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?

7 toppings for your toast

Toast Toppings | A Nutritionist Eats

I ate toast every single morning for a good two years. Seriously.

Sometimes I would switch it up with some oats or a smoothie but I started my day with a sprouted bagel or two slices of sprouted bread toast for two years. It was also when I worked in a bakery so there was a) lots of bread, b) I ate/slept/dreamt bread, c) it was easy and d) it was delicious!

I’m getting back into my toast routine but I’m stepping up the topping ideas to add some more fun – and NUTRITION – to your typical toast.

Get your toasters ready…

Toast Toppings | A Nutritionist EatsAvocado has to be one of my favorite toppings for toast. A touch of mayo, or a slice of cheese adds a lot, but it’s also delicious on its own. Sprinkle with some high-quality salt (It seriously makes a big difference, I love maldon) and some red pepper flakes if you want a little heat.

 

 

 
Toast Toppings | A Nutritionist EatsProtein-rich greek yogurt gets a sweet drizzle of sweet honey for a delicious and creamy breakfast. Your morning yogurt is now a full meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Toast Toppings | A Nutritionist Eats

This is a standard breakfast/lunch/dinner meal. Topping toast with a fried egg is a natural choice and for good reason. Spread with a pat of butter or coconut oil if desired, or simply leave the yolk runny for ultimate dipping.

Toast Toppings | A Nutritionist EatsMozzarella + Tomato may be a little out of the ordinary for breakfast, but why not? A drizzle of olive oil + a sprinkling of salt + pepper is all this toast needs but if you want a little more flavor, add some high-quality balsamic vinegar. It also makes a perfect lunch.

 

 

 

 
Toast Toppings | A Nutritionist EatsPeanut Butter is always a good idea on toast. And it is what I always topped mine with for those two years. Adding bananas + honey is icing on the “toast” cake in my opinion.

 

Toast Toppings | A Nutritionist EatsVegetable Cream Cheese (I couldn’t find one that I liked, so I made my own!) + sprouts is one of those meals that is almost too good to be true. You could also top with some sliced cucumber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toast Toppings | A Nutritionist EatsRicotta Cheese + Preserves feels like such a treat on a weekday morning. I like it topped with preserves, but you could also go a savory route and top with a drizzle of olive oil + salt + pepper. Apricot or orange flavors are perfect, but really, anything will work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to mix up your toast. What do you top your toast with? 

 

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.

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    egg, avocado & cheese toast

    I just have to share my newest breakfast obsession with you guys.

    It’s not even really a recipe, per say…but it is oh SO good and you definitely need to make it.  Simple food really is the best, isn’t it?

    The premise is a simple one, lightly toasted bread (or broiled if I’m at home and too lazy to get the toaster out) is topped with avocado slices and thinly sliced cheese (my favorite is pepper jack) and then broiled until the cheese is golden brown. Then top the toast with preferably, a runny egg. De.Vour.

    If I’m at work, I’ll bring a fully cooked egg and then put the components together once I’m ready for breakfast. (But there’s no real plate, golden brown cheese, or runny egg.) It’s still good and definitely still satisfying, but not quite the same.

    This toast also makes a delicious lunch or simple dinner if you just can’t fathom such a savory meal first thing in the morning. Anytime of the day, just make sure you eat this soon!

    Egg, Avocado & Cheese Toast

    by Emily Dingmann

    Prep Time: 5 minutes

    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Keywords: breakfast sandwich high protein kosher vegetarian cheese eggs

     

    Ingredients (2 servings)

    • 2 slices bread (sprouted, whole grain, brown rice)
    • 1 small avocado, thinly sliced
    • 2 oz jalapeno jack cheese, thinly sliced
    • 2 fried eggs

    Instructions

    Turn broiler on high.

    Lightly toast bread. (If using broiler, be careful!)

    Top bread with sliced avocado and cheese.

    Broil until golden brown, watching carefully.

    While toast is in the broiler, fry eggs.

    Top toast with fried egg.

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