The Importance of Meal Planning + Whole Food Plant Based Paella (oil-free)

February 13, 2021 / Molly Patrick /

whole food plant based Meal Planning + Paella

When we make decisions in advance, those decisions are usually well planned and they align with our goals. When we make split-second decisions because we didn’t plan ahead, those decisions tend to put out fires and lack big picture strategy. 

This applies to most areas of life, but it is especially true for how you eat. 

Following a plant based meal plan is a game-changer because it allows you to make decisions about your food in advance. 

Let’s say your goal is to eat a healthy plant based diet because you want to feel energized all day, you want to sleep well at night, you want to fit comfortably in your clothes, and you want to feel really good and full of life. High fives, those are all excellent reasons to eat the plant-colored rainbow! 

Let’s say you sit down Friday morning after breakfast, and you plan out your food for the week. You can plan with your goals in mind. You aren’t stressed out. You aren’t hungry. You are excited about your meals the following week. You are relaxed because you have a plan. You feel awesome because you are taking charge of your life and being intentional with your choices. 

You make your list, you go grocery shopping, you spend a few hours in your kitchen batch cooking, and voila, a week’s worth of food is in your fridge, just waiting for you to get hungry and eat. 

Now let’s say it’s later that week and you’re driving home from work. You’re damn hungry and tired and cranky and all you want to do is put delicious food in your mouth without having to think about it.  

THIS is why we make decisions in advance. 

Because instead of stopping for takeout or ordering pizza, you drive home, open your fridge, heat up some delicious plant based food that you made over the weekend, and you eat.

You don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to do much. You don’t have to make any stops. You don’t have to spend money. You don’t eat food that you later regret. You don’t have to compromise your goals in order to eat dinner. 

You don’t have to make decisions because you already made them last week. This is a beautiful thing because it allows you to be in control of your food instead of food being in control of you. 

Now let’s take this a step further. 

Imagine having a new whole food plant based meal plan already created for you every single Friday. Imagine the recipes were the most delicious whole food plant based recipes in the world, so you KNOW they will be delicious.  

Imagine you didn’t have to spend a few hours deciding what meals you were going to eat next week and what could be cooked ahead of time on your batching day. Imagine you didn’t have to spend another hour making a grocery list, and then hoping that the portions would all work out. 

Imagine all of this work being done for you. Not only would your food decisions be made in advance (SO powerful), but you wouldn’t have to spend your time making those decisions. 

Instead, you could do other things, like go for a walk, call a friend, read a book, play with your kid or grandkid, do some yoga, have sex, take a bath, write a letter, work on a project, write, paint, dance, get that nagging thing checked off your to-do list, so many things!

This is all about making decisions in advance and then working smarter, not harder. 

When you’re ready to have someone else make the food decisions in advance for you, and do all of the meal planning, we’re here for you. This is what we do best. We’re really damn good at our job so that you have time to focus on other things. 

Our weekly plant based Meal Plans will change your life. Sign up here and see for yourself. 

Do you follow our weekly Meal Plans? I would love, love, love to hear from you in the comments below about how they have changed your life!

whole food plant based Meal Planning + Paella

Whole Food Plant Based Paella

Makes about 8 cups
Author: Molly Patrick

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided (590ml)
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion (75g)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice (225g)
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (about 10 turns)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (more if you like spicy)
  • 3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 210g / 1/2 pound)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5oz)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (seeds and stem removed and discarded)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips and then cut in half (seeds and stem removed and discarded)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed and coarsely chopped (14oz)
  • 1 cup frozen peas (135g)
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped (5g)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • Heat a large stock pot over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the broth (60ml) and the onion and garlic. Cook for about 4 minutes, until all of the broth is absorbed and the onions and garlic are nice and cooked. 
  • Add the rice, paprika, turmeric, salt, black pepper, cayenne and stir. Add the mushrooms and canned tomatoes and stir again. Add the remaining broth (2 1/4 cups / 530ml) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to very low, cover the pot with a lid, and gently simmer for about 30 minutes. 
  • Add the green and yellow peppers, place the lid back on the pot and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, until the rice is fully cooked and most of the liquid is absorbed. 
  • Turn off the heat, add the artichoke hearts, peas, parsley and Worcestershire sauce and stir. Cover the pot and let rest for 5 minutes.

Notes

Serve with lemon wedges.

Wishing you a happy week. May it be filled with making decisions in advance. 

Xo
Molly

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Written by ex-boozer, ex-smoker, Co-founder, and CEO, Molly Patrick. They will help you eat more plants while throwing perfection down the garbage disposal.

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8 Comments

  1. Tomi on February 13, 2021 at 9:51 am

    Is this long-grain, short-grain, or basmati brown rice being used in this recipe?

    It looks good!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on February 14, 2021 at 9:30 am

      Hi Tomi!

      Short-grain rice would be most authentic, but it’s not necessary. As long as it’s brown rice, you’ll get the nutritional punch we’re going for here.

      We hope you enjoy!
      Stephanie

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Karen on February 16, 2021 at 10:46 am

      Hi Tomi – Long-grain brown rice was used in the recipe photos. ~Karen

  2. Ms. B on February 13, 2021 at 3:42 pm

    5 stars
    Just made this for dinner and YUM! It’s now in the normal rotation recipe book. We used long grain brown rice and an orange bell pepper in place of the green. So dang good.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on February 14, 2021 at 9:30 am

      Yes! We are all about substitutions at Team Dirty! Way to make it work!

      -Stephanie

  3. Annie Mouse on March 31, 2021 at 7:51 am

    I loved the meal plans – SO YUMMY

    But even working from home all the time, finding the time to commit to a day or two of work for it each week – not even working out how to break up the plan if I needed to just do a few meals, or one thing… it’s too much. I WANT to, but my body and other commitments just don’t allow for it. And that is a bummer.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl - Steph on March 31, 2021 at 8:43 am

      Hi Annie,

      Have you tried our new Simple Meal Plans? They’re designed for maximum efficiency with all the Dirty flavor. Our state-of-the-art classroom makes it easy-peasy to adjust the portions in a meal plan so you only make what you want. You can find out more here and check out our free Trial of the Simple plans right here.

      If you have any questions, reach out to us.

      xo, Stephanie

  4. Caitlin on April 13, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    5 stars
    I really like this recipe – I did the Instantpot version, twice so far. The flavors and texture are great. I do have some feedback about the Instantpot recipe, though.

    (1) The part where you’re instructed to add the bell peppers and pressure cook for an extra minute… that did NOT work out well for me. It gave me a food burn and even worse, the peppers got instantly soggy and basically dissolved into mush. The second time round, instead of putting the pressure back on after adding the bell peppers, I simply put the lid on the Instantpot, kept it on warm, and let it sit for 10 minutes. The bell peppers turned out nicely steamed with a bit of crunch to them.

    (2) I would recommend putting some information into the directions about how long to expect natural release to take after the 23 minutes of pressure. I didn’t want it to overcook, so I sat there and basically stared at it the whole time. I timed it the second time and weirdly – the natural release happened after 23 minutes! So… 23 minutes of pressure, and 23 minutes of release.

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