I hope you've had a great weekend. The weather here in Auckland is getting sunnier by the day, so it's super exciting that summer is just around the corner! In gratitude of the warmer weather, this week I wanted to share with you the first of a series of easy, mid-week plant-based dinners. A number of you have told me that one major thing you struggle with is easy, go-to ideas for healthy mid-week dinners. Whilst you might be keen to start incorporating a few more healthier plant-based options in your week, you're not exactly sure where or how to start.
In comes this week's recipe, a delicious yet simple Pesto Potato Salad, made complete with a smattering of chickpeas and green beans. With the goodness of energy-sustaining slow-release carbohydrates from the spuds, high quality protein from the chickpeas, healthy omega 3 fats in the pesto, and your essential greens in the beans and herbs, it really is the perfect plant-based meal in a bowl. Platter up a serving of this with some simple leafy greens and you've got an excellent mid-week meal, with enough for lunch the next day!
The Perfect Plant-Based Plate
When you're considering how to construct the optimal plant-based plate, I like to think along the lines of the following:
- 1/2 plate = veges (green, red, orange, purple)
- 1/4 plate = complex carbohydrates (wholegrains, root veges)
- 1/4 plate = plant protein (beans, legumes, tofu, tempeh, nuts or seeds)
- A shot glass of healthy fats (nuts, seeds, avocado, plant oils)
While this is not set fast in stone, it is a great general guideline to follow for your lunch and dinner meals. Snacks and breakfast will likely be a bit different, as most of us prefer to eat more fruit (rather than veges) at these times. If you're an active male or growing teenager, I would recommend adjusting these quantities to 1/3, 1/3, 1/3, but for most women these amounts work great for energy, satiety and optimal nutrition.
Now of course if you laid your plate out like this (measured into halves and quarters), life could get pretty boring. So I've illustrated below how this perfect plant-based plate might translate into a regular weekly meal. On the left you'll see the ingredients laid out in quarters, while on the right you'll see a much more exciting (and appetising) meal, with all those elements combined.
This Pesto Potato Salad is a great example of an easy-to-make meal that fulfils this optimal plant-based plate. It takes less than 20 minutes to make, so is ideal for those last minute mid-week dinner scrambles. Serve it warm for dinner, then pop any leftovers in a container for a delicious lunch the next day. Be sure to slightly undercook the potatoes and green beans, as they'll continue cooking slightly after you take them off the heat, and they taste best slightly crisp (you don't want pesto potato mush!). While the potatoes are cooking, whiz up your pesto and get the chickpeas ready, then add your green beans at the very end.
I highly recommend making a double batch of this pesto too, as it tastes lovely swirled through some pasta with kale and peas the next day (I'm in love with this delicious soy bean spaghetti here). I've used half extra virgin olive oil for a classic pesto flavour, with the other half chia seed oil. Chia oil is a lovely cold pressed oil with a very mild taste, and is one of the world's highest sources of omega 3 essential fatty acids (you can find the one I use in our store here). You could also use flaxseed, sacha inchi or hemp seed oil, all of which have similar omega 3 profiles, but have much stronger tastes so that will come through in your pesto. My favourite is the chia seed oil for this - I definitely recommend you try it out!
So there you go, an easy mid-week plant-based meal. I do hope you'll give it a go and love it as much as I do. And if you make yourself a pesto potatoey masterpiece, feel free to share it on Instagram; just tag me @begoodorganics and #begoodorganics so I can come stop by.
Sleep tight dear friends, and here's to including one more plant-based meal in your upcoming week!