"Always More Vegetables!" Jennie Cook's Versatile Vegan Dinner Menu

Meal Plans From the Experts

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Meal planning saves time and money, but it isn't easy to come up with fresh, inspired menus week after week. So we've asked a few of our favorite chefs, food writers and bloggers for help, and this week they are sharing their foolproof menus for all kinds of eaters. Today chef Jennie Cook, the woman behind the catering company Plant Based Parties, shares a versatile vegan dinner plan that leaves you with plenty of leftovers to use throughout the week.

Why is this meal plan a good one for vegan eaters?

This simple dinner plan has great vegan variety and can easily translate from one night’s meal into three or more, with just a little extra effort.

I think every weekly meal plan should begin with a big pot of soup. It fills the whole house with its comforting aroma, it’s a delicious starter, and it makes a great centerpiece too; just add a green salad and dinner is on! This white bean soup recipe makes about three quarts and, like most soups, improves with age and freezes well.

Quinoa fritters are packed with vegetables and whole grain goodness, and this recipe is easily doubled if you’d like to enjoy them for lunch the next day. Fritters make a delicious sandwich too. Heat them up a bit first to soften the grain, and enjoy with grainy mustard and pickled cabbage.

The mushroom gravy cooks up in a snap as a complement to the fritters, and any leftovers make a great pasta topper—just add some raw spinach to cooked linguini for a simple and hearty supper. Save a little of the pasta water to thin the sauce. Add a simple salt and pepper vegetable and a salad for a well-rounded dinner in less than 30 minutes.

It’s nice to end a meal with a sweet treat and these peanut butter blondies are one of my favorites. I recommend portioning them out and hiding them. Not kidding. While the pan of them should last all week, it’s not uncommon for them to disappear at a rapid rate once their heavenly scent fills the kitchen.

What is your best piece of advice for those planning a vegan meal?

Vegan menus tend to be carb-heavy, so it’s important to vary the ingredients. In general, I rotate tempeh, tofu, legumes and grains. Then add vegetables, always more vegetables! I like to take a twirl through my farmer’s market and accumulate my local bounty. When I get home, I fire up the oven and roast two full baking sheets with salt and pepper vegetables for the week.

Thank you, Jennie!

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More Recipes & Meal Ideas from Jennie Cook:

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(Images: David Kiang)

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Meal Plans From the Experts