Hello and welcome to the second part of my plant-based A-Z! If you missed part 1, you can catch up by clicking here.
We all know we should be eating more fruit and vegetables, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds… but sometimes we just need a bit of inspiration!
So here are a few more delicious, whole, plant-based foods and some ideas on what to do with them.
Nuts are great for snacking, for adding to breakfasts and even for sprinkling over salads! And when you’re making pesto, there’s no need to be limited to pine nuts. Cashews, almonds and walnuts also work really well. And if you love peanut butter, you should try branching out into the world of other nut butters, like almond butter, cashew butter and pecan butter! Just check the ingredients – there’s no need for it to contain anything other than nuts and a little salt.
Oats are full of goodness and porridge is a great way to start the day. If you have a really early start, overnight oats are a great option for busy people. As the name suggests, the oats are prepared the night before, so you have a healthy breakfast ready and waiting in the morning. You can also use oats to make your own granola or your own granola bars.
Preparing a pomegranate is one of the most tedious tasks in the world, but it’s worth it! You can sprinkle the seeds in fruit salads but pomegranate seeds also go really well with Moroccan style dishes.
Pronounced ‘keen-wah’, this grain is packed full of good stuff and is naturally gluten-free. It tastes slightly nutty and is great in salads and stews. It can also be used to stuff bell peppers and I’ve even seen quinoa made into sushi. Some people use it to make porridge too. It’s very versatile.
Runner bean chutney is one of my favourite things, but they’re also great stir-fried or steamed with garlic and chilli. You can also make runner bean soup.
Chia and flax seeds are great added to overnight oats and smoothies and you can add hemp seeds to hummus. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds can be added to pestos or maybe toasted and added to salads for texture. You can also make seed butter (like nut butter).
There are loads of things you can do with tomatoes. Obviously, they taste great in salads and tomato sauces and soups, but they also taste amazing with pesto on flatbreads. They can be the star of the show in a tomato tart or they can be one of many vegetables used for pizza toppings.
Unbelievable Amounts of Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are amazing roasted, mashed, baked or (my personal favourite) made into sweet potato cakes! They’re also great in curries and soups. And there’s no need to waste the skins; loaded sweet potato skins are a delicious starter or sharer.
It’s the spice of life, so I’ve heard. You don’t need to buy expensive superfoods to have a healthy diet; you just need to eat a variety of plant-based foods. Just everyday fruit and veg is fine.
Obviously, it’s great in salads, but you can also use it to make pesto and there’s always watercress soup!
X… XTRA CHILLI?!
Chilli! Chilli on everything! Whether it’s chilli seeds sprinkled over avocado on toast or sliced fresh red chillies in a thai curry… it’s all good. Red pepper and chilli chutneys are also delicious!
Coconut milk yoghurts are delicious and a great alternative to dairy.
Zoodles – an alternative to noodles or spaghetti made with courgette (or zucchini, hence the ‘z’). There’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating real noodles and real pasta, but vegetable ‘noodles’ are a great addition to salads and soups.
So there you have it! Just a few ideas of how you can introduce more plant-based foods into your diet. And for more plant-based recipe ideas, click here.