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Eat More plant based meals

Updated: Dec 20, 2021

Our weekly Mantra

“I choose the eat delicious healthy foods”

This week we talked about adding more plant based meals to our menus.  There are benefits to eating more plant based but most people don’t want to give up all meat.  Our goal is never to tell you how to eat, what to eat or to change your diet.  What AOYS does is teach you abut general nutrition and how small changes to your everyday eating habits can help you discover a more healthy diet without dramatic removal of the things you love.  We decided to have this discussion just to help us all find new ways to eat less meat.  Below you will find a lot of the ideas and recipes we talked about.  But 1st a little info on WHY?

Be more Plant based (WHY?) 

Health benefits

Research suggests that people who eat primarily plant based diets tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) and lower rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease than those who eat meat.

Plant based diets are high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and water content from fruit and vegetables.

Cons of a Plant-Based Diet:

They require you to change your eating habits.

Adapting to your new diet may take some time.

You’ll have to prepare most of your food by yourself.

They don’t meet all your vitamin needs, require supplements.

The differences in Vegetarian diets.

  1. Vegetarian Diet:  may eat cheese, eggs, and milk, but they do not eat meat, such as chicken, pork, and beef. Instead of meat, they lean on plant-based protein.

  2. Vegan Diet: These people choose to forgo animal products altogether (including milk, cheese, and honey) and exclusively eat plants as part of a vegan lifestyle.

  3. Raw Vegan Diet: Others may follow the aforementioned rules and eat only raw, plant-based foods.

  4. Flexitarian Diet: Some people are more flexible. They try to simply cut down on their meat intake and eat a diet that’s primarily filled with plants but with some animal products here and there.

  5. A Pescatarian diet is basically a vegetarian diet that also includes fish. Most people who are pescatarian also eat eggs and dairy, so we included both in this plan. People following a pescatarian diet do not eat any meat or poultry.

Places to find plant based recipes

Magazine Forks over Knives, Pinterest, Library Books, Kindle unlimited

Substitution Ideas:

Cauliflower rice, Spaghetti squash, Chickpeas, beans, lentils, tofu, potatoes (white and sweet) and mushrooms.

Shared Recipes

Mexican Style Zucchini Tacos 

Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake

Tomato Puff Pastry


1 pastry puff, thawed per box instructions

1 pkg dried tomatoes, smoked preferred 

Cherry/ Heirloom tomatoes – washed

Splash of balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese


1. Heat oven to 350

2. In a small casserole / pie dish, place the thawed pastry puff, unfolded. 

3. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on pastry puff, first layer

4. Layer dried tomatoes, thickly, second layer

5. Fill the rest of the space with tomatoes, and top with more sprinkled parmesan

6. Bake for about 45 minutes

Moroccan Sweet Potato Lentil Stew

Moroccan Sweet Potato Lentil Stew, vegan, vegetarian, whole food plant based, gluten free, recipe, wfpb, healthy, oil free, no refined sugar, no oil, refined sugar free, dinner, side, side dish, dairy free, dinner party, entertaining

Cookware 8 Quart Enamel Dutch Oven

prep 10 mins

cook 1 hour, 5 mins

total 1 hour, 15 mins

author monkey and me kitchen adventures

yield 6 servings

Warm and deliciously fragrant spices make this yummy Moroccan-inspired sweet potato and lentil stew a new family favorite.  A fabulous Whole Food Plant Based recipe. Vegan, oil free, sugar free, gluten free, no highly processed ingredients.


  1.  1 large yellow onion, finely diced

  2.     1 large carrot, finely diced

  3.     3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces

  4.     1 ½ cups uncooked brown lentils (see recipe notes *)

  5.     7 to 8 cups water  (see recipe notes *)

  6.     1 cup Pacific organic vegetable broth (see recipe notes *)

  7.     1 – 14.5 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes, pureed (the tomatoes can be left petite diced, but we prefer them pureed)

  8.     1 bay leaf

  9.     1 teaspoon cumin (see recipe notes*)

  10.     ½ teaspoon ground coriander (see recipe notes *)

  11.     ½ teaspoon turmeric (see recipe notes*)

  12.     2 ½ to 3 teaspoons sea salt (+/- to taste)

  13.     9 cracks freshly ground pepper (+/- to taste)

  14.     2 cups packed – fresh baby spinach

  15.     Fresh cilantro – chopped – topping for individual servings – optional


  1.   In a large ceramic/enamel-lined Dutch oven or similar stock pot, add the finely minced onion and carrot; sauté over medium heat until they begin to soften, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add a tablespoon or so of water if the onions and carrots start to stick and/or to prevent burning. 

  2.   Add all the other the remaining ingredients to the Dutch oven, except the baby spinach and cilantro, bring to boil, then immediately lower to a simmer. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients. 

  3.   Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 45 minutes. At 45 minutes, push the potatoes over to the side of the pot (as much as possible) and remove approximately one cup of the cooked lentils and place them in a wide bowl.  Smash them with a fork or potato masher, then return to the pot.  This will give the stew more varied texture. 

  4.   Test the flavors, add more spices (see recipes notes), if necessary, to achieve the level of flavor you desire. Add the baby spinach and cook for another 15 minutes.

  5.   Discard the bay leaf.

  6.   Top individual servings with freshly chopped cilantro.


*Diced Sweet Potatoes:  Since the sweet potatoes are in the stew for an hour, do not diced them too small or they will disintegrate. 

Vegetable Broth/Water Ratio:   We use Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients; however, this brand of vegetable broth does have a strong flavor so less broth is required when compared to the water ratio. We use a higher water to broth ratio because of this. If you use another brand of vegetable broth, then adjust the water/vegetable broth ratio accordingly.  For example, if you are using a very mellow vegetable broth, you might consider 6 cups of vegetable broth and 2 ½ cups of water for this recipe. Please adjust the recipe (broth/water ratio) accordingly based upon the vegetable broth brand used if you are not using Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth.  

*Lentils:  We used small dried brown lentils in this dish as we love them and they work perfectly.  You can use green lentils or other beans if you wish, keep in mind that you will need to adjust the water amount and cooking times accordingly.  

*Spices:  You can control the spice level and heat level on this recipe.  We have included the minimum spice amount to get a hint of the Moroccan flavors.  This will allow you to introduce Moroccan flavors to family members who may have not tried the Moroccan cuisine and would love to experience it.  However, if you really want to spice things up, you can easily increase the spice amounts indicated in the recipe, or add additional spices to adjust this recipe to meet your own spice preferences; however, be careful, as sometimes when you add too much spice, the flavors start to compete with one another and you end up with a bitter note to your dish.  Add small amounts at a time until you achieve the spice level you love!

*Water Amount:  Use 7 cups to achieve a more thicker stew, and conversely use 8 cups if you are looking to have a less thick stew. 

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 Serving

Amount Per Serving

Calories 254

% Daily Value

Total Fat 0.6 g


Saturated Fat 0.1 g


Sodium 1059.4 mg


Total Carbohydrates 50 g


Dietary Fiber 8.5 g


Sugars 6.2 g

Protein 13.7 g


* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Storage:  Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.  Eat within 7 to 10 days.



Cooking spray 4 sprays

Raw sweet potatoes 4oz, two 1/3-inch-thick lengthwise slices

Table salt 1pinch

Honey 2tsp

Bananas 2small, thinly sliced

Ground cinnamon 1 pinch

Chopped pecans 4 tsp, toasted


  1.  Lightly spray sweet potato slices with nonstick spray and season with salt. In a toaster or toaster oven, toast 2 to 3 times on the highest setting until potatoes are lightly browned and fork-tender (flip slices each time for even toasting).

  2.  Drizzle each potato slice with 1 tsp honey, layer with bananas, and garnish with cinnamon; sprinkle pecans over top. Serve immediately.

  3.  Serving size: 1 piece toast


Do not spray cooking spray into toaster – lightly coat the potatoes away from the heat source.



Cooking spray 4 sprays

Pumpernickel bread 2 slices, cut into bite-size pieces

Uncooked center cut bacon 4slices, chopped

Fresh cherry tomatoes 1cup, halved

Apple cider vinegar 2 Tbsp

Olive oil 4 tsp, divided

Egg) 4 large

Uncooked kale 6 cups, baby variety

Table salt 1 ⁄4 tsp, plus more for sprinkling

Black pepper 1 ⁄8 tsp, plus more for sprinkling


1 1.       Preheat broiler to high.

2 2.     On a small baking sheet, arrange bread cubes in a single layer; lightly coat with nonstick spray. Toss well and coat with nonstick spray again; broil, stirring after 1 minute, until crisp and browned, about 2 minutes.

3 3.  Warm a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add bacon, then cook, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a paper towel–lined plate; leave drippings in pan.

4 4.   To same skillet, add tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes begin to brown and soften, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar, 2 tsp oil, and 1 tbsp water; cook until bubbly, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a heatproof bowl and set aside.

5 5.      Without cleaning, return same skillet to medium heat; add remaining 2 tsp oil. Into pan, carefully crack eggs; cook to desired degree of doneness, 3 to 5 minutes.

6 6.      To serve, toss kale with reserved tomato mixture; divide among 4 shallow bowls (about 11⁄2 cups in each bowl). Top each with 1 egg, 1⁄4 cup croutons, and 1 rounded tbsp bacon; sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste.

7 7.    Serving size: 1 salad

Vegetarian Mushroom Patties 

2 1/2 Cups chopped mushrooms of your choice 

1 Cup plus 2 tablespoons  seasoned dried bread crumbs 

2/3 cup low-fat (1%) cottage cheese

1/2 cup chopped onion

2, large eggs, lightly beaten

2 1/4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

2 ounces chopped walnuts or almonds

1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon  garlic powder

Dash salt

Dash freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1.  In large bowl, combine all ingredients except oil  until thoroughly blended.   Shape mixture into 6 patties.

2. Preheat oven to 325°F.

3. Spray large nonstick skillet with nonstick cook spray; add oil and heat 1 minute.  Cook patties over medium heat until lightly browned,  about 3 minutes.  Turn patties over; cook until other side is lightly browned,  about 3 minutes longer.  (Patties can be prepared to this point and frozen for later.)

4. Place patties in a nonstick baking pan.  Bake 15 minutes.

Makes 6 servings

242 Calories

13g Protein

13g Fat

21g Carbohydrates

112mg Calcium

783 mg Sodium

81 mg Cholesterol

1g Dietary Fiber

Ratatouille-Pasta Grantiee

2 Cups each diced eggplant and sliced zucchini

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 cup sliced onions

1 1/2 Cups canned Italian tomatoes (with liquid); drain, seed, and dice tomatoes, reserving liquid

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon each basil leaves and garlic powder

Dash pepper

2 Cups cooked spaghetti or fusilli (hot)

8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

Set large colander in sink; add eggplant and zucchini, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, and let stand 30 minutes.   Rinse vegetables under running water; drain and pat dry with paper towels.

In 12-inch nonstick skillet heat oil over medium-high heat; add eggplant,  zucchini, and onions and saute until vegetables are softened,  1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, reserved liquid, tomato paste, remaining  1/2 teaspoon salt, the oregano, basil, garlic powder, and pepper and cook,  stirring,  until tomato paste is dissolved.  Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are thoroughly cooked and flavors are blended. 15 to 20 minutes.

On flameproof serving platter arrange spaghetti ( or fusilli); top with vegetable mixture and sprinkle with cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned,  2 to 3 minutes.

Makes 4 servings

338 Calories

16g Protein

18g Fat

31g Carbohydrate

372 mg Calcium

840 mg Sodium

44 mg Cholesterol

I hope this was helpful and that you heard some great ideas.  Of course if you are a support group member our Private FB Page has lots of great ideas rom you all.  Be sure you are checking it out.

Progress Not Perfection

Coach Paris, Marlene and Sally

Always On Your Side Coaching

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