10 January 2012

TDIV Guide to Going Vegan: Week 1 Menu

Recently I revealed our plan to bring you a realistic guide to switching to a vegan diet. [See "The Intro] Now it's time to jump in and get started.

When following our plan, it's important to remember that our goal is to introduce you to the vegan diet in a friendly manner without worries of overly "weird" options. We want you to realize that it is possible to follow a completely plant-based diet, while enjoying tasty food that properly fills your tummy. As I stated in the previous post, we are not trying to switch you to a completely whole foods, oil-free or raw diet. You will use oil. You will use [vegan] butter. You will use canned foods and seasoning packets. We are not opposed to frozen vegetables. We want this to be as easy as possible. And, budget-friendly.

Throughout the weeks, we will focus mainly on the dinner meals. It's easy to be vegan during breakfast, so we will leave that to you. Some breakfast ideas are: oats (steel-cut, rolled, or quick) with a dab of peanut butter, hashbrowns (they can be found in the frozen food aisle), cereal with milk (almond, soy, rice, coconut), toast with peanut butter, grapefruit, etc. For lunch ideas, we would like you to use your leftovers when possible. Many things you make the night before can be wrapped in a tortilla and eaten with a piece of fruit, granola bar and/or pretzels. Don't forget peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or soups. (Progresso conveniently labels the back of their cans. Some options are Lentil, Hearty Tomato, Garden Vegetable, etc.)

Below you will find your dinner menu. Directions for the non-self-explanatory items are listed below the menu. Additionally, prior to shopping for the items, please scroll to the bottom to read the notes.


Black Bean Taco
Sauté green peppers, red peppers and onions (you can use the frozen variety) in a small amount of oil until tender. Add 2-3 cans of black beans. Add packaged taco seasoning. Follow the directions on the package to determine the amount of liquid that needs to be added to the mixture. Let simmer. Fill taco shells with the bean mixture. Add lettuce and chopped tomatoes.

Spicy New Potatoes
In a small bowl add 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ tsp. cumin and ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. salt and red pepper to taste (optional). Toss the new potatoes (from a can) in a small amount of oil Sliced new potatoes (from a can) warmed in a pot on the stovetop in just a tad of butter. Add a bit of salt and some chili pepper.

Baked Mesquite Tofu
In a glass bowl or gallon plastic storage bag make the McCormick’s Grill Mates Mesquite Seasoning by following the directions on the package. Cut 2 blocks of firm tofu into cubes that are roughly ½ inch by ½ inch and add to seasoning mixture. Let marinade for at least one hour. Place tofu on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for 20 minutes.

Bean Burritos
Slather warm refried beans on a flour tortilla. Add cooked rice, onions, black olives, tomatoes, avocado, corn and taco sauce. If you have leftovers from the Black Bean Taco filling, add that as well.

BBQ Tofu Sandwiches
Pour barbecue sauce in a bowl or gallon plastic storage bag. Cut 2 blocks of firm tofu into cubes that are roughly ½ inch by ½ inch and add to barbecue sauce. Let marinade for at least one hour. Place tofu on a baking sheet and spread more barbeque sauce on top of tofu. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Spread a layer of barbecue sauce on a hoagie roll, add tofu pieces and shredded lettuce. Add additional veggies if desired.

Tortilla Salad
Chop a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, green peppers, onions, carrots, celery, olives, mushrooms and broccoli. In a small amount of oil, warm a flour tortilla on the stovetop. Place the tortilla on a plate. Cover with shreds of lettuce and add vegetables and warm black beans. Sprinkle with dressing.

Garlic Bread
Mix butter with minced garlic. Spread on bread and toast. If minced garlic is not available, use garlic powder.

Grilled Portobello Mushroom
Pour steak sauce (such as A1) in a bowl or gallon plastic storage bag. Add mushrooms. Let marinade for at least two hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, flip, and then cook an additional 5 minutes.

Hummus and Veggie Wrap
Spread a generous layer of hummus on a flour tortilla. Sauté sliced mushrooms and onions in a small amount of butter or oil. Place the mixture on the tortilla. Add lettuce and veggies of your choice.

  • Butter = vegan butter ex. Smart Balance Light or Earth Balance
  • Oil can be vegetable oil or olive oil
  • Milk = almond, soy, rice or coconut
  • Rice = brown or white
  • Taco seasoning = check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t include whey
  • Dressing = vegan variety
  • Lettuce = a mixture of romaine, iceberg, green leaf and red leaf
  • Barbecue sauce = check to make sure honey is not added
  • French fries = frozen variety
  • Granola bars = make sure no honey or milk ingredients are added
  • Homemade is always best. Whenever possible, make your own breads, spreads, etc.
  • Reduce the amount you eat out.
  • Reuse your gallon bags when possible

If you have any questions regarding the menu, please stop by our Facebook page. If you're really stumped, feel free to shoot us an email.


Special thanks goes out to Eric Fortney, executive editor here at TDIV and my own personal vegan master chef. All the recipes/meal ideas mentioned here are inspired from the delicious meals he's made our family.


Additional articles in this series

Daelyn Fortney | Facebook |@daelyn | email
Greenville, SC Daelyn is the co-founder and managing director of This Dish Is Veg. She handles the daily operations of the site including advertising, story idea generation, and website promotion as well as managing the volunteer contributors. Along with her work at TDIV, Daelyn is an editor for a gift-giving website and mother of three daughters.

Photo credit: TDIV