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By: Samanta Roseme Posted: Feb 14th, 2022
NursePower Empowers Nurses

Vegetarian Meals: Adding Variety and Simplicity Are Keys to Success

If you are not already cooking vegetarian then your repertoire might be limited to raw veggies and bagged salad. And that gets old really fast.

So this week, I’m going to share an easy, tasty meal for every time of the day. I’m going to give you variety and simplicity so you can start eating healthier today.


Breakfast: Salted Caramel Oatmeal

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Okay, this one is a little bit of a psyche-out because there isn’t actually any salted caramel, just the flavor of it produced from the natural sweetness of Medjool dates, which you can find pre-packaged in the produce section of most major grocery stores.

Combined with heart-healthy, fiber-rich steel-cut oats and you’ve got a perfect winter breakfast that warms you and fuels your morning.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of steel-cut oats 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 16 Medjool dates, chopped (buy the pitted dates)
  • Walnuts or sliced almonds (optional)
  • Chopped apple or berries (optional)

Here’s what to do:

  1. Bring the water, salt, and dates to a boil. Stir in the oats and cook on low for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep the oats from sticking to the bottom of your pot. (I always follow the specific cooking instructions for whatever oats I buy, just to be sure)
  2. Serve immediately. I like to add walnuts, half a banana, and half an apple into mine but you can choose the fruits and nuts of your choice. I also will add a splash of my favorite milk to cool it slightly so I can eat it quickly!


Mid-Morning Snack: Garbanzo-Stuffed Mini Peppers

This crunchy, flavorful snack is really perfect for anytime of the day when you just need a quick bite. Make more than you need for a single snack and store the rest in the fridge for when you go searching for something to snack on.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bag of mini sweet peppers, halved lengthwise
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 tbsps cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsps water
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro

Here’s what to do:

  1. In a dry, small skillet, toast cumin seeds over medium heat until aromatic.
  2. Transfer to a small food processor and add beans, water, salt, cilantro, and vinegar. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Spoon into pepper halves. Garnish with any remaining cilantro

Lunch: Vegan Superfood Grain Bowls

A lunch filled with bread or other simple carbs will make us feel sluggish the rest of the day. Instead, try this easy-to-make vegan superfood grain bowl that you can easily food prep for the whole week. This recipe makes four servings so that’s four lunches for you or two for you and two for your sweetie — who needs to support you in your healthy eating!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 oz (1 cup) cooked quinoa — 1 microwavable pouch works easily
  • 1 package (5 oz) baby kale
  • 1 package (8 oz) refrigerated, cooked beets, sliced (or 2 cups from grocery store salad bar)
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (in freezer section)
  • 1 medium avocado, quartered
  • ½ cup unsalted, toasted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup hummus (plain or flavored)
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice

Here’s what to do:

  1. Prepare quinoa and set aside to cool.
  2. Prepare the dressing by mixing hummus and lemon juice. Thin with water until desired consistency. Pour into four small condiment containers.
  3. Divide baby kale among 4 lunch containers. Top each with ½ cup cooled quinoa, ½ cup sliced beets, ¼ cup edamame, 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, and a wedge of avocado.


Mid-Afternoon Snack: Garlic Garbanzo Bean Spread and Chips or Veggies

I always need something to eat between lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, I’m still programmed to reach for those after-school cookies. So I like a snack with a little crunch — something that is healthy but still lets me feel like I’m getting a treat.

Super healthy, garlicky garbanzo bean spread with some corn tortilla chips hits the spot and doesn’t make me feel guilty afterward. Keep a container of it in your fridge and a bag of Late July Chia & Quinoa tortilla chips in the pantry and you’re ready to go. Of course, you can also dip sliced carrots, cucumbers, and other vegetables if you prefer.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 green onion, cut in 3 pieces
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp minced parsley

Here’s what to do:

  1. Combine the ingredients in a food processor until blended. Transfer to a container and refrigerate. (Does it get any easier than that?)

Dinner: Penne with Veggies and Black Beans

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This hearty pasta dinner is soooo tasty and so healthy for you that you won’t even think about the pasta carbs. Make enough for leftovers and you’ve got future lunches that reheat superbly in the microwave.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Penne pasta (or your shape of choice)
  • ⅓ cup sliced zucchini
  • ⅓ cup sliced carrot
  • 4 medium mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ tsp each of dried basil, oregano, and thyme
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup sliced tomatoes, cherry or roma
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsps shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsps minced parsley

Here’s what to do:

  1. Cook pasta according to instructions. Meanwhile, saute vegetables (minus tomatoes) and seasonings in 1 tbsp of olive oil until crisp-tender. (I like a little browning on my veggies so I typically saute a little longer but it’s up to your personal preference). Stir in black beans.
  2. Drain pasta and add to vegetable mixture. Add tomato slices, remaining olive oil, salt to taste, and mix. Top with parmesan and parsley and serve.


NursePower Empowers Nurses!

In all of our blog articles, we hope to give you content that you can use. Over the past few months, we’ve been getting requests for more vegetarian meals so we’ve added a whole new Vegetarian Meals Series — this was #2. 

If you have some recipe needs or requests, please let us know in the comments.

Our next set of recipes will be fun vegetarian recipes for movie nights, parties, or dinners when you want a special treat.

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About Samanta Roseme, RN BSN

Samanta Descombes Roseme, also known as Sam, is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) at Assured Quality Homecare (ASQ). As the CVO, Sam is responsible for setting ASQ’s vision, mission, and goals and ensuring that the company is aligned. Sam brings in over 8 years of experience in the Healthcare field and has a Bachelor’s degree in Registered Nursing from the University of Connecticut. In 2016 Samanta, along with her husband Caleb, founded Assured Quality Homecare with a vision of providing high-quality, trained, and compassionate caregivers to the aging community of New London, CT. Samanta and Caleb are raising three beautiful children, and as a mother and woman of faith, you can find Samanta volunteering at her church in her free time.


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