Plant-based recipes to try during the coronavirus pandemic

The food we eat is pushing the planet to the breaking point. 

Our food system accounts for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gases, making animal agriculture one of the largest contributors to climate change. 

You can avoid these added emissions, however, by eating a plant-based diet, one of the best things individuals can do to combat climate change. Plus, eating a plant-based diet has been linked to general well-being and lowered risk of chronic diseases. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us home, giving us some extra time on our hands. That means it’s  a great time to try new tasty dishes and enjoy healthy, climate-friendly meals, many of which can be made with items you already own. 

So, to nourish your body, and protect the planet, we encourage you to try eating at least one plant-based meal each day for a week. Below are some easy recipes to try, brought to you by Earth Day Network’s Foodprints for the Future team:


Overnight Oats with Peanut Butter

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: sits overnight, but no cooking required!



½ cup your favorite non-dairy milk (we suggest oat milk or almond milk)

2 tablespoons peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choice)

½ cup rolled oats

¾ tablespoon chia seeds

½ teaspoon flax seeds

1 tablespoon maple syrup or coconut sugar

Berries, as a topping (optional)


  • In a jar: add milk, chia seeds, flax seeds, peanut butter, and maple syrup or coconut sugar, then stir to combine. (The peanut butter doesn’t need to be completely mixed with the almond milk).
  • Add the oats and stir a few more times.  Be sure that the oats are immersed in the milk.
  • Cover securely with a lid or seal and set in the refrigerator overnight to soak.
  • The next day, open and enjoy as is or garnish with berries. I personally love strawberries!

Note: Overnight oats will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 days.

Blueberry Muffins

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Servings: 12 


2 cups flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ cup sugar

1 cup almond milk or oat milk

⅓ cup applesauce

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups blueberries, either fresh or frozen

Pinch of salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line or grease muffin tin.
  • Mix wet ingredients in a bowl (or to save on a bowl use a 2-cup measuring cup to mix these ingredients)
  • Mix dry ingredients separately.
  • Combine wet and dry: Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix until just combined. Do not overmix!
  • Add blueberries by gently folding them in.
  • Spoon into muffin tins, filling each cup about ¾ full.
  • Bake: Place in the oven (on center rack) and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy! 


Couscous with Vegetables

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 2-3


1 ½ cups couscous

2 tablespoons oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)

Pinch of salt

1 ¾ cups veggie broth (or water)

1 cup vegetables (frozen, canned, or fresh – any vegetables you’d like to use)

Dash of seasoning (some options: soy sauce, salt and pepper, oregano and basil, rosemary, etc.)


  • Bring the broth or water, salt, and 1 tablespoon of oil to a boil in a medium pot.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, pour in the couscous, cover the pot with a lid, and reduce to a low heat for about 5 minutes.
  • In a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil on medium, then add the vegetables and any desired seasoning, cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until done.
  • Fluff the couscous with a fork, then combine with the vegetables and serve.

Mujadarah/Rice with Lentils

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4


½ cup lentils

2 cups rice (long grain is best, but whatever you have on hand will work)

2 large onions, sliced

½ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon coriander

Pinch of salt

4-5 cups water


  • Wash rice in a colander and soak in cold water for 15 minutes
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large saucepan, throw the onions in and cook until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Wash lentils well with cold water and place in saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil. Cook lentils until half cooked and drain into colander.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons oil in saucepan. Drain rice, add to saucepan, stir and add the water. Add salt, cumin and coriander. Bring to boil.

Note: there should be at least an inch of water above the rice

  • Reduce heat, cover pan and cook for 10 minutes. Add cooked lentils in and cover. Cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes.
  • Add the onion, mix gently, then serve. 

Easy Pea Stew

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Servings: 3


3 cups frozen peas

1 small onion, chopped

1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

½ small lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of salt

3 ½ cups water


  • Heat oil in pot and add onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add water and more salt, then bring to boil.
  • Add peas, tomato paste and lemon juice, stir.
  • Cover and cook on low heat until peas are tender and sauce has a thicker texture.
  • Serve with rice.  

Fried Rice

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 2


1 cup rice (white or brown)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1-2 cups vegetables (a bag of frozen mixed peas, carrots, corn is perfect)

2 cloves or 2 teaspoons garlic (can be fresh, powdered or a jar of minced)

½ onion, chopped

1-2 teaspoons soy sauce (you can use tamari or amino acids to make this gluten free)

Pinch of salt and pepper


  • First, prepare the rice following the directions on the package. I usually cook rice in a small pot on the stove or in a rice cooker, which takes about 40 minutes (depending on the type of rice).
  • Heat the vegetable oil on low (I prefer to use canola oil instead of olive oil when cooking on high heat) and add the garlic.
  • Add in chopped onion and stir, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in vegetables and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add in cooked rice, salt, pepper and soy sauce.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are cooked through or slightly browned.
  • Serve, feel free to add more soy sauce to your taste.

Pasta with Frozen Vegetables

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Servings: 2-4


1 bag of frozen vegetables (there are many different kinds of frozen vegetables, so whatever you have in your freezer is great!)

1 box of pasta

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 cloves or 2 teaspoons garlic (can be fresh, powdered or minced)

1-2 teaspoons dried herbs (oregano, basil and rosemary)

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

4-6 quarts water

Pinch of salt and pepper


  • Bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil over high heat in a pot (add a pinch of salt).
  • In a pan, heat up vegetable oil on low and add in garlic, then add frozen vegetables, salt and pepper, dried herbs and stir occasionally.
  • When the water has come to a boil, pour in the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.
  • When the pasta is done, combine with the vegetables, stir together for several minutes.
  • Serve, feel free to add more salt and pepper and red pepper flakes.

Easy Chili

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6


1 large can (28 oz) diced tomatoes (use the liquid)

1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

*Note: You can use any beans you’d like – or even lentils – but these are my favorites. I suggest 3 cans, or an equivalent amount of dried beans.

4 cloves or 4 teaspoons garlic (can be fresh, powdered or minced)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

½ – 1 cup water or vegetable broth

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

1 ½ teaspoon dried basil

1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 small can (8 oz) mushrooms (optional)


  • Heat the oil, onion and garlic on medium in a big pot for 5 minutes.
  • Add all other ingredients and stir thoroughly.
  • Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to a low temperature simmer.
  • Cook on low at a simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve, feel free to garnish with more herbs. Goes very well with bread, crackers or tortilla chips.


Banana Bread

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 1


1 ¾ cups flour

  • You can use unbleached all-purpose or spelt. If you are gluten-free feel free to use a GF blend or even oat flour.

⅓ cup cane sugar OR ¼ cup cane sugar with 2 tablespoons coconut sugar 

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

⅓ cup applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large overripe bananas, mashed

¼ cup almond milk (or oat milk)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.
  • In one medium sized mixing bowl: mash the bananas, add applesauce and vanilla extract, then mix again.
  • To this mixture, add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well, but don’t overmix, just until the flour is combined. Batter will be a little thick and there will be a few lumps, so no worries. If the mixture seems a little too thick, add a bit more milk, especially if using heavier flours such as whole wheat or spelt.
  • Pour batter into the loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes.
  • Insert toothpick in bread to test if it’s done. If it comes out clean it means your bread is ready!
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Black Bean Dip

Prep time: 5 minutes  

Cook time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1


½ lime or 2 tbsp lime juice

2 cans (15 oz each) of black beans, drained and rinsed 

½ cup chopped onion, either red or yellow

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon coriander

1 jalapeno, diced

Salt and pepper


  • Put all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  • Garnish with parsley or cilantro and enjoy!