Usually this time of year I share healthy plant-based lunches and back-to-school recipes, or tips for getting organized. This year, I’m doing one better with back-to-school recipes and one wicked giveaway. WHY?
First, for fun! I wanted to give you all the opportunity to enjoy some free stuff. This isn’t a sponsored post. I simply wanted to send out some freebie love to you guys. I reached out to brands that I use and love, and so grateful for their generosity of sample products. We all need a little fun in life, and receiving giveaways of quality products and plant-based foods is always fun in my book. See what I did there? Punny, I’m also giving away Plant-Powered Families.
Second, to bring you lunchbox solutions. Every week I hear from parents looking for ideas for healthy lunches. How to pack healthy plant-based lunches… how to work around nut-free restrictions in schools when packing vegan and plant-based lunches… how to simplify our food preparation and keep lunches fun for our kids!
I dedicated a chapter to packing lunches in Plant-Powered Families, and often it’s missed because the recipes stand out being front and centre in the book. But, that chapter is packed (I did it again, so punny) with information from my years of experience as a mom of three weegans. Not only have I packed vegan lunches for my kids for 13+ years (and hubby for longer), these lunches have always been nut-free. Until our kids enter high-school, most schools enforce a nut-free policy. I have solutions in that chapter for you.
Today, I’m going to share an excerpt from that chapter as well as a recipe that you can use in weekly lunches. Then, I’ll hit you up with the giveaway details!
Plant-Based Lunches Recipe: Hummus 101
This seems like such an obvious recipe. Hummus. Traditional hummus. But that’s why I’m sharing this recipe. It is basic and versatile. Plus, many of you tell me this recipe is a favorite for you, because the flavors are subtle enough for kiddos, but interesting enough for adults.
It can be easily modified to include other flavor perks like spices, olives, or herbs. Best of all, it can be used in lunches in many ways (see my excerpt from the lunches section of PPF excerpt below for ideas).
HUMMUS 101 from Plant-Powered Families
- 4 cups cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained, if using canned
- 1/4 cup tahini or more, if you like it even nuttier!
- 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast optional; see note
- 1 medium clove garlic sliced or quartered (see note)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4-5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
- 2-4 tbsp water
In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, tahini, nutritional yeast, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the water, and puree until smooth, adding 1–2 tablespoons water to thin as desired. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times, and continue pureeing until very smooth. Season to taste with additional salt, black pepper, and/or lemon juice, and serve.
Nutritional Yeast Note: Classic hummus recipes do not include nutritional yeast. However, I have found that kids often like the cheesy flavor that it lends. If you are encouraging kids to eat more hummus, add the nutritional yeast—start with a bit less if you like, and adjust to taste! Garlic Note: Many traditional versions of hummus include a heavy amount of garlic. Children typically do not like the sting of raw garlic, so I have included a modest amount in this recipe. Feel free to adjust to your own tastes. Serving Suggestions: Serve with crudité, pita breads, or tortilla chips, or on Hummus Tortilla Pizzas, page 138.
Hummus in Plant-Based Lunches
I mentioned that PPF has a detailed section for packing healthy vegan lunches. For instance, how to replace standard ‘hot lunch’ foods for your kiddos, and how to switch up sandwich fillings, and use dietary staples in new ways: grains, potatoes, beans… and hummus! Here are some ideas for working hummus into plant-based lunches, excerpted from Plant-Powered Families, page 254:
Hummus Is a Food Group is one of my mantras. Jokingly, yes, but in reality I do use hummus like it’s a food group. I use not just traditional hummus, but all flavor variations that use different beans and seasonings. Some tips for preparing hummus:
- Make it yourself. Not only is it less expensive, but it also tastes far better. Most store-bought varieties have a noticeable citric acid taste, or are too spicy for kids. Make it fresh, and you will also be able to adjust the seasonings as you like.
- Make large batches. Refrigerate a portion, then freeze the remaining in portioned containers. Hummus freezes and thaws brilliantly!
- Make hummus a meal! It’s not just for dipping with pitas and veggies! Try hummus:
- as a sandwich spread
- on toast, topped with avocado
- in wraps with veggies, and other favorite fillings
- as a base layer on pizzas
- mixed with hot grains such as rice or into hot pasta
- dolloped on potatoes or sweet potatoes
- spooned in the center of pitted dates for a snack
- spread on rice or popcorn cakes for a snack
- thinned with a little water for a salad dressing
- thinned and mixed through hot pasta or as a sauce
- as a dip for steamed and roasted vegetables
- layered in lasagna or other casseroles
- in “grilled hummus sandwiches,” tucking in a few slices of avocado after heating
- spread in tortillas with spicy seasoning and cooked fajita-style
- as a layer in Savory Chickpea “Omelets”
Plant-Based Lunches: Giveaway
There are 10 prize packs, each valued at $350, totalling over $3500! Each pack includes:
Vega Gift Pack
I’ve written about Vega before, and I continue to love and use their products. Vega has a new on-the-go protein shake and it’s included in this gift pack. The full Vega prize includes a 12-pack of the new Vega Protein + Shake, a 12-pack of the Vega Protein+ Snack Bars – Chocolate Peanut Butter (I love these), and 1 Tub Vega One French Vanilla.
You can use those protein shakes to pack in your lunchbox, and the bars (that contain nuts) for after-school snacks running to activities. The vanilla powder is fabulous in green smoothies, and I also love it in this smoothie.
Que Pasa Foods & Nature’s Path Foods
I have a long love affair with Que Pasa and Nature’s Path products as well. For years I’ve bought the nut-free Nature’s Path granola bars for our girls’ plant-based lunches. In fact, the texture of those bars inspired my NO-BAKE GRANOLA BAR recipe from PPF. Then, there’s the Nature’s Path whole-grain cereals and waffles, they’ve been household staples for years. Nature’s Path has many vegan products – as does Que Pasa.
Recently I took a tour of the Que Pasa factory. Fascinating to see the process, and also to learn how deeply committed they are to organic, non-gmo ingredients and operating towards zero waste. I’ve talked about my love for their Twist of Lime Tortilla Chips – they are my absolute fave. Try packing them in lunches with the Hummus 101 recipe. Or just for straight up snacking! They also have vegan Ranch and Nacho chips. #hooahh!
Enjoy Life Foods
Many of you love my Oatmeal Banana Bites, Best Banana Bread, No-Bake Granola Bars, and Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Seed Oat Bars. Yep, I’ve baked a lot of these over the years. My favorite chocolate chips to use in these recipes is Enjoy Life. Not only allergen-free so perfectly suited to plant-based lunches, they also have various sizes. The mini-chips are my fave. Fave!
Enjoy Life has many other foods that are absolutely terrific for lunchboxes, and for this giveaway they are including all flavors of their mini-cookies and their chocolate chip snack packs. I won’t tell if you squirrel those chip packs away for yourself. 😬
Now you need a nifty, durable lunchbox for all your plant-based lunches – enter LunchBots! We have the Bento trio, and I find it super convenient for our 8 year old. It’s stainless steel, durable – but not too heavy, and easy to clean. I think it’s the perfect size. The compartments are a good size for a main and two snack-y bits. This is a lunchbox that will last you for years.
How about more recipes and resources for your plant-based lunches?
Again, ten of you will receive a copy of Plant-Powered Families and a copy of my oil-free dressings ebook! PLUS…
a copy of Heather Nichold’s NEW Protein from Plants cookbook and her vegan meal planning ebook. These are recipes and resources that will serve you well for plant-based lunches, and also healthy meals and snacks on a regular basis.
K, what are we waiting for? Go ahead and enter here, I have 5 prize packs up for grabs. Then, visit Heather’s site on Friday for another recipe and more chances to win!