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?

new product favorites (april)

JustMayo-RetailJar

hampton creek just mayo. I bought this because I thought it was real, homemade mayo. Turns out it is vegan mayo. I contemplated taking it back to Whole Foods because I’m not usually a huge fan of vegan mayo, but figured I’d give it a try. It was DELICIOUS. And sorry honey, I never told you it was vegan. I’m pretty much counting down the days until I can buy their chipotle version, I love the packaging, the flavor, the texture, blah, blah, blah! I’m obsessed!

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

wildbrine sauerkraut. I tried this a few years ago at Expo, and am so glad it’s in stores now. The Dill Pickle is by far my favorite and it is such a delicious way to get in some fermented foods in on a daily basis. (Side note: Has anyone made their own raw sauerkraut? I’m tempted!)

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

everlane frozen wheat grass shots. These come frozen (like an ice cube) and can easily be tossed into a juice or smoothie. I love that I can add a bit of concentrated wheat grass without the hassle of dealing with wheat grass. I don’t really care for the flavor of straight wheat grass, but these are really mild and per the website, this is because it is grown outside instead of indoors like most wheat grass. 

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

shell-n-all fried peanuts. I found a bag of these at World Market and after trying shell-on peanuts in Napa, I’ve been trying to find something similar. They are crunchy and delicious – and the nutrition stats are similar to regular roasted peanuts. Score! (7 Facts You Want to Know about Peanuts)

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

vega one vanilla. I’ve been loving Vega’s “all-in-one nutritional shake” which is full of protein, fiber, greens, enzymes, probiotics and a slew of vitamins and minerals. (Both the chai and vanilla are fantastic!) I keep things simple and love vanilla vega one + frozen strawberries + spinach + coconut/almond milk.

Favorite New Products | A Nutritionist Eats

chipotle garlic sauce. We found this line of spicy sauces, rubs and snacks at a local LA event, and man the Chipotle Garlic Sauce is so good. I loooooove it on chicken drumsticks. (Even more so than buffalo sauce which was my favorite!) They also have some fun popcorns but beware, even my spice-loving brother couldn’t handle the ghost pepper candied popcorn! 

Have you recently tried a new food that you love and/or I NEED to try? 

5 ways to get healthier

March is National Nutrition Month and while the activities on the eatright.org site leave a lot to be desired, I’m always game to talk nutrition!

Their theme this year is: Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right and I must say, it’s one that I can fully get behind. “Consumer research confirms that taste tops nutrition as the main reason why one food is purchased over another. While social, emotional and health factors also play a role, the foods people enjoy are likely the ones they eat most.” – eatright.org Ummmm, YES! Nutrition is a field based on science, but I’ve always thought that if it was strictly science, no one would be overweight or struggling with other nutrition-related diseases. We know that vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins are healthy for us, but we still love pancakes, cheeseburgers and cupcakes. Food has got to taste good (and I think look good) to be satisfying.

And thankfully, it is possible to enjoy eating right and still enjoy the fun food. Part of “eating right” (in my opinion) is adding nutrition/health/wellness – instead of always focusing on what to remove – and it’s why I came up with my five favorite ways to get healthier. Most of us, no matter how healthy we are, have room for improvement when it comes to health. I know I do! Instead of grandiose plans to completely overhaul our diet and fitness, make some small improvements every day.

Download infographic here. (Made using piktochart <– affiliate link)

meal prep in 3 easy steps

I’m a planner.

I plan my evenings. I plan my weekends. I plan my mornings. And I definitely plan my meals.

When you plan and prep your meals in advance, it makes life easier, but it’s also really important if you are trying to eat healthier or lose weight. 

Depending on your life/work/school schedule, meal prep can go in a few directions. Because I eat breakfast and lunch at the office, I specifically plan out those meals and pack everything up in separate containers (or double up portions and leave at the office fridge). 

Step One: I start by planning the meals I want to make first. It might be a fun meal from pinterest or something I tore out of a magazine, or a recipe that I’m testing for my blog or other work. A lot of my meals during the week are really simple and I save the fun meals for the weekends when I have more time to actually enjoy the cooking process.

Step Two: After you’ve planned your meals, consult your pantry/fridge/freezer for the ingredients you already have, and make your list. Decide which ingredients it makes sense to buy cooked or cleaned ahead of time and which ingredients you’ll prepare from scratch.

Step Three: Cook! Set aside a few hours and prepare and pack up all of your meals (for me it is just breakfast + lunch) so they are ready to grab on your way out the door!

Enjoy!

Download infographic here. (Made using piktochart <– affiliate link)