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Healthy and Delicious: Plant-Based Recipes to Try This Week

by currentnewsmax

Plant-based eating has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. A plant-based diet consists of foods that come from plants – primarily fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. While eating a fully vegan diet is the strictest form of plant-based eating, you can follow a plant-based diet even if you still eat some animal products in moderation.

Transitioning to a more plant-based way of eating offers many benefits. Plant foods provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats for supporting optimal health. Studies show that following a predominantly plant-based diet can lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, excess weight gain and certain types of cancer. A plant-based diet has also been linked to a reduced risk of mortality.

In addition to health perks, plant-based eating is gentler on the environment compared to a conventional diet high in animal products. And it’s easy to achieve a satisfying, well-balanced meal plan centered around plant foods. Whether you’re a seasoned vegetarian or vegan or just looking to incorporate more greens into your routine, read on for 10 wholesome and flavorful plant-based recipes to try this week.

Benefits of Plant-Based Diet

There are many compelling reasons to shift toward a more plant-based diet. Here are some of the top benefits of eating mostly or exclusively plant foods:

  • Improved heart health and lower cholesterol levels. Fruits, veggies, whole grains and other plant foods are naturally low in saturated fat and contain zero dietary cholesterol. Plant-based diets have been linked to lower blood pressure and a decreased risk of heart disease.
  • Reduced risk of diabetes. Several large studies have found that vegetarian and vegan diets can help improve insulin sensitivity and stabilize blood sugar levels. A diet centered on plants appears protective against developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Lower cancer risk. Studies suggest that the antioxidants, fiber and micronutrients abundant in plant foods may help lower the risk of certain cancers, including colon, breast and prostate cancers.
  • Healthy weight maintenance. The fiber in plant foods helps you feel full on fewer calories, while the high water content of fruits and veggies boosts satiety. Following a plant-based diet makes it easier to maintain a moderate weight.
  • Longer life expectancy. Research has demonstrated that plant-based diets are associated with increased longevity and lower rates of mortality from heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases.
  • Environmental sustainability. Plant-based diets have a lighter carbon footprint compared to diets high in animal products. Eating lower on the food chain conserves natural resources and reduces pollution.

Now that you know the many benefits of plant-based eating, it’s time to dive into some delicious recipes you can make this week!

Recipe 1: Breakfast – Vegan Smoothie Bowl

Start your day off right with this tasty and nutritious vegan smoothie bowl. It provides a boost of antioxidants, protein, fiber and healthy fats to power you through the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder
  • 1 handful baby spinach
  • 1⁄4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • Toppings: sliced banana, berries, shredded coconut

Instructions:

  1. Place the banana, mixed berries, almond milk, almond butter, protein powder and spinach in a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour the smoothie blend into a bowl. Sprinkle the top with rolled oats and desired toppings.

This vibrant bowl is the perfect plant-based way to start your day off balanced and energized! The spinach adds an extra nutrition boost while the almond butter provides creaminess. Feel free to customize the flavors and mix in your favorite toppings each morning.

Recipe 2: Lunch – Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables

This satisfying quinoa salad is packed with protein, fiber and an array of colorful roasted veggies. It makes for a hearty, nutrient-dense plant-based lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1⁄2 cup diced red onion
  • 1⁄2 cup sliced zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa under running water then place in a pot. Cook according to instructions.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss the carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, red onion and zucchini with olive oil on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring halfway.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables, minced garlic, chopped basil, balsamic vinegar, tahini and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Refrigerate leftovers up to 4 days.

This colorful and savory quinoa salad makes an easy, nutritious lunch. The combination of whole grains, vegetables, plant-based protein and antioxidant-rich herbs and spices provides robust nourishment. Plus it keeps well, so you can enjoy it all week long!

Recipe 3: Dinner – Lentil Curry with Brown Rice

Whip up this cozy, comforting lentil curry on a chilly weeknight. It’s full of warming spices, hearty protein from lentils and fiber-rich brown rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Cooked brown rice

Instructions:

  1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté onion for 5 minutes until translucent.
  2. Add garlic, ginger and carrots. Cook 3 minutes more.
  3. Stir in lentils, vegetable broth, coconut milk and spices. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, until lentils are tender.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  5. Serve curry over cooked brown rice. Garnish with extra cilantro if desired.

This lentil curry is nourishing comfort food at its best. Lentils provide a hefty dose of plant-based protein and fiber. Coconut milk adds creaminess while the spices give it a flavorful kick. Enjoy this warming curry all week long!

Recipe 4: Snack – Avocado Toast with Sprouts

This smash-style avocado toast makes for a fast, wholesome plant-based snack any time of day. Loaded with healthy fats, protein and fiber, it will keep you satisfied.

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice sprouted grain bread, toasted
  • 1⁄2 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1⁄4 cup sprouts of choice (e.g. alfalfa, radish)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Toast your bread slice to desired crispness.
  2. Mash the half avocado in a small bowl until mostly smooth but still slightly chunky.
  3. Spread the mashed avocado over the toast.
  4. Top with sprouts and season with sea salt, pepper and optional red pepper flakes.

Customize your avocado toast by experimenting with different sprouts, seeds or nuts on top. The fiber-rich bread and creamy avocado provide healthy fats and protein to keep you satisfied between meals. Make a batch to have on hand for quick snacks!

Recipe 5: Dessert – Chia Seed Pudding

Treat yourself to this simple, no-bake chia seed pudding. It’s a decadent, plant-based dessert that’s high in nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids, protein, iron and fiber.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Desired toppings like fruit, coconut flakes, cacao nibs

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl or mason jar, combine the almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon.
  2. Stir well then refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours to thicken.
  3. Add your choice of toppings when ready to eat!

This chia seed pudding comes together with just 5 main ingredients. Chia seeds gel to create a creamy, satisfying treat that’s reminiscent of tapioca. Sweeten to taste with maple syrup and top with fresh fruit for extra nutrition and crunch. It makes a perfectly portioned dessert to grab from the fridge when a sweet craving strikes!

Conclusion: Embracing Plant-Based Eating

Transitioning to a plant-based way of eating can do wonders for your health, as well as the environment. Start by cooking one new plant-based meal per day, like the recipes above. Gradually increase your intake of nutrient-dense plant foods while limiting highly processed options. Listen to your body to discover which plant foods optimize your individual well-being.

Keep your pantry stocked with plant-based staples like legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, herbs and spices. Meal prep on weekends to set yourself up for success during busy weeks. And explore new produce at farmers markets to keep your plant-based meals exciting and delicious.

With a little planning, plant-based eating is easy, approachable and so rewarding. Your body and the planet will thank you! Use these 10 recipes as a jumping off point to build a foundation of wholesome, satisfying plant-based meals that nurture your health.

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