Is the myth that plant-based meals aren’t filling keeping you from cutting back on the chicken breast and loading up on plants? Not anymore. With these dietitian-backed recipes, you’ll feel satiated and well-fueled without an ounce of the animal proteins.
What Plant-Based Eating Is All About
Quick recap: Eating a plant-based diet does not have to mean going vegan. “Eating plant-based is more of a lifestyle or an opportunity to better your diet, which is exactly why I like it,” says dietitian Maggie Michalczyk, M.S., R.D. You can still incorporate animal products, as long as you focus more on whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts.
“Some people practice predominantly plant-based eating, which can mean eating meat is rare,” Michalczyk says. “For others, like me, it means adding plant-based protein and opting for meatless dishes a few times a week.”
Making Plant-Based Meals Satiating
Of course, if your version of ‘plant-based’ means eating just salads and vegetables, you can expect to feel hungry pretty much all the time.
The key to creating a plant-based meal that actually satisfies you: incorporating plenty of plant-based proteins and healthy fats, like beans, pulses, nuts, avocado, and seeds. Add a serving of each to every meal and you’ll be set.
Plant-Based Meals That’ll Keep You Full
The next time you’re tempted to fall back on beef and broccoli from your local Chinese takeout joint, whip up one of these flavor-packed plant-based meals at home.
1. Kale and Sweet Potato Sauté
Great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this recipe by The Real Food Dietitians is filling and rich in nutrition.
The kale, which provides three grams of protein per cup, sets a solid foundation for the meal. From there, you can throw in some beans, lentils, or tofu for extra punch. Or, if you are incorporating some animal foods, top the dish off with a fried egg, which offers protein and satiating fats.
2. Vegan Zucchini Chickpea Burgers
Not sure how you’ll survive summer barbecues without cheeseburgers and pulled pork sandwiches? This delicious chickpea burger from The Toasted Pine Nut has you covered.
“Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein, coming in at about 15 grams per cup,” says Michcalczyk. Protein aside, these patties also offer loads of flavor from Buffalo sauce, cilantro, red onion, and lots of garlic. Oh, and they also happen to be solid sources of fiber.
3. Instant Pot Tahini Cashew Curry
This warm, grounding, spiced meal from Food Faith Fitness feels rich and hearty—without any meat necessary.
The Middle Eastern flavors and creamy curry sauce make this vegan, Paleo-friendly meal smooth and indulgent. Plus, “the tahini and the cashews pack a punch of protein, [and] I like the kick of turmeric, which gives this dish a boost of anti-inflammatory benefits,” Michalczyk says.
Best of all, the meal comes together in less than 20 minutes.
4. Vegan Pecan Apple Chickpea Salad Wraps
Make these lettuce wraps by Ambitious Kitchen and you won’t miss Reubens or deli sandwiches one bit.
“The chickpeas in these wraps are a great source of protein, while the pecans are a good source of healthy fat,” says Michalczyk. The apples contribute fiber, additional flavor, and crunchy texture, so you’ve got a well-rounded meal that’s fun to eat.
5. Zucchini Noodles With Pesto
Whether you’re watching your carbs or not, zucchini noodles are a great plant-based way to get your pasta fix.
Throw Sweet as Honey’s thick, creamy sunflower seed pesto into the mix, and you’ve got a flavorful, filling meal that’s low in carbs. “While zucchini is not super high in protein, this dish gets protein from the sunflower seeds in the pesto and the Parmesan cheese [or nutritional yeast], too,” Michalczyk adds.
6. Kale Veggie Black Bean Tacos
A recipe from Michalcyzk’s blog Once Upon a Pumpkin, these tacos let you enjoy Taco Tuesday meat-free.
“The black beans in this dish are truly a protein star, coming in at 15 grams per cup,” she says.
From there, you’ll score lots of extra healthy fats from avocado and fiber from the different veggies, like peppers and butternut squash.
In all, you’ve got a well-balanced meal that’s easy to update with different vegetables and beans.
7. Vegan Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo With Chickpea Pasta
Another better-for-you pasta option? Chickpea pasta, which contains more protein and fiber than the grain-based noodles (which offer very little).
This vegan alfredo recipe by A Saucy Kitchen is creamy and rich, but not too heavy, so you’ll satisfy your cravings without dealing with a food coma later.
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