by Becca Daly

Whether you are a meat lover, a vegan, or somewhere in between, there is no doubt that incorporating more plant based meals into our diet is not only beneficial, but necessary for our health and for the health of our planet.

If you are like me, you avoid complicated recipes and a lengthy cleanup as much as humanely possible. I'm much more fond of eyeballing measurements and throwing a bunch of stuff in a pot and hoping that it turns out okay, which it miraculously does (most of the time).

Eating healthier can seem daunting and confusing, so I put together my favorite super easy, plant based meal ideas to give you some inspiration! Any of these recipes can be altered to include animal products if that's your thing.

Happy Cooking!

Breakfast:

  • Cereal:Wheaties or plain cheerios with almond milk and bananas
  • Yogurt:Coconut or soy plain yogurt with granola ( try to get a brand with little sugar) and whatever fruit you like- berries, bananas, apple, etc
  • Oatmeal #1:Plain oatmeal with peanut or almond butter, sliced bananas and slivered almonds
  • Oatmeal #2: Plain oatmeal with granola
  • Toast #1:Whole grain toast with almond butter and bananas
  • Toast #2:Whole grain toast with smashed avocado with salt + pepper
  • Smoothie:1 cup of spinach, 1 apple, 1 banana, 1 cup of pineapple (I like to add chia seeds, flax seeds, and a tiny scoop of coconut oil for better consistency)
  • Fruit Salad: Grapes, pineapple, strawberries, and melon are my favorite combo.
  • Vegan Banana Oatmeal Pancakes: recipe courtesy of Vegenista-http://vegenista.com/post/33972977623/vegan-banana-oatmeal-pancakes

 

Lunch:

  • Veggie Sandwich:Whole grain bread, hummus and a little horseradish/mustard (or whatever condiment you like) with sliced tomatoes, romaine lettuce, white or green onions, cucumbers, and carrots.
  • Mediterranean Salad:1 can of chickpeas, 1 package of grape tomatoes sliced in half, sliced cucumbers (1 large or 2 medium), 1/4 to 1/2 onion, and 1 cup of quinoa (let the quinoa chill in the fridge first before you mix it in) Then add lemon juice from one lemon, a little red wine vinaigrette, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You could add chopped parsley if you're feeling crazy. I make it in a huge tupperware with a lid so I can just shake it to mix it up.
  • Cilantro Lime Salad: Whatever greens you like, green peppers, onions, carrots, cilantro, and lime juice from one lime.
  • Peanut Butter Banana Sandwich: On whole grain bread, toasted.
  • Hemp Hummus Pita Pockets- recipe courtesy of Vegetarian Times - http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/hemp-hummus-pita-pockets/

 

Dinner:

  • Vegan 3 Bean Chili:
    Dice up two cloves of garlic and throw it in a large pot with a splash of olive oil on low. Add one onion, two green bell peppers, one red bell pepper, and one or two cups of diced mushrooms and let simmer on low for a few minutes .Then take one can of diced (or crushed) tomatoes, one can of black beans, one can of kidney beans, one can of pinto beans, and throw it in. Mix well, then add chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper (and whatever other spices you like) Cover, simmer on low for 20 minutes while stirring on and off and adding spices to taste.
  • Italian Style Veggie Pasta:

For the sauce -chop up two big cloves of garlic and let it brown a little with some chopped onions in a big pot with a little olive oil. Then add one big can of diced tomatoes, one can of tomato paste,one can of tomato sauce, and some water to whatever thickness you like. Then add a bunch of fresh basil, some bay leaves, salt, pepper, oregano, and whatever other spices you like. Put a lid on it and let is simmer on low 30 minutes and keep stirring and seasoning to taste. While that is cooking, throw a little oil in a pan(I use coconut but you can use olive) and saute some zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli and green peppers. Throw it all on top of a pasta of your choice (I like rice pasta) and you're done!

  • Asian Style Stir Fry:

Cook some rice of your choice (I like brown or jasmine) . Get a pan and saute some broccoli, snow peas, carrots, onions, bok choy, baby corn and whatever other combination of veggies you'd like with a little sesame or coconut oil and minced garlic. Fry all of that up in a pan with either soy sauce and siracha, teriyaki sauce, sesame sauce, etc. Put the veggies on top of the rise and sprinkle some peanuts, sesame seeds or bean sprouts on top if you're feeling fancy.

Easy One Pan Pasta: If you want this to be 100% vegan just leave out the Parmesan! I also prefer to use one can of diced tomatoes instead of grape tomatoes because it makes the sauce a little juicer. Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart- http://www.marthastewart.com/978784/one-pan-pasta

 

Happy Cooking!

(all photos by Rebecca Daly)