10 Essential Tips for Plant-Based Cooking Success
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


  1. Embrace whole grains
  2. Stock up on legumes
  3. Use nuts and seeds for crunch and flavor
  4. Experiment with herbs and spices
  5. Try different oil-free cooking methods
  6. Incorporate plenty of colorful vegetables
  7. Learn to make plant-based protein dishes
  8. Master dairy-free baking
  9. Prepare plant-based snacks for on-the-go
  10. Plan your plant-based meals in advance

Are you on the journey to healthier eating and considering the plant-based route? You're in the right place. This blog is your treasure trove of plant-based cooking tips to make your transition smooth and delicious. Let's dive into these ten practical steps for plant-based cooking success, and you'll be whipping up vibrant, nutrient-packed meals in no time.

Embrace Whole Grains

The first of our plant-based cooking tips is to make whole grains your best friend. Why? Whole grains are not only a great source of fiber and protein, they also add a delightful texture and heartiness to your dishes.

  • Brown Rice: This versatile grain can serve as a base for stir-fries or as a filling for burritos. If you're feeling adventurous, try making a brown rice salad with a rainbow of chopped veggies and a zesty vinaigrette.
  • Quinoa: With its fluffy texture and mild flavor, quinoa is a great addition to salads, soups, and even breakfast bowls. Plus, it's one of the few plant-based foods that's a complete protein.
  • Oats: Think beyond breakfast. Yes, oats make a great porridge or overnight oats, but they can also be used in savory dishes like stuffed bell peppers or as a crumb topping for a plant-based casserole.

Whole grains can take longer to cook than their refined counterparts, but a little planning goes a long way. Soak your grains in water overnight to speed up the cooking process. And remember, batch cooking grains at the start of the week saves time and sets you up for plant-based cooking success.

Stock up on Legumes

Our second plant-based cooking tip shifts the spotlight to legumes. These nutrient-dense powerhouses are rich in protein, fiber, and a range of essential nutrients. More than just a humble side dish, legumes can be the star of your meal. Here's how:

  • Chickpeas: Roasted for a crunchy snack, blended into hummus, or tossed into salads, chickpeas are as versatile as they are nutritious.
  • Lentils: They cook quickly and have a meaty texture, making them a great plant-based substitute in dishes like spaghetti bolognese or shepherd's pie.
  • Black Beans: Perfect for Mexican-inspired dishes, black beans work well in everything from tacos to soups and salads.

Remember, canned legumes are just as nutritious as dried ones and can save you on cooking time. However, if you prefer cooking from scratch, consider using a pressure cooker to speed up the process. Whichever way you choose to prepare your legumes, they are a fantastic way to add variety and nutrition to your plant-based meals.

Use Nuts and Seeds for Crunch and Flavor

Our third plant-based cooking tip? Nuts and seeds. These little gems are often overlooked, but they can bring a whole new dimension to your dishes. They not only add texture but also contribute a massive flavor boost. Here's how to do it:

  • Almonds: Slice or chop them for a crunchy addition to salads and stir-fries. Or blend them into a creamy almond butter for a delightful spread on toast.
  • Chia Seeds: These tiny seeds pack a big punch of nutrients. Sprinkle them over your morning oatmeal or mix with plant-based milk to make a satisfying chia pudding.
  • Sunflower Seeds: Toast them for a nutty flavor and sprinkle over your favorite dishes. Or blend them into a sunflower seed butter for a unique twist on the classic PB&J.

Remember, nuts and seeds are not just toppings. They can be the main ingredient in plant-based milk, cheeses, and even meat substitutes. The possibilities are endless, and the flavor they bring to your dishes is unparalleled. So why not add some crunch and flavor to your meals with these plant-based cooking tips?

Experiment with Herbs and Spices

Entering the world of herbs and spices can feel like stepping into a magic garden. Each herb, each spice, holds a unique flavor that can elevate your dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Don't be shy—exploring this garden is one of our key plant-based cooking tips.

  • Cumin: This spice is a staple in many cuisines, from Mexican to Indian. It offers a warm, earthy flavor that works well with beans, lentils, and vegetables.
  • Basil: Sweet or Thai, basil is a versatile herb that can impart a fresh flavor to your pasta, soup, or stir-fry. And who can resist a good basil pesto?
  • Turmeric: Known for its vibrant yellow color, turmeric adds a subtle earthy flavor to your dishes. It's a star in curry dishes, but don't limit it there—try it in your plant-based milk or smoothies for a health boost.

Remember, fresh herbs are generally added towards the end of cooking to preserve their flavor, while dried herbs and spices are usually added earlier. Trust your taste buds, and don't be afraid to experiment. After all, cooking is an art—your kitchen, your rules!

Try Different Oil-Free Cooking Methods

When we say "oil-free," don't worry—we're not taking away your beloved crispy edges or caramelized flavors. Quite the opposite, actually. Exploring oil-free cooking methods can open up a whole new avenue of taste and texture in your plant-based cuisine.

  • Baking: Have you ever tried oven-roasting your veggies? It brings out their natural sweetness and gives them a delightful crunch. Just toss them in your favorite spices, lay them out on a baking sheet, and let the oven do its magic.
  • Steaming: This method is great for preserving the nutrients in your veggies. Plus, it leaves them tender and juicy. Add a dash of fresh lemon juice or a sprinkle of herbs afterward for a burst of flavor.
  • Sautéing with Broth: Sautéing doesn't always require oil. You can use vegetable broth, water, or even wine. It's all about building layers of flavor while keeping things light and healthy.

These oil-free cooking methods can enhance the natural flavors of your ingredients while keeping your meals heart-healthy. So go ahead, give them a try. You might just find your new favorite cooking technique among these plant-based cooking tips.

Incorporate Plenty of Colorful Vegetables

Plant-based cooking is a celebration of nature's bounty, and what better way to celebrate than by adding a rainbow of vegetables to your plate! Not only do they make your meals more appealing visually, but they're also packed with various nutrients—each color representing different vitamins and antioxidants.

  • Reds: Think tomatoes, bell peppers, and beets. They're rich in antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins.
  • Oranges and Yellows: Carrots, sweet potatoes, and pumpkins come to mind. They're full of beta-carotene which your body turns into vitamin A.
  • Greens: Spinach, kale, and zucchini are just a few. These guys are high in vitamins K, B, and E.
  • Purples: Purple cabbage, eggplants, and blackberries are not just beautiful, they're also loaded with antioxidants known as anthocyanins.

Remember, the more colorful your plate, the broader the range of nutrients you're feeding your body. So don't be shy—pile on those colors! It's one of the most enjoyable plant-based cooking tips you can follow. Plus, it's a fun way to make sure you're getting a variety of nutrients every day.

Learn to Make Plant-Based Protein Dishes

When some people hear the words "plant-based diet," they often wonder, "But where will I get my protein?" Well, here's a fun fact: plants have protein, too! Quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, tempeh, and seitan are just a few examples of high-protein plant foods. So, let's dive into some plant-based cooking tips to get that protein in.

  • Quinoa: This versatile grain is a complete protein — it contains all nine essential amino acids! You can use it as a base for salads, make quinoa fried 'rice', or even cook it into a breakfast porridge.
  • Lentils: These small but mighty legumes pack a punch in the protein department. You can simmer them into a comforting soup, toss them in salads, or even mold them into a plant-based 'meatloaf'.
  • Tofu: A staple in plant-based cooking, tofu is a blank canvas ready to absorb any flavor you throw at it. Scramble it for a 'no-egg' breakfast, cube and roast for a crispy salad topping, or blend it into a creamy pasta sauce.
  • Seitan: Also known as 'wheat meat,' seitan is a fantastic source of protein. Make seitan 'chicken' nuggets, seitan 'steak' or even seitan 'sausages' for a plant-based BBQ.

These are just a few examples. The world of plant-based proteins is vast and exciting—so don't be afraid to get creative and try new things!

Master Dairy-Free Baking

There's a common misconception that baking without dairy is a Herculean task. But guess what? It's simpler than you might think! Here are some plant-based cooking tips to help you whip up dairy-free treats that even your non-vegan friends will love.

  • Almond milk, oat milk, or soy milk: These plant-based milks are fantastic substitutes for cow's milk in most baking recipes. Whether you're making fluffy pancakes, moist muffins, or a decadent chocolate cake, these milks will do the trick. Just remember to use unsweetened versions when you don't want any added sweetness.
  • Flax or chia 'egg': Mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds with three tablespoons of water, let it sit for a few minutes, and voila, you have a vegan 'egg'. This works great in recipes that call for binding agents, like cookies or brownies.
  • Coconut cream: Ever wanted to make a rich, creamy frosting without butter? Coconut cream is your friend. Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight, scoop out the solid part, and whip it up with some powdered sugar for a dairy-free frosting that's utterly divine.
  • Apple sauce: A great substitute for butter or oil in cakes, apple sauce can add moisture and a hint of sweetness. Use unsweetened apple sauce for the best results.

With these tips, dairy-free baking will soon become second nature to you. Happy baking!

Prepare Plant-Based Snacks for On-the-Go

Life can get busy, can't it? But a packed schedule doesn't mean you have to compromise on nutrition or flavor. With these plant-based cooking tips, you can prepare delicious and nourishing snacks that are perfect for when you're on the move.

  • Fruit and Nut Bars: Combine chopped dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and a dollop of nut butter. Press the mixture into a pan, chill, and then cut into bars. They're tasty, filling, and don't require refrigeration—perfect for when you're out and about.
  • Roasted Chickpeas: Toss canned chickpeas in your favorite spices, roast until crispy, and you've got yourself a protein-rich snack that's as crunchy as any potato chip.
  • Vegetable Hummus Wraps: Spread some hummus on a whole grain wrap, pile on the veggies, roll it up, and there you have it—a simple, nutritious snack you can eat on the go.
  • Homemade Trail Mix: Mix together your favorite nuts, seeds, dried fruits, and maybe even some dark chocolate chunks. This customizable snack is not only satisfying but also gives you a quick energy boost when you need it.

Remember, being prepared is key when it comes to maintaining a plant-based lifestyle. So, the next time you're heading out, don't forget to carry along one of these healthy, homemade snacks!

Plan Your Plant-Based Meals in Advance

Have you ever opened your fridge and wondered, "What should I cook?" Well, you're not alone. It happens to the best of us. But with a little forethought, you can avoid this common pitfall. Here are some plant-based cooking tips to help you plan your meals in advance.

  • Start with a Menu: Begin by jotting down meals for the week. Consider your schedule — maybe you've got more time to cook on weekends, so plan for more elaborate meals then. During the week, opt for quick and easy recipes.
  • Make a Shopping List: Based on your menu, create a list of ingredients you'll need. Stick to this list when you shop to avoid impulse purchases and make sure you have everything you need for your plant-based meals.
  • Prep in Advance: If possible, prepare some components of your meals ahead of time. Chop veggies, cook and store legumes, or make sauces and dressings. This will save you time during the week and make cooking less of a chore.
  • Leftovers are Your Friends: Cook in bulk and plan to eat leftovers. Dishes like soups, stews, and casseroles often taste better the next day, and they can easily be reheated for a quick meal.

Planning your plant-based meals in advance can seem like an extra step, but trust me, it's a game-changer. It not only saves time and reduces stress but also helps you stay committed to your healthy eating habits. So, why not give it a try?

If you enjoyed our "10 Essential Tips for Plant-Based Cooking Success" blog post and are eager to expand your culinary creativity, we recommend exploring Daisie's classes for more inspiration. Discover new techniques, recipes, and ideas from talented chefs and food enthusiasts in our online community platform, and elevate your plant-based cooking game to the next level!