New to a whole food plant-based diet and feeling the big Overwhelm? Tired of "simple plant-based recipes" that are anything but simple? Here's the thing: it doesn't have to be overly complicated...though I know it can certainly feel that way at first. And you don't have to follow a recipe to have a seemingly put together WFPB meal!
When it comes to healthy plant-based meals, here's a good thing to remember: the more varied the color in the food that you eat, the more nutrients you’re getting. So just make sure to include lots of different vegetables (and fruit) into your bowl and you're golden.
But if winging it isn't your style and you need a fool-proof formula for simple plant-based recipes that are actually, well, simple, I hear you! And this is my go-to meal structure to make WFPB meal planning nearly effortless.
Simple WFPB Meal Formula to Make Your Life Super Easy (and Delicious, Of Course!)
Take a deep breath because at the core of this WFPB meal structure are just three ingredients: a whole grain, a plant-based protein, and some veggies.
That's it. Three things!
How's that for simple plant-based recipe?!
1. Choose Your Grain
Grains give you energy, protein and fiber, a must for a healthy gastrointestinal system. That's right — cutting carbs is not the answer to health so include them in your diet, in their whole form! As for this simple WFPB meal, choose from a variety of whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, couscous, rice noodles, soba noodles, bulgur, millet, etc.
2. Add Your Plant-Based Protein
Despite what you may have heard, getting enough protein on a plant-based diet is easy! Go for black beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, pinto beans, vegan bean chili — really any kind of bean — lentils, seitan, tempeh, or tofu.
3. Cook Your Veggies
Roast, pan-fry, or steam your favorite vegetables and add to your bowl. Any veggies will do: asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, carrots, courgettes, green beans, mushrooms, onions, peppers, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, etc.
(By the way, here are some tips for cooking veggies without oil — don't worry, it's easy!)
Make it Fun with These Healthy WFPB Add Ons
OK, now that you've got your super simple WFPB bowl pieced together here, take an extra minute and jazz it up a bit, huh?
Toss in Some Raw Vegetables
Raw veggies add crunchiness and freshness to your WFPB meals. Add avocado, chili peppers, cucumber, kale, spinach (or your preferred type of leafy green), peppers, spring onion, sweetcorn, etc. The possibilities are endless!
Level up the Flavor With Fresh Herbs
Chop and mix into the bowl: basil, chives, coriander, parsley, mint, dill, tarragon, thyme, etc. Also, if you want to keep inflammation at bay, make sure to include a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric in your daily diet, whether that's on top of your salad, or in breakfast smoothie, or as part of this WFPB meal formula. (Oh, and don't forget to also include a pinch of black pepper to activate the anti-inflammatory properties of the turmeric!)
Go Nuts for Nuts!
Chop some nuts or seeds and top your bowl. Almonds, cashew nuts, flax seed, chia seeds, hazelnuts, pistachios, peanuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or walnuts. Whatever floats your boat.
Whip Up Your Dressing
Finally, drizzle your favorite homemade oil-free sauce or dressing over your colorful WFPB meal. And when I say dressing it doesn't have to be your standard vinaigrette, OK? (Though we do have some darn good oil-free vinaigrette recipes on the blog if that's your fav!)
But you can also think outside the box here with your sauce options! Top your bowl with hummus, Baba ganoush, olive tapenade, vegan pesto, roasted red pepper hummus, mango chutney, mustard, lemon or lime juice, peanut sauce, soy sauce, or Tamari. Heck, something as simple as a dollop of soy yogurt or vegan sour cream will do the trick (and it's especially good if you use vegan chili as your protein).
The Easiest Way to Eat WFPB...Get Plant-Based Meals Delivered
Life is busy and sometimes, we just don't have time to whip up a healthy WFPB meal at home, even a simple one. Sound familiar? Then it's MamaSezz to the rescue! Choose from a variety of delicious and healthy plant-based meal staples and have them delivered to your door. No cooking required — just heat and eat! Get plant-based meals delivered now.
Rafaela Michailidou is a Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and a freelance health and wellness content writer, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.