Registered dietitian Shahzadi Devje shows busy Parenting Times readers how to replace prepackaged meals with healthy vegan dishes
Juggling schedules, coordinating pick-up and drop-off and helping the kids with homework means that sometimes – OK, frequently – parents are strapped for time. But that doesn’t have to mean lackluster or prepackaged meals for dinner. Being healthy doesn’t have to be hard, says Shahzadi Devje, registered dietician, CDE, MSc, Canadian food blogger and owner of Desi~licious RD Inc. There are several underrated and healthy proteins that can be made in a pinch and will leave loved ones feeling satisfied around the dinner table, Devje says.
While affordable, nutritious and eco-friendly, these two vegan dishes, developed by Devje, won’t skimp on flavour. As a bonus, they only take about 30 minutes to make.
Peanut Butter Tofu
Tofu is a complete and high-quality plant-based protein that is versatile and low in cost. It’s cholesterol-free, sodium-free and low in saturated fat. This gluten-free and vegan dish only takes 30 minutes to make.
Tofu – firm, 425g block
Peanut butter – smooth, 28 ml (2 tbsp)
Soy sauce – dark, 14 ml (1 tbsp)
Water, (14 ml) 1 tbsp
Garlic cloves – large, 4
Sriracha sauce (optional), 14 ml (1 tbsp)
Grape seed oil, 21 ml (1.5 tbsp)
Spring onion, 1
Drain tofu. Use paper towels to soak up dripping fluid and wrap tofu in paper towels. Place tofu in tray. Using a heavy pot or collection of plates, place on top of tofu for 15 minutes, to drain excess fluid.
Add peanut butter, soy sauce, water, garlic and Sriracha sauce in small blender. Blend until creamy and set aside.
Unwrap tofu and cut into small cubes (1 inch).
Add tofu cubes to spicy marinade sauce and gently mix to coat pieces. Marinate for 15 minutes. Marinate for longer for more intense flavor.
Finely chop onion and set aside.
Heat oil in large skillet. Fry tofu pieces for 5 minutes, on medium/high heat, until brown on all sides. Use tongs to turn pieces gently.
Remove from pan, garnish with onion and serve immediately. For more spice, adjust amount of Sriracha sauce.
*PRO Tip: Prepare and marinate tofu the night before to cut cooking time.
Quinoa Vegetable Pilau
Quinoa is a complete plant-based protein, meaning it has all the essential amino acids that our bodies need. The United Nations has stated that quinoa can play an important role in eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition around the world. This gluten-free and plant-based dish takes 30 minutes to make.
Beans – green, 227 ml (1 cup)
Water – 227 ml (1 cup)
Black beans – cooked 454 ml (2 cups)
Tomatoes – medium, 2
Bell pepper – red, 1
Green chili (optional), 1
Quinoa, 227 ml (1 cup)
Cilantro, 113.5 ml (1/2 cup)
Onion – medium, 1
Garlic clove – large, 1
Olive oil – extra virgin, 28 ml (2 tbsp)
Salt, 21 ml (1 1/2 tsp)
Cumin powder, 14 ml (1 tsp)
Coriander powder, 14 ml (1 tsp)
Garam masala, 14 ml (1 tsp)
Vegetable stock, 340 ml (1 1/2 cups)
Lime juice, 14 ml (1 tsp)
Wash and trim ends of green beans. Add water and beans to small pan. Cover and steam on medium/high heat for five minutes.
Drain and rinse canned beans and set aside.
Wash and dice tomatoes, pepper and chili in small pieces and set aside.
Wash quinoa thoroughly several times, drain and set aside.
Wash and finely chop cilantro and set aside.
Peel and chop onion and crush garlic. Heat oil in large pan, fry onion and garlic on medium heat until golden.
Add tomatoes, pepper, chili and cook on high heat for five minutes, stirring continuously.
Add salt and dry spices. Mix well.
Stir in green beans, black beans, quinoa and stock. Bring to boil on high heat.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10-15 mins, until quinoa is soft and fluffy.
Add lime juice and garnish with cilantro.
– Ottawa Parenting Times Staff