10 Vegan Recipes That Support Your Plant-Based Whole30
If you’re considering doing the Plant-Based Whole30, these recipes are a great place to begin. I just finished my own Plant-Based Whole30 and can attest that with this elimination diet, you can identify problematic ingredients in your life, reimagine your relationship with sugar and alcohol, and recalibrate your system.
If you’re familiar with the original Whole30, know that the ethos behind it is exactly the same, but the rules are pretty different — both soy and legumes are allowed, for instance. However, there’s way more to it than that: Check out the official Whole30 for all of their guidelines and a ton of super-helpful resources, and take a peek at the recipes below for dining inspiration.
1. Spiced Nut Clusters with Coconut Yogurt
If you’re doing the Plant-Based Whole30, chances are high you’ll be eating a lot of nuts. One way to make these a little less boring is to create spiced nut clusters using aquafaba, the liquid from a can of chickpeas, which easily whips up into a fluffy, meringue-like consistency, and makes the granola clusters stick together perfectly. And by using aquafaba, you’re making use of an ingredient that you’d otherwise likely throw out — so that’s a win/win.
Be forewarned: Coconut yogurt tastes very similar to dairy yogurt, but it is not nutritionally analogous. It’s basically all (healthy!) fat and very little protein. So rather than eating a whole bowl of yogurt topped with a sprinkle of nut clusters, consider reversing those proportions so you hit the right macros.
Tofu scramble is a great, protein-forward way to start your day — and is so incredibly versatile. You can use firm tofu or silken tofu, both to good effect: the silken tofu will be a little bit more like creamy scrambled eggs, while the firm has its own texture that’s a little less egg-y but very enjoyable. You can zhuzz this up by starting off sautéeing some onions and frozen peas, then wilting in a big handful of baby spinach leaves. You can spice it with anything — I’m a fan of this shallot-and-chive spice blend.
This is probably my favorite original recipe that came out of my time on the Plant-Based Whole30. In my opinion, the sweet potato sundae meets the trifecta of weekday breakfast requirements: super healthy; can be made in under 5 minutes; and absolutely delicious. Bake a few sweet potatoes at the top of the week, and you’ll be set to enjoy sweet potato sundaes all week long. You can choose any toppings you like, but consider options like spiced nut clusters; vegan cream cheese, almond butter, and raspberries; peanut butter and sliced strawberries; chickpea scramble and sliced scallions… whatever you’re in the mood for. Just make sure you’re incorporating a protein source like tofu, chickpeas, or nuts.
Lunch and dinner
This tofu panang curry is pretty great — and if you leave out the sugar and serve it with cauliflower rice in lieu of white rice, it’s also totally Plant-Based Whole30-compliant. (I threw in some compatible red Thai curry paste for an added flavor kick, too.) I recommend cooking the cauliflower rice for this dish by sautéeing it in coconut oil and seasoning with garam masala, then topping with fresh chopped cilantro.
To make this lentil shepherd’s pie Plant-Based Whole30-compliant, you just need to ensure the vegan butter you’re using is compatible with the program. I recommend Miyoko’s, which is the best-tasting vegan butter I’ve ever tried by ten miles. I’d also recommend adding a chopped carrot and celery to the saucepan after you’ve softened the onions, and tossing some coconut aminos and miso paste for a little hit of umami after you’ve added the stock.
This dish is so extra-feeling but easy to make, and given that you’re serving half a butternut squash per person, it’s also quite filling. Swap the cranberries for dried unsweetened cherries for a little more sweetness without any added sugar (it’s hard to find unsweetened cranberries, and if you did, they’d be too tart for this dish, imo). This one is great on its own, but is also great served with a bowl of cauliflower carrot soup.
7. Vegan Chili
Just leave out the corn and this vegan chili is perfect for the Plant-Based Whole30. It’s a great wintertime dish no matter what plan you’re on, and it’s also a great way to get a whole lot of protein, fiber, and vegetables all in one dish. I recommend topping with cilantro, chopped scallion, and sliced avocado.
8. Mezze Platter with Hummus and Baba Ganoush
This is a fun dinner to make for a weekend or special occasion. Make some hummus (pro tip: warm up your chickpeas on the stovetop before blending for an extra-creamy texture) and baba ganoush. Serve with a big platter of crudités like sliced carrot, endive, celery, and bell pepper, and little bowls of olives, lupini beans, marcona almonds, and a plate of marinated artichoke hearts tossed with sliced Violife Feta Cheese (it is so good, and this is coming from someone who really loves non-vegan cheese). You’ll end up with a platter that you could easily serve at a cocktail party that’s still a really healthy, Plant-Based Whole30-compatible meal.
This pumpkin and chickpea stew recipe is so phenomenally nutritious, and it’s also so well-spiced and balanced. I’m sure it’s even better with fresh, but you definitely don’t have to bother making your own pumpkin puree (I just used canned pumpkin, and it turned out great). Serve on top of steamed or sautéed cauliflower rice for a little added bulk, but this stew is definitely hearty enough on its own to serve as a light meal, too.
This tofu and peanut stir-fry is a great weeknight dish for when you’re craving take-out. In place of maple syrup, I just used the juice from half an orange, and it tasted fantastic. Throw in whatever vegetables you have around to bulk it out and add more crunch — I used bell pepper, snow peas, broccoli, and baby bok choy.
Jess Novak is the Head of Content and Audience Development for Clean Plates. She’s obsessed with making meals that taste like they’re not healthy but secretly really are. You can follow her on Instagram @jtothenovak.