Researchers aren’t absolutely positive that an 100% whole-foods, plant-based diet is the healthiest diet, but they are sure that people who eat a nutrient-rich diet that contains no more than a small serving of animal product every day are going to dramatically reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a host of other chronic and terminal health problems.
And the more days you can eat 100% animal product-free, the better!
But if you’re like a lot of people, you may not know much about no-meat, no-dairy meal preparation. You may also think it takes more time to prepare a homemade vegan meal than a homemade meat-based meal.
I’m about to prove you wrong! Not only that, but I’m also going to show you how easy it can be to prepare a whole-foods, 100% plant-based meal.
A disclaimer: when I say “whole foods,” I mean foods that are purchased in their natural form, cooked or otherwise. Canned goods aren’t strictly “whole,” having been cooked, but unless they’ve been coated in syrup or otherwise doctored, I count canned vegetables as “whole” for our purposes.
These are, after all, supposed to be easy recipes. And cooking beans and cutting corn off the cob aren’t exactly easy tasks!
A word of warning: I have photos for very few of the following recipes. I’m certainly not going to have photos of every step for any of the recipes. This isn’t a food or cooking blog, this a blog to encourage and inspire people to live a more fulfilling life, of which good health is key. You don’t need photos, just an ability to read and follow directions, and a tongue that can taste.
Now that we understand each other, on to the recipes…
Recipe #1: Simple tofu stir-fry with rice
If you don’t like tofu or are allergic to soy, omit the tofu. Make up the protein later with a handful of pumpkin seeds for a snack.
- One block of firm to extra-firm tofu
- ½ cup soy or Worchester sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
- 2-3 cups frozen broccoli pieces, thawed out, OR 2-3 cups cut-up fresh broccoli
- 2-3 carrots, each at least six inches long, cut into ½ inch slices
- (if you’re not used to vegetable-heavy dishes, or have a small-ish skillet, go with the two cups broccoli and two carrots)
- 2 teaspoons onion or garlic powder, or 1 teaspoon each, optional (if you want to bother chopping up fresh onion or garlic, you may, but these recipes are supposed to be easy. 😉 )
- 1 cup rice
- 2-1/2 cups water
Do this first part a couple of hours before you want to eat.
- Cut the block of tofu into two-inch cubes. Set the cubes in a glass cake pan in one layer.
- Pour the sauce over the cubes, then set the pan in the refrigerator. Let tofu marinate at least two hours.
- Just before cooking, remove tofu from refrigerator.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
- Add rice, reduce heat, and simmer for about half an hour. If you don’t have a rice cooker, keep an eye on the mixture so that it won’t boil over, or the simmering won’t come to a stand-still.
- When all the water has been absorbed, remove from heat and prepare the stir-fry.
- Heat oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat until it starts to sizzle.
- If you’re going to bother with fresh onion or garlic, put it in the skillet now and stir it while it cooks for about one minute.
- Pour the carrot slices into the skillet. Stir every few seconds for two minutes.
- Add the broccoli and do the same. Continue stirring every few seconds until the vegetables take on a bright color and are crisp-tender.
- Toss in the tofu cubes and pour in whatever sauce remains. Add enough extra sauce so that all the veggie pieces get a little coating, if necessary. Stir all until tofu is warm.
- Serve with hot rice.
Recipe #2: Vegan wrap
- Packet of large Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain tortillas
- Mashed black or garbanzo beans OR almond or peanut butter, optional
- A variety of wrap-friendly veggies:
- Shredded romaine or leaf lettuce
- Sliced avocado
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced cucumbers
- Cut-up red pepper
- Grated carrots
- Any other veggie you enjoy on a sandwich!
- Your favorite vegan condiment – salsa, ketchup, mustard, vegan mayo, etc.
Really? Do you seriously need directions for this one. *SIGH.* Okay.
- Lay tortilla out on large plate.
- If using mashed beans or nut butter, spread it over the tortilla.
- Layer the raw veggies in the middle third of the tortilla.
- Top with desired condiment.
- Roll up and eat!
RECIPE #3: Chickpeas and quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1-2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- Heat water in medium saucepan to boiling.
- Add quinoa.
- Return water to a low simmer.
- Cover pan and let simmer for twenty minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over. Lift lid to release steam if it does, or if a lot of steam is coming out, and reduce heat. If you use an electric burner, you may have to go back and forth between a medium setting a low setting.
- After twenty minutes, no water should be visible in the pan, just quinoa. Remove pan from heat, keeping covered. Let sit for ten minutes.
- Heat beans in the meantime.
- Scoop quinoa onto dish. Spoon over beans and top with seasonings or condiments to taste.
Recipe #4: Sprouted mung bean and sweet potato salad
- 1 cup dry mung beans
- 2 cups water
- 1-2 large sweet potatoes (depending on how many are eating)
- 1 head romaine lettuce, or 1 package romaine hearts
- Balsamic or apple cider vinegar
- Two days prior, soak the beans in a container of at least four cups, in the two cups of water.
- Eight to fifteen hours later, drain the beans in a strainer or colander. Return to the container and let sit for at least another twelve hours. They should have sprouted little white tails by then.
- Dump the beans by quarter-cups onto a glass plate. Dump each cup onto empty glass, not onto the beans you’ve already dumped. If you hear something hard clinking when you dump out the beans, you have an unsprouted bean that will not be nice to crunch on. Find it and remove it.
- Peel the sweet potato if you want, then cut it up into pieces no more than two inches wide and two inches and diameter.
- Bring about an inch and a half of water in the bottom of a saucepan to a boil.
- Put the sweet potato chunks either directly into the water, or in a steamer basket set above the water.
- Cover and cook until all the pieces are soft, five to ten minutes.
- In the meantime, wash and shred the lettuce. Put into a bowl.
- Set out the bowl of lettuce, sweet potatoes, container of mung beans, and vinegar.
- Let each person partaking of the meal heap their plates with however much lettuce, potato, and sprouted mung beans they desire.
- Top with vinegar, sprinkle with salt, mix together, and enjoy.
Recipe #5: Tex-Mex Vegan Salad
- 1 can corn
- 1 can black beans
- 2 large bunches kale
- Jar of salsa
- Tear the kale leaves off the stems, which are hard to chew and leave annoying green strings between your teeth.
- Cut up the kale leaves.
- Pour an inch of water in the bottom of a saucepan.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Either drop the kale right into the water, or place the kale in a steamer basket and place it in the saucepan.
- Steam the kale for about seven minutes.
- If you put the greens into the water, pour off the water.
- While the kale cooks, drain and heat up the black beans and corn in the same saucepan (optional – you may not want to do this if you’re making the meal during the summer).
- Place the kale, beans, and corn in a large bowl and stir together.
- When served on plates, top with salsa to taste.
These easy and healthy vegan recipes are a great way to ramp up your nutrition and generally improve your health.
If you want even more tips on how to improve your diet, including more simple recipes, check out my book, Simple Diet, Beautiful You. While it’s not strictly vegan, because I wrote it to reach a more general audience, it will still give you plenty of tips on how to eat healthier with more plants, and without spending hours in the kitchen!
Click here to download the book now.