I've never been a good cook. I always took the easy route and would feed myself a grilled cheese or quick ramen noodles. Being home for the past four months has changed that. My husband is the one that used to cook for us, but once quarantine started and he had to work odd hours, I had to figure out a way to feed myself beyond my dear grilled cheese. It wasn't as if I was suddenly inspired to learn how to cook and couldn't wait to try new recipes, but more like I had to make some changes to the way I was eating. Once the shelter at home orders came late March, we were only supposed to be home for a couple weeks, and we took that as an excuse to eat pizza and drink beer every other day as if on vacation. Then the order extended for another two weeks, and so did our waist line. After almost a month of eating poorly, I told myself enough was enough. Quarantine could last months for all we knew (it did), and I couldn't keep eating the way I was.
Mid May I decided to try a new diet, vegan keto, and knew that it would only be successful if I started cooking my own meals. There was a lot of prepping and planing involved, and even though it was hard at first, I started enjoying my time in the kitchen and ultimately was able to create my own recipes from scratch. I definitely think that if it wasn't for the fact that I was home all the time, I would not have enjoyed cooking as much as I did, since some meals were very time consuming.
After a month and a half of doing the vegan keto diet, I decided to mix it up and switched to a 1,200 calorie vegan meal plan from Eating Well. I had never used their website for meal plans before, and I quickly became a fan. You can choose the meal plan that best fits your dietary needs, and they also have a grocery list that you can print or download to your phone. The recipes are very easy to follow and most importantly, delicious!
Enter the Mexican cabbage soup! One of the many recipes I tried but by far the one I am most proud of. Once I saw the recipe and the amount of ingredients, I was a bit intimidated. Plus, I had never cooked cabbage before, so I was worried if I was going to like it. It was a hit! My husband and I loved it and he said it was the most delicious dish I've cooked so far. I ended up omitting some of the ingredients that I didn't have/like, but 10/10 would recommend!
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
4 large cloves garlic, minced
8 cups sliced cabbage
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups water
15 ounce cooked black beans
¾ teaspoon salt
Vegan sour cream for garnish
Heat oil in a large soup pot (8-quart or larger) over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, bell pepper and garlic; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add cabbage; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more. Add tomato paste and cumin; cook, stirring, for 1 minute more.
Add broth, water, beans and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve garnished with vegan sour cream.
Click here for the original recipe.