Did you resolve to eat leaner and greener and healthier this year?
When you're imagining this new, healthier diet, you're probably imagining a lot of tough kale, under-seasoned brown rice, and un-creamy tea, right?
But eating more plant-based food need not be an exercise in deprivation and dry carrot sticks. Really! It's totally possible to swap out ingredients and switch up your preparation techniques and still create insanely delicious food.
Here are seven ways you can make your meals more healthy and plant-based without losing flavor or your own will to live.
1. Add tons of roasted garlic or shallots.
Roasted garlic and shallots add a deep, satisfying, almost-meaty flavor to savory dishes. I've been known to add an entire head of roasted garlic without any complaints from my guests!
2. Swap out eggs for silken tofu in savory dishes.
You can easily substitute ¼ cup of silken tofu for each egg. You can also use firm tofu if you'd like a more interesting texture.
3. Swap out eggs for mashed banana in baking.
You probably don't want to completely remove all the eggs from every recipe, but you can certainly use fewer eggs when you add half a mashed banana to your recipe. Bananas won't help the batter rise, so use them in conjunction with baking powder or baking soda
4. Add pureed black beans to your brownies or oatmeal cookies.
What? Yes. Beans will keep your baked goods moist and even add a bit of protein! Because of their dark color, don't use black beans in vanilla-flavored or light colored baked goods. (Unless you're into grey cookies.)
5. Use soy yogurt + lemon juice instead of sour cream.
Use this atop your sweet potato latkes, you brown rice burrito bowl, just about anywhere you'd normally use sour cream.
6. Use more (and different!) spices and herbs.
We so frequently rely on butter, cream, oil, and meat to flavor our dishes. What if we amped up the pepper or cumic instead? Think out of the box and use ethnic spices or spice mixtures for different flavors. What about smoked Serrano chili powder, turmeric, saigon cinnamon, or vanilla paste? Of course, fresh herbs add a jolt of taste, color and texture, too!
7. Mustard, balsamic and sriracha for everyone!
These three condiments almost universally loved. Use them as marinades, as a main ingredient in a dressing, or just delicious flavoring agents. Even better? The red chili peppers in sriracha contain capsaicin which is known to help boost metabolism and mustard seeds are high in selenium and magnesium which are both anti-inflammatories.
If you're ready to take a teeny, tiny step in the direction of a more plant-based kitchen and table, check out my free, seven-page guide to ingredient swapping?