How to Add More Plant Based Dishes To Your Meal Planning


Photo by Anna Pelzer

Put down the vegan burger. More and more of us are making plant based dishes a focus of our meals, at least some of the time. But these aren’t the vegetarian or even vegan meals of our parents. 

“The plant based category has never been stronger with delicious burgers, sausages, and eggs tasting like the real thing,” says  Chef Andrea Norby, Purple Carrot’s Head of Culinary. “These dishes are healthy, delicious and will satisfy you.”

Read more: Yes, You Can Make the Superiority Burger at Home, But Not Without Time, Tools and Skill

Here, Norby shares her tips for adding more plant based dishes into our weekly meals:

A Plant Based Cheese Platter

You’ll find me sharing a plant based cheese platter with my friends and family on most Friday evenings. I love Treeline’s aged artisanal cracker pepper cheese and turn it into a full blown dinner with grilled stone fruit, marcona almonds, grape leaves, olives, and flatbread.

Go crazy with “crunchies.” Experiment with different nuts, hemp seeds, crispy shallots, and even pickled vegetables like sauerkraut, or kimchi to add major texture and bonus nutrients to your meals.

All About Mushrooms

Mushrooms are having a moment. I love their versatility but also their uncanny ability to mimic meat. They’re earthy, rich, and pretty flavor neutral, so they can take on whatever flavor profile you’re working towards. Some of my favorite preparations are seared portobellos in a hot cast iron pan or on the grill as steaks, oyster mushrooms battered and fried like chicken, and in the summer, thinly sliced creminis tossed with a ton of lime juice and cilantro for a plant based take on ceviche. 

Read more: Make the Best of Rainy Days; Forage for Oyster Mushrooms

What To Throw On The Grill

This season, we’ll continue to see vegetables take center stage with cauliflower steaks, Japanese eggplants, and mushrooms hitting the grill. These meaty vegetables play perfectly with the grill’s char and can be dressed up with all sorts of marinades. I love a Tahini BBQ rub on cauliflower steaks and a sweet or smoky sauce on mushroom skewers (think maple, tamari and liquid smoke). Grilled baby eggplants are fantastic with just olive oil, salt, and pepper but you can take it to the next level with a bright cilantro mint chutney.

Read more: Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas: Eggplant Caponata Bruschetta Recipe

The ‘Yucky’ Vegetable From Your Childhood You Need to Give Another Chance

We’ll continue to see cauliflower steaks, rice, and wings throughout 2019, but the new way to reap this powerhouse’s nutritional benefits is blended into smoothies. When frozen, cauliflower replaces ice or even bananas, yielding a super creamy, thick texture without all the added sugar. Its neutral flavor plus nutritional properties: potassium, fiber, and Vitamin C, make this a delicious win-win.

Read more: Give These 4 Cauliflower Recipes a Chance

Easy Tips to Add in More Plant Based Foods

 Add garbanzo beans to lunch salads or roast them up in the oven with a bit of cinnamon and sugar for a mid-afternoon snack. Try warm quinoa chia oats topped with almonds for breakfast instead of standard oatmeal, or a legume-based pasta for your standard spaghetti dinner. And if protein isn’t the main component of your meal, add on protein powerhouses like hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, edamame, and even protein-rich vegetables such as spinach, peas, and broccoli, to keep things both textural and interesting.