Good whole food plant-based recipes for beginners can be hard to find, and often difficult to make! I’d like to take the guesswork out of meal planning + prepping by sharing my family’s fav plant-based dinner recipes. These are easy, simple recipes loaded with flavor and health benefits.

Table of Contents
  1. Are Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Recipes Worth the Hype?
  2. How to Prep Meals like a Pro:
  3. 12 Whole Food Plant-Based Dinner Recipes

Are Whole Food Plant-Based Diet Recipes Worth the Hype?

While I’ve called myself a vegetarian for years, my diet consisted of bean burritos from Taco Bell, and Lucky Charms. Sure, I wasn’t eating meat, but I was fueling my body with junk. And boy did I feel it! I slept a lot. I was always hungry. I craved candy.

Processed foods contain ingredients mostly found in industrial food manufacturing (aka, not nature). This includes hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, food dyes, flavoring, and emulsifiers.

A diet of predominately processed food can lead to:

  • Heart disease: leading cause of death worldwide. A result of continual eating of processed food according to a recent study by the British Medical Journal.
  • Unhealthy weight gain: The National Institute of Health conducted a study showing a correlation between a processed food diet and weight gain.
  • Increased risk of cancer: the correlation between cancer patients and increasingly processed food diets goes up 12% for every 10% of the diet that contains processed food. 
  • Malnutrition: processing actually strips food of its nutritional value! This creates empty calorie consumption and minimal nutritional value, even if one feels ‘full.’
  • Addictive eating habits: processed foods can actually make people addicted to food.

A diet consisting of minimally processed, whole foods can lead to:

  • Healthy weight loss + gut health: a whole food plant-based diet is high in fiber, which helps the body with excess weight, and better digestion.
  • Lower risk of Type II Diabetes: vegetarians are at an almost 50% decreased risk of diabetes over those on a non-vegetarian diet.
  • A Lower risk for heart disease: a balanced whole food plant-based diet significantly lowers the risk for heart disease.
  • Lower risk for cancer: a study by the US National Library of Medicine showed a 43% reduced risk of cancer in those sticking to a vegetarian diet.
plant-based meal prep

How to Prep Meals like a Pro:

A huge part of success in whole food plant-based eating is knowing how to prep. Whole foods are just that, whole. That means I need to know how to prep/cook/pair them together (unlike the boxed freezer meal that does all the leg work). Here are my pro tips on introducing your family to a lasting new lifestyle:

  • Prep ahead: Seriously though… I succeed when I am prepared. I get the whole family involved in food prep for the week; my kids also eat better when they help prepare (and decide) what we eat, so it’s a win-win. I’ve got great tips for prepping smoothies, prepping snacks for work, and prepping for an entire whole foods, plant-based lifestyle in every seasonal cleanse I’ve created.
  • Get knowledgeable about plant-based protein: People often ask how I get enough protein in a day. I smile and say, it’s easy! Yet I know that whole food plant-based protein options aren’t always talked about. I make sure to keep my pantry stocked with my fav protein options. I also have a great guide on how to build an incredibly satisfying Chipotle Veggie Bowl using these options. 
  • Don’t go it alone: Whether you live by yourself, or your family isn’t quite on board with this new lifestyle, find people that want to rawk this with you. I learn new stuff from my Rawk the Year fam all the time!
Whole food plant based recipes for beginners

12 Whole Food Plant-Based Dinner Recipes

If I haven’t sold you on trying a plant-based recipes yet, I dare you not to drool over this recipe list:

blueberries on a smoothie for a meal
Meal Replacement Smoothie
4.5 from 396 votes
Healthy fats and proteins are the way to go if you want to power up with a meal replacement smoothie. This combo of almond butter and rolled oats is a must to keep you feeling full and fuel you ’til your next meal.
Make Recipe
a beautifully plated loaded sweet potato
Loaded Sweet Potato with Kale Slaw
4.9 from 14 votes
Enjoy this Loaded Sweet Potato recipe that is filling and helps balance your blood sugar. It's also packed with vitamin A, B vitamins, potassium and fiber. They provide the perfect base for this delicious kale slaw, which is teeming with nutrients that help stimulate digestion and absorption.
Make Recipe
DIY veggie bowl
Coconut Sriracha Veggie Bowl
5 from 10 votes
This veggie bowl recipe is simple, delicious, and has the perfect sauce. Great for those left over veggies in the fridge that need to be used.
Make Recipe
vegetarian taco salad
Spiralized Vegan Taco Salad
4.8 from 8 votes
Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet. We’re always looking for ways to serve them in an exciting way and this vegan taco salad is perfection. Each healthy bite is full of mouthwatering flavor. It definitely hits the spot when you’re craving Mexican flavors.
Make Recipe
Spicy Chickpea Tacos
5 from 4 votes
Slightly crisp roasted beans are a fantastic plant-based filling in these chickpea tacos. Load them up with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Make Recipe
plant based pizza
Savory Plant-Based Pizza
5 from 6 votes
A simple quinoa batter makes for a crispy-edged, tender, gluten-free pizza crust that takes almost no effort to make. These toppings are some of my favorites—especially the pesto— but feel free to top with whatever your heart (or tummy) desires.
Make Recipe
tofu nuggets recipe
Crispy Tofu Nuggets
4.8 from 5 votes
These plant-based tofu nuggets are packed with protein and amazing crunch. The secret sauce is tearing pressed tofu to get craggily edges that help to make the crispiest nooks and crannies for your favorite dipping sauce to cling to. Try using your air fryer for an equally delicious nugget!
Make Recipe
Austinite Vegan Tacos
5 from 5 votes
When I created this vegan taco recipe, it just felt like it had an Austin flair going on, so I named it after that city. Austin, Texas, is one of my favorite cities, thanks to the great music, the variety of healthy foods available, its natural landscape, and the fact that my awesome aunt and uncle live there. 
Make Recipe
Almond Butter Sauce w/ Veggies
4.9 from 11 votes
The almond butter sauce is AMAZING and takes this zoodle dish to the next level.
Make Recipe
Thai Lettuce Wraps
5 from 29 votes
When I became a vegetarian at 16 years old, one of the meals I missed the most was the chicken lettuce wraps from my fav Chinese restaurant. This thai lettuce wrap recipe is inspired by those, yet this dish adds a lot more nourishment and flavors to make me one happy vegetarian.
Make Recipe
Coconut Bacon BLT recipe
Coconut Bacon + Vegan BLT Recipe
5 from 7 votes
If you’re looking for something with a crunch + smoky flavor that is delicious AND plant based, then I’ve got a coconut bacon recipe for you. And it pairs perfectly with this BLT sandwich.
Make Recipe
Vegan Black Bean Burger
5 from 15 votes
Perfect for a backyard BBQ or a fun family meal, this vegan black bean burger is a winner. My family loves to pair them with homemade fries and load them up with fresh tomatoes. 
Make Recipe

These recipes are real winners, and not a single one compromises on flavor. You can be healthy + happy fueling your body this way, and starting with these recipes will have you achieving whole food plant-based pro status in no time. 

Drop a comment below with your top pick from this list, or let me know how your recipe turned out!

About the Author

Jen Hansard

I went from exhausted mama to running across the Grand Canyon, riding & hiking to the top of the tallest waterfall in North America with my kids. How? I fell in love with the smoothies and plant-based meals you can find on my blog.

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  1. Great article! I’ve found that many people have trouble adapting to a plant based diet. This cookbook really helped me out. It’s full of delicious recipes that will satisfy your appetite even if you’re just starting to go vegan.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for my husband and I this week. Truthfully we were both skeptical with the taco “meat”. But we both LOVED it. I did double the spices on the sweet potato (not the cayenne)and doubled the jalapeno and garlic in the pico de gallo. Overall this was a delightful dish. Bravo!

    1. That’s awesome, Michelle! It really is a delicious dish. 🙂

  3. I’m a bit confused on your serving info. Are the ingredients listed for 2 servings or 1? Thanks! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  4. Just pinned, although I’ve followed y’all since the beginning. Keep rawkin’!

    1. You could use coconut aminos instead of tamari. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve been eating mostly plant-based since I did the 21-Day Cleanse with you last year. It has truly changed my life for the better! My favorite recipe from this article is definitely the Famous Loaded Sweet Potato— you’ll be amazing at home hearty eating vegetables can be. Thanks Jen and the rawkstar team for helping me and so many others eat more plants.

  6. 5 stars
    I pinned the post! Also, zoodles in a jar is a fav lunch of mine. SO easy and flavorful.

    1. It’s delicious! Try it and let us know what you think!