10 Simple Plant-Based Diet Recipes (2024)

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Ask just about anyone that has witnessed a family member/friend/co-worker’s health transformation–or they’ve seen documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Food Choices, and Eating You Alive–what keeps them from switching to a plant-based diet, and one of the most common answers is going to be, “I just don’t have time to cook all those complicated recipes.”I am about to show you how easy it can be with these 10 Simple Plant-Based Diet Recipes for beginners and beyond.

Our plant-based starter kits are a great way to begin a healthy plant-based journey because they include a book, a set of DVD lectures from Dr. Neal Barnard, and a folder full of helpful literature from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Healthy eating can be made simple

Contrary to popular belief, eating healthy plant-based meals does not have to be difficult at all. There are many simple plant-based diet recipes that can be made in just a few minutes.

I completely understand long hours and crazy schedules, so let’s take a look at 10 quick and easy vegan recipes for beginners from nutrition expert, Jeff Novick, MS, RDN, LDN, that will show you just how uncomplicated it can be.

Nothing fancy or complex, just simple food that will keep you from making bad decisions when you are rushed and hungry (AKA: hangry--when you are so hungry that your lack of food causes you to become angry, frustrated or both).

Easy plant-based diet recipes for beginners

Special thanks to Jeff Novickfor graciously allowing a number of his Simple Recipes to be featured in this article.

“These are examples of some of my favorite simple recipes. Most all of them can be made in about 5 minutes, have less than 5 ingredients and cost much less than 5 dollars.

These meals are very low in calorie density and very high in nutrient density so you can eat all you want till you are comfortably full without having to worry about portions size or going hungry. They are all based on my lecture, Calorie Density: How To Eat more, Weigh Less & Live Longer! Enjoy!Jeff Novick (Use link for the the full, live presentation which is free on Youtube.)

You’re going to love these meals because they’re…

  • Super easy
  • Take less than 15 minutes for most of them
  • Require only a few ingredients
  • Easy cleanup
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Amazingly healthy
  • Taste great!

10 Easy Plant-Based Recipes from Jeff Novick, MS, RDN, LDN

#1 Pasta Primavera


  • (1) 28 oz can whole tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 8 oz frozen veggies (Italian blend)
  • 8 oz frozen veggies (California blend)
  • garlic, basil, crushed red pepper, black pepper

Place all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Serve over whole-grain brown rice pasta, cooked according to package directions.

#2 Mexican Fiesta


  • (2) 28 oz can whole tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 2 lbs frozen mixed peppers and onions (Birds Eye)
  • 8 oz frozen corn
  • (1) 15 oz can pinto beans (Eden Foods or drained and rinsed)
  • (1) 15 oz can black beans (Eden Foods or drained and rinsed)
  • Spices (Jeff uses garlic, cumin, chili powder and cayenne)

Place all ingredients in a pot, bring to boil, simmer 10 minutes. Serve over cooked long-grain brown rice. Top with fresh cilantro.

#3 Potato, Veggies, and Tahini Sauce


  • 1 large baked potato
  • (1) 1/2 lb bagged frozen veggie mix
  • 8 oz bag frozen collards

Tahini Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp water

Place vegetables in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and spoon over veggies. Serve over a baked potato.

#4 Mediterranean Quinoa with Tahini Sauce


  • 8 oz frozen veggies (Italian blend)
  • 8 oz frozen veggies (California blend)
  • 8 oz frozen veggies (mixed peppers)

Place vegetables in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and spoon over veggies.

Serve over cooked quinoa made with 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water.

Top with Tahini Sauce

  • 1/8 cup tahini
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • fresh dill

#5 Summer Rice Salad


  • mixed vegetables (canned is fine)
  • shredded lettuce
  • diced tomatoes
  • black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • salsa

Place all ingredients in a bowl over cooked brown rice. Serve and eat.

#6 Simple Lunch


  • (2) large bags of Success Instant Brown Rice
  • 2 lbs. mixed frozen vegetables
  • (1) 15 oz can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
  • salsa

Place vegetables in a pot, bring to boil, simmer 10 minutes. Serve over rice, and top with salsa.

#7 Bean Burgers and Steak Fries

Bean Burgers

  • (1) can kidney beans, no salt added (Jeff uses Eden Foods)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup regular rolled oats
  • 2 Tbsp salsa
  • spice

Mash beans by hand with a fork or potato masher. Mix in all other ingredients and form into patties. One batch will make 4-5 patties. Let sit uncovered in the fridge for 20 minutes to set.

Grill or broil burgers on each side till done.

Can use ~1/4 cup cornmeal instead of the oats.
Can substitute other cooked whole grains for the cooked brown rice.

Steak Fries

– Bake several large potatoes
– Let cool in the fridge for an hour or more.
– Cut cold potatoes lengthwise into steak fries
– Place under the broiler till golden brown

#8 Curried Split Pea, Potato, Broccoli, & Veggie Soup


While the frozen soup is cooking (boil in the bags), dice potatoes and place in the pot. Use enough water to cover the potatoes, bring them to a boil, and simmer 5 minutes. Add frozen veggies and cook a few more minutes. The boil-in-the-bag soup should be done now, so add it to the pot. Add curry powder. Stir well and serve.

#9 Quinoa, Brown Rice, & Veggies


  • 1 lb frozen Deloro mixed vegetables
  • 1/2 lbs frozen mixed veggies
  • 1/4 lbs frozen turnip greens
  • cooked quinoa
  • cooked brown rice
  • toasted sesame seeds (for garnish)

Cook quinoa and brown rice according to package directions and set aside. Place vegetables in a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Spoonbrown rice and quinoa into a bowl, add cooked vegetables.

In a medium bowl, mix sauce ingredients and spoon over veggies and grains.

Topped With Tahini Sauce

  • 1/8 cup tahini
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
  • fresh dill

#10 Vegan Hoppin John


  • cooked brown rice
  • (1) 15 oz can black eye peas
  • diced celery
  • dice onion
  • diced red pepper
  • diced yellow pepper
  • diced green pepper
  • garlic, pepper
  • tomato sauce
  • whole tomatoes
  • fresh garlic
  • sun-dried tomatoes
  • Italian seasoning mix
  • crushed red pepper (if you like spicy)

Place ingredientsin a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer 10 minutes. Serve immediately.The story behind Hoppin John.

For those of you new to the whole food plant-based lifestyle, we’ve created a FREE 7-Day Plant-Based Menu Planner to help you get started!

If you are new to the plant-based lifestyle, these articles will also be very helpful:

  • Plant-Based Guide for Beginners
  • What is a Plant-Based Whole Food
  • Plant-Based Meal Planning 101
  • Jeff Novick’s 10 Simple Recipes in Less than 20-Minutes
  • What’s in My Plant-Based Medicine Cabinet? I Mean Pantry!
  • Beginners Guide to Plant-Based Grocery Shopping
  • Guide to Dining Out on a Plant-Based Diet

Jeff Novick, is truly a unique dietitian and nutritionist. With over 30 years of experience in nutrition, health and fitness , he offers expert health advice distilled into powerful, easy-to-understand language on a variety of current topics.

His insightful and humorous approach to nutrition and health has helped thousands worldwide make the transition to healthy living. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Indiana State University in Nutrition with minors in Exercise Science.

Jeff currently lectures at the McDougall Program in Santa Rosa, California. Previously, he servedas Vice President of Health Promotion for Executive Health Exams International, lectured at the Engine 2 Immersion programs and served as Director of Nutrition for the Meals for Health community project, which helped empower low-income families to achieve optimal health.

Jeff has also worked closely with Whole Foods Market in assisting them with the development of their Wellness Club program, their healthy eating initiatives and their food rating system.

10 Simple Plant-Based Diet Recipes (12)
10 Simple Plant-Based Diet Recipes (2024)


Is peanut butter OK on a plant-based diet? ›

Plant Protein

Anyone can follow plant- based eating. Peanuts and peanut butter is one of the most powerful plant foods that have a perfect balance of calories and nutrients. They are a food that has a lot of nutrients to offer, with the majority of calories coming from those good nutrients.

Are eggs OK on a plant-based diet? ›

In other words, plants were paired with protein sources, like eggs, to make a nutritious and well rounded meal. Eggs can and should be part of a plant-based diet, and these five suggestions showcase how easy it is to incorporate the incredible egg into your plant-forward dishes.

What is a basic plant-based diet? ›

1. Definition of a plant-based diet. A plant-based diet consists of all minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, herbs, and spices and excludes all animal products, including red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

Can you eat pasta on a plant-based diet? ›

Unfortunately, not all pasta is vegan. We've found pastas of all varieties, from spaghetti to lasagna noodles, with eggs in the ingredient lists. But don't worry—there are widely available vegan pastas that don't involve eggs or dairy and don't skimp on the texture you've come to love.

What 5 foods do you eat that are plant-based? ›

Vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and nuts are the stars of all plant-based diets. More and more people seem to be making the switch to plant-based diet foods.

Can I eat popcorn on a plant-based diet? ›

More often than not, popcorn is vegan-friendly. When buying popcorn at your local convenience store, check the ingredient label to ensure animal ingredients haven't snuck their way inside your snack of choice. Dairy is the ingredient to look out for, as butter and cheese are common ingredients in bagged popcorn.

Can I eat cheese on a plant-based diet? ›

There are a lot of great plant-based protein sources, including tofu, lentils, beans, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and quinoa. Don't forget: Dairy, eggs, beef, poultry, and fish are allowed on the plant-based diet, they just shouldn't be the center of the meal.

Is bread OK on plant-based diet? ›

At its core, a bread recipe contains four simple ingredients: flour, water, salt, and yeast — a type of microscopic fungus used to help bread rise. Therefore, the simplest form of bread is vegan. However, some types include additional ingredients like sweeteners or fats — both of which can be of animal origin.

What is the downside of a plant-based diet? ›

Cons of a Plant-Based Diet

Potential Nutrient Deficiencies: Vegetarian and vegan diets need to pay extra attention to ensure they're getting enough protein, calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 in their diets.

Can I have coffee on a plant-based diet? ›

Coffee can be part of a healthy WFPB diet for most people. Some folks who suffer from anxiety/GI issues/low iron may want to steer clear or limit consumption. Tea is a great beverage to include in your WFPB lifestyle - especially herbal teas.

What foods should you avoid on a plant-based diet? ›

You'll restrict grains and foods made with them, such as bread and pasta. You also limit starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn, as well as beans and legumes. And you'll cut high-sugar tropical fruits such as pineapple, mango, and bananas, as well as fruit juices and sweets.

How to slowly start eating plant-based? ›

Here are some tips to try to gradually adopt a plant-based diet:
  1. Go meatless one day a week.
  2. Make breakfast more about whole grains, like whole-grain toast or oatmeal, than animal products, like eggs, milk and bacon.
  3. Eat plant-based until dinner.
  4. Add greens like spinach or kale to your daily meals.
Apr 30, 2024

What are the 30 plant-based foods? ›

Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, apricots, sweet potatoes, peaches, plums, melons, eggplant, lemons, lettuce, green beans, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, corn, Swiss chard, celery, beets, onions, cauliflower, cherries, bananas, mushrooms, parsnips, turnips, ...

What are 3 plant-based diets? ›

Below is a summary of the more popular types of plant-based diets: semi-vegetarian or flexitarian, pescatarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegan, and whole-food, plant-based. Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diets are primarily vegetarian but include a small amount of meat, poultry, fish, and seafood.

What is 1 meal a day plant-based? ›

The Bounty of Plant-Based Eating.

Through small shifts big change can happen. One Meal a Day, or OMD, believes that every meal is an opportunity to nourish your body, your community and our wild living planet one delicious plant-based meal at a time.

Is pizza part of a plant-based diet? ›

If you're a diehard pizza fan, you may be under the impression that if you were to change your diet to vegetarian or vegan, you wouldn't be able to enjoy your favorite food any longer. This just isn't true! Pizza is still a staple among those following a meat-free or completely plant-based diet.


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