The Great Plant Based Cooking Challenge: Night One

My family recently went to see the movie Game Changers, a fascinating documentary about the power of whole food planted based eating to improve athletic ability. My twenty-three year old son, John, was with us. Afterwards, John asked if I would make several plant based dinners for him and his roommates, three other twenty-three year old men. I was thrilled that he wanted to eat healthier and agreed to the challenge!

The first night I prepared Mexican lentil, black bean and rice tostadas with roasted broccoli and plant based cheese sauce and diced potatoes sautéed in vegetable broth. I felt like this was a good meal to start with because it looked kind of like a “meat and potatoes” meal on the plate but with lots of flavor and color. The verdict? The fellows really enjoyed it and couldn’t believe it was healthy!

Mexican Lentil, Black Bean and Rice Tostadas


1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup uncooked long grain brown rice

1/2 uncooked green lentils, rinsed

3-4 cups vegetable stock or broth

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

15 ounce can black beans, drained

1 cup fire roasted tomatoes, drained (or use entire can if you like tomatoes)

4 ounce can diced green chiles

1 small zucchini, shredded

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup enchilada sauce


Heat large pot over medium low heat.

Add extra virgin olive oil.

Add diced onions and cook 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add minced garlic, stir and cook for a minute or two.

Add spices and stir to coat onions and garlic.

Add brown rice, lentils and vegetable stock/broth.

Bring to a simmer, cover and cook approximately 30 minutes until lentils and rice are tender. Check every few minutes to stir and make sure there is no scorching. Add more vegetable broth if it has absorbed and mixture appears dry and sticking to pan.

Add in remaining ingredients, stir and cook a bit longer to defrost corn.

Place mixture a top tostadas (or just serve solo on plate) and garnish with sliced avocado or guacamole, cherry tomatoes and cilantro.

Roasted Broccoli with Mexican Cheese Sauce (plant based)


Prepackaged broccoli florets

1 Teaspoon Grapeseed oil

1 teaspoon Italian Herb Blend (or just sprinkle some on from jar)

Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel Seasoning


Preheat oven to 400.

Cut broccoli florets in halves or fourths to make a flat side.

Toss with grapeseed oil and Italian Herb blend.

Spread out on a silpat on baking sheet with flat side of florets facing down. (Silpat is a silicon mat that helps with crisping)

Roast for approximately 8 -10 minutes checking for desired browning on flat sides.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with Everything but Bagel Seasoning and drizzle with Mexican Cheese. Serve immediately.

Sautéed Potatoes


4 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Teaspoons Italian Herb Blend

1/2 cup of vegetable broth/stock


Heat EVOO in pan over medium heat

Add potatoes and spread out to make sure all potatoes are touching the pan to brown.

Allow to cook for a few minutes checking periodically to access browning.

Add vegetable broth as the potatoes continue cooking to prevent sticking.

When desired browning is achieved on one side, flip potatoes to another side, add a more vegetable broth and cover. Cook for several minutes on low until potatoes are cooked through.

Double Chocolate Teff Cookies for dessert!

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