Plant-Based Diet For Beginners [Recipes, Meal Plan & Grocery List]

Plant-Based Diet For Beginners [Recipes, Meal Plan & Grocery List]

Even if you're just tweaking a few meals each week, eating a wholefood plant-based diet can have a significant impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you're trying to lose weight, strengthen your immunity, enhance your vitality, or get your family into healthy eating habits, we want to show you how easy it can be to enjoy the benefits of a plant-based diet and ultimately get more out of life. Keep reading to learn how to make delicious plant-based diet recipes that are awesome for you, and the environment. 

This Plant-Based Diet Plan For Beginners covers everything you need to know to get started on a journey to better health through plant-based eating:

So what exactly is a plant-based diet? First and foremost, it’s not a “diet” - it doesn’t focus on calorie restrictions or counting macros like carbs and protein. A plant-based diet is a way of eating that's based on foods derived from plants, including fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and excludes or minimises highly refined foods. Put simply, it's focused on integrating more foods into your diet that will nourish your body from the inside out.

Embracing a plant-based approach to eating is often recommended to help address chronic illness, but you don’t need to wait for a health scare to make tweaks to your diet and improve your health today, and for the future. The best part about going plant-based is that it’s not about taking an 'all or nothing' approach. You might start by including one meat-free dinner into your week, or adding more plants into your morning with a healthy breakfast smoothie or superfood porridge or bircher muesli. Whether you choose to go 100% plant-based or not, anyone can benefit from integrating more plants into their diet at any stage of their life.

If you want to try a plant-based breakfast without the hassle of shopping around for ingredients, Craft Smoothie delivers Superfood Smoothie Boxes with everything you need to make plant-based smoothie recipes at home using fresh seasonal produce and organic superfood blends. If you're following a Keto diet or low-carb lifestyle, we also have a Keto Smoothie Box option that's 100% plant-based.

For another superfood breakfast option, check out the brand new range of Instant Superfood Breakfast Pouches from Craft Breakfast, which can be served as a plant-based porridge or bircher muesli.


Plant-Based Diet Recipes

All of the recipes below contain a plant-based source of protein like nuts, seeds, chickpeas or lentils, which can easily be substituted for an alternative source of quality protein. The recipes are super flexible so you can easily tweak the ingredients to match what's in season or what you already have in your kitchen. They're designed to serve 2 people, but can easily be doubled (or tripled). Enjoy playing with maximising the nutrient-density of your meals!

Macro Buddha Bowl Recipe


  • 1.5 cups of cooked chickpeas, rinsed and dried
  • 1 Tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1.5 tsp of spice mix: 1/2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice
  • 2 cups of leafy greens
  • 1/2 an avocado, cut into quarters
  • 2 Tbsp sauerkraut
  • 1 carrot, spiralised
  • Spring onion to garnish

Super Seed Mix:

  • 1 Tbsp of pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp of cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp of coconut aminos or tamari

Green Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup of tahini
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups of your favourite herbs (parsley, basil, coriander and chives work well)
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • Salt and pepper to season

Turmeric Tahini Dressing (optional extra):

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/4 lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs coconut aminos
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 ground ginger
  • Pepper to season


  1. Combine chickpeas with the spice mix and coconut oil and fry in a pre-heated pan until crispy
  2. Lightly toast seed mix in a pan and when the seeds start to pop, stir in cumin and coconut aminos and then remove from heat
  3. Prepare the green dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender, and prepare the turmeric dressing in a jar
  4. Divide quinoa and salad into two serving bowls
  5. Top with chickpeas, seed mix and dressings
  6. Garnish with sauerkraut, sprialised carrot and avocado

If you don't end up using all of the dressing, just store it in an airtight jar in the fridge - it'll keep fresh for a couple of days.

Strawberry Avocado Summer Salad


  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 cup of strawberries, halved
  • 2 Tbs of walnuts
  • 2 Tbs of almonds
  • Spring onion to garnish


  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 tsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of honey
  • Salt and pepper to season


  1. Divide salad ingredients between two serving bowls
  2. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined
  3. Dress salads generously

Zucchini Noodles And Hearty Lentil Bolognese


  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 Tbsp of avocado oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 cups of cooked lentils), drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Balsamic vinegar, basil and yeast flakes to garnish


  1. Use a spiraliser to prepare the zucchini noodles and divide between two serving bowls
  2. Heat avocado oil in a pan and add onion, cook into translucent
  3. Add garlic and stir until fragrant
  4. Add lentils and tomatoes to the pan, season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes
  5. Pour lentil and tomato mixture over noodles and top with basil, balsamic vinegar and yeast flakes


Black Bean Noodles With Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto


  • Black bean noodles or your favourite variety of noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups of basil
  • 1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, soaked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup of yeast flakes
  • 1/8 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cups of any nuts or seeds
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • Cook noodles as per packet instructions and divide between two bowls
  • Add sun-dried tomatoes, basil, nuts or seeds, garlic, lemon juice, yeast flakes and salt and pepper to a food processor, pulse until combined
  • Scoop pesto on to noodles and garnish with parsley and a slice of lemon

Plant-Based Diet Grocery List

If you’re a beginner, here’s a plant-based diet food list with the key ingredients we recommend for starting a plant-based diet. As you start experimenting with different plant-based recipes and understand which meals and ingredients your body responds best to, you can expand your plant-based shopping list according. 

Fruit and Vegetables: Banana, avocado, orange, apple, berries, onion, garlic, leafy greens, cabbage, carrots, beetroot, kumara, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, beetroot etc

  • Shop seasonally and pick as many colours as you can #eattherainbow

Wholegrains: Quinoa, buckwheat, oats, brown rice

  • Integrating wholegrains into your diet is an affordable way to ensure you’re getting a good intake of complex carbohydrates and dietary fibre to support healthy digestion and sustained energy levels. If you’ve never cooked with quinoa or buckwheat before, you can use these grains wherever you would typically use rice, and they make a perfect base for buddha bowls. Oats are always handy to have in the kitchen for making homemade granola, porridge or bircher muesli which makes a great mid-morning snack. My favourite way to cook grains is in the rice cooker because it means you can leave the grains to cook while you do something else, or prep something else for dinner. Pro tip - create a wholegrain flour by blending whole buckwheat in a coffee grinder.

Oils: Coconut oil and avocado oil (for frying, baking and raw treats), extra virgin olive oil (for dressings)

  • Coconut oil is arguably the most versatile oil to have on standby because you can use it in wholefood baking, raw desserts and for frying. Both avocado oil and coconut oil are resistant to oxidation at high heats which makes them perfect for frying. Reserve the extra virgin oil for making hummus and plant-based dressings (like those in the recipes above).

Sauces: Coconut aminos or tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), preservative-free mustard

  • Tamari is gluten-free soy sauce and coconut amios is a soy-free substitute which comes from coconut sap. These seasonings bring a brilliant flavour to dressings when blended with tahini and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Vinegars: Apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar

  • Apple cider vinegar is so versatile you can use it in dressings, cooking or as a digestive aid. You can even use it as a household cleaning product! Balsamic is brilliant to have on hand for dressings and is epic drizzled over roast vegetables.

Spices and seasonings: Turmeric, cumin, paprika, Himalayan sea salt, pepper, kelp, savoury yeast flakes

  • Himalayan sea salt is key because it contains iodine (unlike regular sea salt), kelp is another great source of iodine which has a host of other health benefits too. Having spices like turmeric, cumin, coriander and paprika on hand is perfect for enhancing the flavour of roasted vegetables, making curry pastes or adding a kick to hummus or dressings. Yeast flakes have a unique cheese-like flavour which are the perfect substitute for parmesan cheese when sprinkled over a plant-based pizza or tomato-based dishes. 

Sweeteners: Raw honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, rice malt syrup, dates and/or other dried fruit

  • Raw honey has bonus antibacterial properties, but agave and maple syrup can be used as substitute sweeteners in pretty much any recipe. Rice malt syrup is made entirely from fermented brown rice and is a versatile option for those looking for a fructose-free alternative.

Herbs: Coriander, parsley, basil

  • Grow your own or pick them up from your local farmers' market and experiment with the new varieties you can get your hands on. Herbs are handy for dressings, salads, roast vegetables or even green smoothies!

Nuts, seeds and superfoods: Almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, linseed, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cacao, goji berries, coconut, vanilla, dates, cinnamon, ginger - just to name a few!

  • These are essentials in our plant-based pantry for making everything from superfood smoothies, nut butters and bliss balls to pestos and salads.

Tea: Chamomile, peppermint, green tea

  • Chamomile tea is the perfect night cap and can help promote a better night's sleep. Peppermint is perfect if you’re limiting your caffeine intake, and green tea is a go-to for an antioxidant boost. 

Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, black beans

  • Chickpeas are essential for hummus and buddha bowls, lentils for curries and soups, and beans for Mexican dishes. If you’re excluding or minimising meat from your diet, legumes are the perfect plant-based substitute - a 1 cup serving of cooked black beans has around 15g of protein and 20% of the daily recommended intake of iron.

Canned Foods: Coconut cream, chopped tomatoes

  • Coconut cream is convenient to have in your pantry for curries or making your own yoghurt. Chopped tomatoes are ideal for slow-cooking in winter and Italian-style dishes. Opt for BPA free cans wherever possible and keep your eye out for unwanted additives in the ingredients list.

Fermented Foods: Coconut yoghurt, sauerkraut

  • Fermented foods like coconut yoghurt and sauerkraut (fermented vegetables) are essentials in plant-based diets, as they can play an important role in improving the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which can in turn help support a healthy immune system.

Milks: Coconut milk, almond milk or cashew milk

Butters and spreads: Tahini and nut butter (ie. peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter)

  • Tahini (ground sesame seeds) is an awesome source of calcium for a plant-based diet and is super convenient for making hearty salad dressings or sauces that will take any plant-based meal to the next level. Nut butters are also brilliant for sauces, plant-based baking, raw treats and smoothie bowls!

Utensils: Blender, food processor (or a device that doubles as both) - and that’s it!

  • You don't need to invest in any fancy or expensive kitchen equipment to get started with a plant-based diet - so there's no holding back now!


Plant-Based Diet Meal Plan

Creating a plant-based meal plan might be easier than you think. Here's our go-to plant-based diet meal plan which includes inspiration for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snack options. You can mix and match the different options to design a plant-based meal plan that works for you and the ingredients you have available in your kitchen.

Plant-Based Diet Breakfast Ideas

Superfood smoothie: We may be biased, but there's no better way to enhance your intake of plant-based nutrients than by having a different smoothie for breakfast each morning. By blending seasonal combinations of fresh fruit and vegetables with balancing superfood blends, you'll be getting a wholefood plant-based source of dietary fibre, protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals. Find out what you can expect for breakfast with Craft Smoothie.

Smoothie bowl: Try one of these super easy smoothie bowl recipes which are perfect for getting kids (and adults) engaged in healthy eating 

Plant-Based Diet Snacks Ideas

Chia pudding: Blend 1 cup of coconut water with 1 tablespoon of nut butter, 2 Tbs of chia seeds, a dash of your favourite sweetener and vanilla. Transfer the chia blend to a jar and top off with a few berries and your favourite superfoods.

Bliss balls: For a basic bliss ball recipe, all you need is dates, nuts, coconut and cacao and you're away! There are literally millions of different bliss ball recipes online, but don't be afraid to experiment with your own combinations and adjust the fruit to nut ratio to suit. Pro tip - including oats is a cheap way to bulk up your bliss balls and increase the fibre content.

Kale chips: Wash and dry kale leaves, drizzle with avocado oil or coconut oil and season with salt, kelp and nutritional yeast flakes. Bake for around 10 to 15 minutes at 180°C or until the edges are brown.


Plant-Based Diet Lunch Ideas

Macro buddha bowl: Learn how to make the ultimate buddha bowl with our recipe above

Cabbage wrap with hummus, avocado and sauerkraut: Keep it simple with a gut-friendly, plant-powered and protein-packed wrap!

Seasonal salad with green protein dressing: Get crafty with new season salad ingredients so lunch never gets boring. Scroll up for some recipe inspiration


Plant-Based Diet Dinner Ideas

Zucchini noddles with lentil bolognese: Get your zoodle on with our tasty recipe above

Plant-based pizza with gluten-free broccoli base: We’re loving this broccoli crust pizza recipe at the moment - it's awesome topped with hummus and pesto 

Black bean noodles with sun-dried tomato and basil pesto: See our plant-based recipes above to learn how to make this crafty take on a Italian-style meal


Plant-Based Diet Dessert Ideas

Turmeric latte: Here’s our easy turmeric latte recipe that's ideal for a low sugar, nutrient-dense dessert

Superfood chocolate: Curb your cravings by melting together 1 tablespoon of nut butter, 1 tablespoon of honey (or other sweeteners), 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of cacao. Pour the melted mixture into a container lined with baking paper and sprinkle with your favourite superfoods - coconut, goji berries and cacao nibs are a winning combo. Store in the freezer until set and don't forget to share!

Remember you don't have to make radical changes to start enjoying the benefits of a plant-based diet. It's not about creating restrictions around what you can and can't eat, but rather adding more nourishing wholefoods to your diet. And the benefits of eating more plants will extend beyond how you feel - you'll start to notice the benefits from the outside too! 

If you want to experiment with a plant-based breakfast routine, give Craft Smoothie a try and we'll deliver everything you need to make 100% plant-based superfood smoothies at home. 



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