Start a plant-based diet in 2020

eightWest

Did you make a resolution for a healthier 2020? Eating a plant-based diet has been linked to lowering the risk of many diseases. So, today we asked Chef Jen to come in studio to help guide us through making the changes.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting this eating pattern:

  1. Eat your veggies. Non-starchy veggies (like lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower) should ideally make up half of your meal plate.
  2. Love legumes. Legumes include peanuts, beans, peas, lentils, and soybeans. Try adding any form in salads, soups and stir-fries.
  3. Go nuts! Nuts and seeds fit in at every meal with minimal effort. Add them as a topper to oatmeal, yogurt, or cereal at breakfast. Or add a sprinkle on salads or pastas at lunch or dinner.
  4. Serve meat as a garnish. If you are a meat-lover, there’s no need to remove it! Instead of thinking of meat as the mainstay, use it as a garnish. Add a small piece of chicken to your salad or fajitas. Serve a slider with a salad, prepare kabobs with lots of colorful veggies, or have a pasta dish filled with fresh herbs, veggies, and a few pieces of shrimp.

Sample Menu

Breakfast
Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
Serves 4

All you need:
1 ½ cups oats (gluten-free or regular)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 cup coconut milk yogurt
1/2 cup grated apple
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or honey)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Toasted walnuts, diced apple and ground cinnamon, for garnish

All you do:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Separate into 4 small mason jars or storage containers and refrigerate overnight.
  3. Garnish as desired and enjoy! (Note: this can be eaten up to 4 days after you make it, as long as you keep it refrigerated.)

Lunch
Sweet Potato and Chickpea Burgers
Serves 4-6

All you need:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into large chunks
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup cooked brown rice (or quinoa)
1/2 cup ground walnuts
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cooking spray
Fresh lime juice, for finishing
Buns or lettuce wraps, for serving
Sliced avocado, for garnishing

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and cook until tender. Drain.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the garbanzo beans and cooked sweet potatoes together. Add brown rice, ground walnuts and spices and stir to combine.
  4. Shape the sweet potato mixture into 8 equally sized patties (I used an ice cream scoop to make sure they were all the same size). Bake the burgers for 20 minutes. Carefully flip them over and bake for 15 minutes longer.
  5. Once out of the oven, squeeze fresh lime juice over each burger. Top with sliced avocado and serve on buns or lettuce wraps.

Dinner
Spicy Hummus and Roasted Veggie Pasta
Serves 4

All you need:
1 small head broccoli, chopped
1 small head cauliflower, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz. rigatoni
1 (10 oz.) tub spicy hummus
1/3 cup pasta water
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil
Toasted sliced almonds and fresh chopped basil, for garnish
Olive oil, for finishing
All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots on top. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the rigatoni in salted boiling water until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of pasta water.
  3. Toss the cooked pasta, roasted veggies, hummus, pasta water, lemon zest/juice and sundried tomatoes in a large bowl.
  4. Transfer the pasta to serving dishes and garnish with almonds and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Snack
Raw Chocolate Espresso Truffles
Makes 24 truffles

All you need:
1 cup old-fashioned oats (gluten-free or regular)
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy works fine)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
1/4 cup hemp seeds
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for rolling
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons water

All you do:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until combined.
  2. Shape the dough into equally-sized balls and place on a plate.
  3. Place cocoa powder on a separate plate and roll each truffle in the cocoa powder until coated.
  4. Transfer the truffles to a serving platter and serve immediately, or keep cold until ready to serve. (This will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.)

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