by Faith Escher
I have found that one of the most frequently asked questions to a person on a plant-based diet is… “But how do you get enough protein?” The interesting thing is, in my journey with eating plant based, maintaining enough protein has not been one of my struggles. The reason for this is that there are a myriad of accessible vegetables and grains that provide adequate protein.
While some people may genuinely be concerned about their protein intake, I think that more often than not, when people ask that question, they are really saying, something along these lines: is eating healthy satisfying? How hearty can veggies really get? Don’t you just want something to sink your teeth into? How do you get vegetables to taste so delicious that they are enough for you? Do you just have sides and salads all the time, or do you eat a main course?
Every now and then, I hear people say that they would eat plant-based more often but they don’t always feel satisfied or full after eating plant-based meals. Often, rumor says that vegetable based foods are not substantial enough or filling enough to really provide the strength and satisfaction that we look for in foods. People truly want and need a full and balanced meal, but sometimes they just don’t know how to create what they need without centralizing meat.
For me, the easiest way to start eating healthfully and balanced while feeling truly full and satisfied was stuffing vegetables. Stuffed foods are so hearty; they are full of healthy carbohydrates from the grains, vitamins from the fresh colorful vegetables, and protein from your favorite protein source (i.e. tofu, protein packed veggies or beans), so after you eat them, your body feels satisfied and full from your healthy meal.
I love stuffed foods because they are so satisfyingly delicious! They are the perfect unified blend of flavors: spicy cayenne pepper, sweet caramelized onions, fire roasted bell peppers, and a pinch of salt, plus a fun variety of textures: crispy veggies, chewy grains, and soft edible bowl-like mushrooms.
That being said, this week, I want to dispel the myth that eating plant based will leave you hungry for more, and empower you with healthy and satisfying options that you can eat till you are satisfied. I hope you enjoy the stuffed veggie recipes I have collected for you!
Total Budget: $100 or less
All recipes serve 4
NOTE: Garlic (2) = how many recipes the ingredient garlic is used in. For example, “Garlic (2)” means we will be using garlic in two of our recipes for this week.
The Shopping List For All 5 Dinners:
- 1 Bag of brown basmati rice – $3.49 (2)
- 1 Box of whole wheat Israeli couscous – $4.50 (1)
- 17 oz Grapeseed oil – $3.79 (4)
- 4 Portobello mushrooms – $3.99 (1)
- 12 oz Package vegan soy chorizo – $1.99 (1)*
- 4 Yellow onions – $3.96 (4)
- 1 Small purple onion – $0.79 (1)
- 2 Large or 4 small eggplants – $5.98 (1)
- 4 Large zucchini – $5.98 (1)
- 1 Large or garlic bulb – $0.50 cents each (4)
- 2 Limes – 39 cents each $0.78 (1)
- 1 Bunch of fresh parsley – $1.00 per bunch (2)
- 1 Carrot – $0.55 (1)
- 1 Small bag of pumpkin seeds/pepitas – $1.00-$2.99 (1)
- 16 oz. Cherry tomatoes – $2.29 (1)
- 1 Bunch of asparagus – $2.29 (1)
- 1 Bag of tortilla chips – $2.00 (1)
- 6 Ripe avocados – $5.00 (2)
- 4 Poblano peppers – $2.00 (1)
- 2 15-ounce can pinto beans – $1.78 (2)
- 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans – $0.89 (1)
- 1 Bunch of fresh cilantro – $0.99 (2)
- 1 Bunch of Spinach – $2.50 (1)
- 1 Jar of salsa – $2.50 (1)
- Hot sauce/chipotle tabasco – $2.98 (1)
- 1 Bag of peas – $1.89 (1)
- 2 Red bell peppers – $2.00 (2)
- 4-6 Large ripe tomatoes – $5.00 (1)
- Kalamata olives – $3.99 (1)
- 3 oz Of cashews – $4.00 (1)
- Paprika – $2.59 (1)
*Soy chorizo is usually found in the refrigerated section of the produce aisle, you will often find it near the tofu.
$82.59-$88 *Prices may fluctuate depending on tax, store, sale and season. I paid $85.18 this week.
If you followed us over the last few weeks you already have the following; however, if this is your first week you will need to make these additional purchases (appx $15.75) or substitute with ingredients you have in your cupboard.
- Salt and Pepper shakers – $3.49 (5) *Week 10 – The Whole Bowl
- Ground cumin spice – $4.99 (2) Week 7 – Breakfast for Dinner
- Turmeric (optional) – $3.25 (1) Week 7 – Breakfast for Dinner
- Dried oregano – $1.83 (1) Week 8 – A Pinch of Thyme
- Chipotle powder – $2.19 (1) Week 7 – Breakfast for Dinner
Recipe No. 1
Vegan Stuffed Poblano Peppers | Cook Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Source: The Minimalist Baker | Link to instructions
- 12 cups water *12, see recipe 🙂
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1 Tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup chunky red or green salsa, plus more for topping
- 1/4 cup cilantro, plus more for serving
- 4 poblano peppers, skin on
- 1 tsp grapeseed, olive or coconut oil
- 1 15-ounce can pinto beans, lightly drained (if unsalted, add additional salt)
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- Sea salt to taste
For topping optional*
- Hot sauce
- Fresh cilantro
- Sliced avocado
Note: *This dish provides links to two additional recipes for sauces, the “Vegan Green Chili Queso” and the “Creamy Avocado Cilantro Dressing.” Both are delicious additions to the recipe and are highly recommended; however, they are not included in the budget, recipe or shopping lists. If your budget and time allow for flexibility, I encourage you to check those out as well and plan accordingly.
Recipe No. 2
Israeli Cous Cous Stuffed Eggplant | Cook Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Source: Citnutirionally, by Chelsey | Link to instructions
- 4 small eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, divided
- ½ cup whole wheat Israeli cous cous, dry
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon water
- 1 ½ cups assorted vegetables, chopped (I used asparagus, peas and bell peppers)
- 1 cup white cannellini beans or chickpeas
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
Note: The recipe suggests that if you are not particularly fond of eggplant, you can use the same recipe and instead stuff an acorn squash, a bell pepper or any other vegetable that you love…don’t feel restricted to the recipe if you prefer a different palate. Check out the link for more ideas. Also, a cooking note, I used fresh garlic instead of adding garlic powder to the shopping list, since fresh garlic was on the shopping list.
Recipe No. 3
Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes | Cook Time: 1 Hour
Source: The Cheating Vegan, adapted from the Everyday Vegetarian | Link to instructions
- 6 large, ripe tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup basmati rice
- White wine, vegetable broth, or water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Note: Since recipe 1 called for brown rice, and recipe 3 calls for basmati rice, I decided that brown basmati rice would be the perfect compromise! Most stores will sell brown basmati rice, so I strongly suggest that option! Also, this recipe allows you to choose between white wine, vegetable broth or water…use whichever is most accessible to you, I personally used water.
Recipe No. 4
Soyrizo-Stuffed Mushrooms | Cook Time: 25 minutes
Source: Jackie of Vegan Yack Attack | Link to instructions
- 1 cup mashed avocado
- 3 tablespoons diced red onion
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 4 large portobello caps stems removed
- 12 ounce package vegan soyrizo organic
- 15 ounce can pinto beans rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup crushed Beanfields Jalapeño Nacho Chips divided (see note)
- 1/4 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons roasted pepitas
Note: This recipe calls for a special brand of “Beanfields Jalapeno Nacho Chips;” however, if like me you were unable to find this variety, you can buy your favorite bag of tortilla or corn chips.
Recipe No. 5
Vegan Stuffed Baked Zucchini | Cook Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Source: Food.com | Link to instructions
- 2 ounces wild rice, cooked according to package directions
- 4 large zucchini
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium carrot, grated
- 3 ounces cashew nuts, lightly salted and chopped
- salt and pepper
Note: For this recipe, I also used the brown basmati rice instead of wild rice in order to keep the shopping list less complicated.
Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved stuffed foods! I remember the first time I had a stuffed mushroom…it was thanksgiving and my cousin made these amazing savory herb stuffed mushrooms! That day, I fell in love with the concept of making a vegetable the vessel for some amazing and delectable interfusion.
One chef and recipe writer, Yotam Ottolenghi, speaks about stuffed foods in this way, “I get great pleasure from stuffed foods, from an apple strudel to a vegetable samosa, from a whole roasted bird with a sweet and savory stuffing to a vine leaf filled with rice and spices.” I hope that you also have great pleasure in eating this week’s stuffed recipes. Have fun while you stuff the food, and eat till you are stuffed…well, satisfied.
The Cheating Vegan. (2015, June 9). Vegan Stuffed Tomatoes. Retrieved March 22, 2017,
from turniptheoven.com website: http://turniptheoven.com/vegan-stuffed-tomatoes/
Chelsey, & Citnutritionally. (2015, September 28). Israeli Cous Cous Stuffed Eggplant.
Retrieved March 22, 2017, from citnutritionally.com website:
food.com. (N.D.). Vegan Stuffed Baked Zucchini. Retrieved March 22, 2017, from food.com
Shultz, D. (N.D.). Vegan Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Retrieved March 22, 2017, from
TheMinimalistBaker.com website: http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-stuffed-poblano-peppers/
Sobon, J. (2017, February 14). Soyrizo-Stuffed Mushrooms. Retrieved March 22, 2017, from
veganyackattack.com website: http://veganyackattack.com/2016/05/11/soyrizo-stuffed-mushrooms/