Let me clear up one thing - being plant-based does not mean you are vegetarian or vegan. Most people think automatically that if you focus on eating plant-based foods, you do not eat meat. When you follow a plant-based diet, it means you are reducing how much meat you eat and replacing it with fruits, vegetables and healthy grains most of the time.
For me, I like to eat plant-based Monday through Wednesday, sometimes on Thursday as well, but the remaining days I will eat meat and/or fish. I find eating plant-based during the week is easier than on the weekends. The weekends may not allow for plant-based eating when visiting family or friends or going out. The weekdays are easier for me to stay on a routine. Why do eat plant-based?
1) For my health. When I decided to go plant-based, I had no idea the healthy effects of the lifestyle. One year after following a plant-based lifestyle, my cholesterol dropped 10 points. It wasn't high to begin with but this was a measurable effect of choosing to eat more plants. Plus, my energy levels have soared and I've been able to maintain my weight for at least 4 years.
2) For the variety. When I was eating a meat-based diet, it was very routine. Same type of poultry, beef, fish and pork dishes. But when I went plant-based, I couldn't believe the variety of meals that were out there and the amount of different vegetables I now routinely eat. Turnips, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers, avocado, cauliflower rice, red onions - when I ate meat, I would stick to the basics like green beans and corn. A whole new world was opened to me as I strive to keep meals interesting.
3) For the environment. By eating plant-based, we can help manage global warming. The World Resource Institute calculated that beef, lamb and goat have the largest impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Poultry and pork have a medium impact and beans, fish and nuts have the lowest impact. Even if you only have one night a week as a meatless dinner, you are helping the environment.
When I look for plant-based recipes to try, they need to be fast and have ingredients that are easily accessible. I have a very hectic schedule during the week and I need to meal-plan breakfast, lunch and dinner. So I need dinners that can easily come together or be made on the weekend and simply reheated.
Below are some of my favorite plant-based dinners. Not only do I eat them, but so does my meat-eating significant other. If you try any of the below, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share! Also, if you would like to get free healthy living information and recipes, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
Chickpea Quinoa Stir-Fry by My Plant Based Family. This recipe would need meal-prep over the weekend to make it a fast dinner. Quinoa takes 25 minutes to cook. Plus, I would chop all the veggies and have frozen ready to throw in as well to finish the meal. By prepping on the weekend, you can have this together in 15 minutes. Click here for the recipe.
Sweet Potato Veggie Lasagna by Plant Based Cooking. This lasagna is a hearty meal. It can be made on the weekend for a quick and nutritious heat and eat dinner. Plus, there will be left-overs for lunches. I love it when left-overs become lunch! Makes my life so much easier. The recipe calls for tofu but if that is way too vegetarian for you, you can skip it. There are plenty of other ingredients in this dish so I promise, you won't miss it. Click here for the recipe.
Middle Eastern Salad Tacos by Feasting at Home. What I love about this recipe is that you can make this really quickly and have it on the table in 30 minutes or less. Also, you can make this anytime of the year and simply substitute whatever veggies are in season. Click here for the recipe.
Vegan & Gluten-Free Green Falafel by Elephantastic Vegan. This recipe can substitute spinach instead of using collard greens. Don't let the word vegan scare you. It is simply because the recipe doesn't need an egg as a binder. The chickpeas are moist enough to make the falafel. Pair this with steamed broccoli or sauteed zucchini or eat on top of salad as shown in the picture below. Click here for the recipe.
Zucchini Noodle Cashew Stir-Fry by Table for Two Blog. I love my spiralizer. It makes veggies into noodle shapes which help reduce our intake of pasta. Also, zucchini noodles make a great addition for any dinner recipe. This recipe uses peppers and carrots but you can put any veggies you like in this. I would add frozen broccoli florets because we love broccoli in my house! Click here for the recipe.
I hope this post with plant-based dinner recipes inspires you to try a plant-based dinner at least once per week. It will help you and your family infuse healthy options that aren't boring into your routine. If you would like to get healthy living advice and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.