My dad never went to ice cream shops.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. He LOVED ice cream. But he hated having to select from so many flavors!
I’m the same way. God forbid we go to a diner with a 10-page menu, because I have to look at every possible item before I choose. In the meantime, the kids are chewing off each other’s arms off….
It’s overwhelming starting a new habit that I know almost nothing about. What that translates to, in my case, is procrastination. I’m usually frozen in fear and muddle over decisions FOREVER before I actually start. How about you?
Whole Food Plant Based eating may be new to you, but luckily there are some chefs out there that have been around the block once or twice.
I return to those that helped me the most at the beginning all the time. I trust them for solid advice and consistently good recipes. Some are not strictly vegan, and others use varying amounts of processed vegan food. But in one way or another, these folks have inspired me the most.
Plus they seem nice and approachable. So there’s that.
If you need inspiration, give the following resources a look.
The Dirty Girl behind this website is Molly Patrick, and she’s a firecracker. Her recipes span from global cultures to musical references to specialty doodly-dos for holidays. She’s funny and smart, and, best of all, very genuine. She’s the type that probably treats her good friends exactly as she does her web following — with empathy, respect and lots of humor. Molly has a team that helps her with Clean Food Dirty Girl, and she’s very generous about sharing the spotlight.
If you subscribe to the CFDG email list, you’ll get a Saturday post delivered to your inbox. These updates are authentic and and helpful, usually containing some uplifting message and great advice about both plant-based eating and life. And it’s free!
Once you’ve had a chance to look around this site, check out the CFDG meal plans. The plans give you 5 awesome recipes delivered to your inbox every Friday. The meals are tested and scrumptious, and include prep instructions and shopping lists — all for a very reasonable price. I am a proud meal plan subscriber, and recommend highly!
If you are offended by curse words, lighten up just long enough to check out this site. Molly and team are full of sage advice of the helpful variety. Her attitude is summed up well in her advice for transitioning to a whole food, plant-based diet.
“Don’t overthink it. Eat more whole plant foods and less of everything else. Don’t expect the change to happen overnight. Be gentle on yourself and enjoy the process!”
Told you she was smart.
Favorite recipe from Molly and the team? Check out this salad dressing — it’s obscenely good and makes me lick the spoon nekkid. Only four ingredients (plus water and salt) and I swear you will be making this every week!
Dana Schultz is the blogger and recipe developer behind Minimalist Baker. She is also a food stylist and photographer.
This site is bursting with recipes, both sweet and savory. A new recipe posts every few days! I own her cookbook in hard copy — Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking And it’s a real beauty. She also has an ebook available on her site, 31 Meals, especially created for those that are trying out a WFPB diet and are a little overwhelmed about what to try first. It’s fully downloadable and convenient in case you are in a hurry to start planning your new life!
My favorite recipe from Dana is Quinoa Taco Meat. Although the recipe starts fresh with raw quinoa, it’s also great for using up any leftover quinoa that has hung around the fridge more days than intended. This “meat” is a real fooler, even with kids and wise-ass teenagers. They will not mistake it for meat, but they won’t care because it tastes so good. Give it a whirl. If you love traditional taco meat you will love this quinoa.
Angela started her plant-based site in 2009 so you can imagine the gobs of information and hundreds of recipes it contains. Beyond the great info, though, is a wonderfully honest “About” page where Angela talks about the ups and downs of life.
Plus, her babies are super cute. Check out her site for delicious plant-based recipes. My favorites? The baked goods, of course. They kick some vegan ass.
Here’s a muffin recipe that rocked my world. Anything gingerbread and I’m there. Even still, these are spectacular — made with pumpkin! And while there is some sugar here, the muffins aren’t super sweet. Plus, molasses — serious swoon.
I would eat these every day if I wasn’t too lazy to make them every night before.
Richa Hingle is my go-to source for all things Indian food. Richa has an interesting backstory, as so many bloggers do. She was a software developer until brain surgery sidelined her. The surgery effected her eye nerves so she has some challenges. I love triumphant stories like hers.
Her original cookbook is Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen, and it’s a beauty. The recipes look overwhelming, but keep in mind that a good chunk of the goods are spices. If you dig Indian food, or are trying to widen your palate, check it out. It’s one of those cookbooks you like to read like a novel. Well, better than a novel, because the photos are so enticing — amazing given Richa’s eye trouble.
Richa has a new cookbook out with a more global collection, Vegan Richa’s Everyday Kitchen: Epic Anytime Recipes with a World of Flavor, but I haven’t received my copy yet. I’ll keep you posted on that one.
If you are not ready to invest in an entire Indian cookbook, no harm. There are so many great recipes on the website to choose from. My fave is the Tofu Butter Masala. And no, there is no butter in the recipe. If you’re turned off my tofu, you can sub in garbanzo beans and it is just as fabulous.
Spice is the star of Indian food, so you will need some garam masala. The recipe also calls for fenugreek (?) which I omit because I don’t keep that in the pantry. It was no less butter masala-y by omitting the fenugreek.
Richa also has a slap-me-down-it’s-so-tasty recipe for garlic naan. It has some oil in it, but it is vegan. I halved the oil used and they were still so so good.
I’ve been a fan of Heidi Swanson for over a decade, and she’s the woman behind 101 Cookbooks. Long before thinking about switching to more whole plants in my diet, I read Heidi’s blog. Heidi develops recipes that are vegetarian, vegan, and WFPB, so there’s something for every stage of your veggie journey.
Heidi started 101 Cookbooks in 2003, when she looked at the growing collection of cookbooks she’d collected and decided she better do something with all that info! I’m glad she did. Heidi is great at introducing veg concepts and ingredients without referencing obscure spices. She has lots of collections on her site for those times you have a bumper crop of zucchini and need a million different ways to use it up. Heidi also gives substitutions for ingredients you may want to omit. She does use oil and sugar, but is mindful of the amount of both in her recipes.
She’s also very generous with other food bloggers and is happy to share info when another’s post is good for her audience. I like that.
Heidi travels — a lot. She’s also a photographer with a fabulous eye for food, people and landscapes. You can easily immerse yourself in her travel posts and wish you were right there cooking and eating with her.
I love her One Bowl Banana Bread recipe. It’s a riff on a Melissa Clark (of New York Times fame) recipe without some of the fussiness. My version has a few changes from Heidi’s version and does not include eggs. Pick your poison — I won’t be sad if you make Heidi’s, Melissa’s or my version — all good.
Heidi’s written several several cookbooks. Super Natural Cooking, her first book, is in my collection. I can highly recommend it for both recipes and inspiration to change how we think about food.
Heidi is one of the originals — back in the day when plant-eating was still considered goofy. She was obviously ahead of her time by at least a decade.
SO Many Sources for Inspiration
These are the five blogs that helped me the most during my multi-year transition to eat more plants. There are so many other resources available, both online and off.
My point is, don’t get overwhelmed and paralyzed! Find a few foodie blogs and a couple of cookbooks and stick with them for a while. When you’ve outgrown them, try some additional resources.
Just don’t expect to get to them all. You’d be online forever and wouldn’t get around to making delicious and nutritious whole plant food!
Let me know which bloggers and cookbooks are your jam. I love checking out new ones, and revisiting old friends, too!