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50 Creative Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes You Have Probably Never Thought Of

50 Creative Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes You Have Probably Never Thought Of

Do you ever find yourself scouring your cupboards thinking,”there’s nothing to eat”? Bored with whatever vegetarian dish you have been eating? Ready to shake things up a bit and tantalize your palate?

These 50 dishes are creative vegetarian recipes, and health-conscious too. But being healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Snap out of your kitchen rut with these creative alternatives to traditional dishes.

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Starters and Snacks

  1. Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini: A gluten-free and paleo way to do lasagna from Rate Your Burn.
  2. Black Bean and Corn Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Like tacos, but healthier, and again from Rate Your Burn.
  3. Quinoa Baked Zucchini Chips with Siraracha Dipping Sauce. Less fattening and starchy than potato chips, with a spicy kick, from Cooking Quinoa.
  4. Margarita Popcorn: Need I say more? From Not Monroe.
  5. Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries with Sriracha Lime Mayo: Not fried, and with a zesty dipping sauce from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.
  6. Vegan Pesto: Made with healthy omega oil blend from Vega Products.
  7. Vegetarian Thanksgiving Brussels Sprouts Sliders: A healthy holiday starter from Tara Parker-Pope.
  8. Pesto pasta with added protein: Pesto pasta with Edamame for a great meal to stay fit from Cookie + Kate.
  9. Avocado Corn Salsa: A tomato-free salsa alternative, with some creamy avocado added, from Rate Your Burn.
  10. Turkey Veggie Tray: Festive and fun Thanksgiving crudite appetizer from Living Locurto.
  11. Festive Cheese Rounds: In the shape of a pinecone. Beautiful and tasty from Just Putzing Around the Kitchen.
  12. Cauliflower Tots: Get the same bite-sized fun as traditional tater tots, but less carbohydrates and less starch from SkinnyTaste.com.
  13. Ombre Citrus and Thyme Roasted Carrot Skewers: An artful appetizer for any gathering with fall spices from Beard & Bonnet.
  14. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Roasted Chickpeas: Chickpeas are high in calcium, and this is a healthier alternative dish with a sweet and spicy taste from Running to the Kitchen.

Salads

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  1. Roasted Squash Salad with Lemony Tahini Sauce + Feta: A warming winter salad with a light dressing from Naked Cuisine.
  2. Lemon Dijon Beet Salad: Roasted beets complimented by lemon for a savory and healthy salad from Poppies and Papayas.
  3. Lemon Cilantro Avocado Pasta Salad: A fresh, creamy twist on pasta salad full of healthy fats, from Rate Your Burn.

Main Dishes

  1. Crockpot Sweet Potato Lentils: Sweeten up those lentils in this slow-cooked recipe for a cold day from Pinch of Yum.
  2. Vegetarian Orange Chicken Cauliflower: A veggie twist on orange chicken with the low-carb and anti-cancerous benefits of cauliflower, from Vegetarian Recipes 24/7.
  3. Pesto Tortilla Pizza: A clever way to use pesto instead of tomato sauce, combined with tortillas for a quick and easy pizza treat from Cookie + Kate.
  4. Butternut Squash Risotto with Pine Nuts & Balsamic: Butternut squash lends a healthy creaminess to this fall risotto recipe from Delallo.
  5. Cauliflower Crust Pizza: A pizza crust free of dough, gluten, egg, nuts, and yeast for a paleo or gluten-free alternative to pizza from Tickling Palates.
  6. Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce: This vegan recipe uses pumpkin instead of tomato, for those looking for a new way to make a favorite dish from Chic Vegan.
  7. Italian Orzo Stuffed Peppers: Orzo pasta stuffed peppers that bake up and make great leftovers from Delallo.
  8. Pizza Roasted Chickpeas: This clever dish puts pizza in a bowl, minus the dough, the carbs, and with the healthy protein and calcium of chickpeas from Amuse Your Bouche.
  9. Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo: This dairy-free, nut-free twist on Pasta Alfredo is creamy, and a clever way to use cauliflower as a sauce from The Detoxinista.
  10. Spinach Basil Pesto: Take pesto one step further by adding iron-rich spinach in for a more tangy flavor from two peas & their pod.
  11. Carrot Pasta with Zesty Garlic Sauce: Who knew you could make pasta out of carrots? Nutrient rich, low on carbohydrates and full of flavor, from Daily Burn.
  12. Cauliflower Steaks with Ginger, Turmeric, and Cumin: These “steaks” are a great vegan alternative to a meat dish, with pungent Indian spices from the kitchn.
  13. Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto: Eggs for dinner? But of course, with this elegant egg over polenta dish from Ariel Knutson of BuzzFeed.
  14. Tempeh and Sweet Potato Collard Wraps: Sweet potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving anymore. The sweetness and the greens blend perfectly together in this wrap from Laura Newcomer on Greatist.
  15. Ricotta, Kale, and Roast Pumpkin Lasagne: Who knew you could put pumpkin in something other than pie? The pumpkin is great for those tired of boring old tomato sauce, from The Krooked Spoon.
  16. Pesto Quesadilla: This quesadilla uses cannelini beans, for an Italian twist on a quesadilla for a change from Cookie + Kate.
  17. Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos: Tired of the same old rice and bean tacos? Quinoa and sweet potatoes add a unique and healthy twist to taco night from Cooking Channel TV.
  18. Vegan Stuffed Squash with Dates and Pine Nuts: This is not only vegan, and delicious, but makes for a beautiful presentation in a bowl you don’t have to wash, because it’s made of a squash from Katherine Ratliff at Mind Body Green.
  19. Kimchi Mac and Cheese: This spicy take on comfort food gets its kick from adding in Kimchi, for healthy probiotics from Beard & Bonnet.
  20. Smashed Chickpea Avocado Sandwich: The smashed chickpeas, combined with mashed avocado on the bread of your choice make for a sandwich that holds together nicely and is full of healthy fats and nutrients from Green Valley Kitchen.
  21. Polenta Lasagna with Portabellas and Kale: This lasagna uses polenta instead of noodles, and is also fat-free AND vegan. Yum! From Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

Sides: 

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  1. Butternut Squash Fries: Who needs potatoes anymore when these are so delicious and much more nutritious? From Rebecca at My Natural Family.
  2. Roasted Brussel Sprout Chips: A crispy alternative to potato chips, and a clever way to cook up brussels sprouts before they go bad in your fridge with this recipe from Rebecca at My Natural Family again.
  3. Roasted (Wish They Were Grilled) Cabbage: When the weather gets cold and you head inside, rather than use your grill, you can still get that grilled, rich taste with this cabbage recipe from Green Lite Bites.
  4. Creative Sauerkraut: If you are a fan of this tasty cultured food, but get bored with eating it the same old traditional way, try these new twists from Thank Your Body.
  5. Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Quinoa Salad in Balsamic Vinaigrette: Roasted Cauliflower is a creative way to go meatless and blends well with mushrooms and balsamic from Closet Cooking.

Breakfast

  1. Festive Fall Oatmeal: Add some seasonal apples and some peanut butter for protein to this warming, filling, and delicious bowl to start your day from Lizzie Fuhr of Pop Sugar.
  2. Quinoa Egg Scramble: Both quinoa and eggs are great sources of protein and make a recharging post-workout breakfast to help you build muscle from Lizzie Fuhr of Pop Sugar.
  3. Quinoa Hash Browns and Turkish Eggs: For addded protein and less carbs, combine your hash browns with quinoa, and then Turkish eggs, which use yogurt for a creamy breakfast dish from Cooking Channel TV.
  4. Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie: Sweet potatoes, in smoothies? Add some great fiber, beta carotene and start your day off right with this “pie” in a cup from Laura Newcomer from Greatist.

Desserts

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  1. Hot Chocolate Sticks: These bite-sized popsicles are made in an ice cube tray and are a clever way to whip up a quick and easy dessert treat from Brit + Co.
  2. Pre-Workout Protein Balls: This pre-workout treat is more like a dessert, using protein powder to make cookie dough bites that give you energy and support your workout from Lizzie Fuhr at Pop Sugar.
  3. Egg-Free Mini Pumpkin Pies: If you want a bite size treat to bring to a holiday meal, this vegan pumpkin recipe will do the trick from Fork and Beans.

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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