" We're here to facilitate your plant-based journey "

PlantPlate.com is here to provide the recipes, information, and practical advice needed to follow a healthy plant-based diet. Whether you're interested in improving your health, losing weight, or eating more sustainably, a whole foods plant-based diet may be the perfect solution for you.

My name's Emma, and I started PlantPlate in 2013 with the help of my husband Scott, a web developer and fellow plantivore. I’m a certified Plant-Based Nutritionist who loves to cook, and I've followed a plant-based diet for over a decade. Having lived in various locations throughout the world - sometimes on a shoestring budget, and often with irregular and demanding work schedules - I’ve had to constantly adapt my diet in order to make it work. It’s taught me a lot, and it’s motivated me to show others just how accessible and enjoyable this way of eating can be.

The recipes featured on PlantPlate are based on minimally processed plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. They're free from all animal products, processed oils and refined carbohydrates, and are made with simple and affordable ingredients. Our articles are aimed at providing you with plant-based know-how when it comes to shopping, cooking, nutrition and day-to-day living. We have answers to common questions and share practical knowledge that we have acquired through experience. Finally, the resources section contains links to books, DVDs, and video presentations from some of the world's leading experts on plant-based nutrition. It is our hope that these resources will help you to fully understand and evaluate the health benefits of this wonderful way of eating.

Welcome to PlantPlate!  We hope you enjoy your visit. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us at contact@plantplate.com.

The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat health problems or illnesses without first consulting your doctor.

Guide to Dining Out

Wondering what on earth you are going to eat if you're out in a restaurant or cafe? We've got tips for choosing healthy plant-based options when you're dining outside your home.

One area of concern for many plant-based adherents is where, what and how they can eat when dining out. Rest assured, there are plenty of options available to you! But you do need to arm yourself with some expert know-how, to make your restaurant experiences as enjoyable as possible.

The first step is to try and plan ahead. For instance, if your friends have picked a restaurant and you know the name, look it up online and see if you can find a menu. This way, you can see the options available to you, or options that could be tailored to suit your needs. If you are going to a higher end establishment, you can also try calling ahead to see if the restaurant will cater to your dietary preferences. Some of the best restaurant meals I have had came from calling ahead to places and giving them time to plan. Just remember to tip a little extra in these instances if you can- it always helps to show your appreciation!

If you think your options will be very limited, eat something before you go. This may sound counter-productive, but we’ve found it very helpful. If your only option is some sort of salad and maybe a bit of bread, you might go hungry and become irritable! In these instances, focus on the social aspect of the dining experience, and eat something nutritious and satiating before you go, like a bean and vegetable soup or grain-based salad.

Don’t over-stress about every detail. Yes, it’s ideal to eat whole grains and other minimally processed foods whenever possible. But if you go to a restaurant that only serves white pasta, or white rice, that’s okay too. You should aim to select the best option available to you; ensure that it's plant-based, but don't worry yourself if you have to compromise a little bit when it comes to grains or dressings. However, if the food is cooked to order, we recommend that you always ask for it to be made without oil, as restaurants tend to be very heavy handed with added fats. 

Finally, and probably most importantly, learn what to order where. This is fundamental when you're following a plant-based diet, as being knowledgeable about your options within different cuisines makes for quick and painless ordering. To help you out, we've listed the best plant-based options by cuisine type:

 

Chinese

Most Chinese restaurants offer plenty of vegetable and tofu-based dishes, as well as noodles, rice and soups. It's best to ask for things to be prepared without oil if possible, and even with sauce on the side so you can manage the sodium content. Look for the following options on menus:

  • Stir-Fried Vegetable Dishes (ask for no oil, ask for no oyster sauce)
  • Tofu and Vegetable Dishes (ask for no oil, ask for no oyster sauce)
  • Vegetarian Noodle Soups
  • Steamed Rice

 

Thai or Vietnamese

You will generally find plant of plant-based options on Thai and Vietnamese menus. It's best to go for light options, like salads and soups, and always ask for dishes to be made without fish sauce. Some menu items that are good choices include:

  • Fresh Vegetarian Spring Rolls- also known as rice paper rolls (make sure they don't contain egg)
  • Papaya or Green Mango Salad (ask for no fish sauce or shrimp)
  • Stir-Fried Vegetable Dishes (ask for no oil)
  • Tofu and Vegetable Dishes
  • Vegetarian Noodle Soups
  • Steamed Rice

 

Middle Eastern (Turkish, Lebanese, etc.)

I've met plenty of omnivorous folk that are happy to go plant-based when eating Middle-Eastern fare! There are lots of great dips, breads, salads and main dishes to choose from, including:

  • Hummus or Baba Ghanoush with Pita Bread
  • Dolmades (Vine Leaves stuffed with Rice)
  • Tabbouleh (Tomato and Herb Salad)
  • Pita or Flatbread with Salad Fillings
  • Vegetable or Legume Based Soups
  • Vegetarian Couscous or Rice Dishes (make sure they do not contain cheese)

 

Indian

Most Indian restaurants cater extensively to vegetarians, but it's best to call ahead and make sure that the vegetarian dishes are not made with ghee (clarified butter.) Some Indian food can be very heavy and oily, which is why it's best to order tomato-based curries and skip the fried entrees. We recommend:

  • Tomato-based chickpea, lentil and vegetable curries
  • Dhal, a lentil soup
  • Roti, a whole wheat flatbread (check that it is made without butter)
  • Pickles and chutneys
  • Steamed Rice

 

Italian

Pizzas, pastas and salads in Italian restaurants will generally contain some sort of cheese. Request no cheese in any dish you order, even if it is not listed as an ingredient on the menu. Your best choices at an Italian restaurant include:

  • Vegetarian Pizza without Cheese
  • Pasta with Basic Tomato or Arrabiata Sauce
  • Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
  • House Salad dressed with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (ask for no oil)

 

Ethiopian 

Ethiopian restaurants are also great for vegetarians. You should always check, however, that the dishes are or can be made without butter. Most restaurants will have the following options:

  • Fresh Salad Starters
  • Vegetable and Legume Dishes
  • Injera (an Ethiopian flatbread)
  • Steamed Rice

 

Japanese

This is a cuisine that normally offers plenty of low-fat vegan options, but you should double check about the use of fish stocks and flakes in dishes that aren't denoted as vegetarian. Some common options include:

  • Cucumber, Avocado, or Mixed Vegetable Sushi- check there is no egg or mayonnaise
  • Miso Soup- check that it is made without benito flakes or other fish products
  • Seaweed Salad
  • Grilled Tofu Dishes
  • Vegetarian Soba Noodle Dishes
  • Vegetarian Rice Dishes
  • Pickled Vegetables

 

Mexican (or Tex Mex)

Most vegetarian Mexican dishes can be made completely plant-based simply by removing the cheese or sour cream. However, you should make sure that any beans you order are made without bacon or other animal ingredients. Our Mexican favourites include:

  • Bean and Rice Burritos with fresh salad fixings- ask for no cheese or sour cream
  • Vegetarian Chilli with Rice and/or salad
  • Bean and Vegetable-Based Soups

 

Grill or Steakhouse

You may not think that there would be anything available to you at a steakhouse, but that's not necessarily true. While we hope you don't have to eat at meat-centred establishments frequently, you can normally piece together a healthy and filling meal from the salad bar or "sides" menu. This can include:

  • Plain Baked Potato with beans, corn or fresh salsa
  • Fresh Salads or Salad Bar Selections
  • Sides of Rice, Beans or Steamed Vegetables- ask for no butter or oil

 

Cafe / Sandwich Bar

You may be catching up with someone for lunch in a casual place with a small lunch menu. Your best option in these circumstances is to put together a sandwich or salad using the healthiest vegetable fillings available, such as:

  • Whole wheat bread with tomato, lettuce, cucumber, beets, carrots, avocado, etc. plus mustard, pickles or balsamic vinegar
  • Veggie Burger (ask for no cheese or mayonnaise, and ask for extra salad)
  • House salad with avocado or olives, dressed in balsamic vinegar or lemon juice (ask for no oil)

 

 

Article photo courtesy of Praytino via Flickr