30 Day Menu

For Those Who Don't Like to Cook

By Charles Stahler

It is easy to have a different vegetarian meal every day of the month with little or no cooking.

  1. Potlucks-- Many local vegetarian groups sponsor potluck dinners in homes or at parks. You can bring juice and have a wonderful meal full of variety. There is always plenty for those who don't use animal products.
  2. Organize your own potluck at your house one day a month -- Let your friends know about the potlucks and put a note in a local vegetarian group's newsletter or your community newsletter. You can supply juice, the plates, etc. Let others bring delicious dishes. There are members of other environmental and animal groups whom you could invite to the potluck.
  3. Purchase Vegetarian Journal's Guide to Natural Foods Restaurants in the US. and Canada -- This way when you travel you will always be able to find places offering vegetarian meals. Send $16 to VRG, P0 Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.
  4. Purchase Meatless Meat for Working People from The Vegetarian Resource Group -- You can find out which foods are vegetarian in fast food chains. Send $12 to VRG, P0 Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.
  5. Purchase a vegetable pot pie from a natural foods store or supermarket.
  6. Attend vegetarian and animal rights activities, and get invited to a friend's home for a vegetarian dinner.
  7. Lightlife's Smart Dogs or other veggie "hot dogs" and vegetarian baked beans -- Warm up these items that are readily available in health food stores and many mainstream supermarkets.
  8. Legume brand stuffed tofu manicotti -- a quick frozen TV dinner without cheese, available in your local health food store. (Other types of entrees also available.) Add a tossed salad and Italian bread and you've got yourself a terrific meal.
  9. Supermarket salad bar--A good source of a meal. If you had this once or twice a month, you wouldn't get bored with it. Try to choose low-fat dressings.
  10. Gourmet takeout-- For one or more days, gourmet markets make a great takeout. Today there are more choices than you could imagine for a complete vegetarian meal.
  11. Ethiopian food -- Relatively inexpensive and luckily there are usually several Ethiopian restaurants in urban areas. Eat there or takeout delicious vegetarian stews (consisting of legumes and vegetables) with Injera (Ethiopian bread).
  12. Vegetable lo mein and steamed mixed vegetables from a local Chinese restaurant -- Request brown rice instead of white rice.
  13. Spicy eggplant with vegetables or other such dish from a Szechuan-style Chinese restaurant -- Choose different items from the menu for variety.
  14. Moo Shu Vegetable--A great vegetarian version of Moo Shoo Pork found in Chinese restaurants.
  15. Middle Eastern food-- Order hummus, falafel, baba ghanuj, tabouli, and much more. Good variety and may contain high-calcium tahini. You almost never see dairy in Chinese or Middle Eastern restaurants since they generally obtain their calcium from vegetable sources.
  16. A quick meal -- Open a can of chickpeas, mash them lightly, and prepare it like you would tuna salad. Put on bread, and you're ready to eat. If you don't like the salt, you can rinse the chickpeas. Try eggless mayonnaise from a natural foods store.
  17. Indonesian Restaurants -- They sometimes offer vegetarian tempeh dishes.
  18. Thai Food-- It's sort of like Chinese cuisine, but slightly different. You can get spicy food if you wish. Thai restaurants will usually substitute tofu for meat. Specify that you do not want oyster sauce and that they can substitute garlic sauce. The curry dishes are especially delicious.
  19. Vegetable chow fon in Chinese restaurants -- A wide noodle made out of rice flour. This is almost always on the menu in New York, and several other cities. You may have to ask for it. Sometimes the staff eats it in an authentic Chinese vegetarian restaurant.
  20. Indian food -- Many many vegetarian dishes are found in Indian restaurants. If you don't like spicy food, ask them to make it mild. Usually served with rice. I like masala dosa, which is an eggless crepe made out of lentil flour wrapped around potatoes.
  21. Appalachian Trail Stew -- I ate this mostly while hiking on the Appalachian Trail. It's easy to prepare: put all into one pot and boil until done -- lentils, a little macaroni, barley, and maybe a cut-up potato. For flavoring you can add garlic powder or tomato sauce for a different dish. For a little more variety add some cut-up broccoli or frozen vegetables.
  22. Vegetable mixture -- Frozen corn, peas, Brussels sprouts, and whatever veggies you like. Add to cooked pasta or serve over rice. This is a quick meal.
  23. Purchase quick vegetarian cup of soups in a supermarket or natural foods store -- Serve with a whole-grain bread and perhaps a salad.
  24. Mexican food -- Try a veggie taco, burrito, tostada, etc. You can get take out or frozen or packaged. Most Mexican restaurants and fast food chains no longer put lard in their beans, but you should always ask to make sure.
  25. From your frozen food case -- Purchase potato pancakes, potato blintzes or pierogis, and frozen vegetables.
  26. Vegetable burgers -- Archer Daniels Midland, one of the largest food companies in the world, is now making a veggie burger that is called the Harvest Burger and is packaged under the Pillsbury Green Giant label. There are plenty of other packaged varieties in natural foods stores.
  27. Tempeh-- Get some from a health foods store. Fry in non-stick pan. Make a sandwich with tempeh, bread, and any veggies you like. There are also tempeh burgers.
  28. Gluten or seitan -- This is made from wheat and has the texture of meat. You can buy it from a health food store or in a can from an Asian grocery store (less expensive.) Cook it with a starch and some green veggies (for example, macaroni, seitan, and peas and corn). The gluten or seitan is already cooked, so it is a matter of adding it in with the other ingredients and heating it up.
  29. Take-out pizza without the cheese -- Try a variety of veggies on top.
  30. Vegetarian chili -- Prepare your own quickly from cans or get take out. You don't need to cook beans from scratch.

This article was excerpted from Vegan Handbook, edited by Debra Wasserman and Reed Mangels Ph.D., R.D.

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PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203
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Last Updated
November 3, 2004

The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your own best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

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