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Nutritious and plant-based? Win win.
Looking for healthy plant-based dinner ideas, but don’t know where to start? These Deliciously Ella recipes are delicious, inexpensive, and super easy (none of them takes more than 30 minutes to make).
So why should you follow a plant-based diet or try to eat more plants in your daily life? Exclusive speaking with Health Editor Ally Head and Marie Claire UKElla Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella, talked about the environmental factors, but also the health benefits – a 2013 study published in the Perm J. magazine concluded that plant-based diets are a “cost-effective, low-risk intervention that can lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C and cholesterol levels.”
Why did Ella first switch from meat and dairy products herself? “Vegetable for me was about changing what I eat, but also about changing the way I lived. I’ve been eating plant-based for ten years and it has completely changed my life. It has unlocked a whole new world of taste and texture and has really changed the way I think about food.”
“Since I started the company, we’ve published approximately 3,000 plant-based recipes across the various Deliciously Ella platforms, and these are five of my personal favorites. They are simple, delicious and perfect for busy weeks.”
It’s important to note here: healthy will look different for everyone. While plant-based foods will work for some, it won’t be their bag for others. No judgment here – no two diets will (or should) be the same, because everyone’s bodies are different. As Ella explains, the most important thing is to find out what works for you and your body. “To be truly sustainable in your life, it has to be enjoyable. If you feel like you’re compromising every day and feel like you’re robbing yourself, it won’t work.”
That’s where her plant-packed recipes come in handy – full of nutrients, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and flavor too. No more soggy, overcooked lentils or undressed lettuce leaves here.
Don’t miss our guides to healthy snack ideas, healthy smoothie recipes, and gluten-free foods for celiacs or those with intolerances while you’re here.
Delicious Ella recipes: 5 of her favorites
1. Creamy Orzo
“This is a really tasty casserole — it’s almost like a cheat risotto because you don’t have to keep stirring and it’s ready very quickly,” says Ella.
Top Tip: Ella says one-pot dinners are her favorite at the moment because as a busy working mom, she doesn’t have much time to wash dishes, pots, and pans. “My cooking has changed quite a bit since I became a mother. One pan is everything to me right now – minimal washing up is key.”
2. Asparagus, potato and avocado salad
“Creating your veggies properly and finding confidence in sauces is essential to making vegan food delicious,” says Ella.
Top Tip: Ella’s go-to dressing right now is a blend of cilantro, basil, parsley, white beans for extra protein, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and pine nuts. “It’s so delicious – really creamy – and adds a nice green pop,” the chef tells us.
These dressings take things like roasted cauliflower to the next level, she says.
3. Easy Miso Glazed Eggplants
“Leftover vegetables on a tray with sauce is one of my favorites,” Ella tells me. “Things like baking sheets are delicious.”
Top Tip: Take the pressure off a bit and make sure to keep your recipes simple. Often, Ella and co smash some vegetables on a tray, roast them and eat them with a tasty sauce on the side. “People probably assume we make these three-course meals every night, but we clearly don’t – we have a business and two small children. Time is of the essence.”
4. Supercharged porridge
As simple as it sounds, oats are also a great source of slow-release carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Top with whatever you like, but Ella likes tahini, pear, and pomegranate.
Don’t miss our healthy breakfast ideas and breakdown of what a healthy breakfast is while you’re here.
Top Tip: Adding a little quinoa to your porridge not only increases the protein content, but also counts towards one of your 30 servings of fruits and vegetables per week. Neat.
5. Dates with almond butter and chocolate
Finally, these dates are a Deliciously Ella classic, but also great for a mid-week after-dinner party or snack. Plus, they only need three ingredients and a little salt. What’s not to love?
Top Tip: These are just as good without chocolate, if you don’t have it at home, and delicious straight out of the freezer on a hot summer day.
Delicious Ella cookbook
Do you like the recipes above? There are thousands of similar plant-packed recipes in Ella’s cookbooks below, ranging from plant-based breakfasts to seeded lunches to legume-based dinners and more.
Deliciously Ella Quick & Easy: Vegetable Deliciousness Hardcover (2020)
Deliciously Ella: The Plant-Based Cookbook and the Fastest Selling Vegan Cookbook of All Time (2018)
Deliciously Ella Every Day: Simple Recipes and Fabulous Food for a Healthy Way of Life (2016)
Deliciously Ella: Amazing Ingredients, Incredible Foods You And Your Body Will Love (2015)