Ever find yourself in a cooking rut, not sure what to make for dinner? As much as you love your go-to pasta dish or stir fry, eating the same things over and over can get boring. Why not shake up your routine by trying top 10 plant-based meals? They’re healthy, hearty, and delicious. You’ll be amazed by the variety of meat-free meals you can make at home.
From protein-packed veggie chili to creamy mushroom risotto, there are so many options to choose from. In this article, you’ll discover the tastiest top 10 plant-based meals that are perfect for any night of the week. Your taste buds and waistline will thank you. Ready to get cooking? Let’s dive in!
What Is a Plant-Based Diet?
So what exactly is a plant-based diet? In short, it’s centered around foods that come from plants – fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Meat, poultry, and seafood are limited or avoided altogether.
Why go Plant-Based?
There are several benefits to a plant-based diet:
- It’s better for the planet. Industrial meat production strains natural resources and contributes to deforestation. Plant-based diets are more sustainable.
- It’s good for your health. A balanced plant-based diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. You’ll get more fiber, antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds.
- It’s humane and ethical. Many people go plant-based out of concern for the welfare of animals. A plant-based diet avoids the cruelty and exploitation involved in industrial animal agriculture.
Transitioning to a plant-based diet is easier than you might think. Here are some tips to get you going:
- Focus on whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Limit processed meat and dairy substitutes.
- Try new recipes and meat substitutes like tofu, tempeh, and seitan. Check out cookbooks for inspiration.
- Make sure you’re getting all essential nutrients like protein, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. You may need to take supplements.
- Start gradually by having a meat-free day each week. Replace one meal at a time with a plant-based option. Build up from there as you get more comfortable.
By following a balanced plant-based diet,, you’ll feel better, live healthier, and do your part for the planet. Give it a try – you have so much to gain and nothing to lose!
Benefits of Eating Plant-Based Meals
Eating more plant-based meals is one of the best things you can do for your health and the planet. Here are just a few of the benefits:
Improved Heart Health
A diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes is great for your heart. These foods are high in fiber, antioxidants and healthy fats that can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Studies show plant-based diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 32%.
Lower Risk of Disease
A balanced plant-based diet has been shown to help prevent and even reverse chronic diseases like diabetes and some forms of cancer. Many plant foods contain compounds like antioxidants that help reduce inflammation in the body, which is a risk factor for disease. Eating a variety of plant-based foods provides the best health benefits.
Better for the Environment
Meat production strains natural resources and contributes to deforestation, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, plant-based foods are sustainable and environmentally friendly. By eating plant-based meals, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and helping the planet.
Weight Loss and Management
Plant-based foods are less energy dense so you can eat more and feel full while consuming fewer calories. Studies show people following plant-based diets tend to have lower body weight and body mass index. A balanced plant-based diet with moderate exercise is a recipe for sustainable weight loss and long-term weight management.
So add more plant-based meals to reap all these amazing benefits. An easy way to start is by trying Meatless Mondays or adding one extra plant-based meal each week. Your body and the planet will thank you!
Our Top 10 Plant-Based Meals Ideas
When it comes to plant-based meals, the options are endless. Here are our top 10 favorite hearty and delicious meals to inspire you:
Vegetable Curry over Rice
A flavorful curry loaded with veggies like bell peppers, carrots, broccoli and chickpeas. Served over rice or quinoa, this dish is filling, nutritious and budget-friendly.
- Make curry sauce with onions, garlic, ginger, spices, coconut milk
- Sauté vegetables like potatoes, carrots, peas
- Simmer curry sauce and vegetables
- Serve over steamed rice
Black Bean Burgers
Hearty black bean burgers served on a bun with your favorite toppings like avocado, sprouts and a spicy vegan mayonnaise. These burgers are packed with protein and fiber to keep you satisfied.
- Mash black beans with egg, breadcrumbs, onion, cilantro
- Form bean mixture into patties
- Pan fry burgers until crispy
- Serve on buns with desired toppings
Spaghetti Squash with Tomato Sauce
Using spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute is a great way to cut carbs while enjoying a classic dish. Top with a homemade or store-bought tomato sauce and plant-based parmesan for extra flavor.
- Roast spaghetti squash halves until tender
- Shred roasted flesh with a fork to make “noodles”
- Heat simple tomato sauce
- Toss noodles with tomato sauce, top with Parmesan
Potato, Corn and Leek Chowder
Thick and creamy without the cream, this chowder is comfort food at its best. Potatoes, corn and leeks are simmered in a vegetable broth until tender and then blended until smooth and creamy.
- Sauté leeks in butter until soft
- Add potatoes, broth, corn and simmer until potatoes are tender
- Purée some of the chowder to thicken
- Finish with cream and chopped parsley
Crispy falafel balls wrapped in hummus and fresh veggies provide a delicious meat-free option for lunch or dinner.tahini-based sauce adds an extra punch of protein.
- Blend chickpeas, onion, herbs and spices to make falafel mixture
- Form into patties and fry until crisp and brown
- Serve in pitas with lettuce, tomato, tzatziki sau
Tofu Stir Fry with Rice Noodles
Crispy tofu, fresh veggies and rice noodles in a savory stir fry sauce. A quick, wholesome meal with an appealing blend of flavors and textures.
- Press and cut tofu into cubes, marinate in soy sauce and cornstarch
- Cook rice noodles according to package
- Stir fry marinated tofu with vegetables like onion, peppers, snap peas
- Toss stir fried mixture with noodles
Lentil Sloppy Joes
Hearty lentil sloppy joes served on a bun. Lentils provide substance in place of ground beef in this plant-powered version of a comfort food classic.
- Cook lentils with taco seasoning until soft
- Shred lentils slightly with a potato masher
- Stir in tomato sauce and serve on buns
Cheesy macaroni and cheese meets protein-packed chili for a deliciously satisfying mashup. Use your favorite vegan cheese and chili recipes to customize.
- Cook elbow macaroni according to package
- Make chili with beans, tomatoes, onions, chili powder
- Mix cooked macaroni with chili
- Top with cheddar and green onions
Vegetable Pad Thai
Fresh rice noodles, tofu and veggies tossed in a tangy tamarind pad thai sauce. Garnished with crushed peanuts, lime and cilantro.
- Stir fry rice noodles with tofu, eggs, bean sprouts, peanuts
- Toss in pad thai sauce made with tamarind, fish sauce, lime
- Garnish with lime, cilantro, crushed peanuts
Black Bean Enchiladas
Hearty black bean and sweet potato enchiladas baked in a spicy chili sauce. Top with avocado, cilantro and green onions. Comfort food at its finest!
- Make enchilada sauce from chilies, tomatoes, spices
- Fill tortillas with black beans and cheese, roll up
- Pour enchilada sauce over filled tortillas
- Bake until hot and melty
Plant-Based Meal Prep Tips
When it comes to plant-based meals, a little prep goes a long way. Following a few tips will set you up for healthy, delicious plant-based dishes all week long.
Do some batch Cooking
Cook a big pot of rice, beans, or grains on your day off so you have a base for meals during the week. Things like brown rice, quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas keep well and can be used in a variety of dishes. You’ll save time and have nutritious ingredients on hand for stir fries, burritos, salads, and more.
Wash and chop veggies like broccoli, bell peppers, carrots and cabbage after bringing them home from the store. Store them in sealed bags or containers in the fridge for easy access when cooking. Having prepped produce ready to go makes it more likely you’ll reach for them, and less likely leftovers will go bad before you get a chance to eat them.
Make big batches
Double or triple recipes for plant-based favorites like chili, curry, soup or stew and freeze portions for later. Homemade frozen dinners will satisfy your craving for comfort food in no time. Just reheat and enjoy!
Keep ingredients on hand
Stock your pantry and fridge with staples for quick plant-based meals like:
- Canned beans (chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans)
- Nut butters (peanut, almond, sunflower seed)
- Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats)
- Plant-based milks (soy, oat, almond)
- Vegetable broth
- Olive oil
- Leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine)
With a well-stocked kitchen and some prep, you’ll be enjoying delicious plant-based meals all week. Save time, reduce waste and feel good knowing homemade meals are within easy reach. Your health and the planet will thank you!
FAQ on Following a Plant-Based Diet
Following a plant-based diet comes with lots of questions. Here are some of the most frequently asked ones:
Can I eat eggs on a plant-based diet?
Eggs are technically not a plant-based food since they come from animals. However, some plant-based eaters do consume eggs in moderation. It depends on how strictly you want to follow a plant-based diet. If you want to eliminate all animal products, then eggs would not be included. But if you want to follow a mostly plant-based diet, eggs can absolutely be part of a healthy diet. The choice is up to you!
What is 100% plant-based food?
100% plant-based foods come solely from plants, including:
- Fruits: Apples, bananas, berries, citrus, etc.
- Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, etc.
- Grains: Oats, rice, quinoa, wheat, etc.
- Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas, etc.
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.
A diet based entirely on these plant foods and plant-based protein sources is considered 100% plant-based. No meat, poultry, seafood, dairy or eggs are included.
What are some examples of plant-based meals?
Some delicious plant-based meal options include:
- Vegetable curry over rice
- Bean and veggie tacos
- Lentil soup
- Hummus and veggie wrap
- Peanut noodle stir fry
- Black bean burritos
- Tofu stir fry with broccoli and brown rice
The possibilities are endless! You can make plant-based versions of most of your favorite dishes by swapping in plant-based protein sources for meat, and loading up on fresh or frozen produce, grains, beans, and legumes.
What is the best plant-based food to eat?
Some of the best plant-based foods to focus on include:
- Legumes like beans, lentils and chickpeas which are high in protein and fiber.
- Nutrient-dense vegetables such as dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage, and starchy veggies like sweet potatoes.
- Whole grains which provide fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Opt for less refined grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats and farro.
- Nuts and seeds which contain healthy fats, protein and various vitamins and minerals.
- Plant-based protein sources such as tofu, tempeh and seitan which
So there you have it, 10 filling and flavorful meatless meals to satisfy your taste buds and fuel your body. Whether you’re looking to eat less meat for health, environmental or ethical reasons, plant-based recipes can be just as satisfying as any meaty dish. Give a few of these crowd-pleasing options a try and you might just find yourself reaching for the veggies more often.
And if you do slip up and crave a burger now and then, don’t beat yourself up over it. Transitioning to a plant-based diet is a journey, not a destination. The important thing is that you’re making an effort to eat in a way that aligns with your values. Keep exploring, keep experimenting in the kitchen and keep enjoying delicious food – your body and the planet will thank you for it!