Nutritious and plant-based? Win, win.
On the hunt for healthy, plant-packed dinner ideas but not sure where to start? These Deliciously Ella recipes are tasty, cheap, and super simple (none take more than 30 minutes to make).
So, why adopt a plant-based diet or try and eat more plants in your day to day? Speaking exclusively to Health Editor Ally Head and Marie Claire UK, Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella, touched on the environmental factors but also the health wins, too. One 2013 study published in the Perm J. journal concluded that plant-based diets are a "cost-effective, low-risk intervention that may lower body mass index, blood pressure, HbA1C, and cholesterol levels."
Why did Ella first transition away from meat and dairy products herself? "Plant-based for me was about changing what I eat but also changing the way that I lived. I’ve been eating a plant-based diet for ten years, and it’s totally changed my life. It’s unlocked a whole new world of flavour and texture, and really changed the way I think about food."
It's important to note here: healthy will look different for everyone. While plant-based eating will work for some, for others, it won't be their bag. No judgement here - no two diets will (or should) be the same, because everyone's bodies are different. As Ella explains, what's key is working out what works for you and your body. "For anything to be genuinely sustainable in your life, it's got to be enjoyable. If you feel like you're compromising every day and you feel like you're depriving yourself, it won't work."
That's where her plant-packed recipes come in - full of nutrients, fruit, veg, legumes, nuts, seeds, and flavour, too. No more soggy overcooked lentils or undressed salad leaves, here.
Deliciously Ella recipes: 5 of her favourites
1. Creamy Mushroom Orzo
"This is a really nice one-pan one - it's almost like a cheat's risotto as you don't have to keep stirring it and it's ready really quickly," shares Ella.
Top tip: Ella shares that one-pan dinners are her go-to at the moment as, as a busy working mother, she doesn't have as much time to wash up dishes, pots, and pans. "My cooking's changed quite a lot since I've become a mum. One-pan is everything to me at the moment - minimal washing up is key."
2. Asparagus, Potato and Avocado salad
"Dressing your vegetables well and finding your confidence with sauces is key for making vegan food tasty," shares Ella.
Top tip: Ella's go-to dressing at the moment is a mix of coriander, basil, parsley, white beans for additional protein, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and pine nuts. "It's so delish- really creamy - and adds a nice green pop," shares the chef.
These dressings take things like roasted cauliflower up a notch, she shares.
3. Easy Miso Glazed Aubergines
"Leftover vegetables on a tray with a sauce is one of my go-to's," shares Ella. "Things like tray bakes are delicious."
Top tip: Take the pressure off a bit and make sure you're keeping your recipes simple. Often, Ella and co will whack some veggies on a tray, roast them, and eat with a tasty sauce to go with. "People probably assume that we're making these three-course meals every night but obviously we're not - we're running a business and have two small children. Time is of the essence."
4. Supercharged Porridge
As simple as it sounds, oats are a great source of slow-release carbohydrates, fibre, and protein, too. Top with anything you like, but Ella loves tahini, pear and pomegranate.
Top tip: Adding a little quinoa to your porridge not only ups the protein content but also counts towards one of your 30 servings of fruit and veg a week. Neat.
5. Almond Butter & Chocolate Dates
Finally, these dates are a Deliciously Ella classic, but a great one to whip out post-dinner party or snack on mid-week. Plus, they only require three ingredients and a little salt. What's not to love?
Top tip: These are just as good sans chocolate, if you don't happen to have any in the house, and delicious on a hot summer's day straight from the freezer.
Deliciously Ella cookbook
Like the recipes above? There are 1000's of similar plant-packed recipes in Ella's cookbooks below, ranging from plant-based breakfasts, to seed-topped lunches, to legume-based dinners and more.
Deliciously Ella Quick & Easy: Plant-based 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 fantastic food for a healthy way of life (2016)
Deliciously Ella: Awesome ingredients, incredible food that you and your body will love (2015)
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Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
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