Food Friday/ Nutrition Tips/ Recipes

Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try Today

Happy Friday everyone!!  Today I have a special guest post by the fabulous Vanessa! Vanessa is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner who is sharing with us 6 plant-based foods that we should try. My mom made rutabaga for me when I was younger, and I have had bok choy before, but the rest I have to admit that I haven’t tried.  For each food I have added 3 recipes so that you can try them too, enjoy today’s post!

If you’re stuck in a rut of getting the same lettuce-tomato-onion-type foods that you always get, take a walk! Look at some of the other plant-based foods and see how you can work them into your diet.

The glorious thing about plant-based eating is that your grocery store or farmer’s market is full of an incredible array of foods, flavors, and textures that are just waiting to be discovered. Even a typical grocery store has a produce section that carries seasonal and ethnic foods that often get passed-over, but are convenient, inexpensive, and yummy.

If you’re stuck in a rut of getting the same lettuce-tomato-onion-type foods that you always get, take a walk! Look at some of the other plant-based foods and see how you can work them into your diet.

Not sure where to start? In the spirit of a number that signifies longevity, here are six plant-based foods I totally love that are healthy and tasty, but not part of the average diet. What are some delicious food discoveries you’ve made and put on your grocery list each week?

Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try Today

Jicama

Yam Bean

Jicama, also known as a Mexican potato, is a big, heavy, brown fruit that really does look like a weird potato. The excellent thing about jicama is that it is very crisp and crunchy, but has a mild flavor like a cucumber. Jicama can be sliced and used with dips as an alternative to chips, eaten in sticks like any other crunchy veggie, or added to salads for a snappy texture without confusing the flavor profile. It’s a great summer side dish served with a spritz of lime juice and a dusting of chili powder if you’d like a little kick!

Here are three recipes featuring jicama to try:

  1. Jicama Home Fries
  2. Apple Jicama Salad Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce
  3. Jicama & Carrot Slaw Recipe with Honey-Lime Dressing

Bok Choy

Bok Choy - Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try TodayIn Asian cuisine, bok choy is a staple! For most of us, though, we’d never think to work bok choy into a dish, which is unfortunate because of how versatile and healthy this veggie is. Bok choy can be added to a salad, but it can also be eaten like you’d eat celery with a little hummus or nut butter. It can also be added to soups or stir-frys, or braised or grilled on its own, and given a little seasoning to become a brilliant side dish.

Here are three recipes featuring bok choy to try:

  1. Garlic Bok Choy
  2. Oven-Roasted Baby Bok Choy
  3. Spicy Orange Roasted Salmon and Bok Choy

Pluots

 Pluots - Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try Today

Pluots are an incredible, juicy little snack that comes from mixing a plum with an apricot. They’re so good! Plums aren’t terribly uncommon, but not a lot of people are familiar with pluots. It’s a shame because they’re easy to carry in a lunch for you or for your children, they’re a little sweet with the benefits of both plums and apricots, and they’re another inexpensive fruit. They might be seasonal depending on where you live, but look for a fruit that’s a little smaller than a plum, and more yellow, in the plum area of your grocery store.

Here are three recipes featuring pluots to try:

  1. Pluot Summer Salad
  2. Pluot Riesling Sangria
  3. Pluot Rhubarb Cobbler

Rutabaga 

Rutabaga - Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try Today

Rutabaga is popular in some countries around the world, but it frequently gets forgotten in the US. With a little bit of a punch like a radish, rutabaga is an awesome root vegetable. If you like the spicy snap of it, it’s great to be eaten as a raw veggie. Others would enjoy rutabagas along with things like potatoes, parsnips, and squash in a cold-weather harvest stew!

Here are three recipes featuring rutabaga to try:

  1. Rutabaga Fries
  2. Rutabaga Gratin
  3. Roasted Rosemary Brussels and Rutabaga

Nopal/Cactus

Nopal - Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try Today

A lot of people feel strange about eating cactus, but prickly pear cactus (also known as nopal) tastes great and is SO good for you! It can have positive effects on blood sugar and managing diabetes, and it can help lower cholesterol. I suggest buying it cleaned already because the spines can be difficult to deal with if you’re new to the food, but many average grocery stores (and I imagine every Mexican or Hispanic market) carry cleaned nopal ready to cook. Similar in texture to something like a green pepper, nopal is great in dishes like scrambled tofu, or really anything sautéed. It tastes like other green veggies (think green peppers or green beans) with just a little lemony tartness. It goes really well with spicy dishes.

Here are three recipes featuring nopal to try:

  1. Cactus Salsa
  2. Enselada de Nopales (Cactus Salad)
  3. Cactus pineapple orange Juice

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion Greens - Six Plant-Based Foods You Should Try Today

The wonderful world of leafy greens leaves us with plenty of options at pretty much every grocery store, but dandelion greens aren’t something most people eat every day. The green leaves are great in salads and slaws, but they can also be boiled like spinach or sautéed and seasoned. They’re just a little bitter, but fun to try, and you can even forage for them if you’re really up for an adventure!

Here are three recipes featuring dandelion greens to try:

  1. Sauteed Dandelion Greens
  2. Warm Dandelion-Potato Salad
  3. Curried Red Lentil Soup with Dandelion Greens

 

When people tell me that they don’t do plant-based eating because they don’t want to limit themselves, I have to laugh. People limit themselves all the time! Even with great options and an endless menu of flavors and colors, most people fall into a routine of eating the same things all the time. This is your wake-up call to use plant-based eating as a way to EXPAND your diet, and bring in fantastic fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans that you otherwise never would have enjoyed.

Vanessa Chamberlin is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach and author of The Fire-Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet. For more information, please visit,www.vanessachamberlin.com and connect with her on Twitter, @vkchamberlin.

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  • Eric @ Eat Like No One Else
    October 2, 2015 at 8:30 am

    Great write-up. Thanks for including a link to my pluot recipe in your post. I appreciate it 🙂

    • Beverley @ sweaty&fit
      October 2, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      This is a great list! I love bok choy, have been eating it since I was a child. And the jicama is always a nice treat whenever I go to a tropical resort. Rutabaga i still have yet to try but you have inspired me! thanks for sharing 🙂

      • Janice
        October 2, 2015 at 3:48 pm

        No problem, let me know how you enjoy the rutabaga.

    • Janice
      October 2, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      No problem! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  • Ricki
    October 2, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Thanks so much for including my Dandelion-Potato salad in your lineup. It’s still a favorite that we have regularly in our house! 🙂

    • Janice
      October 2, 2015 at 3:42 pm

      No problem, your recipe looks delicious!

  • Abby @ BackAtSquareZero
    October 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Love pluots!!! (and pretty much every fruit)

  • Lemonade Wise
    October 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Is the rutabaga also known as a swede? I’m from the UK and that’s what it looks like though I’m not sure if its the same thing with different names or something different.

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