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Easy Vegan Lunch Options for Students

Easy Vegan Lunch Options for Students

Happy FriYAY everyone!! I hope that you all have some fun weekend plans. It’s snowing here in good old Ohio! How lovely. Yeah one week it’s 70 degrees and I pull out my spring clothes but the next day it ends up looking like Mt. Everest, so I’m not even bothering until June. Sooooo anyways, I love this new post because I think that it can appeal to a lot of people, you know, the kind with books always in their hands. The ones who stress out at 2 am about the test they have to take at 8 am. The ones who wake up every morning and work their bums off day in and day out to be successful. The ones who quickly inhale protein bars and anything convenient because they know there is only so much time before their next class. STUDENTS. 

I teamed up with two of my awesome blogger friends, Sydney and Haley, to provide you with three vegan on the go lunches for students. We know all too well how difficult it can be to maintain a healthy lifestyle while being a student. It’s so hard, but there are some really easy and tasty plant-based on the go options. I hope that you like ours!

  1. Yours Truly

Easy Vegan Lunch Options for Students

1/2 cup Black Bean & Quinoa Pasta
1/3 cup Garbanzo Beans
1/4 cup Marinara Sauce
1/2 Large Sweet Potato
Steamed Kale
I love this on the go lunch because it’s easy to eat in between classes and it’s super delicious. Black bean & quinoa pasta with garbanzo beans and marinara sauce is a delicious and easy combination to put together. Adding some sort of green is always a must in my lunches and I love steaming organic kale in vegetable broth! Sweet potatoes add substance and balance out the savory foods. I have one piece of fruit in addition to this, which usually happens to be a banana. This lunch is versatile too. You could swap out the pasta with brown rice or quinoa, and it would still taste awesome. If you’re not a kale fan, swiss chard would be super yummy! Same with the sweet potato, you could definitely opt for a russet potato, perhaps with a little guac on top.


 2. Haley from Hungry Haley

Easy Vegan Lunch Options for Students


2 slices cracked wheat sourdough bread
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp. hummus
1/2 avocado, mashed
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 zucchini, chopped and steamed
1 tomato, sliced thinly
spinach or lettuce
Optional: mustard, spices, hot sauce, vegan cheese, etc.

  1. You know how to assemble a sandwich, right? Good, then we can stop here and move on. 

This is my go-to meal because 1) sandwiches pack and stay well in my backpack, 2) it doesn’t involve much actual cooking, and 3) I feel perfectly satisfied with this sandwich and an apple for lunch. I always pack a few extras like an apple, some carrots, and a chewy sweet That’s It fruit bar, just in case I need something sweet 🙂 


 3. Sydney from syd_healthyn’fit 



1/2 cup brown rice
1/4 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup black beans
dash of liquid amino
1/2 avocado with turmeric powder 
I love this lunch because it is a great balance of complex carbs, healthy fats, and protein. The mixture of the brown rice and legumes gives you a complete protein source and keeps your hunger at bay throughout your day. The avocado also helps in keeping you full and giving your body those healthy brain fats that they need everyday, especially in school. You can always substitute the grain for a different grain or pick a different protein, but this is by far one of my favorite combinations. Quick, easy, and delicious!


I hope that eating plant-based and healthy on the go lunches will be a little bit easier for you now that you have a few ideas! Enjoy your weekend!

Potato and Polenta Gratin

Potato and Polenta Gratin

It’s Mondaaaaaaay!

You know what that means? Of course I’m going to present you with one heck of a meatless and dairy free dish. Hashtag MeatlessMonday. On the menu today-Potato and Polenta Gratin. Oh polenta? What is that? Well, Polenta is technically just boiled cornmeal and I put it in this dish to add substance and because it’s just so yummy. I used Ancient Harvest Classic Italian, so delicious.

Oh vegan dishes, how you can be so complicated and difficult when attempting to emulate non-vegan foods. BUT NOT THIS TIME. Cauliflower once again saves the day and makes the creamiest most divine sauce. I love this gratin for a side dish at a dinner party. Gratins are so hearty and versatile. If you want to swap out the potato for other veggies, go for it. I just love me some potatoes. Same with the polenta. If you’re not a fan, you could totally leave it out or switch it with something else. May I recommend adding mushrooms or zucchini? 

But for now, this particular gratin has my heart<3


I don’t know about you but I am super hungry while writing this post and staring at these pics. I may or may not be drooling. This Gratin is just straight up comfort food.


This dish kind of reminds me of a cheesy potatoes casserole, just a lot healthier and more kind to my tummy.

You and the fam will love this gratin and you’ll definitely leave the dinner table feeling satisfied!

Potato and Polenta Gratin
Serves 6
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Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
7 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. Sauce
  2. 1 large head of cauliflower
  3. 1 clove of minced garlic
  4. 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  5. 1/4 tsp onion powder
  6. 1/4 tsp paprika
  7. Juice of 1 lemon
  8. 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  9. 1 tbsp olive oil
  10. Salt and Pepper to taste
  11. Filling
  12. 27 oz Ancient Harvest Traditional Italian Polenta (1.5 packs)
  13. 3 lb bag of russet potatoes+ 1 large russet potato
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Boil the cauliflower for about 12 minutes or until very tender.
  3. Place ingredients for sauce in a food processor and blend.
  4. Slice the potatoes and polenta into thin pieces.
  5. Place a layer of potatoes at the bottom of the pan, top with a layer of sauce and then add a layer of polenta.
  6. Repeat until layers reach the top of the baking pan.
  7. The last layer should be sauce.
  8. Sprinkle extra paprika on top (optional).
  9. Cover the baking pan with foil and bake Gratin covered with foil for 40-45 minutes depending on how thin slices are.
  10. Bake uncovered for another 20.
UpBeet and Kaleing It http://upbeetandkaleingit.com/
Carrots, Kale & Potato Enchiladas

Carrots, Kale & Potato Enchiladas

Dear Monday,

You come rather quickly but you are always made better with delicious vegan food. Particularly enchiladas. Not just any ordinary enchiladas but carrots, kale, potatoes, beans and rice enchiladas. Then you’re not so bad. 

Potato Enchiladas

Potato Enchiladas

Well, I think it’s safe to say that I am a walking enchilada since I make them 24/7 and adore them more than most meals. This is a particularly easy and fast recipe, which is awesome! It’s important to make your enchiladas hearty enough to feel satisfied between meals but also keep them healthy. I think that the potatoes and brown rice are a wonderful duo and provide just the right amount of substance. I serve these enchiladas with a little bit of guac on the side because after all, what are enchiladas without guac? 

I’m tellin ya…. AMAZING. 



Wooooow. Do those look good or what?! I love the addition of the kale because I think that every dish needs a little bit of green in it.


Good enchilada sauce is pretty expensive. I really love Hatch Enchilada Sauce, so I bought 1 can of Hatch red sauce and also added 1 can of regular tomato sauce to save some George Washingtons. It was a good move.


Enjoy this recipe!!

This post contains amazon affiliate links. Please help support upbeetandkaleingit.com when you purchase through my blog. Thank you!

Carrots, Kale & Potato Enchiladas
Serves 12
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  1. 4 large carrots chopped
  2. 2 medium russet potatoes chopped
  3. 1 bunch of kale
  4. 1 can beans of choice
  5. 2 cups cooked brown rice
  6. 2 cloves garlic
  7. 4 tbsp olive oil
  8. Vegetable stock
  9. Salt and pepper to taste
  10. 12 tortillas of choice
  11. Sauce
  12. 1 can enchilada sauce
  13. 1 can tomato sauce
  14. 1 tsp chili powder
  15. 1 tsp garlic powder
  16. 1 tbsp brown sugar
  1. Cook the rice according to the package.
  2. In a large pan, sauté the carrots and potatoes in olive oil for about 7 minutes. Then, add the garlic, kale, beans, salt/pepper and more vegetable stock to cook the veggies. Let the enchilada filling cook on medium heat until the veggies become tender. This will probably take another ten minutes.
  3. Then, combine the filling with the cooked brown rice and sauce. Stir until combined.
  4. Stuff the tortillas with the filling and pour some sauce on the bottom of the pan to keep the enchiladas moist. You can also top the enchiladas with leftover sauce.
  5. Bake the enchiladas at 375 degrees for ten minutes covered with foil.
  6. Remove the foil and bake them without for another 5-7 minutes.
UpBeet and Kaleing It http://upbeetandkaleingit.com/
My Top 5 Organic Food Picks For Shopping On A Budget

My Top 5 Organic Food Picks For Shopping On A Budget

Hi! I hope that your week is going smoothly.


It’s Wednesday, yay. The weekend is creeping up on us and it is most welcomed. The weekend approaching also means grocery shopping time is approaching (I go on Fridays).

Speaking of grocery shopping, I was having a conversation with a friend and they told me that they would like to shop for more organic foods but they are on a tight budget. Understandable because yikes, organic foods can be incredibly expensive and if you’re like me, there are just certain organic foods that you buy. Recently, I have paid more attention to price differences in organic and non-organic foods and I have been finding some interesting results. Mind you, all of my price comparisons have been done at Kroger because I think it’s a great chain and I do all of my shopping there, so I’m not quite sure what the differences would result in at other grocery store chains. Nonetheless, I want to share with you 5 budget friendly organic foods that I purchased at Kroger. Most of the items I chose have either a minor difference in price between organic and non-organic with organic costing slightly more, but for a few items, the non-organic was priced higher (GASP!!) than the organic equivalent. Shall we have at it?


Brands used: Simple Truth Organic, Chiquita

Organic Carrots

Pictured is a 5 lb bag but the price of a 2 lb bag of organic carrots is $1.99. The price of a 1 lb bag of non-organic carrots is .89 cents. Difference if you double the non-organic size: organic carrots are only .21 cents more.



Organic Potatoes

Now this is interesting. A 3 lb bag of russet organic potatoes is $2.99. Although they are not the exact same type, a 3 lb bag of non-organic red potatoes costs $3.69! Difference: .70 cents with the non-organic potatoes costing more.



Organic Beans

This one was my favorites to record because of the huge price difference. Kroger almost always has 10 cans of organic beans on sale for $10.00 dollars. Awesome deal and I’m talking all varieties of beans. On the other hand, non-organic brands were charging $1.49 for 1 can of black beans and $1.79 cents for 1 can of pinto beans. Difference: if you bought 10 cans of black beans, then there would be a $4.90 difference with the non-organic costing more.



Organic Bananas

Bananas are super cheap whether you buy them organic or not. In my opinion, they are the greatest healthy food deal you can buy. 1 lb of organic bananas will cost you .65 cents and 1 lb of non-organic is priced at .55 cents. Difference: .10 cents with organic costing more.



Organic Broccoli

This one isn’t quite as great of a deal as the others, but organic broccoli is nonetheless close in price to its non-organic brother. 1 lb of organic broccoli is priced at $1.99 and 1 lb of non-organic broccoli will cost you $1.39 cents. Difference: .60 cents with organic costing more.



Hope this helps 🙂

Vegan Alfredo Sauce (Contains Nuts)

Vegan Alfredo Sauce (Contains Nuts)

If it’s Sophia Loren’s secret to staying beautiful and fabulous, it’s going to be on my dinner table. PASTA, that is. Not just any pasta made with any boring pasta sauce. Creamy, vegan, hearty, and healthy pasta sauce.


The timeless beauty is a huge believer in the power of pasta in small amounts and I am too. In fact, I am huge believer of eating pasta with Alfredo sauce when it’s made from vegetables as opposed to heavy cream. I present to you: Vegan Alfredo Sauce made from…… cauliflower! Variations of this amazing sauce have become a trend in the vegan world. I’m not sure who started it but you’re a genius. If you make it the right way and with enough seasoning and let me really emphasize the seasoning part (salt and pepper are important in this), it will turn out fabulous. I’m not the biggest fan of salt but when you’re making vegetables such as cauliflower the base of your sauce, seasoning is crucial. So just taste test as you go along. You know the drill.




My dear friend Lindsey suggested that I make a substantial main dish today because people are fasting for Lent. So, for anyone that is unsure of what to eat tomorrow or just while you’re fasting in general, hey right here!! 




This dish only takes around 25 minutes including putting everything together-how awesome is that!?








Vegan Alfredo Sauce (Contains Nuts)
Serves 6
Feeds 6-7 depending on portion sizes!
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Total Time
25 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. Sauce
  2. 4 cups cauliflower
  3. 1 tbsp minced garlic
  4. 1/4 cup sautéed onion
  5. 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  6. 1 1/2-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  7. 1 tbsp olive oil
  8. 1/4 tsp paprika
  9. Seasoned salt and pepper to taste
  10. Veggies
  11. 1/3 cup onion
  12. 1 cup mushrooms
  13. 2 small heads broccoli
  14. 2-3 tbsp olive oil to saute
  15. Pasta
  16. 2 packs of brown rice pasta or pasta of choice
  17. Additional toppings after pasta and sauce combined
  18. 2 tbsp nutritional yeast and more seasoned salt/pepper if necessary
  1. Boil the pasta according to directions until al dente.
  2. Boil the cauliflower in a large pot for 7-10 minutes or until tender depending on how large the pieces are.
  3. Saute the onions to add into the sauce for a few minutes in olive oil.
  4. Drain the cauliflower, add the onions and other sauce ingredients to a food processor and process until thick and creamy.
  5. Add the veggies and more olive oil to a pan and sauté until tender-about 7 minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta and combine it with the sauce and veggies.
  7. Top the pasta with additional nutritional yeast and taste test to see if more salt and pepper is necessary.
UpBeet and Kaleing It http://upbeetandkaleingit.com/
Golden Beet Curry Chili

Golden Beet Curry Chili

This dish is as upbeet as it gets.

Different name though, right?




But the taste is like nothing you’ve tasted before. This. dish. is. amazing. Truly. Are you wondering how I came up with it? I have actually been making chili with red beets for a long time now. I was craving curry the other day and had some golden beets in the fridge aka perfect “meat” for chili. I simply toned down the amount of curry I added and boom, I had a 5 star chili dish with small but magical hints of curry. 

The other star of this dish is the brown basmati rice made in vegetable broth with green onions. The flavored rice is a lovely compliment to the already incredibly flavorful Curry Chili. It just takes this dish to another level, whereas unflavored rice tends to just add substance without a delicious taste. 

Meatless Monday can be made way easier with dishes such as this. Throwing everything into a pot can’t be that difficult! The other pieces part of the curry chili puzzle include cauliflower, russet potatoes, and kidney beans. What is this madness you say? You just have to trust me on this one, the flavors are out of this world. The cauliflower cooks down perfectly and sort of melts into the chili, and somewhat emulates the texture of rice. 

I really hope that you love my Golden Beet Curry Chili as much as I do and you can show me your recreations on instagram, and twitter (upbeetandkaleingit) with #marysmeatlessmondays. 

Making health your priority is everything and this dish is a great first step<3 







Simply fabulous and hearty. This dish will warm your soul and keep your stomach happy.



This post contains Amazon Affiliate links! Help support upbeetandkaleingit when you purchase through my blog! Thank you!

Golden Beet Curry Chili
Serves 6
A hearty and healthy curry chili!
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Cook Time
1 hr
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 1/2 medium sized onion chopped (I used red)
  2. 3 medium sized golden beets peeled and cubed
  3. 3 medium sized russet potatoes cubed
  4. 1/2 head cauliflower
  5. 1 can rinsed and drained kidney beans
  6. 2 cups vegetable broth
  7. 1/4 cup olive oil
  8. 1 can tomato sauce
  9. 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  10. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  11. 1/2 tsp cumin
  12. 1 tsp paprika
  13. 1 tsp curry powder
  14. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  15. Salt and pepper to taste
  16. Basmati Rice
  17. 1 1/2 cups rice
  18. 3 tbsp green onions
  1. Saute the onions for a few minutes in olive oil.
  2. Add the other vegetables, broth, tomato sauce, spices, and coconut milk.
  3. Cook the basmati rice according to directions and add green onions the last ten minutes of cooking along with dashes of garlic and onion powder.
  4. Let the Curry Chili cook for 1 hr on medium heat.
  5. Enjoy!
UpBeet and Kaleing It http://upbeetandkaleingit.com/
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