Plant-Based Diaries Week 2: Put a Lid On It

After letting a few too many cabbage heads die in the crisper, I’m coming around to the beauty of canned goods. Cylindrical, cheap, hefty with promise, ready to go in just a few minutes … I’ve worried in the past that I’m failing some sort of foodie test if my can opener does half the work in a meal. But learning that the nutritional value is just the same in a canned vegetable—and that produce is picked at its best before preserved in a can—has me rethinking my snobbery.

Canned chickpeas formed the basis of my No-Tuna Salad Sandwich. A swirl of tahini, a crunch from red onions and celery—if I had to pinpoint where the magic really happens, I’d say it’s when capers and pickles (cornichons in my case) were mixed in. Individually, not a single one of these ingredients reminds me of tuna. But the sum is fishier than its parts here, and I was thrilled that my craving for seafood was satiated with this much less salty fish-free combination. I liked the mix so much that I made it again later in the week once my family had reeled through the first batch.

Open-face No-Tuna Salad Sandwich

For a last-minute lunch on Friday, I did the can-can yet again. (After the past few grocery trips, my cabinets are finally starting to hold items with a long shelf life and not chocolates I’m trying to hide from my immediate view.) This time, I opted to make FOK’s Rice Bowl with Kidney Beans, because of its convenience. I spent 10 minutes in the morning whipping together a Cilantro-Cashew Dressing in the food processor and cooking quinoa (which I opted for in place of rice—much faster to cook). I tossed the quinoa with the dressing and ladled it into a Mason jar; then I poured in a trusty can of mixed vegetables, and packed a layer of fresh spinach on top. One jar, one can of kidney beans, and a bunch of green onions to finish the dish off freshly, and I was out the door, all questions answered about what would nourish me that day.

I’d made my recipe choice based on what I could prepare in a few minutes on a weekday morning, but the lunch I sat down to was warm (from the microwave), hearty (gotta love beans), and healthful (not a lick of oil). I rushed through the prep, but lingered over each happy bite.

Editor’s Note: This month is the second annual Forks Over Knives Fresh Start Challenge, our free 21-day program for adopting a plant-based diet one meal at a time. Food writer Lucie Monk Carter is taking the challenge, and we’ve asked her to document her experiences with whole-food, plant-based cooking and eating in this series.

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About the Author

Headshot of Lucie Monk Carter

About the Author

Lucie Monk Carter

Lucie Monk Carter is a food writer and photographer based in South Louisiana. She enjoys a career of exploring how the things we eat inform the way we live. When not cooking or writing, Lucie can be found very ardently attempting to hit the notes as she sings all manner of songs to her young daughter. She also likes crosswords. Find her on LinkedIn.
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