Eating more plants and less animal foods is good for your overall health (including warding off critical illness) and the planet. It doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing, even reducing can have high positive impact. Oh hey, Meatless Mondays!
Wanting to eat more plant-based foods, but aren’t sure where to start? In this Blended For Wellness, we've put together some tips and tricks for your grocery list plus a couple of recipes for you to try and our Blended picks for plant-based diet support.
Tofu is a great source of protein with 11g per ¼ package (@ 85 grams). Tofu acts like a sponge and will soak up any flavours you add to it. Make tofu steaks (marinade and pan-fry) or toss it into a stir-fry type bowl. Smoked tofu is an already-prepped option: try on kebabs or in salads.
Tempeh, similar to tofu, is made from fermented soybeans with an earthy-hearty-nutty
Seitan is made from wheat gluten that has a chicken-like texture once cooked. You can add any flavours to take on the flavour of any meat (eg. chicken, pork) or toss in a sauce or dressing. A 2.5 oz serving provides 17 grams of protein. Flag: not for the gluten-free crowd.
This may seem like a weird one, but because of its meaty texture Jackfruit is a great substitute for pulled pork or chicken. Try in tacos or with slaw on a bun. Once it's cooked and tossed with seasonings/sauces, you won’t even know the difference.
The mushrooms are great for texture and taste; marinade and swap in for the meat-patty in your burger or 'steak' slices.
Chickpeas are a go-to for protein add - toss into chilis, soups, stir-fry bowls, salads, or blend in processor to use as a crumble substitute (cauli-crumble, chickpea burgers, taco filling). Check out the recipe below.
Milk & Egg Alternatives
Whether scrambled, in a omelet, or even a quiche, here are easy subs for your fave egg dishes:
Tofu is a great alternative for scrambled eggs. It's best if you use firm to extra firm tofu. Eat it as is or put your scramble on some avocado toast
Chickpea flour is a great way to achieve a plant-based, protein-packed omelet.
Polenta eggs are another great substitute. Polenta is boiled cornmeal and can be used to make an omelet or a scramble.
You've probably seen "mylks" at your grocery store. Almond milk was first out of the gate, but its nut-heavy vibe isn't always the best sub for all milk uses. Here's what we're using and when:
Coconut milk (smoothies)
Cashew milk (smoothies, cereal)
Soy milk (smoothies, coffee drinks, cereal)
Almond Milk (nutty or berry smoothies, cereal)
*To keep sugars content down, opt for unsweetened, natural types vs flavoured.
Nutritional yeast: a fave non-dairy staple, delicious cheesy flavour staple. Try it in dressings or sprinkled over things like popcorn and avocado toast. Bonus: it's a great source of B-12.
Plant-Based Recipes: "No-Tuna" Salad Sandwich
FOR THE SALAD:
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons tahini
1 teaspoon Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave nectar
¼ cup diced red onion
¼ cup diced celery
¼ cup diced pickle
1 teaspoon capers, drained and loosely chopped
Healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon roasted unsalted sunflower seeds (optional)
8 slices whole-wheat bread
Dijon or spicy brown mustard
Red onion, sliced
1. Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork, leaving only a few beans whole.
2. Add tahini, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, celery, pickle, capers, salt and pepper, and sunflower seeds (if using) to mixing bowl. Mix to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
3. Toast bread if desired, and prepare any other desired sandwich toppings (such as lettuce, tomato, and onion).
4. Scoop a healthy amount of the chickpea mixture (about ½ cup) onto one slice of bread, add desired toppings and top with second slice of bread. Repeat for additional sandwiches.
Plant-Based Recipes: Aloo Mattar
¼ teaspoon black mustard seeds
1-2 pods cardamoms
4 pods clove
1 inch cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 pinch asafetida* (optional)
5-6 medium tomatoes, cubed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1½ teaspoons coriander powder
Salt to taste
3 medium russet potatoes
1 cup fresh, canned or frozen green peas
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1. In a pan dry roast the mustard seeds, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, stirring once the mustard seeds start to pop, add the cumin seeds and asafetida. Add the tomatoes; cook till the tomatoes soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and let cook for 2-3 minutes, add the cayenne pepper, cumin powder, coriander powder, salt and cook for 10-15 minutes.
2. While the tomatoes are cooking, in a pan bring 2-3 cups of water to boil, add the potatoes un-peeled and cook till the potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Peel the skin and cut into 1 inch cubes.
3. Rinse green peas in water and strain the water out. Add the potatoes and peas to the tomato sauce and cook for 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle cilantro (if using) and serve hot with steamed rice or whole grain bread.
*Note: Asefetida is a spice derived from the resin extracted from a plant root. It has a pungent aroma that is very strong when raw but works as a flavour enhancer when cooked. It gives a unique flavour to most Indian dishes. It is also called “Hing," available in most Indian grocery stores.
Blended Nutrition For Your Plant-Based Diet
While all of our blends are vegan & gluten-free, we've developed several that provide the extra nutrition support often needed when following a plant-based diet. Our goal is to help ensure you're eating the right foods, in the right combinations, for both essential nutrient in-take and absorption.
One of our top tips: the absorption of plant-based iron is boosted when paired with vitamin C.
Looking for blends that are ideal, one-a-day smoothies when following a vegan, plant-based diet? Our top picks below all have 14 to 20 grams of protein, 60%-90% of your Iron RDI, and very high in the following: Vitamins A, B12, C, K, Folate, Magnesium, Manganese, Calcium.
Looking for lower carb & low sugar? Daily Greens Keto*(contains less protein) & Greens D-tox.