Tracy Childs shows how easy it is to make delicious whole foods, plant-based recipes

Three and a Half Satisfying Whole Foods, Plant-Based Recipes

Tracy Childs, a vegan cooking instructor and wellspring for whole foods, plant-based recipes, shares these ideas for delicious meals you can make quickly. The ingredients are easy to find and the results will please you and anyone you share these dishes with.

Tracy is an instructor for The Cancer Project cooking classes. She and her partners also teach whole foods, plant-based cooking classes in San Diego through their company Veg-Appeal. You can read about Tracy’s journey as a plant-based advocate, vegan mom, and well-fed traveler in a related post.

30 Minute Curried Red Lentil and Couscous Stew

Makes about 2 quarts (8 1-cup servings)

Red lentils cook very quickly and are a great source of plant protein and fiber. You won’t find yourself spending a long time in the kitchen, getting this filling and satisfying meal to the table! Serve this dish with braised collards or kale or a green salad and whole-grain bread, pita, basmati rice, chapattis or by itself.

Red lentils are a versatile, inexpensive ingredient for many recipes.


1 cup red dry lentils, rinsed

1/2 onion, chopped 
or 2 teaspoons dried minced onions

2 celery stalks, sliced thinly

1 small or ½ large sweet potato or yam or 2 carrots, chopped in ¾ in. pieces, or grated

1 teaspoon cumin seeds or ground cumin

5 cups water or vegetable broth

1/2 cup dry whole wheat couscous or quinoa

4-6 cloves, minced or 2 teaspoons dried minced garlic

1/3 cup tomato paste

2 teaspoons curry powder

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)


1. Combine lentils, onion, celery, cumin, sweet potato, yam or carrot, and water or broth in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low until lentils and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in couscous or quinoa, garlic, tomato paste, curry powder, black pepper, salt, and nutritional yeast. Replace cover and continue cooking with a low boil until grain is tender, about 5 minutes for couscous and 15 minutes for quinoa. Turn off heat, remove cover, stir and allow the stew to cool for 5 minutes to thicken and serve.

 Variation: (the half a recipe!)

Would you rather make Italian Lentil and Couscous Stew? Instead of cumin, add 2-3 teaspoons Italian seasoning and omit the curry and optionally stir in some chopped fresh parsley during the last step.

Adapted from the 21 Day Kickstart Program recipes.


Luscious Fruit and Kale with Salad Greens 

Kale salad is an excellent way to enjoy more of the dense nutrients in kale.

Makes about 6 servings


3-4 cups chopped lettuce or whole baby greens (any kind)

2 cups finely chopped Kale massaged with lemon or lime juice

2 cups chopped seasonal fruit (apples, strawberries, oranges, tangerines, pears for example)

¼ cup chopped or whole soft nuts or seeds (pine nuts, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds for example)

½ ripe avocado, cubed (optional)

3 green onions, sliced thinly (optional)


2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate or a mixture of 1 tablespoon liquid sweetener (such as maple syrup or agave nectar) and 1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, other vinegar, or lemon/lime juice

½ teaspoon salt

pepper to taste

Squeeze of lemon juice


Place the salad greens in a large bowl.

Remove the tough stem and finely chop the kale. Squeeze a bit of lemon or lime juice over the top and massage the kale between your hands to soften it. Add it to the bowl with the greens.

Mix the dressing in a small bowl.

Add the chopped fruit, avocado and green onions (if using), and ¾ of the dressing. Toss gently and chill for a few hours before serving. Before serving, squeeze more lemon juice over the top and add more dressing if necessary. This salad is even better the next day!


Sweet and Tangy Yam Salad

Cooking is fun with wonderful whole foods, plant-based recipes.

Yams make this salad quite filling.

Makes about 6 cups


3 small/medium yams, scrubbed and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks

1 stalk celery, chopped

¼ cup chopped parsley

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

½ cup chopped red bell pepper


2 cloves garlic, minced

One lime or lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup or other sweetener

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon dill weed

Fresh ground pepper to taste


Steam the yams for about 13 minutes, until a small knife can easily be inserted, still hold their shape. Allow the yams to cool and cut them into smaller, bite sized pieces and place them in a medium bowl. Fold in the other ingredients.

In a small bowl, stir the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Stir gently, and taste, adjusting seasonings and tanginess if needed. Serve immediately or chill and bring close to room temperature before serving. Dress with additional seasoned rice vinegar and salt and pepper, if needed, after chilling.