5 plant-based (vegan) recipes

With Earth Day right around the corner, I’m making a conscious effort to think about my impact on this amazing earth of ours. I grew up in a family who recycled religiously, reused sour cream containers (and sugar bags for lunch bags – which was SO embarrassing!) and even composted. So at a young age, it was instilled in me that leaving as little of footprint as possible was of the utmost importance.

These days, I make the best effort I can to reuse, reduce and recycle. (And I’m proud that I’ve almost kicked my plastic water bottle habit!) But there is always room for improvement and that’s what is important to look at. In the coming months, my goal is to buy more local food – preferably straight from the source through a CSA membership or more frequent visits to the farmer’s market.

So why the plant-based recipes? It seems that every spring, I’m drawn to more plant-based foods and less meat. The term ‘plant-based eating’ has been growing in popularity but the phrase is a bit confusing – and I think that’s the idea. The short explanation is that it’s a vegan diet (while some may consume a limited amount of animal products like eggs or dairy) and it seems to me that it’s a vegan diet without the vegan junk food and without the (sometimes polarizing) vegan label. It’s real, whole, unprocessed food – full of plants – and most of the time it’s beautiful. (Learn more about plant-based diets here.)

But it’s not just about me. (Wait, what?!) A diet with more plants and less meat helps to reduce our ecological footprint (animal products require a lot of land, water and resources). As Mr. Pollan so wisely tells us, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” And also? It’s delicious. Here are 5 plant-based (ok, vegan!) recipes that are so tasty and gorgeous that even the most stubborn of carnivores won’t miss the meat.

 

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

1. This Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese has been on my list of recipes to make since…the first time I laid eyes on it. And while we typically think of mac and cheese falling into the junk food category, this cheese, made with cashews, is anything but. (image & recipe via Minimalist Baker)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

2. I know. I’m craving tofu now too. This Crispy Baked Salt & Pepper Tofu is much easier than it seems – simply toss and bake – and enjoy. (image & recipe via Heartbeet Kitchen)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

3. Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad is just that. This colorful salad is filled with fresh veggies and nutritious buckwheat noodles for a meal that screams spring to me. This post also gives some great insight on not giving yourself a vegan label and I pretty much love it.  (image & recipe via Eating for England)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

4.  These Not-So-Sloppy Tempeh Joes made such a satisfying lunch, I’ve got to make them again soon. Don’t be put-off by the steps and ingredients, it’s worth it! In fact, I’d recommend doubling the recipe. (image & recipe via Chickypea)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

5. No matter the label, almost all of us love dessert and I think that Banana Split Ice Cream Pie is the perfect way to end things. (Both a meal and this post.) I mean, bananas are roasted and then turned into banana ice cream which is laid into an almond flour crust and topped with coconut whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Come on! (image & recipe via The First Mess)

What is your favorite plant-based recipe or meal?

shrimp cocktail with green goddess dressing

Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

If you could eat a meal (or have a drink) with anyone, who would it be? I usually pick Anthony Bourdain because, well, I’m slightly obsessed with him. But on the rare occasions that I catch Barefoot Contessa (Ina’s show on the food network), I always think,  I’d love to attend one of her cocktail parties. They’re a little uptight, yes. But there’s no denying that she knows how to throw a party.

Now if I could attend one of her parties – with Anthony Bourdain – well then I’d be living out all of my food celebrity dreams.

Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

But the title of this post isn’t “food celebrity dreams,” it’s shrimp cocktail with green goddess dressing and it happens to be inspired by Ina herself. What is green goddess dressing? It’s not the tahini-based “goddess dressing” versions by Annie’s or Trader Joe’s that I always try to like but never do.

Traditionally, green goddess dressing  contains a  blend of mayonnaise, sour cream, chervil, chives, anchovy and tarragon. It dates way back and was made popular by a San Francisco hotel in the 1920’s which was actually inspired by “Sauce au Vert” (Green Sauce) served with Green Eel in France.

Ina’s version is a blend of mayonnaise (a requirement for green goddess dressing), basil and the other usual suspects but the real surprise was serving it with shrimp! Brilliant! As someone who loves shrimp cocktail, I welcomed a change of dipping options, but purists may not and in that case use the dressing for veggies, salad or spread on crackers. (Richie is one of the purists I speak of and while he loved the green goddess dressing itself, he wasn’t a fan of dipping shrimp in it.)

Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

And only because I feel like this needs to be addressed…If you’re scared of anchovy paste (but seriously, you shouldn’t be) you can omit it. (Sigh.) The dressing is still flavorful and delicious, but the flavors aren’t as deep so go buy a little tube of it to keep in the fridge for occasions like this. And caesar salad.

Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

The only unfortunate thing about this shrimp cocktail with green goddess dressing? That it wasn’t served in the Hamptons. West Hollywood will have to do…

nutrition facts: (for dressing only, 10 servings) 88 calories, 6 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber

Green Goddess Dressing

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients (about 2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped green onion
  • 1 1/2 cup roughly chopped basil
  • 1 cup roughly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped shallot
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 cup 2% greek yogurt
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

*All herbs and onions are roughly chopped, then measured.

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender.

Pulse until well combined and desired consistency.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Serve with veggies, on a salad or with shrimp cocktail.

Powered by Recipage

ranch house salad smoothie

Ranch House Salad Smoothie | A Nutritionist Eats

I know. The title is kind of scary. But also soooooo intriguing!

I’ll be the first to say that the words ‘ranch house salad smoothie’ give reason for pause. But if you’re getting sick of salads at lunch and love the convenience of smoothies, you’ve got to give this savory smoothie a try.

Ranch House Salad Smoothie | A Nutritionist Eats

The first time I made this salad smoothie we had a friend over and after the first sip we all looked at each other with confused faces. But then we took another sip. And then another. We all decided that in a weird way, we liked it. It honestly tastes like a salad with ranch dressing. Which is always good in my opinion. :)

Health-wise, it’s a great way to eat a variety of vegetables all packaged up with some high-protein greek yogurt and healthy-fat avocado. I’d pair it with some deli turkey or a slice of toast with a slice of melted goat cheese for a perfect lunch.

Ranch House Salad Smoothie | A Nutritionist Eats

I can’t take credit for this salad smoothie idea though, I found the recipe in a book called, Green Smoothie Cleanse: Detox, Lose Weight and Restore Your Health with the World’s Most Powerful Superfoods by Lisa Sussman. I was sent the book to review and while I have no intention of going on a smoothie “cleanse” I love that this book is full of smoothie ideas and inspiration. Check it out if you’re getting sick of your standard smoothies, the recipes won’t disappoint.

nutrition facts: 456 calories, 24 grams of fat, 27 grams of protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 12 g fiber

Ranch House Salad Smoothie

by Green Smoothie Cleanse

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender salad gluten-free high protein low-carb vegetarian

 

Ingredients (16 oz (1 serving))

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 cup romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 onion (I used less)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon chives
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • dash of salt & pepper

Instructions

Blend until smooth.

Powered by Recipage
Totally freaked out or slightly intrigued?  

texas caviar rice & beans

texas caviar rice & beans | a nutritionist eats

First things first: Texas Caviar Rice & Beans is genius. I’m a big fan of bean salad (you’re aware of this: black bean & corn relish + more recent obsession with simple bean salads) so this recipe caught my eye almost immediately.

But let’s back up. I was sent The Slim Down South Cookbook, Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon written by Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD. In addition to the standard, breakfast/lunch/dinner recipes, the book also includes “Stay Slim Secrets” and features “Slim and Savvy Southerners” who share their strategies for enjoying southern food while staying healthy. The images are beautiful (a must for me) and each recipe includes nutrition facts. 

I oddly enough love Southern food. Odd only because I’ve never lived in the South and because well, we all know that Southern food is known for being anything but healthy. While I definitely don’t eat perfectly (or even close) I still don’t like that it frequently seems obnoxiously-rich, and way over the top. But this book changes that. It lightens up the classic recipes that we all love, like fried chicken and grits, to calorie levels that are more acceptable for every day eating.

 texas caviar rice & beans | a nutritionist eats

The publisher let me share this recipe with y’all…catch that? It’s a fresh take on rice and beans and it’s flavorful, crunchy and oh-so-satisfying. We loved it!

Canned beans and pre-made rice make this salad come together quickly. And the combination of rice and beans with fresh celery, tomatoes and cilantro is great. If you like spice, top the salad with lots of hot sauce and pickled jalapenos!

nutrition facts (about 1 cup rice-bean mixture + 1 oz tortilla chips): 451 calories, 19 grams of fat, 13 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber

Texas Caviar Rice & Beans

by The Slim Down South Cookbook

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: appetizer entree salad side gluten-free high fiber vegan vegetarian beans

 

Ingredients (6 servings)

    For the Salad

    • 1 (15.8-oz.) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
    • 1 (15-oz.) can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
    • ⅓ cup finely chopped roasted red bell peppers
    • ¼ cup seeded and finely chopped poblano pepper
    • Texas Vinaigrette
    • 2 (8.8-oz.) pouches fully cooked basmati rice
    • ⅔ cup thinly sliced celery
    • ¾ cup (3 oz.) shredded pepper Jack cheese
    • 1¼ cups chopped tomatoes
    • ¾ cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
    • ⅓ cup thinly sliced green onions
    • 6 oz. tortilla chips
    • Garnish: sliced pickled jalapeño peppers

    For the Vinaigrette

    • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
    • 1½ Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1½ Tbsp. hot sauce
    • 1 minced garlic clove
    • ¼ tsp. chili powder
    • ¼ tsp. ground cumin

    Instructions

    For the Salad

    Stir together first 5 ingredients in a medium-size microwave-safe glass bowl; let stand 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Microwave at HIGH 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring at 30-second intervals.

    Heat rice according to package directions; fluff with a fork. Layer rice, bean mixture, celery, cheese, tomato, cilantro, and green onions in 2-qt. trifle bowl or straight-sided bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.

    Note: The original recipe tested with Tasty Bite Basmati Rice. I used brown basmati rice.

    For the Vinaigrette

    Whisk all ingredients together. *You’ll need only half of this dressing for the Texas Caviar Rice and Beans. Store the remainder in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

    Powered by Recipage