I often hear from friends and clients that they love following a vegan or vegetarian diet in the summer but they struggle to remain plant-based once the colder months roll in.
I completely understand why. In the spring, summer and early fall the farmers markets are overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables and the warmer temperatures make smoothies, salads and raw vegan treats seem all the more appealing. Once we start transitioning into late fall and winter our bodies start to crave warming, hearty, protein-heavy foods and a cold smoothie just won't cut it when it's snowing outside.
Fortunately there is a way to feel your best in the winter while remaining plant-based. They key is to eat food that warms you from the inside out — think beans, lentils, brown rice, quinoa, squash, etc.
Ready to give it a try? The following a typical day of vegan eating for me in the winter months, complete with recipes. Use these dishes as a starting point and feel free to get creative.
Easy Morning Oatmeal
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 cup water
- dash of salt
- handful of raisins
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Bring oats, milk, water, salt and raisins to simmer in a small saucepan. Let simmer for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all liquid is absorbed.
- Transfer to bowls. Add a scoop of almond butter to each bowl and sprinkle chia seeds on top.
Steamed Macro Bowl
- 1 cup cooked brown rice*
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 2 cups kale, shredded
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- salt + pepper to taste
- Bring pot (with steam basket) of water to boil. Steam cauliflower for 5 minutes, then add broccoli for another 5 and kale for the last 2-3 minutes.
- Serve brown rice in bowls. Top with black beans, steamed vegetables and avocado slices. Drizzle tamari and tahini on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
*To prepare the perfect brown rice, simmer 2 ¼ cups water, 1 cup dry rice and a dash of salt for 40 minutes with the lid on. Turn heat off and let pot sit, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.
Creamy Root Vegetable Soup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat is best)
- 1 cups vegetable broth (add extra at the end if soup is too thick)
- 2 sweet potatoes, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 parsnips, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt + pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger and saute for about 7 minutes,until lightly browned.
- Add coconut milk and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add sweet potato, carrots and parsnips and turn heat down to simmer. Let pot simmer for about 15 minutes (until veggies are soft). Turn heat off and let cool.
- Once the pot is cool enough to handle, to transfer to blender and combine until mostly smooth. Pour back into pot, turn heat to simmer and mix in lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve with your choice of quinoa, bread or steamed edamame
- 1 cup non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened almond)
- 1 cup herbal coffee
- 2 dates, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup (start with 1 tablespoon and add more to taste)
PreparationCombine all ingredients in blender until smooth. Transfer to saucepan and heat to desired temperature. Enjoy right away.
Ilene Godofsky is a health coach, recipe developer and food blogger dedicated to sharing plant-based recipes that are colorful, not complicated.
Connect with Ilene on her recipe blog The Colorful Kitchen and sign up to receive your free 2-day vegan meal plan!