They say variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to plant-forward eating, we agree! One of the best parts of plant-forward eating is the vast array of culinary possibilities. Plant-forward cooking celebrates all the sensory attributes – the colors, aromas, textures and flavors – that plant foods can bring to delicious meals and snacks, in addition to bringing health benefits. Let’s explore the possibilities with plants: creamy, crispy, crunchy and smoky.
Boiling or steaming and pureeing vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, squash, onions and zucchini can create creamy textures. Nuts and seeds can also be incorporated into creamy dishes through walnut butters, creams and sauces such as tahini. Check out this Kale, Apple, Pancetta, and Walnut Salad with Creamy Walnut Dressing.
Foods that are crispy typically contain very little water. Most fruits and vegetables contain greater than 90% water by weight. To achieve crispiness with fruits and vegetables, home cooks can thinly slice fruits and vegetables with a sharp knife or use a mandoline and then dehydrate them. Some newer ovens and toaster ovens come with a dehydrator function. There are many ways to meet your crispy cravings with plant-forward eating, such as this tasty Spinach Salad with Crispy Tofu and Wasabi-Walnut Dressing.
Who doesn’t love the crunch of raw fruits and veggies, or a great nut or seed, maybe even a toasted grain? Another way to add crunchy texture to vegetables is to combine them with walnuts. Consider sweet potatoes stuffed with walnuts, the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy. In fact, walnuts can boost the nutrition and crunch of many fruit and vegetable recipes – offering an excellent source of omega-3 ALA fatty acids (2.5g/oz).
Smoky flavors aren’t just for grilled or smoked meats and fish — they’re also delicious in vegetables, which can be simply achieved by grilling. These Hickory-Smoked Walnut Street Tacos with Superfood Slaw, Avocado, Cotija and Pickled Red Onions are a smoky flavor lover’s dream.
When it comes to plant-forward plates, the flavor and texture possibilities are endless!