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5 Skills That Can Take Your Plant-Based Cooking To The Next Level

Image by Swich / Contributor

This year, we all paused to take a closer look at our health and well-being. In the months we spent homebound, many of us started experimenting with a more plant-based diet to harness the healing powers of food. And for better or worse, that probably included a reality check about our cooking skills.

Plant-based eating consists of food that is whole, unprocessed, and sourced entirely from plants. Even adding just a few plant-based meals to your weekly menu goes a long way for your health. The benefits of embracing a more plant-based diet are backed by some impressive science. Eating more fruits and veggies is linked with heart health, weight loss management1, enhanced cognitive function2, and beyond. But it gets better: Plant-based diets are environmentally friendly3, too!

While we've been sold on plant-based life for some time, making the same recipes on repeat has gotten pretty old. Luckily, we have Swich—a free invite-only online community that teaches cooking skills through interactive exercises and skill-building videos and features hundreds of inventive plant-based recipes. With a plant-based diet scientifically linked to longevity and stronger immunity4, it's important to engage our palates. Otherwise, it's easy to default to unhealthy alternatives. 

The secret to keeping plant-based eating equal parts exciting and healthy is in cooking skills and creativity. To get you started, we've compiled the top five skills to stir things up in the kitchen:

1. Spice up your life.

What's the difference between a mediocre plant-based meal and one to write home about? It comes down to spice. Whether it's a half-teaspoon of paprika smoking up your homemade hummus or a sprinkle of thyme on your roasted veggies, spices enliven our food. All it takes is one flavorful spice blend to transform plain lentils into a curry dish. When you try Swich's Indian Butter Tofu, you'll agree. Swich recipes guide you through the spice profiles of all sorts of cuisines—Italian, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, you name it.

2. Roast your vegetables to perfection. 

So many veggies become their best selves in the oven. Of the many cooking skills taught by Swich, roasting vegetables is a favorite. Roasting caramelizes the sugars found in vegetables, coaxing more flavors to come out and show off. Nearly every veggie tastes amazing roasted, but we're keen on Swich's Middle Eastern Roasted Cauliflower With Pine Nuts and Tahini.

3. Get saucy.

Sauces will get you feeling like a gourmet chef in no time. Sometimes we nix the sauces because they seem too complex, but Swich recommends recipes based on your cooking skill level. You'll never feel in over your head. From Swich's plant-based Parsley Pesto to their "Classic" Caramel Sauce, your plant-based meals are about to get dressed up.

4. Go for the grains.

If you've dabbled in plant-based eating, chances are you've had your fair share of brown rice and quinoa. But there's an exotic world of grains out there ready to bring the protein, carbs, and satisfaction you want from a meal. How does Swich's Bulgur Salad With Spinach, Roasted Tomatoes, and Feta sound? We may be plant-based, but we still love a good carb.

5. Own the stir fry.

A zestful stir fry is a dish everyone should have tucked into their apron. Stir fry hits the trifecta of everyday cooking: delicious, easy, healthy. Everyone can make a stir fry with a few minutes spent learning the basics. With a seriously enticing recipe—like Black Pepper Tofu, Celery, and Peanut Stir Fry—Swich shows you the way. Who needs takeout?

Keep it creative.

It only takes one recipe to add cooking skills to your repertoire and crank some new flavors out of the kitchen. With Swich, you learn by doing: Find a recipe that makes you hungry (that won't be hard to do) and dive in. When plant-based cooking and eating become fun, there's nothing standing between you and amazing health. Join Swich for free with code EATPLANTS (exclusively for mbg readers) to access our favorite recipes mentioned here, and so much more!