With Earth Day right around the corner, I’m making a conscious effort to think about my impact on this amazing earth of ours. I grew up in a family who recycled religiously, reused sour cream containers (and sugar bags for lunch bags – which was SO embarrassing!) and even composted. So at a young age, it was instilled in me that leaving as little of footprint as possible was of the utmost importance.

These days, I make the best effort I can to reuse, reduce and recycle. (And I’m proud that I’ve almost kicked my plastic water bottle habit!) But there is always room for improvement and that’s what is important to look at. In the coming months, my goal is to buy more local food – preferably straight from the source through a CSA membership or more frequent visits to the farmer’s market.

So why the plant-based recipes? It seems that every spring, I’m drawn to more plant-based foods and less meat. The term ‘plant-based eating’ has been growing in popularity but the phrase is a bit confusing – and I think that’s the idea. The short explanation is that it’s a vegan diet (while some may consume a limited amount of animal products like eggs or dairy) and it seems to me that it’s a vegan diet without the vegan junk food and without the (sometimes polarizing) vegan label. It’s real, whole, unprocessed food – full of plants – and most of the time it’s beautiful. (Learn more about plant-based diets here.)

But it’s not just about me. (Wait, what?!) A diet with more plants and less meat helps to reduce our ecological footprint (animal products require a lot of land, water and resources). As Mr. Pollan so wisely tells us, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” And also? It’s delicious. Here are 5 plant-based (ok, vegan!) recipes that are so tasty and gorgeous that even the most stubborn of carnivores won’t miss the meat.

 

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

1. This Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese has been on my list of recipes to make since…the first time I laid eyes on it. And while we typically think of mac and cheese falling into the junk food category, this cheese, made with cashews, is anything but. (image & recipe via Minimalist Baker)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

2. I know. I’m craving tofu now too. This Crispy Baked Salt & Pepper Tofu is much easier than it seems – simply toss and bake – and enjoy. (image & recipe via Heartbeet Kitchen)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

3. Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad is just that. This colorful salad is filled with fresh veggies and nutritious buckwheat noodles for a meal that screams spring to me. This post also gives some great insight on not giving yourself a vegan label and I pretty much love it.  (image & recipe via Eating for England)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

4.  These Not-So-Sloppy Tempeh Joes made such a satisfying lunch, I’ve got to make them again soon. Don’t be put-off by the steps and ingredients, it’s worth it! In fact, I’d recommend doubling the recipe. (image & recipe via Chickypea)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

5. No matter the label, almost all of us love dessert and I think that Banana Split Ice Cream Pie is the perfect way to end things. (Both a meal and this post.) I mean, bananas are roasted and then turned into banana ice cream which is laid into an almond flour crust and topped with coconut whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Come on! (image & recipe via The First Mess)

What is your favorite plant-based recipe or meal?

JustMayo-RetailJar

new product favorites (april)

hampton creek just mayo. I bought this because I thought it was real, homemade mayo. Turns out it is vegan mayo. I contemplated taking it back to Whole Foods because I’m not usually a huge fan of vegan mayo, but figured I’d give it a try. It was DELICIOUS. And sorry honey, I never told

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Green Goddess Dressing | A Nutritionist Eats

shrimp cocktail with green goddess dressing

If you could eat a meal (or have a drink) with anyone, who would it be? I usually pick Anthony Bourdain because, well, I’m slightly obsessed with him. But on the rare occasions that I catch Barefoot Contessa (Ina’s show on the food network), I always think,  I’d love to attend one of her cocktail

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Ranch House Salad Smoothie | A Nutritionist Eats

ranch house salad smoothie

I know. The title is kind of scary. But also soooooo intriguing! I’ll be the first to say that the words ‘ranch house salad smoothie’ give reason for pause. But if you’re getting sick of salads at lunch and love the convenience of smoothies, you’ve got to give this savory smoothie a try. The first

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Haricot Verts with Shallot Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

haricot verts with shallot vinaigrette

I know I should probably say that kale or swiss chard or something with an insane amount of antioxidants is my favorite vegetable but if I had to name a favorite – and only one favorite vegetable – it would be haricot verts. (And not green beans, haricot verts.) If you aren’t familiar with haricot

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texas caviar rice & beans | a nutritionist eats

texas caviar rice & beans

First things first: Texas Caviar Rice & Beans is genius. I’m a big fan of bean salad (you’re aware of this: black bean & corn relish + more recent obsession with simple bean salads) so this recipe caught my eye almost immediately. But let’s back up. I was sent The Slim Down South Cookbook, Eating Well and

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caesar9final

classic caesar salad dressing

Let’s start off 2014 with a salad (and kale!), shall we? Lately I’ve been all about making food the way it was intended. Cookies? Need white flour and white sugar. Mushroom lasagna? Requires homemade béchamel. And caesar salad? A dressing with egg yolks* and anchovies. (Kale is always allowed in my world.) Real caesar salad dressing must

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