Menu Plan Monday: African Spiced Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup, Easy Tahini Soba Salad, Texas Caviar and More


Good morning, all, and happy Menu Plan Monday. It still feels sort of like a holiday here–the streets are relatively quiet, and folks are moving just a little slower than usual. At the same time, one can feel the customary pre-NYE energy in the air–not just excitement for the day, but also the yearly momentum that builds around the idea of fresh beginnings. I’ve been thinking about how I want to enter 2016, and I’ll have some thoughts and reflections to share with tomorrow’s post.

For now, I’m super excited to be diving back into some routine dinner menu planning. I kept up meal planning pretty successfully through this past semester, but things got away from me a bit in the last three weeks, with the hectic mixture of finals, holidays, and a lot of client work. This past weekend, I took care to re-stock my pantry a bit with staples (grains, legumes, spices I’d run out of), as well as to clear some space by rearranging items (I put my less-used pantry items up in my higher shelves, and moved everything I use regularly to more accessible storage places). A small action, but one that makes me feel just a little more prepared to jump into my cooking routine again!

Menu Plan Monday

This week’s menu features some of my favorite dishes from 2015, including:


Easy Tahini and Soba Noodle Salad
My Favorite Savory Steel Cut Oats
African Spiced Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup
Texas Caviar

Tis the season for black eyed peas, a traditional New Year’s food, so I soaked and boiled a big batch of them yesterday, and they’ll find their way into the caviar and also a creamy, spicy black eyed pea hummus, which I’ll be sharing on the blog tomorrow. Here are the simple staples I’ve got in the fridge for the week ahead:

Simple Staples:

•Black eyed peas
•Red+white quinoa
•Baked sweet potatoes
Delightfully green tahini dressing


And here’s the dinner plan:

Sunday: Easy Tahini and Soba Noodle Salad | Sautéed snow peas

Monday: Butternut squash and brussels sprout bake (a easy recipe I’m making to use up some frozen brussels and squash that I’ve had in my fridge forever!) | Fennel and red lettuce salad with red endive and simple vinaigrette

Tuesday: African Spiced Yellow Split Pea and Sweet Potato Soup | Big salad with delightfully green tahini dressing

Wednesday: Split pea soup leftovers | Toast | Steamed broccoli with delightfully green tahini dressing

Thursday: Chickpea, cabbage, and wild rice soup (recipe to be shared on the blog next week!) | Big salad with simple vinaigrette

Friday: Moroccan Tempeh and Chickpeas with Prunes and Apricots from Robin Robertson’s Fresh From the Vegan Slow Cooker | Basic Massaged Kale Salad from my first cookbook

Saturday: Leftover tempeh and chickpeas | Leftover kale salad


The nice thing about being able to prep a bunch of dinners this week is that I can eat leftovers for lunch every day (in addition to the Texas caviar, which will get a lot of love). It’s such a treat when lunch takes care of itself!

And that’s the week ahead, friends. I look forward to sharing my new hummus recipe with you tomorrow. On Thursday, a review of my friend Emily’s awesome new raw/cooked cookbook, The Rawsome Vegan Cookbook. And on Friday, I’ll be reflecting a little bit on going vegan and when the transition feels “real” — a topic that emerged from a question I got from a reader who’s new to veganism a few weeks ago. Hope to see you!


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  1. Love this full meal plan! EVerything looks so fresh and vibrant – a welcome change in this season of plentiful, heavy foods. Hope you’re gearing for a great new year!

  2. I like that you mention rearranging things in your kitchen and stocking up on basics to make things easier for yourself. I was thinking about that earlier in regards to fitness: laying out clothes at night, having a set plan, not hitting snooze, etc. to make things easier and increasing the chance of getting a workout in. Oh and that soba recipe- on the menu later this week!

  3. Hi Gena! I just wanted to wish you an early Happy New Year, and let you know I am looking forward to reading your posts this week! I’ve been a reader of a variety of “healthy living blogs” for a long time, and I’ve been a bit sad/disappointed the past few years as many blogs I’ve followed for years have slowed way down in their posting, started doing mainly sponsored posts, etc. Feels like the end of an era!

    I’ve noticed how consistent you’ve become with your posting this year, and I like how you’ve developed “categories” of reliable posts; for example, each week I look forward to weekend reading, a menu-plan post, and at least one new recipe, and I’m always delighted when you throw one of your “musings” posts in there as well as those are my absolute favorite! I appreciate your frequent posting schedule now more than ever; not only do I feel like your content/recipes have improved but there are very few bloggers I follow that post frequently and I miss my daily blog reading. It’s nice to be able to rely on this blog for a daily bit of “me-time” and inspiration.

    So this is a long-winded way of saying thanks for your hard work and dedication to this space. I appreciate it and I am excited to continue to follow your work in 2016!

    • Dear Amy,

      Thank you so much for this appreciative comment. I know that there have been a lot of changes to the blogosphere, and I sometimes miss the old days, too — not that I myself always have time to read or comment, so of course I understand intimately why some blogs post more infrequently (or not at all) nowadays.

      I think one of the best things about 2015, for me, was that I really fell back in love with blogging. It was hard to stay emotionally invested during my post-bacc because I was feeling so drained by the experience; it just didn’t give me a lot of energy to pour into words and food. I didn’t realize this fully at the time, and maybe I should have taken a hiatus until I could blog again with full investment and force, but I’m also glad I didn’t let go of the blog then because it remained a big source of joy (it always does). It feels so nice to be back in the swing of things now that life is more settled and my direction in school and work is more “right.” As you know, the name change has also been a big source of freedom, inspiration, and joy, and I feel more inspired about food and recipe creation than I ever have before. This blog is definitely a chronicle of my own growth as a cook and eater, and I hope it continues to be!

      There will be some sponsored posts on the blog this year, as there were last year. I hope you’ll find the content cool and the brands inspiring (because I do!), but of course they won’t be a majority constituent around here — I plan to keep up with the same schedule I’ve been sticking to for most of this year, including the weekend reading, menu plans, recipes, and musings.

      Anyway, I so appreciate your reading, Amy, especially as I know you’ve been doing so for a long time. Happy New Year to you, and sending good wishes for your continued strides forward in your dietetics career!