Plant-Based Easy Recipes :
Plant-based easy recipes eating has become much more than the latest diet trend. Eating less meat, milk and eggs and shifting plants to the center of the plate is now the paradigm for healthy, sustainable living. And for good reason—science shows plant-based easy recipes can help you live longer and ward off chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of cancer. Plus, it’s better for the environment and often, our wallets.
But eating “plant-based” doesn’t necessarily mean forgoing all animal products and adopting a completely vegan diet. It’s more about adjusting proportions to eat more foods from plant sources than animal sources. This lifestyle change can ultimately help us increase vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, and fiber intake, all while lowering our carbon footprint. Sounds like a win-win, right?
Here’s how to get started implementing small changes for a big impact with these healthy foods.
1. Start slow. Aim for one plant-based meal a day.
Any transition can feel overwhelming if you’re diving in headfirst. Think of the “one plant-based meal a day” approach as dipping your toe in the water rather than instantly adopting a vegan diet. For many, breakfast is the easiest meal to forego animal products. Of course there are plenty of plant-centric staples like smoothie bowls, coconut yogurt with granola, or a slice of sourdough with nut butter. If you prefer a savory, hearty breakfast, though, let me introduce you to Vegan Breakfast Burritos. Filled with scrambled tofu plus potatoes, avocado, greens, and a touch of earthy turmeric, they’re a hearty meal that will stick with you all morning. You could easily sub in baby kale for the spinach if you like.
2. Think of meat as an accent, rather than the headliner.
We’re used to seeing meat as an entree, where it’s gained much of its center of the plate appeal. Try considering it as a side instead, which leaves more plate real estate for legumes, whole grains, and produce.
As you’re transitioning to a more vegetarian diet you can start by decreasing meat portion sizes from 6 ounces to 4 ounces. Or try using half plants and half animal protein in classic meat-centric dishes. For instance, the Mushroom Meatloaf that follows employs a mix of umami-rich ‘shrooms to turn classic beef meatloaf into a veg-forward version.
Or use meat more as a flavor agent to enhance veggie or bean dishes. For example, the recipe above for Easy Roasted Vegetables uses a small amount of bacon to impart loads of salty, savory goodness to a pan of plants. Bonus: The fat from bacon will actually help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins A and K.
3. Prioritize Protein
Gram for gram, protein keeps you fuller longer than carbohydrates or fat. In addition to keeping your metabolism buzzing, it’s crucial for repairing muscle and supporting immunity. While most Americans get plenty of protein, about two-thirds of that protein comes from animal sources. So if you find yourself feeling hungrier between plant-based meals, you may be falling short on protein.
You can still get optimal protein from plant-based easy recipes. Some of the top vegan protein sources are soy (tempeh, tofu, edamame, and soymilk; see below), beans and lentils (see pulses, below), nuts and seeds, and quinoa.
4. Don’t forget about fat.
Your body needs fat: Not only is it a vital source of fuel, but fat also plays a key role in essential body functions, such as nutrient absorption and hormone production. And with twice as many calories per gram compared to carbohydrates and protein, fat is incredibly filling—a little goes a long way.
However, it’s important to choose the right types of fat—namely, the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated ones that are good for your heart. These are mainly found in plant sources like olive oil, avocado and its oil, nuts, and seeds. Animal sources of fat such as butter, ghee, cream, and lard are higher in saturated fat, so you want to eat these in moderation.
A great way to up the health benefits of heart-healthy fats in plant-based meals is to include a nut or seed-based sauce or dressing. The Cashew Tahini Herb Sauce above imparts savory depth and an herby backbone to grains bowls and roasted veggies. I also love this Garlic Sunflower Seed Dressing as a tasty, nutritious departure from bottled dressings.