4 cups water

1 bay leaf

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into medium cubes

3 parsnips, peeled and cut into medium cubes

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into large cubes

3 ribs celery, cut into medium pieces

1 large zucchini, cut into small chunks

4 to 5 cups of Swiss chard, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup soaked and cooked kidney beans, or one 14-ounce can organic kidney beans

1/2 cup cooked brown-rice macaroni noodles

  1. In a large pot, sauté the onion and garlic in oil with sea salt until soft.

  2. Add the oregano and basil, and sauté for a few more minutes.

  3. Add the water and bay leaf.

  4. Add the squash, parsnips, and sweet potatoes to the pot. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. Add the celery and zucchini. Turn up the heat again until the water boils and then lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 40 to 45 minutes.

  6. Stir the vegetables until the squash falls apart, or press the squash against the side of the pot to break it down.

  7. Add the chopped chard. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

  8. Add the cooked kidney beans and macaroni noodles. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf. Stir a few times and serve.

Per serving: Calories 100 (From Fat 4.5); Fat 1.5g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 421mg; Carbohydrate 20g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 4g.

Chunky Miso Soup

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Yield: 8–10 servings

8 cups water

1-inch piece kombu (sea vegetable)

5 dried or fresh shiitake mushrooms

1 small white onion, cut into small slices

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces

2 to 4 stalks of celery, cut into small pieces

1 block or 12 ounces organic firm tofu, cut into cubes

1 cup chopped bok choy

1/2 cup wakame (seaweed), soaked for 5 minutes and cut into bite-sized pieces

One 16-ounce package brown rice vermicelli or soba noodles, cooked (optional)

2/3 cup miso paste, brown, white, or both

3 green onions, thinly chopped

  1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot and add the strip of kombu, along with the shiitake mushrooms. (This adds extra nutrients to the soup broth.)

  2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Reduce the heat to low and let the vegetables simmer for 30 minutes.

  3. Add the tofu cubes and simmer for another 10 minutes.

  4. Add the bok choy and wakame, allowing it to wilt into the warm soup. Add the cooked noodles (if desired).

  5. Remove 1 to 2 cups of the liquid and stir in the miso paste in a separate bowl. When the miso paste is dissolved, pour the mixture back into the soup pot.

  6. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with fresh green onions.

Per serving: Calories 149 (From Fat 27); Fat 3g (Saturated 0.5g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 919mg; Carbohydrate 23g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 10g.

Sun Seed Nori Rolls

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4–10 servings

Seed Spread (see the following recipe)

4 to 6 sheets of raw nori

1 carrot, shredded

2 small beets, shredded

1/2 cucumber, sliced lengthwise

1 avocado, sliced lengthwise

Handful of sprouts (mung, sunflower, or pea shoots)

  1. Prepare the Seed Spread.

  2. Lay one nori sheet flat on a surface with the rough side facing up.

  3. Spread about 1/4 cup of seed spread on the nori sheet. (You can fill it to the edges if you want.)

  4. Place your veggies in a relatively thin horizontal row toward the bottom of the sheet.

  5. Roll by lifting the bottom edge closest to you and wrap it over all the veggies. Holding tight, continue to roll it all the way up. Seal it with some water or extra seed spread.

  6. Cut the rolls, using a sharp, damp knife. Start in the center of the roll and keep cutting down the center of each half until you have 6 to 8 pieces.

Seed Spread

1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked for 10 to 12 hours

1 cup almonds, soaked for 10 to 12 hours

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh dill

1 tablespoon fresh oregano

1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon tamari

1 teaspoon fresh ginger

1 tablespoon dulse granules

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Place all the spread ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and blend until uniform. For a smoother consistency, add a touch of water or blend longer.

Per serving: Calories 494 (From Fat 351); Fat 39g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 685mg; Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 11g); Protein 18g.