Embarking on a plant based journey is not only a compassionate choice for the planet and our health but also an exciting culinary adventure waiting to be explored. While it’s true that plant based cooking doesn’t involve traditional animal products, it offers an abundance of delicious and nutritious ingredients to work with. To make your plant based meals a culinary masterpiece, mastering some key techniques is essential. In this blog, we’ll share valuable tips and tricks to help you become a pro in plant based cooking.
1. Embrace the Power of Whole Foods for Plant Based Cooking
The foundation of plant based cooking for health lies in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. These nutrient-dense ingredients are not only healthy but also incredibly versatile. Experiment with different combinations to create unique and satisfying dishes. Whole foods form the heart of plant based cuisine, so stock your pantry with a variety of these ingredients.
2. Learn Proper Knife Skills
Knife skills are fundamental in cooking, especially when working with vegetables. Invest some time in mastering basic knife techniques like chopping and dicing (and julienning and mincing if you really want to show off the skills). A sharp knife makes a world of difference, making your prep work more efficient and enjoyable. If you are just learning these skills, they get better over time. Don’t get frustrated if it takes longer to prep at the beginning, just stick with it.
3. Explore Different Cooking Methods
Plant based cooking is all about creativity. Experiment with various cooking methods like roasting, sautéing, steaming, grilling, and baking to bring out the best flavors and textures in your ingredients. For instance, roasting vegetables enhances their natural sweetness, while steaming retains their vibrant colors and nutrients. You can also invest in some USEFUL GADGETS to help you along the way. Items like an Air Fryer or a Pressure Cooker (like an Instant Pot) can help you save some significant time in the kitchen.
4. Build Flavor with Herbs and Spices for Plant Based Cooking Variety
Herbs and spices are your secret weapons for adding depth and complexity to plant based dishes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations. Some classics include basil, thyme, oregano, and cumin. Blends like NATURE’S SEASONS BY MORTON is a fantastic all-purpose salt & pepper type seasoning that pairs perfectly with most veggies and an “Italian Blend” is a popular addition to many dishes. Additionally, fresh herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro can elevate the taste of your dishes instantly, and can easily be grown indoors to have handy.
5. Invest in Quality Plant Based Proteins
To ensure a balanced and satisfying plant based diet, incorporate quality plant based protein sources like tofu, legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), and the occasional “mock meat.” These ingredients can replace meat in various recipes and provide essential nutrients like protein, iron, and fiber. Plus, you’ll avoid the unhealthy saturated fat found in most traditional meats. If you can buy organic – do it! We found wholesale stores like Costco, big-box superstores like Walmart, and smaller chains like Trader Joe’s have great prices on organic staples.
6. Create Homemade Plant Based Sauces
Making your own sauces and dressings allows you to control the flavors and ingredients. Whip up creamy cashew-based Alfredo sauce, tangy tahini dressing, or spicy Sriracha mayo for a personalized touch to your dishes. Check out this Printable Meal Guide on “MARINADE’S-SAUCES-GRAVY” for 10 easy ways to prepare unique sauces for any meal.
7. Batch Plant Based Cooking and Meal Prep
Plant based cooking can be time-consuming, but you can save time and effort by batch cooking and meal prepping. Cook larger quantities of grains, beans, and sauces ahead of time, so you have the basics ready for quick, nutritious meals throughout the week. By doing meal prep, or preparing large batches of a meal on days when you have more time significantly helps you get through a busy week. Plant based foods are great because they often taste just as good reheated as they do fresh. Unlike some traditional foods, plant based foods don’t usually get mushy or dry when you reheat them.
8. Experiment with Plant Based Substitutes
Explore plant based substitutes for dairy and eggs in your recipes. Almond milk, coconut yogurt, and flaxseed or chia seed “eggs” are just a few examples. These alternatives can create similar textures and flavors while aligning with your plant based lifestyle. Plus, take some time to figure out some store-bought plant based swaps for traditional foods. Items like Just Egg or Trader Joe’s Vegan Tzatzaki, as well as many others, are fantastic options.
9. Practice Mindful Eating & Try New Flavors
Lastly, practice mindful eating by savoring each bite and appreciating the flavors, textures, and colors of your plant based creations. By being present during your meals, you’ll develop a deeper connection with your food and a greater appreciation for plant based cuisine. You will be surprised to enjoy new flavors and textures the more you try, so never say no.
So, there you have it! These are just a few tips to help you master plant based cooking. With a little practice, you’ll be whipping up delicious, nutritious plant based meals in no time. Mastering plant based cooking techniques is an exciting journey filled with creativity and delicious discoveries. Embrace the world of whole foods, hone your culinary skills, and experiment with various flavors and ingredients. With these tips and tricks, you’ll not only make plant based cooking a breeze but also craft delightful, nutritious dishes that showcase the true beauty of plant based cuisine. Happy cooking!