Easy low waste vegan family dinners

What we’re eating this week: easy low waste vegan family dinners


Our shopping is almost back to pre-pandemic days in terms of packaging – yee haw!  We’re still getting a few packaged goods in paper & cans.  We’ve pretty much avoided plastic for plastic-free July this year :)!

We’re using these new tags on the bags too so we can write down the PLU#.  LIFE.CHANGING.  You can get a tag on a bag if you want to order No Trace veggie bags HERE.

These meals are SIMPLE, VEGAN, LOW WASTE, & FAMILY FRIENDLY.  If you’re looking for gourmet vegan, you’ve come to the wrong place ;).


So here’s what we’re eating:

  • Vegan chili with beans & TVP.  First soak black beans in water, and pintos & kidneys in separate water.  You can cook the pinto & kidney beans together, & black beans on their own so they don’t overcook.  In a big soup pot, sauté onions, carrots, celery. Add lots of chili spices.  After a little sauté, add the beans, some canned tomatoes, small TVP granules & veggie broth.  Cook another 20 minutes, then season to taste.  We ate it with avocado chunks & croutons on top – so yummy!


  • Red lentil soup with fresh corn, carrots, onions & rice, toast.  This is an old standby in our house. I’ve written the recipe HERE.  The only difference this time is that I added fresh corn to the soup just before we sat down to eat.  We love to pair it with rice or toast, plus roasted cauliflower.


  • Broccoli stir fry with large TVP chunks & brown rice.  This is perfect for using up whatever veggies are still in your fridge.  Sauté onions, carrots, & celery.  Add broccoli and any other faster cooking veggies.  Add greens like chard or kale at the very end. Cook until all the veggies are just tender.  Cook the TVP separately.  Shred purple cabbage.  Make a simple teriyaki-style sauce with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar (or any sweetener), sesame oil, onion powder, & ginger (fresh or powdered).  Then toss the cooked veggies & cooked TVP in a large bowl with the teriyaki-style sauce.  Top with shredded cabbage & sesame seeds. Delicious and fast.


  • Pasta with ratatouille.  Takes a little more time, but so worth it. Slice thin slices of zucchini & yellow squash, mushrooms, & eggplant.  Toss each type of veggie in a little olive oil, salt, & pepper, keeping all the veggies separate.  Pour a little crushed tomatoes to coat the bottom of the pan.  Then create a ring of veggies, alternating the types of veggies, to get a rainbow look.  Keep going around, towards the center, until you fill the entire bottom of the pan. Bake for about 45 minutes on 375F, until the veggies are cooked all the way through.

  • Easy vegan mac n’ cheese.  Super easy last minute meal.  I like Nora Cooks Vegan recipe here for an easy cashew cheese sauce.  Pour it over cooked pasta & you’re done.  You can dress it up with bread crumbs or chopped parsley on top if you’re feeling fancy.  We usually serve it with roasted veggies on the side.  It’s perfect for next day school lunches too.


Each of these meals comes together with very little packaging. or in paper/cans/glass (NO PLASTIC!).  We get most of these ingredients from the bulk bins & fresh produce aisle.  Staff of Life & New Leaf in Santa Cruz have most of these dry goods in bulk bins.


What are your go-to low waste meals?  Leave a comment below!

Thanks for reading!



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4 thoughts on “Easy low waste vegan family dinners”

  1. My dear Liz, you already know this but Indian cooking has many vegetarian recipes too.

    Keep doing the great work you are doing. You inspired me to go to a sewing class. 😉

    Love and best wishes to you and the family,
    (a.k.a. Ayesha’s mom)

    1. Thank you so much Kusum! That is wonderful to hear! I love the amazing vegetarian Indian dishes!

  2. Great ideas for low waste dinners, Liz! I am vegetarian, rather than vegan, but I make very similar dishes – lentil curry with coconut milk is my current favourite.
    Love your website, it’s very inspiring to me as a fellow eco living fan.

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