Use these Whole Food Plant Based Recipes & Grocery List for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners perfect for vegans, vegetarians, and those looking to meet their protein goals while consuming less meat. Gluten free and dairy free options. Take a look to find your favorite and create a meal plan you love!
Disclosure: Lindsay Cotter is a certified nutrition specialist, and does not have a medical degree. The information in this post comes from reliable medical resources, but should not be taken as medical advice. We recommend that you consult with your doctor before starting any new eating program or making changes to your diet.
More than Just Rabbit Food
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, you’ve probably noticed that whole food plant based diets have been gaining popularity, and for good reason! After all, we could all use more plants in our meals, am I right? Don’t get me wrong, though. Contrary to popular belief, cooking whole food plant based recipes doesn’t mean eating rabbit food (I’m looking at you dad! Haha). Especially if you follow this meal plan.
Instead, we’ll include a wide variety of highly nutritious ingredients and fresh flavor combinations to not only make your meals exciting but also keep you full throughout the day. Even better, most of the items in these meals can be found at your local farmer’s market so you can save money, help your community, and reap the benefits of seasonal produce! Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, have certain allergies or food intolerances, or are simply looking to fuel your body with real foods, we’ve got you covered with delicious recipes. Plus, we’re breaking down what exactly it means to eat plant based, how to get started, and even giving you a grocery list to make shopping easy!
What is a Whole Food Plant Based Diet, Anyway?
Simply put, consuming a whole food plant based diet means eating only foods that are found within nature. This includes all varieties of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. In most cases, meat is not consumed from animal sources but is obtained through protein-rich foods such as tempeh, beans, lentils, and mushrooms just to name a few!
Note: We commonly get asked whether or not eggs are included in a plant-based diet. My opinion? Yes, if it fits within your dietary needs and beliefs! It’s true that most plant-based diet followers eat plants almost exclusively. However, animal products aren’t totally off-limits. Plus, eggs can help you absorb more of the fat-soluble vitamins found in all those veggies. So, they get a seal of approval from me!
Benefits of a Plant Based Diet Meal Plan
In general, the benefits of consuming a whole food plant based diet include obtaining a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients from natural sources. As a result, people often consume more fiber which helps regulate digestion and boost gut flora (yay for gut health!). In addition, this way of eating can help lower blood pressure, prevent type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of cancer, and improve cholesterol levels. (source)
How to Start a Plant Based Diet
The first step to start is to first find plant based diet recipes that appeal to your taste buds and lifestyle. Just because you’re eating plant based doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the kitchen or eat nothing but lettuce! Pick out meals that look delicious to you. Then, make sure they include a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients to meet all your daily requirements. To do this, you’ll want to make sure to include foods high in nutrients typically obtained through animal-based products such as protein, iron, non-heme iron, and B vitamins!
Plant Based Protein Foods
Although we won’t be getting protein from typical sources like chicken or fish, there are plenty of plant-based foods that have a surprising amount of protein! These include chickpeas, legumes, pistachios, hemp seeds, cultured tempeh, edamame, sprouted pea protein, and more!
Pro-Tip: To ensure you get enough protein and all the essential amino acids your body needs to function, try pairing incomplete protein sources!
Whole Food Plant Based Iron
While some people prefer to take an iron-based supplement, iron can naturally be found in foods such as nutritional yeast, Turkish dried apricots, tempeh, Brazil nuts, flaxseed, chia seed, legumes, palm hearts, gluten free oats, amaranth, and spinach. For even more iron-rich foods, take a look at this great resource!
Nutrition Tip: Boost the amount of iron absorbed from each food by pairing it with foods rich in vitamin C such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, bell peppers, and citrus fruits!
Plant Based Foods Rich in Vitamin B
In most cases, B vitamins are found in animal products, and deficiencies can cause health problems such as anemia, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. However, there are a handful of whole foods including leafy greens, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, and legumes that contain high levels of B vitamins. Therefore, in order to support your health, it is important to include these items in your meals on a daily basis.
Easy Whole Food Plant Based Recipes (Gluten-Free)
Vegan Mushroom Breakfast Toast – Super quick and easy, this recipe is rich in B vitamins, protein, vitamin C, and vitamin D thanks to chickpeas, mushrooms, tomatoes, and fresh herbs!
Vegan Chocolate Protein Cookies – Made with plant based protein powder, these cookies are the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth with simple, nourishing ingredients!
Gluten Free Breakfast Power Bowls – Easy to make ahead of time, these breakfast bowls are loaded with plant based protein, antioxidants, and healthy fats to keep you fueled.
Moroccan Style Salad with Chickpeas and Quinoa – Far from boring, this salad is made with layers of quinoa, spiced chickpeas, dried fruit, pistachios, cheese, and vegetables for a great source of plant-based iron!
Spiralized Vegetable Stir Fry – Thanks to a homemade cashew sauce and spiralized vegetables, this stir fry is ready in less than 20 minutes and full of vitamin C and healthy fats.
Vegan Spring Roll Recipe – Stuffed with veggies, leafy greens, and rice noodles, , these spring rolls are filled with vitamin C and protein.
Food Pairing Nutrition Tip: Pair veggies spring rolls with Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup for an extra boost in antioxidants and healthy fats!
Curried Chickpea Cauliflower Bake (Vegan Option) – Hearty and perfect to make ahead of time, this casserole is high in protein and provides an anti-inflammatory boost thanks to curry powder.
Gluten Free Instant Pot Lasagna Noodle Soup (Vegan Option) – Made with mushrooms, zucchini, and onion, this soup is already a great source of veggies, protein, and vitamin C. However, if you want to increase the protein content even more, feel free to add in tempeh.
Freezable Vegan Veggie Burger – Complete with a grain free option, this recipe is full of flavor, protein, healthy fats, and nutrients for a plant-based burger even meat eaters will love!
Mushroom Vegan Taco Meat (Low Carb) – So meat-y, you’ll never guess this taco meat is made with mushrooms, cauliflower, and Mexican-inspired spices for a complete protein source full of flavor.
Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Breakfast Bites – No baking required, these protein bites are made with vegan protein powder for easy digestion and quick snacking!
Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower – With 11 grams of protein per serving, cauliflower is the perfect whole food snack, especially when paired with fresh herbs and tangy buffalo sauce.
Super Fruit Kale Smoothie – Nutrient-rich this smoothie is loaded with a wide variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C. Add a scoop of protein powder or plant-based yogurt for added protein.
Vegan Cinnamon Chickpea Blondies – Chewy, gluten free, and flourless, these cookies are surprisingly high in protein and fiber thanks to the use of chickpeas.
Banana Coconut Milk Nice Cream – Made with fresh fruit, creamy coconut milk, and fresh ginger, this nice cream is full of refreshing flavor and vitamin C for the perfect dairy-free treat in any season! (Whole 30 friendly)
Plant Based Grocery List & Shopping Tips
To help you get started, we’ve made a plant based grocery list to make shopping easy. However, to get the most bang for your buck, I recommend buying in-season produce as often as you can as it is picked at its peak ripeness and contains far more vitamins and minerals. Don’t stress, though. As long as you’re eating whole foods, you’ll be getting lots of good nutrients!
Pro-Tip: Print out this pdf to take with you to the store so you can make sure you pick up everything you need!
Want to get your kids on board, too? Print off this chart, and watch your kids’ enthusiasm as they get to check off each box!
Feeling nourished already? I hope so! Of course, if you have any questions about these whole food plant based recipes & grocery list or plant based eating in general, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or shoot us an email. We’re here to help!
Also, I’d love it if you let me know what your favorite plant based food is below! Mine has to be zucchini. It’s just so versatile. I can’t wait to hear (or read) your favorites!