Tip 09: Converting Recipes – Replacing Which Meats with What Beans

I try to keep things simple during the week for our meals and to keep them as whole food as possible, so a lot of times I replace whatever meat James is having with a can of beans for my plate. I wanted to share what beans I usually tend to use to replace with what meat. This isn’t a rule, and I’m not saying that any other bean wouldn’t work just as well, but from cooking and using different beans and seeing which beans are used with what flavors, you can see which ones would go best with your “shared” meal.

Chicken: Chickpeas

Chickpeas really are the “chicken of the beans”. They even taste like boiled chicken to me. They are my favorite, and I usually use them to replace just about anything. Here are some of my favorite recipes using chickpeas to replace chicken. I didn’t want to list all of my chickpea recipes, it would be a long list. I’m kind of addicted to them.

Turkey: White Kidney Beans or Cannellini Beans

I always think of sage and thyme when I think of turkey. And most of the time when I use these beans I think of those herbs as well. I made a great white bean dip that used powdered sage… which reminds me I need to make that again and post it… Not to mention my “Verkey” recipe uses cannellini beans in it for texture and a turkey flavor.  And right now I’m working on a kale and white bean soup that I could see shredded turkey being very good in.

Pork: Pinto Beans

Need I say more? Pork and pinto beans have been paired together to the point that some people don’t even realize they can make pinto beans without adding bacon, pork, or lard. Even when pinto beans are cooking it smells like a pork roast. Here are some of my recipes that I use pinto beans solely instead of adding in the pork, bacon, or lard. I think it tastes just as good, not the same, but just as delicious without the guilt of something fattening up the recipe.


Beef: Red Kidney Beans, Black Beans, or Black Lentils

I didn’t really eat nor cook with red meat a whole lot so I don’t really have too many recipes that you can see that I’ve replaced beef specifically with, but you can see how these would fit. When I think of beef I think of dark earthy, spicy, robust flavors. I think of tomato sauce, red wine, black pepper, chili powder, etc. So thinking of what I used to use red meat for – spaghetti sauce, beef burgundy, sloppy joes, meat balls, chili, etc., red kidney beans, black beans, and black lentils are all things I’ve used in those types of meals and with those flavors. Something that I’ve made and I don’t have a written recipe for yet, was a sloppy joe recipe using black lentils. Delicious!

Make your meals more plant-based, branch out, and have a happy, healthy, and fiber filled Shared Kitchen!

Creole Chicken/Chickpea Pasta

So something my husband loves to do and gets a kick out of, is to start singing a song and see if the person with him will start singing it too. It never fails. I’ll get whatever song it is stuck in my head so quickly and then I’m singing it the rest of the night.

There is this song on the radio “Rockabye” that I don’t mind but I don’t get excited about it. James loves it and he will be singing it all the time. Oh – and by the way, he can only ever remember a few words to songs, sometimes not even the full verse, so it’s like 4 words over and over and over again. And he gets that stupid song stuck in my head all the time!

Something else that’s been stuck in my head was this recipe. I saw one similar to it when I was wanting creole spices and knew I had to make it! I added my own touches to it and made it a shared recipe. This will be one of our more common pasta dishes!

“So, rockabye baby rockabye. I’m gonna rock you. Rockabye baby don’t you cry. Somebody’s got you…” AHH! Why?!

Creole Chickpea/Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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  • 1 lb. rigatoni
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp creole seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1/2 cup water+ 1 ‘chicken’ bouillon, OR 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (cream from one can of coconut milk, don’t shake before opening)
  • 1/8 cup all purpose flour, if you want a thicker sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • Chickpeas/Chicken
  • 1/2 – 1 can of chickpeas (up to 4) for each plant based eater. (or 1-1/2 cups cooked chickpeas per each)
  • 1/2 – 1 chicken breast per each omnivore, chopped into bite size pieces
  • Creole seasoning


  1. Make the rigatoni to package instructions. Drain and wait to combine with sauce.
  2. In a large skillet, add a small amount of olive oil, garlic, and onions. You want just enough oil to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the Creole seasoning, paprika, and black pepper if desired. The mixture will be dry. Toast until you start to smell spices, about 1 minute.
  3. Add in the Sauvingnon Blanc, the water and bouillon or vegetable broth and let simmer together.
  4. Add in the coconut cream. If the sauce is not as creamy as you like it, take out about 1/4 cup of the sauce, add about 1/8 cup all purpose flour and mix together. Add the paste to the sauce and start stirring immediately until it is combine with the sauce and the sauce starts to thicken.
  5. Add in the frozen peas, 1/2 cup parsley, and the nutritional yeast until all is combined. Let simmer or add to pasta and cover.
  6. Cook the chickpeas/chicken in a small amount of oil, each in their own skillet, and season with creole seasoning. More or less if you want it more spicy or not.
  7. Spoon out pasta and sauce, and top with either chickpeas or chicken, and enjoy with a light citrus salad and/or garlic bread.

Oven Roasted Teriyaki Veggies with Chickpeas/Chicken

Have you ever gotten out of your exercise routine and then done something that requires minimal-moderate labor and the next day you are sore and stiff all over? Yeah. That happened.

James and I helped my parents in doing some yard work and there was some mowing, some weed pulling, some edging, ect. Now let me tell you that my parents put down grass a few years ago because this type of grass is slow growing and my Dad only has to mow it every other week, if that, depending on how much water that it gets. Cool huh? It feels great too! Thick and plush almost like carpet. Which is nice when you want to walk around, but mowing!

James was almost at a complete 90 degree angle pushing the lawn mower because of how thick this stuff is. And I was pulling up any weeds or grass that was trying to grow with it. So walking, bending, squatting, pulling. Walking, bending, squatting, pulling. That went on for about an hour and a half. Not too bad. But long enough.

It took 3 days for our hamstrings to stop burning to the point that even sitting hurt. 3 days! I told James that was it. We are adding some type of exercise routine back into our schedule and especially stretches before bed.

All the exercise talk got us thinking more healthier. So here is a low-fat, sweet and savory, full of veggies and fiber, easy weekday meal for ya! Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Teriyaki Veggies with Chickpeas/Chicken

  • Servings: 4 Servings
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  • 6-8 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1 in. pieces
  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1 small/medium purple onion
  • Chickpeas/Chicken
  • 1/2-1 can of chickpeas for every plant based person, up to 4 (or 1-1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 chicken breast for every omnivore, up to 4
  • Sauce
  • 20 oz. Teriyaki Sauce
  • Honey or agave
  • Sesame seeds, if desired
  • Rice
  • 2 cups of white rice (I used jasmine rice)
  • 4 cups of water


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease baking dishes. The sizes can differ depending on if it’s all plant based, or omnivore, or if the recipe will be halved. The one I did I had a 9×13 in. one for the omnivores (3), and like an 8×8 in. one for me.
  3. Chop up veggies into bite size or a little large than bite size. Divide into the baking dishes. Put your chickpeas/chicken breast on top.
  4. Make your sauce. I think the usual teriyaki sauce that you can buy is too salty, so I add in some honey or agave. This also will make it thicker so that it attaches to the veggies and the beans or meat better. Add in however much sweetener that is desired. Usually about 1/2 a cup. Add in seasame seeds if desired.
  5. Pour the sauce over the chickpeas/chicken and veggies. Make sure there is a little on the bottom of the pan but not too covered. There should still be about 1/2 cup left of the sauce. Reserve that for extra if desired when serving.
  6. Throw the baking dishes in the oven for ab out 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and carrots are al dente.
  7. While the dish is in the oven, start the boiling the water for the rice. Add in rice, and reduce the heat to simmer and cover for about 10-15 minutes. Check to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Once most of the liquid is absorbed, turn off heat and cover to finish steaming, and wait to be served.
  8. In each bowl, there should be enough for 1 cup of rice, and then top with the veggies and chickpeas or chicken. Drizzle with any extra teriyaki sauce.

Honey Dijon Chicken/Chickpeas with Red Potatoes and Carrots

Do you ever remember the easy meals you used to make before going plant based?

This was one of the meals I thought of when I was trying to think of different low-fat weekday meals for our family. It was something I made before going plant based and it was so easy! You make the Honey Dijon sauce, chop up your carrots and potatoes, throw them in a baking dish, top with 2 chicken breast and the sauce and bake! Clean up while it’s in the oven. And done! It’s all in one dish, and a full dinner in a short amount of time! Low-fat, easy, and a good light weekday meal.

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Blueberry Cobbler

Blueberries are the best. There are just some things that scream summer, and for me, blueberries are one of them! Every July my mother and I try to go with some friends to pick our own blueberries out at a farm 2 hours away from Dallas. If we get out there early enough the weather isn’t usually too bad and we can have a bucket full of blueberries before it gets blistering hot. I’ll be looking forward to it this year if we can make it!

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Pulled Pork Sliders with Garlic Aioli & Dill Pickles

Sundays are made for comfort. Everyone needs a break during the week, even if it’s just an afternoon/evening. And everyone needs comfort food here and there. I know for us the last few weeks have been interesting to say the least and by the time Sunday rolls around, the whole family is ready to just be at home and relax. It’s actually becoming a “thing” that we are in our pajamas by 4:00 pm on Sunday and literally recline the rest of the afternoon and evening. It’s awesome! To top it off, I love the Sundays that it works out that we have leftovers so I don’t have to cook.

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Quinoa Risotto with Asparagus

I love asparagus in the spring time! I always try to find new dishes to make with it each year, and this time it’s a quinoa dish. Check out Last Year’s Asparagus Dish! Basically this dish is a healthier version of a risotto. Although making risotto with quinoa is a little less creamy than with the arborio rice, the flavor was just as great and the dish is not dry! The flavors came together better than I expected and it’s good hot or cold. I’m sure there will be more asparagus recipes soon to come. But check this one out! It’s creamy and full of flavor, and the flavors, although Italian, go great with anything grilled or BBQ.

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