Lisa Oz’s Make-Ahead Chili (3:17)
Is your oven being used as a storage bin? Do you set off the fire alarm every time you cook? Maybe you just don’t have time to prepare a healthy meal every night.
It’s okay; you don’t need to be a master chef to make food that’s both nourishing and delicious. We worked with Anne Brock, RDN, LD, specializing in weight loss and diabetic education at West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell, Idaho, to build a list of easy, plant-based recipes that anyone make.
Make Meatless Monday last
Meatless Monday is a popular trend worldwide thanks to a mounting body of evidence on the health benefits of plant-based eating. Cutting down on meat can help save:
Your bank account: Plant proteins like beans and soy are cheaper than meat
Your health: Red meat can increase your cholesterol and raise your risk of heart disease and colon cancer
In fact, a 2013 analysis of numerous studies found that the biggest meat eaters were 29% more likely to die early than those who ate the least amount of meat. So don’t stop after Monday — eating plant-based meals more often may help you live longer.
Cooking hacks for easy meatless meals
These simple tricks can make meatless meal prep a breeze:
“Try different kitchen gadgets because they make preparing vegetables super easy,” says Brock. Some of her favorites include a garlic press, food processor, and a spiralizer, which shreds veggies like zucchini into long, thin strips. “They add crunchy texture to dishes,” she says.
Add beans to pastas, soups, and salads for an easy protein boost.
Invest in a four ingredient plant-based cookbook. “It’ll provide inspiration when you first start out and help you avoid eating the same thing each night, which can be discouraging,” she says.
Here are some easy, meat-free recipes from Brock’s kitchen.
1. Savory sweet potato patties
“This recipe is very versatile,” says Brock. “You can serve sweet potato patties alongside a salad or sautéed veggies.” Other options? “Wrap the patty in lettuce or eat on its own, topped with tomatoes, avocado, and a little bit of low-sodium barbeque sauce,” she says. To make the patties:
Boil 1 medium sweet potato and mash together with 1 can of drained garbanzo beans. Mix in:
Herbs and spices of your choice
1 tablespoon of flour
1 egg or flax egg substitute (to make flax “egg,” combine 1 tbsp. water with 3 tbsp. ground flax seed and let sit for 5 minutes before adding to the patty mix)
Lightly coat a skillet with olive oil; warm over medium heat. Form the potato mixture into patties and sauté for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.