The past years have witnessed an increase in the number of people who are switching or transitioning to plant-based diets. This is due to the increasing popularity of plant-forward eating which focuses on eating more plant-based food and less animal-based food. The main reason for this shift in the eating habits of people is the realization of the drawbacks of eating meat on health and the environment. Along with this, they became aware of the health benefits of following a plant-forward diet. In this article, we will share important tips for cooking healthy plant-based meals.
The days of the sad-looking iceberg salad are long gone, plant-based cooking has evolved. Nowadays, there are vegan or vegetarian versions of most nonvegetarian recipes because plant-based recipes are becoming popular. For instance, restaurants and fast-food chains are offering meatless meat products. However, there are some challenges when cooking plant-based meals, and they are discussed in detail below.
Plant-Based Cooking Challenges
- It Is Easy To Revert To Old Habits: It is natural for you to revert to what is familiar, especially when you have been cooking in a particular way your whole life. This is completely true when one is having a busy day. During such time, converting your favorite meat-based recipe into a plant-based one is challenging. So, in such situations, many people who switched to plant-forward eating tend to revert to their older eating habits.
- The Lack Of Variety In Vegetarian Recipes:In restaurants and fast-food joints, plant-based recipes rely heavily on pasta, tofu, and other plant-based substitutes.
- It Is Hard To Cook A Balanced Plant-Based Meal: Beginners may find it difficult to cook a balanced plant-based meal. This is mainly because a few nutrients are either absent or cannot be easily absorbed from plant-based food. So, many new vegans and vegetarians find themselves getting more carbs, less protein, from their food. Often, this is caused due to their craving for meat.
Tips For Cooking Healthy Plant-Based Meals
Know The Right Substitute: The key to successfully converting meat-based recipes into plant-based recipes is to use the right plant-based ingredients that make for good meat substitutes. For instance, lentils are a good substitute for beef in tacos, but it is not a good substitute for meat in meatballs.
Find Brands That You Like: Instead of plant-based foods like beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds, you can also use plant-based meat substitute products when converting nonvegetarian recipes into plant-based recipes. You will notice that some of them will taste like real meat while others do not. So, it is important to try out meat substitute products of different brands to find what is right for you.
Learn What You Like By Experimenting: The ingredients used for making plant-based recipes can be processed or prepared in different ways. For example, beans can be air-fried, mashed, or mixed with rice. Lentils can be added to spaghetti sauce, salads, pureed and added to soups, and so on. Likewise, you must also try using plant-based meat substitutes in different ways. Moreover, you can use combinations of different varieties of lentils and beans.
Learn How To Prep And Cook Different Vegetables: Many people who eat meat-based diets think of vegetables as an afterthought. One of the main reasons for this is that they do not know how to cook vegetables very well. You must know that vegetables can taste amazing if they are done right. This can make your plant-based meal flavorful and mouthwatering.
You can apply marinade to prepped vegetables and roast them, or you can top them with sauce before serving. The other option is to sprinkle fresh herbs to bring out the flavors. Keep in mind that there is a multitude of ways in which you can enhance the taste of your plant-based meals.
Explore Different Types Of Cooking Techniques: There are different ways to cook plant-based food like steaming, sautéing, stir-frying, baking, roasting, pureeing, etc. They help to bring textures, bring out and enhance flavors of vegetables. By rotating between these cooking techniques, you can make your plant-based meals more flavorful and interesting
Fathom The Role Played By Ingredients In A Recipe
Before converting a nonvegetarian recipe into a vegan or vegetarian recipe, you must understand the role of each ingredient in the former. This helps find the perfect plant-based substitute. Sometimes, you can or cannot substitute an ingredient, and this depends on its role in the recipe. For example, often you can use oil instead of butter, but this will not always work. The purpose of eggs in foods like meatballs is to act as a binder. So, when making a plant-based alternative, use a plant-based substitute with a similar property like ground flaxseed mixed with water.
Keeping these points in mind will help you to cook healthy plant-based meals, and we hope that the details shared above were useful for you.