Friday, April 12, 2013

Month of Vegan & Lenten Menus, with Recipes

Planning a Repeating Month of Vegan Meals Makes
Meal Planning a Breeze!
A while back I did a post on menu planning for a year - it turned out to be a pretty popular post. All sorts of blogs and websites discuss meal planning, and a lot of people seem to think they
should do it, but many have trouble getting it done. For me, it saves time, money and stress - so what's not to love? But, I don't like having to re-do it every week - that's a hassle!

While I sometimes do menu planning for a year, I also like to follow this simpler method. I make a plan for four weeks that can be repeated over and over. It can be used three ways: 1) strictly go through the schedule, using the days in order 2) if you don't like so much structure, but still want to enjoy the benefits, shop for a week's menu, and use it to glance at on those nights when you don't know what to cook, knowing that you have what you need on hand, or 3) use it for planning bulk cooking menus, and simply grab the meal you want out of the freezer whenever you want it.

I find it pretty easy to keep groceries on hand to make most of these recipes without a special shopping trip. I keep most of the pantry ingredients on hand all of the time, then I simply need to shop for produce. Since none of the recipes use meat and dairy which must always be served fresh, many of these recipes can be prepared without running out to the grocery for those basics.

This is my own perpetual Vegan menu. Our whole family uses this during times like Lent when we all eat Vegan meals (for those of us who are Orthodox Christians, we are currently in Lent). I have a separate menu for those times when some of us eat differently (and perhaps I'll post that another time.)

I find this menu format the easiest to use- it is a simple word processing document, so I can cut and paste things where I need them. If we eat out, or I want to try a different recipe one of the nights, no problem! I've seen all sorts of fancy, artistic menu planners, with color coding and "pieces" to move about to different nights, but to me nothing beats the simplicity and ease-of-use of a basic computer document. (Not to mention, that if I had something with pieces, my daughter would think it was the perfect toy - and soon the pieces would be lost!)

When planning a month's menu, I like to think of a theme for a day of the week and follow that. For Omnivores, that might mean Beef on Monday and Pork on Tuesday. For me, it might mean that one day each week is Soup, or Mexican, or Italian, or Pasta, or Lentils, or Greek, or Grains, or Something-over-Rice - well, you get the idea! Then, it is easy to fill in a month of Wednesdays, for example, with my chosen theme. It is also easy to bulk-cook a whole month of Wednesday meals in an hour or two. (I refer to this as "Vertical Meal Planning" - but I printed this menu portrait-style, so when you look at it here, it will actually be horizontal. I did that just to be confusing ; )

 I like to offer myself options for a given night - usually one more time consuming and one simpler, one for hot weather & one for cool weather, or two menus that are too similar to serve close together. I also plan things according to our typical schedule for a day - for instance, on Sundays we often have friends come to lunch right after Church - so I might plan something that can be made in advance or in the Slow Cooker.

I have a print-out of this menu hanging inside one of my kitchen cupboards - just open the door for a menu at a glance.

Maybe this perpetual menu will work for you. But, if it doesn't, you might enjoy making a perpetual menu of your family's favorite recipes.

I typically serve a variety of things with meals that are not listed here - maybe salad, slaw, bread, fruit, a pickle & olive tray, and dips or spreads, but I don't list these things on my menu in addition to the entrĂ©e. I think of them as accessories!

Most of the entrees here have already been listed on my blog, and so I provided a link. Some of them are still to come - If I remember, I'll add more links as time goes on.

(Bread, Salad & Fruit are Assumed)
Italian Rice Salad with Red Lentil Soup
Black Bean Soup or
*Tabbouleh, Lebanese Bean Salad, Dolmades, Hummus
* Lentil Rice (or other) Salad with Veggie Burgers
Three Bean Dal, Fattoush or Salad
Mediterranean Eggplant over Rice  or
* Stuffed Eggplant with Salad
* Chili-Topped Potatoes with Salad
Tofu Tamale Pie or
Kibbeh or
*Mushroom Barley Soup
*Split Pea Soup
Giant Beans
Veggie Burgers & Oven Fries
*White Beans (prepared the same way)



  1. Anna, I could never follow a menu plan. I am not that organized and unless it is a dried legume dish that needs soaking overnight, the rest I decide when I go to the farmers' market or ther supermarket.

    1. I understand, Ivy : )

      I like this method because it's there for me when I'm out of ideas, but when I want to be spontaneous, I can be.

  2. Your plan is so inspiring! I like the idea of "theme" nights and that is sort of the method I use right now (although I still tend to go with the flow quite often...). I just have to tell you, I *adore* your blog, having newly found it, I have just pinned about 10 of your recipes! I'm particularly loving your "care and feeding of omnivores" info. I personally prefer to eat vegan/vegetarian the majority of the time and I struggle with this when it's time to feed my family, and how to make meals that please all of us. Your blog has so many great ideas and flexible recipes that solve this sort of internal battle for me :) - so thank you!!!

    1. Thank you SO much! I am so delighted that you like & share my posts. When I talk to people who want to be Vegan, usually their number 1 problem is how to cook for everyone - so I'm absolutely thrilled that you're finding my posts helpful with that challenge : )

      Welcome, and come back often! : )

  3. So many great ideas in this post! More importantly I see many recipe links I want to check out. Thanks for sharing and linking up :)

    1. Thanks a bunch, Jill. It's great to have you drop by - I really enjoy your weekly healthy menu planning linkup : )

  4. great ideas.........Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!

    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    1. Thanks, Kathy - I just linked up. Thanks for hosting : )

  5. Your calendar is such a great idea and I love the links. I will be checking them out later today after morning chores.


Please, DO chime in! : )

If you want to share a link to a pertinent and supportive post of your own that directly relates to my post (if, for instance, you also have a great vegan pancake recipe, or a post about Christmas) I don't mind a bit!

I encourage any questions about methods, measurements, or cooking times, and comments about typos, broken links, mistakes, omissions, etc. I also welcome thoughtful questions - even if you disagree with me.

I often take a few days to post your comment, and a few after that to reply. Please don't think I'm ignoring you if my response is slow - I'm just not always connected to technology. (at the current moment, I cannot manage to reply to posts on my blog at all -despite repeated attempts to do so. I DO appreciate your comments, and hopefully this glitch will be fixed soon! )

Delighted to have you here! Post away!

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