In last weeks post, Taking The Mystery Out Of The Raw Food Diet, I shared 10 recipes that are the foundation of building a sustainable raw food diet. These recipes involve the basic concepts and skills that can be built upon in creating satisfying meals. Today I focus on how to do the same for a plant-based diet that includes cooked foods as well. With these recipes you will be set to build a flavorful and soulful diet that will help you love your food and stay committed.
Actually five of the 10 items on the raw food list also belong on this list, vinaigrette dressing, kale salad, marinated veggies, fruit smoothie, and spice blends from around the world. Even if you are not aiming for 100% raw, you should be including plenty of raw fruits and veggies in your diet. These provide nutrient dense and satisfying ways to do that.
So what else should you know about?
- Cooking beans or lentils - These are a big part of a vegan diet because they are filling and there is so much variety available and so many ways to cook them. You can find them canned but learning to cook them from scratch will be more cost effective and give you many more options. Look for a recipe that appeals to you and expand and build from there. I love Indian dals, and Ethiopian spiced beans.
- Easy pasta fresca - Pasta and veggies are a fast and easy recipe that will please most folks. I love to make One Pot Pasta when I am short on time or inspiration.
- Curried veggies - Who doesn't love curry? These can add a spicy and flavorful kick to your plate. Try this curried cabbage recipe.
- Scrambled Tofu - Breakfast can be hard, especially if you are used to having a big "traditional" breakfast on the weekends. Scrambled Tofu can help bridge that gap. And it's tasty too.
- Tossed salad - Salads have no business being boring. No one says a salad has to have tomatoes, or lettuce even. There are so many veggies and additions that can go into a salad, and the varieties of dressing you can make mean there are endless options. Look for other greens such as arugula, watercress, swiss chard, and frisee. Consider adding olives, fruit, pickles, nuts, seeds, frozen peas that have been thawed, and more. Open your fridge and pantry and toss it in!
- Asian stir-fry - Stir frying is another quick and easy way to make a flavorful meal. You don't have to have special pans to make it work. Once you have the basics you can make Thai dishes, Japanese dishes as well was Chinese dishes.
- Cookies or cake or other baked goods - An important skill is knowing how to use substitutes for eggs and dairy when making cookies, cakes, pancakes and the like. Look for a vegan version of your favorite recipe and understand what makes it work. Then you will be able to look for was to veganize other recipes you enjoy.
Be willing to experiment and make mistakes as you work to expand your vegan recipe box and learn the basics of making plant-based meals for yourself and your family. This is how you will learn. Allowing yourself to make mistakes takes the pressure off AND your mistakes are great ways to identify what does and doesn't work. You didn't learn to cook Standard American style recipes overnight. It may take some time for you to learn to make vegan meals that satisfy you as well.
What would you add to this list? Or what recipes did you start with? Tell us in the comments below.