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Ten weeks to plant-powered eating – Week 5

Last Modified: January 31, 2022

Nutrition & Recipes, Heart Health


This series was written and created by Sarah Mohrman, RDN, LD, MA, dietitian, program coordinator, PPG ­– Cardiology.

In Week 4, we gave the traditional lunch lineup a nutrient boost. This week, we’re going to focus on “planting” dinner plans.

Meal planning, whether plant-based or not, is the key to success for any healthy eating strategy. Take time each week to review your calendar and determine how much time you have for prepping, assembling and cooking meals each night. On the evenings when you may be short on time, utilize slow cookers, leftovers, pre-prepped veggies or simple meals that can be made quickly. The good news is that plant-based meals are much quicker to prepare and cook since you don’t have to wait until the meat is done. 

In a meal planning rut?  Use themes each week as a base, but change it up with new recipes, flavors or products to keep things interesting!

Soup-er Sunday   

Make a large batch of your favorite lentil or bean-based soup. Use this as either two suppers for the week or one supper and leftovers for lunch. You can refer back to the Vegetable Soup recipe provided last week to get started.

Build-a-Bowl Monday           

  • Start with a whole grain base (brown rice, quinoa, farro, bulger or whole grain pasta)
  • Add cooked and drained beans (kidney, black, garbanzo, pinto, white beans, lentils, edamame or baked tofu)
  • Add 1 cup cooked or raw leafy greens (kale, arugula, salad greens, collards, etc.)
  • Add 1 cup cooked or raw veggies (beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peppers, onions, squash, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, green onions, avocado, pico de gallo, etc.)
  • Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon nuts or seeds (sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, pecans, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, peanuts, etc.)
  • Add 1-3 teaspoons of spice, to taste (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, Italian seasoning etc.)
  • Sauce it up with 1-3 tablespoons salsa, sriracha sauce, low sodium coconut aminos, hummus etc.

For inspiration, this Mexican Quinoa Bowl will fill you up and impress everyone at the table.

Taco Tuesday           

Think outside the box for Taco Tuesday and make meals such as brown rice and black bean burritos, tofu tacos and grilled vegetable fajitas.

Pasta Night    

Choose whole grain pastas as a base to your pasta night or experiment with new versions of pasta, such as chickpea pasta or hearts of palm pasta. Pasta night can be a quick meal on a busy night. Try a simple vegetable lo mein or mushroom tetrazzini.  

Breakfast for Dinner 

Who doesn’t love a good breakfast meal for dinner? Liquid vegan egg substitute (such as the Just Eggs brand) can be used in many casseroles or to make quick vegetable omelets. Revisit our Week 3 post for a crowd-pleasing plant-based French toast.

Finally-Friday Pizza Night      

Pizza night at home is a cinch with whole wheat pita bread, topped with low sodium pizza sauce or even pesto, plant-based cheese and lots of your favorite veggies! In the warmer months, brush the pitas lightly with olive oil and put the pita pizzas on the grill. Quick pizzas can also be made on whole grain or sprouted grain English muffins in the toaster oven. Pair with a leafy green Italian salad.

Sammy Saturday       

Try a spin on sandwiches every Saturday. My family enjoys grilled garden veggie sandwiches, hummus quesadillas or these black bean burgers.


Recipe to try

Black Bean Burgers

½ medium yellow onion, rough chopped
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 15-ounce cans no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained, divided
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons freshly chopped parsley 
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons water. Blend until mixture is thick, creamy and egg-like)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup breadcrumbs (gluten free breadcrumbs)
Fresh ground pepper
6 whole wheat hamburger buns
Optional toppings: avocado slices, low-fat mayo, or plain vegan yogurt mixed with chipotle pepper sauce

1. Heat grill or grill pan over medium-low heat.

2. In a food processor, pulse onion and garlic until finely chopped. Add 1 can black beans, cilantro, parsley, flax egg and red pepper flakes and pulse to combine.

3. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, add the remaining can of black beans and the breadcrumbs. Season with pepper, to taste, and mix until well combined.

4. Divide mixture into 6 portions and form into patties. Place on hot grill over medium-low heat and cook for 6 minutes each side or until heated through.

 5. Toast hamburger buns; top burgers with avocado slices, low-fat mayo, or plain yogurt mixed with chipotle pepper sauce.

Makes 6 burgers

Nutrition Facts (1 black bean burger without bun): 165 calories, 1g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 20mg sodium, 30g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 8g protein

For more recipes, tips and inspiration on living a heart-healthier lifestyle, like Parkview Heart Institute Her Heart on Facebook.

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