3 plant-based dinners

If you've exhausted your supply of plant-based recipes, we’ve got just the thing for you with three brand new ideas to add to your collection. They are easy to make and require just a few store-cupboard ingredients. They are hearty, warming recipes that are packed with flavour, and we guarantee you’ll be coming back for more!

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In addition, these recipes are excellent for batch-cooking. By using a slightly larger pan, you can make a double batch of each, keeping half in the freezer for when you need something quick yet nutritious. When you’ve had a busy day, having a selection of ready-made nourishing dishes to choose from makes being healthy that much easier!

Everyday Red Lentil Dhal

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 250g split red lentils
  • 350ml water
  • 1 tin whole coconut milk
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • Optional garnish: Chopped coriander and flaked almonds

Method

  1. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil and gently sauté the onions until golden.
  2. Add the carrot, garlic, and whole spices. Stir and sauté on a gentle heat until fragrant.
  3. Add the turmeric and stir to cover well, allowing to cook through for 1 min.
  4. Add in the lentils and stir to combine.
  5. Add the water, coconut milk, chopped tomatoes and ginger. Stir. Season to taste.
  6. Bring to a simmer and leave on a gentle heat for 30 mins until the lentils are cooked.
  7. Serve with brown rice or quinoa.

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables with Spicy Chickpeas

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red onion, sliced 
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 courgette, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste
  • 1 bag spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • Optional: Chopped parsley and toasted pine nuts to garnish

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, 180 fan, 390F.
  2. Add the vegetables to a large roasting tin. Sprinkle with dried herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle well with olive oil. Toss thoroughly, and bake for 30 minutes.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, add the chickpeas to a bowl. Stir through the harissa paste with some olive oil. 
  4. When the veg is cooked, add the chickpeas and spinach to the tray. Stir thoroughly, and place back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  5. Serve with gluten-free flatbread, garnished with chopped parsley and pine nuts.

Three Bean Chilli

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 stick celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large courgette, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder 
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin kidney beans, drained
  • 1 tin black beans, drained
  • 1 tin aduki beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Salt and pepper, to season
  • Optional: Coconut yoghurt to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onions and sauté until soft.
  2. Add the chopped carrots, courgette, and celery. Stir and leave to soften.
  3. Add the dried spices and crushed garlic, stir to combine well and heat until fragrant.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, beans and tomato puree, and mix well.
  5. Season to taste and then let simmer gently for 25-30 minutes. Stirring regularly.
  6. Serve with corn tortillas or wholegrain rice, plus a swirl of coconut yoghurt.

The healthy bit

Pulses are an excellent source of fibre, in fact, just one cup of cooked pulses can give us more than half the amount we need in a day! Pulses contain both soluble and insoluble fibre and both are necessary for good health.

Research shows that soluble fibre can help with managing weight, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, assists with digestion and regularity. Plus, pulses also make a superb carrier for gorgeous warming flavours such as the turmeric, paprika, and chilli used in these recipes, which make them very moreish!

And don’t forget - we’re not just eating for us. Research tells us that having 20-40 different plant foods per week can help increase the diversity of our microbiomes, that is the bugs in our gut that keep us healthy. And this doesn’t always have to be in the form of fruits and vegetables. There are many small ways in which you can add plant foods to your day – think herbs and spices, nuts and seeds. All the small garnishes suggested not only add flavour and interest but may also be benefiting our health at the same time!

Nutritionist Resource is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 2UX
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Written by Alex Allan, Registered Nutritional Therapist BSc (Hons) NT, mBANT, rCNHC
Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 2UX

Alex Allan is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and member of the Guild of Health Writers. She specialises in gut and hormone health, and is passionate about food, cooking and health.. She writes regularly on her blog (alexallannutrition.co.uk/blog) and can be found on Instagram and Facebook (alexallannutrition).

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