As I mentioned in my No Buy January post, I’ve done more meal prepping in the first 6 days of January than I think I did in all of 2019. One of the many, many benefits to this is that I’ll actually use my cookbooks! I’m fortunate to have several talented friends who have released an assortment of cookbooks, and I love supporting them. However, I admittedly have not been great about utilizing said cookbooks.
My sincere favorite is The Simply Vegan Cookbook by Dustin Harder AKA The Vegan Roadie. Dustin is genuinely one of my favorite people on the planet, and his book really is simple. It’s sorted by ingredients: greens, lentils, tofu, squash, mushrooms, and more. So all you have to do is choose an ingredient you want to use, head to that section, and pick a recipe.
I don’t know about you, but our pantry is packed with lentils and dry beans, so these are the two sections I look at the most. Today, I opted for One-Pot Dhal. You’ll find a variety of ingredients for dhal if you browse the web, but it should always include Indian spices, whether it be curry or garam masala.
Dustin’s recipe calls for one pound of lentils, and the main spice is curry powder. You also add fresh minced ginger and garlic cloves, and I threw in some turmeric for fun. For fresh veggies, he includes onion and bell pepper, but I also threw in some diced tomato.
One of the things I love about recipes like this is you can easily modify them or make them your own. If you don’t like ginger, leave it out. If you don’t have garlic cloves, throw in garlic powder. Since curry is the main spice in this recipe, I don’t recommend trying to omit it or swap it out for something else, but you get the idea. Another recipe we looked at called for garam masala, which we don’t have, but we have most of the spices that are typically included, so I could have winged it with what I had on hand.
With Dustin’s dhal, you throw everything into one pot, bring it to a boil, then let it simmer for 15-20 minutes. I recommend tasting the lentils periodically so you can find a texture that’s right for you. They can get really mushy if you cook them long enough, but I like them closer to al dente for texture reasons.
Once I let it cool for a bit, I filled up five regular-sized mason jars so now I have several meals’ worth of dhal. The recipe was super easy, and overall it’s an inexpensive recipe. For cost reasons, if you find a recipe that calls for some weird obscure ingredient, maybe try leaving it out to start. Why buy a brand new ingredient if you might only use it once? If you end up really liking the recipe and think the missing ingredient will greatly enhance it, then by all means, have at it.
Recognizing that I’m in a no buy month, I’m not going to run out and buy new cookbooks, especially since I barely use the ones I already own, so I’m not advocating that you buy a bunch of books either. Most times, I start with a simple search online for “easy vegan recipe for _____.” Or if you have a specific ingredient you want to use, try “easy vegan recipes that include _____.”
If you end up finding a recipe you enjoy, I encourage you to share on social media and tag the author. Many bloggers monetize their sites, and endorsements from others can make a big difference in bringing in new readers.
Do you meal prep? If you have any favorite vegan recipes to share, please link them below!