How Plant-Based Meals Can Be Tasty

ingredients and nutrition Aug 15, 2022
Grilled vegetables, lemon and chick peas

Why a Plant-Based Diet Can Seem Unappealing

Many people think that this is what eating plant-based means - eating veggies like celery, broccoli and salads ALL the time. So if you don't really like these, what do you do? And frankly, the idea of eating only vegetables the rest of your life is certainly boring and can be enough to turn anyone off a plant-based diet…possibly forever. Is this what you’re thinking?

I get it. There just doesn’t seem to be that many options available on a plant-based diet. Maybe, like my father-in-law, you’ve never liked to eat raw vegetables and the idea of salads all the time just seems unappealing. Or maybe you grew up hating the overboiled or limp, lifeless over-steamed veggies on your plate that you’ve always been forced to eat…so the idea of eating plant-based conjures up images of all things green and tasteless. And for those who find cooking a challenge, eating raw broccoli florets, celery sticks and salads may be the only way they envision being able to handle plant-based meals if they make the switch. Which situation do you relate to the most?

Three Reasons Why You Can Have Delicious Plant-Based Meals

Well, if those are your concerns, here are three reasons why going on a whole food plant-based diet will never be bland or boring…and can actually be delicious and eye-opening!

Reason 1: More Than Fruits and Vegetables

Contrary to popular belief, a plant-based diet is not just fruits and vegetables. In fact, there’s a whole endless array of nutrient-rich, unprocessed or minimally processed plant-based foods you can choose from. For example, besides fruits and vegetables, other major categories in a plant-based diet include whole grains, legumes, mushrooms, nuts and seeds. Just taking beans alone, there are hundreds of different bean varieties being commercially cultivated around the world today – an eye-opening array! That’s even more varied than the number of different kinds of dried or canned beans we find on our local supermarket shelves.

So the plant-based world is so vast that you will never run out of variety and tastes if you keep an open mind and are willing to explore. In fact, I have been eating plant-based for a while now and I am still continually discovering new tastes and new whole plant-based foods I have not tasted before. In fact, on a recent shopping trip, I was pleasantly surprised to see two new kinds of dried beans I had never seen before sitting on the grocery shelf. Of course, I had to bring at least one of these ‘new’ beans home to explore and cook with!



Reason 2: An Array of Textures, Smells & Colors

Keep in mind that along with numerous varieties of plant-based foods within each plant-based food category, there’s also a huge array of colors available to choose from. So, if ‘green’ is not your favorite color at the moment, you still have a wide selection of other colors to enjoy! Here is just a small sample to show you the range of foods and colors you can find in a plant-based diet:

White: Button mushrooms, white quinoa, onions, potatoes, jicama

Black: Black Beans, blackberries, olives, plums, black cumin seeds

Orange: Oranges, apricots, clementines, mangos, butternut squash, carrots

Yellow: Bananas, lemons, rock melon, summer squash, yellow bell peppers, mangoes

Pink: Dragon fruit, beets, grapefruit

Red: Tomatoes, red kidney beans, red bell peppers, apples, cherries, red currants

Purple: Eggplant, figs, red cabbage, grapes

Green: Green lentils, kale, zucchini, kiwis, green apples, spinach

Besides colors, there are also many textures to choose from, not to mention different smells and fragrances! Adding a few of these different textures and colors within a dish can really upgrade and uplevel that plant-based dish from ‘good’ to ‘extraordinary’. For instance, imagine a fresh salad that contains vibrant green lettuce leaves, crunchy roasted chickpeas, plump red cherry tomatoes, soft fragrant fresh raspberries, bright juicy red currants, crisp jicama slices, chewy baked tofu chunks, black sesame seeds, thinly grated carrots, and a sweet-tangy dressing.

So I hope you can see that the sky’s really the limit with plant-based eating!


Reason 3: Not Just One Way of Cooking

If you look back in history, you’ll see that many civilizations and cultures around the world have been experimenting and cooking with various whole plant-based foods like beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, seeds and mushrooms, rice, wheat and other whole grains, for a long time. Along the way, they have evolved various techniques, sauce combinations and seasonings to produce a varied collection of culturally appropriate and uniquely seasoned dishes. And many of these dishes not only look appetizing but are also delicious! Just think about the plant-based side or main dishes you may have tried at restaurants featuring cuisines like Korean, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Indonesian, and Greek fare.

I recently visited a Thai restaurant that focused on vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes. It was owned and operated by two sisters for over ten years. Imagine our family’s delight in coming upon this restaurant by accident on a day trip visiting a new park and city! The dishes were delicious and even my children enjoyed the meals immensely (shown above is the dish that my husband ordered).

But even if you are not able to go to a restaurant, there are definitely simple ways and recipes to re-create some tasty plant-based dishes from different cultures right at home. You often just need to be willing to get a few different spices or to try a different cooking technique. But the key is to be open and willing to explore and try a variety of tastes!

Healthy Eating Does Not Equal Tasteless

So, here’s the good news – healthy eating does NOT have to equal ‘tasteless’. There is a wide range and variety of different whole plant-based foods you can enjoy, not to mention different methods of cooking them! Practically, though, I understand that if you are new to plant-based eating or in the midst of your transition, you would need help with ideas on using a variety of whole plant-based foods, how to prep them and super easy recipes to cook them. And I’ve got you covered here through my past article posts and upcoming resources and trainings. Sounds like a deal?

I hope you feel empowered today to begin on your plant-based journey, trying out and adding in new nutrient-rich whole plant-based foods into your meals, so you can begin reaping the potential powerful health benefits of a plant-based diet. Treat this as a lifelong adventure and exploration into the plant-based world. Still nervous? Don’t worry - you always have my support as you begin this exciting journey towards thriving plant-powered living!