Cooking with Meats Versus Cooking with Plants – Which is Easier?

plant-based diet benefits Jul 16, 2023
Cooking with meats versus cooking with plants

Have you been considering the idea of starting plant-based eating for a while now, but feel hesitant to take that first step? Not only does cooking with new plant-based ingredients seem daunting, but you also worry it’ll be harder and more time-consuming than cooking meat-based dishes. But are these concerns founded? In this article, we’ll compare the two styles of cooking objectively and see if there could indeed be some benefits of one over the other!

A Practical Comparison

First, let’s look at these two eating patterns from a practical perspective. Are there advantages one would get in the kitchen when it comes to making plant-based meals over meat-based dishes? I think so. Here are some key ways in which plant-based cooking COULD be easier and simpler to handle: 

# 1. Plant-Based Meals Can Be Uncooked

Unlike the case with meats, if you don’t feel like cooking up a hot plant-based meal from scratch, you don’t have to. You can just throw together a raw dinner meal like a satisfying salad, have a smoothie for breakfast, enjoy a cold pasta salad, a three-bean salad, or a chickpea salad sandwich. Of course, prior to consuming raw fruits and vegetables, it is advisable to first wash them well, at least under cold running water, to reduce pesticide residue, and remove any harmful bacteria or other contaminants.

#2. Plant-Based Meals Can Involve Less Worry

When cooking with meats, food safety can be a bigger concern. That’s because you would need to cook raw meats before it goes bad, so it's important not to leave them sitting in the fridge for too long. When preparing raw meats for cooking, you would also need to be careful to avoid cross-contamination with different kitchen surfaces, and use a separate cutting board from those used for fruits and vegetables. If you store meats in the freezer, you would need to prevent them from getting freezer burn, and it's also vital to cook meats and other animal-based protein products to the right internal temperatures for food safety reasons.

When you are eating plant-based, though, there’ll be less worry about cross-contamination, needing to cook foods to the right internal temperature and other potential food safety issues. And instead of using up freezer or fridge space to store meat, you can buy protein-rich legumes like dried beans, chickpeas and lentils and store them in a cool dry place for a long time, without needing refrigeration. You just have to get vegetables and fruits, but vegetables can stay good for at least a week or two if smart produce preservation hacks and strategies are used.

#3. Plant-based meals can be SIMPLE!

There is often the concern that tasty plant-based meals need to involve a lot of prep work and hours in the kitchen cooking. That’s not the case! Your meals really don’t have to be complicated to be delicious and satisfying. Think about vegan sushi, mixed grain bowls, a miso vegetable noodle soup, quesadillas or plant-based tacos which are easy to put together. Besides nuts and seeds, there are also lots of fruit, vegetable and legume options like fresh, frozen, canned, and dried versions.

Regardless of whether you are making uncooked or cooked meals though, it’s crucial to have the right simple plant-based recipes in your toolbox that are tasty yet easy to make. This is one key reason why I created the Plant-Powered Life Transformation Course. Through this Course, I wanted to provide the ultimate step-by-step roadmap people need for a smooth plant-based diet transition into a thriving plant-powered lifestyle. This online Course equips students with the necessary prep and cooking skills, strategies and simple yet tasty whole food plant-based recipes to easily master the basics of plant-based eating and enjoy their new lifestyle with confidence and ease.

Of course, if you can afford it, there are plenty of kitchen equipment and gadgets you can buy that can make plant-based cooking even faster and easier. These can include pressure cookers, food processors, high-speed blenders, a garlic press, a tofu press and much more. But if you have the right simple recipes and use smart plant-based kitchen prep and cooking hacks, you will find that these additional gadgets are not absolutely necessary for delicious plant-based cooking.

So consider this: plant-based meals can be just as—and perhaps more convenient and easy to make—as meat-based meals. If you don’t want to think too much about cooking and meal prepping on a given day, you don’t have to!


A Question of New Versus Old

It’s worth noting, though, that for many people, when they say meat-based cooking seems easier, this is often the main reason why: this way of cooking is simply what they have been doing for most of their lives, so they are more comfortable with it. That’s understandable. Let’s face it, beginning anything NEW can feel uncertain, scary and challenging. I think of my son’s resistance to attending preschool by himself that first school week, or of my daughter’s fear and trepidation getting on a bike without training wheels.

Sometimes making a lifestyle change can be difficult, from an emotional perspective as well. I remember a past client of mine who told me that initially making this diet transition felt like a big uphill challenge at first—because she had been used to eating a meat-based diet for so long and her extended family members were questioning her on making this change. So she wasn’t actually worried about learning a new way of cooking or trying new recipes. It was more the emotional and mindset challenge that she faced of leaving her old meat-based lifestyle behind! Is this what your biggest challenge to transition is?

No matter what, rest assured. Like anything new, over time, as you continue doing that ‘new’ thing, it becomes more second nature and you get used to new habits and ways of doing things. This will all make plant-based eating seem easier both emotionally and practically as you get used to making plant-based meals. Sure, there can be a little hump to get over when you start – but that’s why I’m here to support you in that!

If you would like support in plant-based eating to reach your health and/or weight goals, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. I would love to help you thrive confidently in plant-powered health!