One of the things that commonly holds people back from fully embracing a 100% whole food plant-based lifestyle is the mistaken impression that it’s too hard to maintain. There are misconceptions that it’s:
- Too hard to find tasty, whole food plant-based options while out and about.
- Too hard and expensive to prepare whole food plant-based dishes at home.
Our super-talented Executive Chef here at Whole Harvest, Will Harris, gave us a list of tips that take some of the mystery out of whole food plant-based cooking and show you just how easy it is to live your healthiest life.
1. Try a variety of cuisines from around the world.
First and foremost, our chef recommends expanding your palette and seeking inspiration from a wide array of cultures and cuisines. There many cultures who actually emphasize a plant-based diet, and there are an endless number of flavor profiles to explore.
While actual world travel is probably out of the question for most of us, there’s nothing stopping you from getting out there and visiting nearby restaurants to see what kind of vegan dishes they’re offering.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and trying cuisines like Vietnamese, Thai, or Ethiopian opens your eyes to a new world of spices and cooking techniques. You’ll encounter new ways to prepare familiar vegetables and discover new ingredients you might not be familiar with like tempeh or tofu.
Not able to get out to eat? No problem! The internet is chock full of recipes from around the world just waiting for you to give them a go.
Whether you’re recreating a dish you had once while dining out or whipping up a recipe you found online, you’ll be amazed at all the spices and marinades that could have been in your kitchen cupboard all along.
2. Start simple.
Like with miso soup! On a personal note, our chef points to miso soup as one of the first international dishes he tried recreating at home. He was stunned that it was so incredibly simple to make and that it could taste just as complex and delicious as anything he’d tried in restaurants. That first, simple discovery inspired him to try making other Japanese dishes.
Miso soup is also a great dish to use to exercise your creativity in the kitchen. We all know the classic version we get before dinner, but why not try adding different flavors or ingredients?
Of course, while Japanese is a great example of healthy food with complex flavor profiles, this cooking philosophy works for any new cuisine you want to try. Start by making just one favorite simple dish. Then, start experimenting with flavors and ingredients. We bet you won’t be able to stop exploring once you get started.
3. Learn to cook grains properly.
Grains are a staple when it comes to whole food plant-based cooking. Quinoa, brown or wild rice, barley, and bulgar are all affordable, super-versatile and nutritious.
Most grains are incredibly easy to cook, requiring a simple 2:1 ratio – 2 cups of liquid per 1 cup of grain. You can use water or, if you’re looking for extra flavor, try using broth instead. Simply bring it to a boil, and then turn the heat to low until all the liquid is cooked off and the grains are soft.
Try throwing seasonings in while you cook them – or after if you like!
There are some grains that require a slightly different approach, so make sure to read the instructions on the packaging, but rice, bulgar and quinoa can all be made using this method.
Once you’ve nailed how to properly cook your grains, toss them together with roasted veggies and your favorite seasonings or sauces to make an easy, delicious grain bowl.
4. Learn to cook beans.
Beans are one of the most fabulous foods on the planet for a healthy, whole food plant-based lifestyle. They’re full of fiber, rich with protein, and healing for the body. But, like grains, people are intimidated because they don’t know how to cook them properly.
Sure, you can buy canned beans, but why buy salty, mushy beans when cooking them from scratch is so much better? It’s also easier than you think!
Once you’ve taken the time to let your beans soak overnight (which speeds up cooking time and aides in digestion), the actual cooking of beans is a simple method of first covering them with a couple inches of water and then cooking them for about 30 minutes.
After that, the fun part begins.
Once they’ve simmered for 30 minutes or so, it’s time to add your seasonings! Salt is a given, but don’t stop there; try some paprika, garlic, or any herbs you fancy. Once you’ve seasoned to perfection, just check on them every half hour or so until they’re tender, (as cooking time may vary) and add a bit of water if they start to dry out.
Adding aromatics to your beans, as well as cooking them fresh, opens up a world of flavor you never get in a can.
5. Break out your blender!
Instagram is positively crawling with ads for expensive greens powders that promise to make your skin glow and make life amazing. But why sacrifice your money (and your taste buds) when everything you need for a nutritious, green beverage is right there in the produce aisle?
- 1 huge handful (or two) of kale, or whatever greens you love
- ½ a cucumber
- 1 apple
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 small piece of ginger
- Juice from 1 lemon
- And as much water as you need to blend it all up
You’ve just concocted a powerful anti-inflammatory potion packed with nutrients in no time. Blending your own greens is a quick and easy way to provide your body with whole food plant-based goodness. Your body will not only thank you for it, but will also start to crave it on the daily.
Perhaps the best tip we can offer about whole food plant-based cooking is, “Don’t be afraid to fail!”
Flex your creativity and take some culinary risks. After all, some of our best discoveries come in the form of happy accidents. You will make mistakes or overcook dishes from time to time, but that’s just part taking on any fun new challenge!
At Whole Harvest Kitchen, we offer an extensive menu of 100% whole food plant-based meals, inspired by food from around the world! Our goal is to make it easy and fun to maintain your healthy lifestyle. Dive into a new dish accompanies by one of our many healthy beverage offerings, including zero proof cocktails at our bar.
We can’t wait for you to try all of our whole food plant-based entrees when our first restaurant opens in summer ’23 in Kansas City! Visit our website to sign up for our mailing list and be the first to know when we open!
Killer plant-based crusts are made for killer dips!
Finally, dips and sauces are an amazing way to add extra flavor and, let’s face it, pizazz to your pizza. It’s easy to whip up your own whole food plant-based BBQ sauce, ranch or even a garlic aioli at home.
Whether served on the side for dipping or artfully swirled on top, dips and sauces make you feel like you’re at an artisanal pizzeria without leaving your kitchen.
Looking for more inspiration?
There’s lots of inspo out there for people searching for great whole food plant-based ideas as well as truly great, unique pizza recipes. Although not plant-based, check out the Chef’s Table: Pizza series on Netflix for more great ideas on how to make unique pizzas at home.
For more tips and ideas for whole food plant-based cooking as a whole, check out the Whole Harvest blog for inspiration and support!
At Whole Harvest Kitchen, we offer an extensive menu of 100% whole food plant-based meals, including pizzas! Our goal is to make it easy and fun to maintain your healthy lifestyle. Enjoy a pie coupled with one of our wide arrays of healthy beverages, including zero proof cocktails at our bar.
We can’t wait for you to try all of our whole food plant-based entrees when our first restaurant opens in late ’23 in Kansas City! Visit our website to sign up for our mailing list and be the first to know when we open!
Wherever you are on your whole food plant-based journey, there’s no such thing as too much education. If you’re curious about whether whole food plant-based
Every day, growing numbers of people switch to a whole food plant-based lifestyle. It’s hardly a brand-new concept, so why does it suddenly feel like