There are some whole food plant-based tricks that apply to most recipes. I gathered them here to make short work of the tips I’ve learned over the past years of cooking whole food plant-based. Most of these tricks I learned the hard way, so you’re welcome. 🙂
Stove Top WFPB Cooking Tips
- Instead of sauteing in oil, saute in vegetable stock or plain old drinking water.
- When the saute stock is hot, add your vegetables. As the stock evaporates or gets incorporated, add more stock until the vegetables reach your desired doneness.
- When you saute, add the vegetables with the longest cooking time to the pan first, e.g. carrots, acorn squash, sweet potato. When those vegetables are nearly done, add the high-water content veggies next e.g. onions and celery. After the onions get a little bit soft, add the garlic. Finally, add any greens to the pan.
- If you are sauteing onions and garlic, remember to cook the onions first for a bit, and then add the garlic. Burnt garlic is nobody’s friend.
- If you burn the onions for any dish, throw them out and start again! If you don’t, the burnt onion flavor will permeate whatever gets added to the dish!
- Use a bigger pan to saute than you think you will need. It’s easier to saute when you’re not worrying about slopping the goods outside the pan.
Whole Food Plant-Based Smoothie Tips
- Frozen bananas are an awesome base for smoothies. Keep them in the freezer all the time. You will thank me for this tip, especially when sipping a chocolate peanut butter smoothie come 8 pm or so.
- If using a high-speed blender, e.g. Vitamix, BlendTec, NutriBullet, always add the liquid to the blender first. If you are eyeballing and estimating (no harm there!) use less plant milk rather than more. You can always add water, ice cubes or more plant milk after all the ingredients are blended to achieve your desired consistency. Sometimes you want something like melted ice cream, sometimes you want it on the watery side. Go conservative with the liquids and add more at the end if needed.
- Always add either flax meal, chia seeds, or hemp seeds to your whole food plant-based smoothies. Each of these contains awesome benefits in small amounts — one to two tablespoons per day. Flax has an abundance of cancer-fighting properties, chia has more fiber, and hemp is full of protein. Keep all on hand and switch it up to get the benefits of all three. Flax and chia are imperceptible in smoothies, but hemp has a strong flavor. Pair hemp with other strong flavors like grated ginger or your smoothie will taste like dirt. Yep, I said it. Hemp makes smoothies taste like dirt.
- Always add oats — plain old rolled outs — to your smoothie — a couple of tablespoons will do it. Oats also have great nutritional value and you can’t taste them at all. They give you a better feeling of fullness for very few added calories.
Whole Food Plant-Based Veggie Roasting
- Substitute the oil you usually roast vegetables with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. As the vegetables roast, you may need to give them another spritz. Keep an eye on the roasting because vegetables go from brown around the edges to crispy and burnt super quickly!
- Always roast vegetables on a silicone mat or parchment paper. Protect your pans and make them easy to clean.
- Invest in a few silicone mats! They are easy to clean and it saves parchment paper for baking.