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 so many people are taking the leap?
Here’s why. It’s all about the food.
Most people stall making the leap to WFPB (Whole Food Plant-Based) because they think they won’t enjoy the food.
The truth is, WFPB food delivers more vibrant flavors and exciting dining experiences, and the community around WFPB makes big, innovative strides forward every day as they experiment and try new things.
Thanks to inventive ideas and new techniques, it’s easier and more exciting than ever before to take the plunge. Here are some of the major innovations revolutionizing the world of plant-based dining.
Ditching the oil
Research shows us without a doubt that oils, no matter what kind, simply aren’t an ingredient for optimal health. As a result, learning new, flavorful ways to cook without oil has become a cornerstone to whole food plant-based living.
In truth, oil masks the natural flavors of our food. By removing oil from their arsenals, whole food plant-based chefs put the focus on the freshness, flavor, and quality of their ingredients.
This really raises the bar for WFPB cooking. For example, when there are no heavy or sweet sauces to hide behind, the food itself must be top shelf, and the preparation must be impeccable!
Surprisingly, cooking in oil also actually extends the life of foods by coating and therefore preserving them for an extra day or two. So, eschewing oil in cooking methods requires that food be cooked fresh daily and served at its absolute best instead of standing by in a fridge.
Getting rid of cooking oils also opens the door for exciting new methods and techniques:
- Using beans or pureed vegetables to recreate some of the texture we usually get from oil. These whole food substitutes replace empty fat and calories with extra nutrients, protein and fiber.
- Steaming and then sautéing food in broth for a clean, super flavorful dish.
- Looking to other countries for inspiration. Many countries, like Japan specifically, use different, healthier techniques than many of us in the states. For example, it’s common to employ combinations of techniques like steaming, roasting or fermentation to create deep, satisfying flavor profiles.
Whole food plant-based cooking opens up new ways of looking at food.
Speaking of oil, it’s actually quite surprising how many standard, restaurant food preparation techniques depend on using oil! Since time is of the essence during a busy dinner service, a great deal of the food you eat is prepped in advance and then finished to order with the use of high heat appliances and, you guessed it, oil.
So, what happens when that’s no longer an option? When the focus is on whole, plant-based foods, chefs need to get creative with new practices and a whole new perspective.
Since oil-free food needs to be cooked fresh, utilizing one technique or ingredient across several dishes is a great time saver. Whole food plant-based kitchens can prepare a large batch of one kind of vegetable and look for ways to incorporate that ingredient across multiple dishes whether be it pureed, steamed, or roasted. This allows them to still produce mass quantities of food without taking shortcuts on quality.
When veggies are the star of the dish, chefs have to learn which techniques are best suited to each vegetable. Different vegetables actually require different techniques to taste the most appetizing and really shine.
Instead of thinking of vegetables as just an accompaniment, whole food plant-based chefs are passionate about learning how to bring the most out of each and every one.
More restaurants and chefs embracing plant-based menus!
We’ve all been to restaurants that offer just one or two token vegetarian options (or even worse, just a couple of veg-friendly sides) on their otherwise meat-filled menus.
However, in perhaps the most innovative move we’ve seen to date, some of the best chefs in the country, like Daniel Humm, have simply decided that they’re finished serving meat in their restaurants – full stop.
For some, it’s due to the positive environmental effects of plant-based consumption while for others, it’s a desire to promote a healthier lifestyle.
Then, there are other creative, passionate chefs who just got bored with the tedium of churning out the same filet mignons or racks of lamb year after year. They want to tackle the challenge of making delicious, 5-star plant-based dishes!
When you make vegetables the star of a dish, as opposed to an afterthought, there’s nowhere to hide and it’s critical to nail every dish. Chefs need to utilize all the skills they’ve acquired over their careers to create both delicious and beautiful-to-behold plant-based dishes just like in any other high-end restaurant.
Often, these pros give so much care and attention to detail to their dishes, it’s easy to forget you’re only eating vegetables. These innovators are showing the skeptics that whole food plant-based eating is a much more elegant, satisfying, and diverse world of possibilities than just having a few salads on the menu!
At Whole Harvest Kitchen, there’s something for everyone on our innovative menu of 100% whole food plant-based meals! We offer the freshest foods prepared in truly exciting ways.
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
Ok, so you’ve read all the research and made the decision to embrace a whole food plant-based lifestyle. First, congratulations on making this healthy choice!