Given that going plant-based is said to positively impact health, sustainability, and the environment, it’s no surprise that more people are turning to this lifestyle. In fact, recent surveys have even found that Canada has become the fastest-growing plant-based country. Over the last five years alone, local online searches related to veganism and plant-based diets have spiked by around 113%.
That said, a big reason why plant-based diets are not more widely popular is because of the common misconception that they require more work. In reality, though, plant-based dishes can be just as easy to prepare and enjoy! Whether you’re new to the plant-based lifestyle or you’re just looking for delicious new meat-free meals to try, here are five plant-based dishes based on beloved recipes that you can whip up in a single pot:
Root Vegetable Soup
Practically everyone has some root vegetables rolling around in their fridge. Before those veggies start to go bad, turn them into soup! Normally, root vegetables like potatoes or squash are treated as just a base for meat-laden soups, but when cooked steadily they can release their complex flavors. Using a slow cooker, let your root vegetables simmer with your desired stock and aromatics. Some of the best pairings include butternut squash and garlic or potatoes and herbs. Slow cookers are some of the best ways to cook down root vegetables since they can help break down and soften even the hardiest of veggies. After about three hours on high or eight hours on low, you can expect a thick and flavorful soup that you can serve chunky or blended up for added creaminess.
Vegan Pea Paella
Few dishes are quite as festive as paella. Originally from Valencia in Spain, paella has taken the world by storm thanks to its layered flavors marked by a decadent bed of rice. Among the most common versions of plant-based paella use peas and artichokes as the primary ingredient, since these offer a savory flavor profile when cooked down. To prepare, the aforementioned ingredients are cooked together under medium heat with paella rice, white wine, tomato puree, paprika, veggie stock, and aromatics in a thick-bottomed pot. Once the rice has fluffed up and all the liquid has been absorbed, you need only sprinkle some lemon over top before serving.
Hearty Rice Porridge
Practically every culture has its version of rice porridge because it's just so comforting and hearty. Though many versions include meat, rice porridge can be just as enjoyable when made plant-based. To do so without sacrificing flavor or texture, add other ingredients like minced carrots, celery, ginger, or even use our True Nosh mixed grain rice package. This gives a more interesting mouthfeel and increases the nutritional value. While rice porridge can easily be cooked over a stovetop using a high-walled pot, try investing in a small rice cooker, if you want a fool-proof way to cook more grains in the future. Contrary to what its name may imply, these kitchen devices can do more than just cook plain rice anyway. Aside from helping you cook the perfect amount of rice without burning, rice cookers also have features like induction heating, steaming, warming, and boiling. To make rice porridge in a rice cooker, you only need to let the ingredients cook in the provided-for pot and choose a cooking time. This varies per model, but generally, about 30 minutes will do. After you’ve input your time, you can just set it and forget it until meal time.
Spicy Bean Chili
Beans are already a staple in chili, which is why plant-based bean chili is not that far-off from the original. In this case, you can simply omit the ground sausage or meat that you would normally use. Instead, you can include a variety of beans like black beans, kidney beans, and even refried beans (so long as they’re not prepared with animal products). Since beans can soak up flavor extremely well, they’ll be able to impart the same beloved savory and spicy kick that chili has. So that every bite has the same yummy taste, try cooking it low and slow on a crock pot. The stoneware of the pot will let the heat spread evenly, thereby ensuring that every bean is cooked and seasoned to chili perfection.
If you want to kick it up a notch, you can also serve it with plant-based cheese, sour cream, or our TrueNosh XOXO sauce. If you can handle the heat, you can offer hot sauce on the side like True Nosh’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or home base sauces.
Vegetarian Lentil Curry
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget that curries are some of the most delectable one-pot dishes to ever exist. Many families in India who follow vegetarian diets swear by lentil curry. Rich in protein and perfect for sopping up flavorful sauces, lentils are a fantastic meat substitute. Additionally, since curries are made with turmeric, many also believe that the curcumin in this ingredient can boost memory. Some studies even show this ingredient can even prevent dementia. To make lentil curry, you don’t need to stray far from the usual curry recipes either. A quick tip to use is that you may want to soak your lentils for about an hour in advance to cut down cooking time. If you want to only use one pot throughout, you can also just soak them in the same vessel using clean water before you start cooking! Then when you’re ready to cook your curry, drain out the water and use the pot to sauté the lentils with the aromatics before adding the rest of your curry base. Otherwise, if you don’t mind letting your curry cook for a little longer, you can skip soaking your lentils completely.
Going plant-based doesn’t have to be hard or perfect. Whether you decide to go plant-based just a few times a week or full-time, the important thing is that you’re expanding your mind and your palate towards more sustainable dietary alternatives. Next time you want to enjoy a plant-based dish without the fuss, you won’t regret trying any of the one-pot options above.
exclusively written for truenosh.com By Elena Tucker
Links in this post: