Easy Meal ideas for When You're Tired of Eating Beans
When I had my first veggie bowl as a vegan I remember thinking “I could eat like this forever, I could never grow tired of eating beans”. I was eating one of my go-to’s, a bowl with brown rice (sometimes millet or quinoa), black beans sautéed with peppers, onions, paprika and tomatoes, pico de gallo salsa and a dollop of guacamole to top everything up. This is still a regular meal for lunch at our house, and I love black beans dearly, but the idea that I could eat beans at every single meal forever and always and never grow tired of them, well, that was an apple of a different color.
Legumes are such an important staple in vegan meals and a fantastic protein source when eating enough of them. For most of us that means 3 servings per day, or a serving at every meal as I like to say. As we get older, or when we’re going through specific life stages, 4 is a great number to strive for. Legumes doesn’t mean beans alone though, peanut butter, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, veggie meats and many other meals made with legumes count, which means you don’t have to have a bean burrito for breakfast, unless you love the idea of course!
Still, sometimes I grow a bit tired of eating the beans themselves and I want a bit of variety, while still making sure I’m getting enough of those protein sources and the magic behind legumes. This is when I have to get creative and think of new ways to use legumes or legume-based products to make meals that are satisfying and that make me smile. Two big important nutrients many of us forget about are vitamins S and J, as in satisfaction and joy, two essential components in improving your relationship with food.
When you find yourself growing a bit tired of eating beans, or you see you’re looking less forward to your next meal, don’t try to bulldoze that feeling, stay with it and ask “how can I make this more satisfying?”, or “what is the component of this meal that has me less excited?”. The answers to these two questions will help us so much, because even while still meeting nutrient needs as vegans or mostly vegans, we can eat what our little hearts desire.
Today I want to give you some meal ideas in case you’re like me and a bowl of black beans just won’t do it every moment of every day or every day of the year.
Meal idea #1:
Summer rolls with tofu, crunchy veggies and our Thai peanut sauce
How: Cut up some crunchy veggies and some tofu into sticks, rehydrate the rice paper in a bowl of water, fill with the vegetables and tofu (some roasted sweet potato strips goes great in these too), roll it up, close the ends and serve with our peanut sauce for additional legume servings. Watch the video we made for Vegan Outreach below for the step by step process and our video for the Thai peanut sauce.
Meal idea #2:
Lentil or bean dip over cooked bulgur wheat or quinoa with tabuleh salad and a roasted garlic and tahini sauce.
How: Transform your cooked lentils or beans into a dip by puréeing it with spices like paprika and cumin, drizzle with olive oil and paprika to serve next to the cooked grain of your choosing, some tabuleh salad (made with cracked bulgur wheat, tomatoes, a small amount of onion, cucumber and loads of fresh parsley, dressed with olive oil and lemon). Drizzle everything with a sauce made with roasted garlic, tahini and lemon.
Meal idea #3:
Veggie sushi rolls and steamed edamame
Make or buy some veggie sushi rolls made with avocado, cucumber, shiitake mushrooms or any other veggies, and serve with some soy sauce alongside steamed and salted edamame.
Meal idea #4:
Make breaded veggie scaloppine with seitan steaks, tempeh, tofu, or your favourite veggie meat
In a small pot bring a cup of non-dairy milk and two teaspoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder to a boil (watch it like a hawk as it can boil quickly and overflow), cook until thickened and set aside to cool slightly. Season your veggie steaks, pass them through the milk mixture, then coat them in breadcrumbs, panko breadcrumbs, seasoned flour or even crushed cornflakes. Then either bake them in the oven at a high temperature until golden (about 425ºF / 218ºC) or fry them in a pan with a bit of high heat oil. Always steam tempeh steaks before using them in any recipe. I love to serve this with a lemon, butter, caper and dill sauce, or with some dijon mustard over mashed potatoes. Yum!
Meal idea # 5:
Turn any leftover beans into veggie burgers, or any veggie burger into croquettes with a sauce for dipping
Veggie burgers are perfect for when we need to mix things up in the bean department. Purée them in a food processor with sautéed garlic and onions, any seasonings you like, and add a binder like ground almonds, breadcrumbs, panko, oats, crushed tortilla chips, etc. Taste and make sure they’ve got a ton of flavor and the texture is coarse rather than paste-like. It’s always helpful to refrigerate veggie burger “dough” for 30 minutes before shaping the patties. Grill or bake them in the oven and serve in a bun with fixings like ketchup, barbecue sauce, dijon mustard or grainy mustard, grilled onions, tomatoes, lettuce, vegan cheese slices, sautéed mushrooms, etc.
Any veggie burger recipe can be transformed into croquettes by then coating the rolled balls or ovals in breadcrumbs or panko, frying or roasting until golden. Then dip the croquettes in a sauce, my favorites are pesto, romesco sauce, barbecue sauce, buffalo sauce, marinara sauce, tahini and lemon sauce or any other tangy or spicy one you like.
Here are some of our yummiest veggie burgers!:
As you can see there are so many ways to skip on beans while still eating them, and variety and satisfaction are just as important for health and well being as specific foods themselves. If you’re in a cooking or eating rut, tune into which foods are feeling a bit more boring to you or have you less excited, and think of new ways of preparing them that change the textures or experiences, dig into some of the amazing vegan meats or sausages that are out there nowadays to have some fun with. Make some of our seitan sausages like our garlicky marsala sausages from our FREE breakfast and brunch classics course, or our latest Chipotle breakfast sausages. Have some fun adding variety, and soon you’ll find beans exciting again both in these new preparations and as their pretty usual selves too. Happy cooking!