Plant-based eating is a wonderful way to nourish our bodies with whole and nutrient-dense foods. Whether you’re new to plant-based eating or have adopted these principles for some time, it can still be a challenge to get creative in your kitchen! Typically, we each have a mental list of tried and true recipes through which we regularly rotate. These “go-to” recipes are ones that we enjoy, are reliable and quick to come together but could leave us and our family a bit bored after a while. If this is you or if you and your family are new to plant-based eating and need some tips, this guide is for you! Below is a roundup of 12 plant-based meals that can add some new flavours and creativity into your list of go-to’s!
Plant-Based Meals for Breakfast
1) Make-Ahead Pancakes: Take half an hour on the weekend to do some meal prep and throw together a batch of pancakes. Use a plant-based dairy like almond milk for some good calcium and add some nutritious mix-ins like berries, bananas, or ground flax seeds for a powerful start to the day. Bonus: pancakes are a great finger food for toddlers as well as a grab-and-go breakfast or snack for school-aged kids!
2) Tofu Scramble: Make this one ahead of time too or as a special treat on the weekends. Savoury breakfasts are a fun way to squeeze some extra vegetables into your day and kids can have fun picking their own add-ins. Think bell peppers, chopped spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, and more. Did you know that both the broccoli florets and stalks are nutritious? Take advantage of the whole vegetable and reduce waste with this breakfast idea!
3) Breakfast Burritos: Use some leftover tofu scramble and wrap it up for a breakfast burrito! Top it off with some avocado, a superstar ingredient that can actually improve your brain cognition with the help of a Carotenoid called Lutein.
4) Slow-cooker oats: There’s nothing better than waking up to the comforting aroma of a warm breakfast. Use your slow-cooker to turn your oats and extras, like vanilla, cinnamon, cacao powder, and more into a delicious and nutritious start to your day. Don’t have a slow-cooker? Make it stove-top Sunday evening and store in the fridge. Simply reheat in the morning for a breakfast that’s packed with soluble fibre and long-lasting energy.
Plant-Based Meals for Lunch
5) Mini Pita Sandwiches: Whole wheat mini pitas are affordable and adorable! Mini food is often a hit with little ones, so stuffing these with mashed chickpea salad or hummus and veggies is a great school lunch for kiddos. You can also use these to create an adult bento box filled with fresh vegetables and hummus for dipping!
6) Bean Burgers: Black beans are a texturally perfect base for burgers both pan grilled and barbecued. Add some salsa, bread crumbs, and herbs for a flavorful combination. These burgers are great for lunch and dinner! Tip → If buying these beans in a can, be sure to look for a lower sodium variety and rinse them thoroughly before using to wash away any excess sodium.
7) Mini Pizza’s: Mini-sized food is a convenient way to prepare food ahead of time and easily portion out for meals during the week. Whole wheat English muffins or eggplant rounds can be used as a base for these pizzas. Add some tomato sauce and finish it off with your favourite toppings and plant-based cheese. Easy and personalized lunches for everyone! Tip: If you have a toddler in the home, cut these into strips for easy finger food.
8) Sweet Potato Boats: Sweet potatoes are a low glycemic index food and a good source of fibre. Steam or roast up some sweet potatoes – cut them in half and stuff with black beans, corn, peppers, onions, jalapenos, and more. Add in a little plant-based cheese and broil for a deliciously healthy plant-based lunch that will last the week!
Plant-Based Meals for Dinner
9) Pasta: Bow tie, orzo, rotini, and more! There are tons of tasty and quick plant-based recipes out there. Keep it really simple with some grape tomatoes, cucumber, and Greek dressing for a cold pasta salad that can double as lunch. Or, simmer some cauliflower in broth and puree it for a plant-based alfredo that is a sneaky way to get a vegetable into a classic dish.
10) Lentil Soup: Make this easily in a slow-cooker or on the stovetop using dried lentils, sweet potato, onions, garlic, and more. Chop up some kale to mix in at the end and you have yourself a soup/stew that is packed with tons of good nutrition. Did you know that kale is very high in Vitamin K, which helps our bodies to heal wounds and maintain healthy blood vessels? Some people complain that kale is too tough for their liking. Adding it to soup is an easy way to soften the kale and make it more palatable so you can still enjoy its benefits.
11) Sheet Pan: Sheet pan meals seem to be all the rage and for good reason! It’s a quick and easy way to prepare meals ahead of time without sacrificing on flavour. The formula is simple: Choose vegetables, a starch, like potatoes, and a protein, like chickpeas, and add them all to a sheet pan to roast together in a marinade or spice blend of your choosing. For example, toss these ingredients with some olive oil and souvlaki spice mix for a Greek-inspired dinner that easily transfers to lunch. Do you have adventurous eaters in your family? Look for other ethnic flavours like Thai curries, Indian masalas, and more. Including an array of flavours in your household can be an effective strategy to not only avoid boredom but also minimize picky eating habits in babies and kids.
12) Lentil “meatballs”: Swap the ground beef for lentils to make these “meatballs”. Get creative and add some fresh herbs for an even tastier version. Once they’re baked you can add them to the tomato sauce and eat them with noodles or spaghetti squash. Try adding buffalo sauce and having them with carrots, cucumber and a dressing of your choice. The possibilities are endless, see our “Plant-Based Dinner Ideas” article for even more!
Eating plant-based doesn’t have to leave you feeling limited. Sometimes all we need is a little inspiration to nudge our creativity. Almost any recipe can be modified to meet the needs of all of your family members. What plant-based meals do you make that your whole family loves?
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