If you’ve only heard of a whole foods diet in passing, you might not be entirely clear on what it entails. Basically, whole foods-based diet means that you want to stick to foods that are minimally processed. Evidently, this means no bread and pasta — we cried when we learned this — but it turns out that there’s pasta made from ancient grains. Whoah. Overly processed may be out, but you get an entire arsenal fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes waiting to be put to use in your kitchen. That’s a lot of ingredients. Also, contrary to popular belief, it’s surprisingly easy to eat a whole foods plant-based diet, even if you’re on a budget! Chick out these 15 Whole Foods-Based Lunches and Dinners That Won’t Break the Bank for some beginner meal ideas.
Whole foods plant-based meals can be creative, flavorful, unique, and delicious. If you’re looking to start eating more whole foods-based meals, we’ve got your back — and we also have 15 amazing recipes that’ll help you get there.
1. Walnut Lentil Burger With Cauliflower Purée and Red Lentil Relish
These Walnut Lentil Burgers are delicious and hearty, real comfort food-style. The red onion relish is tangy, sweet, herby, and unbelievable good. The cauliflower broccoli purée is creamy and delicious. Serve these burgers bun-less with the purée and relish on the side and let the flavors do the talkin’.
2. Santa Fe Roasted Stuffed Peppers With Spicy Cashew Mozzarella
These Santa Fe Roasted Stuffed Peppers are a must-try for all! They’re filled with savory sautéed vegetables like mushrooms and carrots, as well as protein-rich quinoa and black-eyed peas that’ll keep you full. The cashew mozzarella is optional, but its is highly recommended. You won’t believe how easily you can turn cashews into gooey, melty mozzarella. Combine everything together, roast it in the oven, and enjoy a meal that you’ll definitely be coming back to.
3. Chickpea Mushroom Pita Burgers
If you need a burger for your barbecue that’s going to be a crowd-pleaser, then try these Chickpea Mushroom Pita Burgers. Made from chickpeas, mushrooms, and basmati rice, they’re flavorful, warm, and smoky. Crisp on the outside, but soft on the inside, these burgers are delicious even when served on a salad or flourless bread.
4. Indian Mashed Potatoes With Curried Gravy
With potatoes, a blend of Indian spices, and peas as a garnish, these Indian Mashed Potatoes With Curried Gravy are kind of like a deconstructed samosa. Red potatoes are mashed with onion, cumin, mustard seeds, coriander, and turmeric. Then, they’re topped with a curry-inspired gravy made from tomatoes, coconut milk, and even more spices. Serve this as a side to steamed vegetables.
5. Roasted Spiced Carrots
Who said carrots were boring?! These Roasted Spiced Carrots will delight your palate in several ways! They’re tender, bursting with spices, and topped with a deliciously creamy tahini sauce. Served on a bed of alfalfa sprouts and wild rice and topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds and pine nuts, this dish will wow your guests!
6. Maple-Glazed Mushroom and Lentil Loaf
This hearty Maple-Glazed Mushroom and Lentil Loaf will remind you of that Sunday evening meatloaf so many of us grew up with. Made from mushrooms and lentils, it’s dense and meaty, with a delicious maple ketchup glaze that sinks in as it bakes. This loaf is tender, moist, and full of these beautiful savory flavors that paired so perfectly with the sweet bite of the ketchup glaze.
7. Cauliflower Steaks With Sweet Pea Purée
For a unique dinner entrée, give these Cauliflower Steaks With Sweet Pea Purée a try. Baked to crispy perfection and seasoned with paprika, coriander, and black pepper, they are zesty and flavorful. Sweet pea purée adds a delicious freshness to the dish as well.
8. Baked Mashed Potato Fries
You have to try these Baked Mashed Potato Fries! They’re creamy and soft on the inside, yet crisp and crunchy on the outside. Yum. Plus, unlike regular fries, which can only be flavored on the outside, the flavor for these come from within. So season with your favorite spices, grab some vegan sour cream for dipping, and dig in!
9. ‘Tuna’ Stuffed Peppers
These “Tuna” Stuffed Peppers are vegan, raw, and delicious. The stuffing for the peppers is made from a combination of parsnips, walnuts, sesame seeds, and sun-dried tomatoes that are blended until they have a texture like tuna. They taste like it too thanks to the umami notes from the sesame seeds and sun-dried tomatoes. These make the perfect light lunch to take along to school or work.
10. Cashew Carrot Paté
This Carrot Cashew Paté is simple, healthy, and exploding with flavor — okay, not literally, but it’s got a lot going for it for something so simple. Number one, it tastes amazing; it’s a blend of raw carrots, cashews, tahini, and ginger with herbs. Yum. Number two, it’s easy to make, meaning you just throw everything in a blender and let everything do the work. The hard part is figuring out what to eat it with.
11. Andalusian-Style Chickpeas and Spinach
As Spaniards would say, this Andalusian-Style Chickpeas and Spinach is “bueno, bonito y barato,” which translates as “good, beautiful and cheap.” It couldn’t be more true. Like many other peasant recipes Andalusia, which is a region in Southern Spain, these chickpeas and spinach are a fine example of how to make the most of simple and humble ingredients.
12. Zucchini Gratin
This Zucchini Gratin is for those times when you crave something warm, rich, and nutritious but you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. The creamy cashew sauce transforms this dish so nicely that you might just discover a new kind of love for zucchini. It’s a simple recipe that takes little time to prep for a flavorful and filling meal.
13. Life-Changing Cheese Sauce
This Life-Changing Cheese Sauce is your new secret weapon in the kitchen because it can go with anything. It’s made from veggies, non-dairy milk, and spices and it tastes like a dream. You won’t believe how authentically cheesy it tastes! And get this — it’s super easy!
14. Sesame Orange Sweet Potato
So simple, but so delicious. This Sesame Orange Sweet Potato bowl is possibly the best easy meal idea you’ve stumbled upon. Tender, roasted sweet potato is coated with a sticky-sweet orange sauce and paired with steamed broccoli. If you’re looking for a little more substance in you meal, you can easily pair it with grains, greens, or any other vegetable you’re craving.
15. Baigan Choka: Trinidadian Roasted Eggplant
Baigan Choka, or roasted mashed eggplant, is to Trinidad and Togabo what baba ghanoush is to the Middle East. It is traditionally made by roasting eggplant over a grill until it’s charred and infused with smoky flavor, then scooping out the inside and mashing it with roasted peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and butter or oil. This is a delicious, flavorful, and creamy dish that’s best served with paratha or any kind of flatbread.
Need more awesome whole foods plant-based recipes in your life? Then, hop on over and check out all our vegan whole foods recipes!
Lead image source: Zucchini Gratin