Mentioning a vegan diet or even a plant-based diet to someone that’s not aware of the benefits or who has a strong family upbringing eating animal products can seem like a far stretch and even downright insane! Ironically though, many people who are opposed, fearful, or just downright mislead about eating a plant-based diet don’t even realize many of their favorite food combinations are already naturally plant-based. Sometimes we psyche ourselves out into thinking that a plant-based diet is just for hippies and extremists, but the truth is, it’s really pretty simple. Eating plant-based is just about creating meals without animals included in them, and many of our favorite dishes actually already do that.
Knowingly or not, you’re already probably already enjoying many American favorites below that are naturally meat, dairy, egg, poultry and fish-free. Here are five of our favorite below… check them out and enjoy them in a healthy way more often!
1. Peanut Butter and Banana
Who doesn’t love this amazing combo? You don’t need a fancy piece of equipment or a gourmet taste in food to appreciate this simple, filling combination whether on a sandwich, graham crackers, or even in a nice smoothie or shake! A peanut butter and banana sandwich is one of the quickest, (and even healthiest) sandwich choices you could make compared to meat and cheese, and it’s even inexpensive too! Take some sprouted grain bread, a freshly sliced banana (or a ripe mushy one if you please), and some healthy, organic freshly ground or natural peanut butter and there you have it! Easy, delicious, filling, and healthy!
Here are some other ways you can use this tasty, healthy combo: Banana Peanut Butter Muffins, Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, Peanut Butter and Banana Smores, and 10 Delectable Ways to Eat Peanut Butter.
2. A Hearty Chili
Nothing says comfort like a bowl of chili on a cold night. It’s such a humble meal that speaks so many thing at the same time: security, satisfaction, and comfort, all wrapped up in to a hot bowl with filling, chunky bites of beans, potatoes, and veggies. No one said you had to have meat in your chili! We love ours in a variety of ways. Add some crackers or some toast on the side, if you prefer.
Try out: Three Bean and Sweet Potato Chili, Chipotle Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili, or even Chocolate Chipotle Chili. The best part about making meatless chili is that it’s so much cheaper and even easier to digest (a.k.a, no heartburn to keep you awake!).
Almost no one hates spaghetti, and if you do, you probably haven’t had it cooked homemade out of a big pipin’ hot pot with freshly steamed noodles and warm garlic toast or breadsticks on the side. Now, sure, you don’t want to go into carb overload, but a bowl of spaghetti every now and then does the body good. Besides, spaghetti has no rules. Who says you have to make yours with beef and refined grain noodles or jarred pasta sauce? Okay, we’ll let you keep the jarred pasta sauce since some brands really are fantastic (and many even organic), but try using whole grain or sprouted grain noodles, or even use veggies like zucchini in place of grain-based noodles. Then, make a meatless sauce that’s out of this world filling, and plenty enough hearty and tasty for anyone to enjoy.
We love: Pasta with Vegan Bolognese Sauce, Pasta Puttanesca, Traditional Spaghetti with Zucchini Noodles, or Raw Vegan Zucchini Marinara Pasta
4. Vegetable Soup
Along with chili and spaghetti, vegetable soup is a hands down classic, inexpensive American favorite. It’s also easy to make, and can be as simple or as complex as you like. If you’re on a budget, use canned (BPA-free) or frozen organic veggies, but if you can, go for some fresh whenever possible. Many ingredients in vegetable soup are classic affordable staples anyone can keep on hand. Use tomatoes, onions, garlic, potatoes, peas, corn, green beans, and whatever else you might like to include in yours. This soup provides nourishment, comfort, and doesn’t need one ounce of beef to make it delicious.
Give these recipes a try for a hearty flavor: Vegetable Lentil Soup, Winter Potato, White Bean, and Kale Soup, Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup, or Easy Root Vegetable Soup.
5. Chocolate and Peanut Butter
Hey, we all need dessert, so why not make it tasty and possibly healthy too? This classic combo doesn’t even have to include peanut butter if you’re allergic. Almond butter or sunflower buttermake a perfect substitution. But if you’re into tradition and don’t have an allergy, take advantage of the classic combo of flavors that made the uber not-so-healthy Reese’s such a big hit. Don’t waste your money on junk food candy, just use this combo yourself at home.
By: Heather McClees