SIMPLE, WHOLE-FOOD PLANT RECIPES FOR EVERYONE

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy our recipes, everybody’s welcome! All recipes are easy to make, require no special gadgets or expensive cookware and are oil-free (even our delicious chips/fries!) A low-fat whole-food plant diet is not just the kindest to animals and the environment, it is also the healthiest and the most effective for permanent weight loss.* We recommend advance meal prep/batch cooking so you always have something healthy ready to eat.

*Please click here for our list of resources and science references.

We recommend Dr Laurie Marbas’ YouTube channel and podcast. Dr Marbas is part of Plantbasedtelehealth, which offers online consultations wherever you are in the world.
Interview with Dr Barbara Rolls

Dr Barbara Rolls’ Volumetrics

Fill up on delicious healthy veggies and you will lose weight. Add an oil-free dressing if desired, e.g. balsamic vinegar and a little salt.

Dr Barbara Rolls, American professor of nutritional sciences, discovered that each person tends to eat a similar amount of food (by weight or volume) in the course of a day. So by including more vegetables, fruit, potatoes and other whole plant foods into your diet, you can eat the same volume of food, feel just as full but get fewer calories. There is no need to count calories, but it’s helpful to familiarise yourself with the concept of calorie density for the various food groups.

Dr Rolls also noted that the more variety of foods within one meal, the more you (over)eat, while eating simple – and delicious! – dishes will help you lose weight and keep it off (see the 7 Habits video below).

Calories per lb. Potatoes (the most satiating food) are 350 calories per lb.
7 Habits to lose weight starts at 16mins

Eat More, Weigh Less

Microwave or oven-baked apples make a sweet and filling dessert

Far from being restrictive, a low-fat, whole-food vegan lifestyle allows you to eat more food, so you will not feel hungry and will gradually stop craving unhealthy meals and snacks. But avoid keeping junk, overly processed or trigger foods in your house/car/workplace – eating them “in moderation” is something most people simply can’t do. For more advice on this topic and overeating read The Pleasure Trap by Dr Doug Lisle and Dr Alan Goldhamer and watch the excellent video below.

RECIPES

Invest in good quality insulated flasks so you can eat & drink healthfully away from home – and save money!

Our recipes are super simple with few ingredients as we’d rather spend time with our (animal) friends & family and doing things we love to do. We say KISS: Keep It Simple & Sustainable! As you become more used to this way of cooking and eating, you will develop your own recipes and mix it up to create wonderfully tasty dishes.

It might surprise you how quickly you’ll learn to love a plant-based diet, especially if you’ve avoided eating vegetables before. The reason for this is that your taste buds renew every couple of weeks. To find out more read these excellent articles: How Often Do Your Taste Buds Change? & Don’t Like Plant-Based Foods? How to Reset your Taste Buds.

Finally, you’ll notice Cottontails’ Cookbook looks a little different from other recipe books as we’ve included links to helpful videos and articles about health and plant-based living. We are not health professionals and simply wish to offer some advice, if you have any questions or health concerns please consult your (plant-based) doctor/dietician.

Increase the veggies & fruit and decrease the fats for more weight loss

MAIN COURSES/SOUPS

Cottontails’ Cauliflower Rice & Tomato Soup

  • 1 Large cauliflower, riced with a box-grater or food processor (keep the leaves whole)
  • 2 medium sliced red or other onions
  • 10 whole garlic cloves (or as many as you like)
  • 1 tin of peeled plum tomatoes
  • Tomato paste to taste
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh basil or any other fresh/dried herb you like
  • 1 veggie stock cube to taste

Put all ingredients in a large (non-stick) pan, add water and cook with the lid on for about an hour, depending if you like your cauliflower firm or soft. Stir and add more water as needed during cooking.

Cottontails’ Courgette/Zucchini Soup

  • 4 large courgettes cut into chunks
  • 2 small-medium carrots cut into chunks
  • 2 medium red or other onions
  • 10 whole garlic cloves (or as many as you like)
  • 1 can of plum tomatoes
  • 1 veggie stock cube to taste

Put all ingredients in a pot, add water and cook for about 45mins. Then use a potato masher or blender to make the soup into bite-size pieces.

Are any oils healthy? And other questions answered by Dr Neal Barnard of non-profit pcrm.org
How being overweight/losing weight affect your metabolic rate

Lulu’s Lentil (and Tomato) Soup

  • 200g/1 cup red lentils
  • 2 medium red or other onions
  • 10 whole garlic cloves (or as many as you like)
  • 1 can of plum tomatoes (optional)
  • 1 veggie stock cube to taste
  • a couple of bay leaves

Put all ingredients in a pot, add water and cook until soft.

The calorie penalty for being overweight

Cottontails’ (Sweet)Pea & Broccoli Soup

Sweetpea
  • 2 medium heads of fresh broccoli (including the stalks) cut into pieces, or equal quantity of frozen broccoli
  • 2 medium sliced red or other onions
  • 10 whole garlic cloves (or as many as you like)
  • 1 small can of whole unsalted peas, or equal quantity of frozen peas
  • 1 veggie stock cube to taste

Put all ingredients in a pot, add water and cook until the stalks are tender.

Cottontails’ Aubergine/Eggplant & Lentil Soup

  • 2 medium aubergines, cut lengthwise into pieces or any shape you like
  • 3 small red/white onions
  • 12 garlic cloves to taste
  • 1 tin of plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • sprigs of basil, coriander or any fresh herb you like
  • 1 veggie stock cube to taste

Put everything in a non-stick pan, adding water as needed. Alternatively you may wish to sautée (without oil)/roast/grill the aubergines first in order to brown them, then add them to the other ingredients. Cook with the lid on for about 1/2 hour.

SALADS & SIDE DISHES

Cottontails’ Winter Salad

Simply steaming 2 or more veggies is a super quick and healthy way to make a warming winter salad

For a super-easy, filling salad in the colder months, simply microwave/roast 2 or more of your favourite fresh/frozen veggies, for example broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, spinach or green beans. Use a fat-free dressing if desired – we add salt and balsamic vinegar to the spinach and green beans, nothing to the other vegetables.

Enjoy with beans and/or a starch of your choice, for example microwaved butternut squash or other winter squash. wholegrain rice, (sweet) potatoes, etc. Delicious!

Skip to 17.05 mins for Dr Doug Lisle’s brilliant presentation Losing Weight without Losing your Mind

Cottontails’ Summer Salad

We eat a huge salad every day for lunch.

  • Half a large iceberg lettuce or other leaves cut into bite-size pieces
  • sliced plum or other tomatoes
  • finely cut shallots or onion
  • sliced cucumber
  • 2 finely grated medium carrots
  • 2 coarsely grated medium beetroot
  • selection of coarsely cut fresh herbs, e.g. basil, mint, coriander, parsley (Italian & curly) and thyme
  • fresh lemon juice

Serve with falafel and houmous, herby tofu, etc.

Listen to the full podcast here

Cottontails’ Herby Tofu

  • Half a block of (extra) firm tofu, cut into thin (about 7-8mm) slices
  • Sautée the tofu in a non-stick pan for a few minutes, turning once until golden-brown on both sides. No need to add water or oil (spray).
  • Add salt/garlic granules/dried herbs (mixed Italian herbs, rosemary, sage, thyme, etc.) to taste. You will find that the dried herbs and garlic granules taste a bit salty so take care not to add too much salt.

Serve with Cottontails’ big lunch salad (see above).

Healthy pizza! You can also use just potato for the base, or add roasted garlic to the mash.

Cottontails’ Beans in a Garlic & Tomato Sauce

This is another super-easy dish that you can assemble from pantry staples.

  • 1 can of unsalted red kidney beans or other beans of your choice, e.g. 3-bean mix
  • 1 can of plum tomatoes or other tomatoes, e.g. cherry or plain chopped tomatoes
  • 1 red/white onion or shallot, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • veggie stock (cube) to taste

Sautée the onions and garlic in a non-stick pan until golden brown, adding a little water as needed (there’s no need to use oil or oil spray). Add the beans, tomatoes and stock and cook until hot. Feel free to sprinkle with (dried) herbs or other oil-free condiments of your choice.

Skip to 2.15 mins for the start of this excellent interview

Cottontails’ Sautéed Mushrooms

Cottontails’ oil-free, sautéed mushrooms. Adding a small amount of Kallo’s mushroom stock cube (or a veggie stock cube) gives amazing flavour to plain-tasting mushrooms.
  • Shiitake or other mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 red/white onion or shallot, thinly sliced
  • 8 or more garlic cloves
  • mushroom stock cube (e.g. Kallo) or veggie stock cube to taste (a little goes a long way)
  • fresh or dried herbs, e.g. thyme, basil, parsley, dried Italian herbs mix

Place all the ingredients in a non-stick pan and cook on a medium heat until tender. The mushrooms and onions will release quite a bit of liquid; as it dries up, add a little water to deglaze the pan. We eat sautéed mushrooms with sautéed peas and courgettes, with potatoes or polenta.

Tip: Once you know this basic technique, you can add/sautée any ingredients of your choice, e.g. tomatoes, peppers, peas.

Dr Lisle recommends binge-eating counsellor Justina Froese’s helpful website and free newsletter.

Cottontails’ Sautéed Courgettes/Zucchini

  • 2 medium courgettes, sliced
  • 1 red/white onion or shallot, thinly sliced
  • 8 or more garlic cloves
  • veggie stock cube to taste
  • (optional) 1/2 can peeled tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • any fresh or dried herbs you like, we use fresh basil and dried Italian herb mix, but parsley, bay leaf, thyme, etc. all taste delicious

Place all the ingredients in a non-stick pan and cook on a medium heat until tender. From time to time, add a little water and stir.

Tip: You can sautée aubergines/eggplant (cut into slices or smaller pieces) in the same way. Aubergines have a mild taste so definitely add tomatoes, fresh basil and any other herbs/spices you like (mint, parsley, dried Italian herb mix, etc.).

Cottontails’ Beetroot Tops

Simply sautée in a non-stick pan the beetroot tops, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tablespoon of oil-free garlic paste and a sliced onion, adding water to prevent sticking. Utter deliciousness!

Tip: You can sautée collard greens, kale or any other veggie in this way – no need to add salt, oil or stock cubes.

Butternut Squash/Winter Squash/Sweet Potato

Cut the butternut squash into 4 pieces or the winter squash in half and scoop out the seeds. There’s no need to cut or poke the sweet potato with a knife. Cook in a microwave until tender; we prefer this to roasting in the oven as the latter caramelises and makes them overly sweet in our opinion. If you are trying to lose weight, the squashes taste very similar to sweet potatoes with approximately half the calories.

Eat simply! Spinach mash potatoes by Plant Fit Meg. For variety try potatoes + kale, cabbage, broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
We love Healthy Emmie’s excellent plant-based nutrition channel

Cottontails’ Chips/Fries

Cut any type of potatoes (with their skin) into chips and soak in cold or hot water for about 15 minutes. Rinse and pat dry on a kitchen towel. Alternatively microwave or pre-boil for a few minutes and pat dry.

Place in a preheated oven (200-240°C) and bake until golden brown. There’s no need to use oil (spray)! Sprinkle with (iodised) salt and/or dried rosemary. Best eaten immediately or store in the fridge without covering to keep them crispy.

You don’t need to buy an air fryer to make these chips, they’re crispier (but soft inside) in a regular oven.

Tip: try this cooking method with sweet potatoes, swede, butternut squash or other squashes.

Why it is better to eat/cook SOS-free, without added sugar, oil or salt, or keep SOS low.
Justina Froese is a health and wellness coach trained by Dr Doug Lisle. Click here to visit her YouTube channel.

FRUIT & DESSERTS

Cottontails’ “Fried” Bananas

Peel and cut each banana lengthwise and fry in a non-stick pan on both sides for a couple of minutes until golden brown. There’s no need to add oil (spray) or any other fat. Delicious on their own or on whole-grain seeded sourdough toast.

Can you lose weight while keeping/building up your muscles? Watch this video to find out.

Cottontails’ Watermelon & Melon Salad

Peel and cut a watermelon and one or more of your favourite melons (canteloupe, galia, honeydew) for a delicious hydrating fruit salad. Great for breakfast or as a snack, eat in the sunshine!

Watermelon also mixes well with kiwi fruit, strawberries, blackberries, mulberries or any other fruit of your choice.

Can you tell watermelon is our favourite fruit? (And bunnies love it too!) You can use biscuit cutters to create fun shapes or make ice lollies.

Cottontails’ Breakfast Berries

  • 1 pack of frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries)
  • 1 pack of frozen strawberries
  • (optional) Oatly plain or Greek-style yoghurt

Mix the 2 packs of berries the evening before and leave them out of the fridge so they’ll be half-thawed by the morning. Add a couple of tablespoonfuls of Oatly yoghurt if desired and enjoy!

Remember to score the chestnuts before roasting them

Roast Chestnuts

Carefully score the chestnuts on a chopping board with a sharp knife. This is essential to stop them exploding – be warned! Place the chestnuts flat on a (non-stick) pan (you don’t need to buy special chestnut pans with holes in the bottom). Roast them on the hob (medium-high flame) for 10-15 minutes on each side, depending on the size of the chestnuts.

You can also roast chestnuts in the oven.

Nonna Cinzia’s Boiled Chestnuts

Our beloved Italian grandma Cinzia used to make these on Sunday afternoons. Place the chestnuts in a pot and cover with water (there’s no need to score them first). Once the water boils, simmer on a low heat for about 45 minutes or until tender. To eat, cut or gently squeeze open, you can also scoop them out with a teaspoon.

Get slim and healthy!

Aubergine/Eggplant (and Red Pepper) Dip/Sauce

This tastes great either hot or cold. Eat with pasta, potatoes, tofu, salad, etc.

  • 2 aubergines/eggplants, cut into pieces
  • 1/2-1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato concentrate to taste (optional)
  • 6 garlic cloves to taste, finely chopped
  • half an onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs of fresh basil
  • 1 red or other pepper, cut into pieces (optional)

Sautée without oil in a non-stick pan on a medium heat, adding a little water if needed. Cook until tender.

Sandwich Fillings & Toast Toppers

We’re vegan like bunnies
  • houmous & cucumber
  • houmous & grated carrot
  • falafel (any variety, e.g. chickpea, bean, spinach), lettuce, onion & tomato
  • refried beans, lettuce, onion & tomato
  • peanut butter (1 flat tbsp = 1 portion)
  • banana
  • avocado (1/4 medium avocado or 2 level tbsp = 1 portion)
  • vegan chocolate spread (e.g. Vego)
  • sautéed aubergine (see above for recipe) & sundried tomatoes/tomato pesto
  • Sacla chargrilled aubergine pesto or other pesto
  • healthy homemade bean burger or other vegan patty, lettuce, onion & tomato

We eat sourdough or whole wheat (sourdough) seeded bread.

Vegan Replacements in Baking & Cooking

Read these helpful articles:

NEED TO KNOW

  • Plant-based & vegan We use “plant-based” in the sense of plant-exclusive or vegan, and we often abbreviate it to “plant”, as in “a whole-food plant meal”. You may also see the acronym WFPB – whole-food plant-based. A plant-based diet consists of all minimally processed fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices and excludes all animal foods. But not all vegans eat a plant-based diet (see below). In addition a vegan lifestyle tries to avoid all animal products (e.g. in clothing, beauty) or anything involving animal cruelty and exploitation.
Becoming a slim, healthy vegan
Vegans don’t always eat a healthy, plant-based diet – choose natural whole-foods whenever possible, they’re cheaper too!
  • Slim, healthy vegans v junk food, overweight vegans Just because something is vegan it does not mean it is healthy or slimming. Vegan processed foods (fake meat/cheese, ready meals, take-aways/restaurant meals) are OK occasionally and may help transitioning to a whole-food plant-based diet. But they usually have a lot of fats, sugar and salt, lead to overeating/weight gain and displace healthier choices. We love our simple whole-plant meals so much, that eating out or buying convenience food just doesn’t appeal anymore. You can prepare a delicious meal in minutes with a little practice, e.g. microwave sweet potato, veggies & tinned beans – kinder to your waistline and your pocket. And fruit is sweeter and more scrumptious than any fatty and sugary vegan dessert.
Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy – fat free & low calorie
  • Fat-shaming & fit-shaming It is ignorant and unkind to make unpleasant comments about other people’s body/weight/size. Many people who wouldn’t dream of criticising those who are overweight or obese, somehow feel entitled to say that someone “is too skinny/has an eating disorder, etc.”. When you adopt a whole-food plant lifestyle, you will probably lose quite a bit of weight quickly and effortlessly, which might invite this kind of comments (usually motivated by jealousy). A good response is to say, “This seems to work for me” or “My doctor says I’m fine”. In some cases you might have to drop “friends” who continue to say these things or try to derail you with unhealthy foods. Join a class or group, volunteer, talk to people when you go for your daily walk and make new friends!
  • Keep it friendly & light-hearted Please resist the urge to lecture, however enthusiastic you feel about your new vegan lifestyle. Most people are probably not as well-informed about the benefits of a whole-plant food diet and may not eat as healthily as you. So they may insist that you have some fattening/junk food as it makes them feel better about themselves (the way to deal with this is to refuse politely, saying that this food does not agree with you, and enjoy your healthy meal). It’s a good idea not to draw attention to your vegan “diet” as this will encourage endless questions about every bite you eat. If someone is genuinely interested in becoming vegan, say that you are still figuring it out and refer them to this page or our list of resources. Share your delicious plant-based dishes with family and friends and speak about veganism with a light touch. They’ll soon notice how much healthier (and slimmer) you look and when they’re ready, they might become vegan too.
Mushrooms, peppers, onion, garlic, basil, tomato paste & a mushroom stock cube made this delicious meal, nutrient rich but low in calories. We served it with mashed potatoes and a big salad.
  • Lose weight with a full plate You don’t need to limit your portions or skip meals on a whole-food plant lifestyle. Simply eat to the left of the red line until comfortably full, as shown in the calorie density chart below. Skipping meals leads to hunger, craving unhealthy foods and overeating at the next meal. Get into the habit of taking food with you to work or when you go out for more than a few hours. It could be something simple like a potato/rice salad, a houmous, lettuce & cucumber sandwich or one or two pieces of fruit.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Plant Fit Meg
  • Eat more greens! For more weight loss, make non-starchy vegetables – cooked or raw – half or more of every meal and eat those first. You can even have veggies for breakfast like a lot of people do in China, Japan and other countries. For example you can mix grated carrot and/or courgette with your breakfast oats, or eat soup, which is very comforting in the winter months.
  • Olive and coconut oil are pure fat and, contrary to popular belief, not health-promoting. The Mediterranean diet is healthier than a typical western diet because it includes a lot of fruit and veggies, pasta and beans, despite (not because of) the olive oil.
It’s easy! Sautée without oil any combination of veggies and herbs, e.g. leeks, onion, garlic, carrots and parsnips. Add a little stock cube to taste, or liquid stock to make into a soup.
  • Smart vegans mostly buy whole-plant foods and keep their environment clean of overly processed, unhealthy junk food. They don’t run out of basics like tinned veggies/tomatoes/beans, frozen veggies and berries, grains (quinoa, couscous, brown rice), potatoes, oats, etc. Once or twice a week they batch cook and meal prep so they always have something healthy and delicious ready to eat. Smart vegans like you learn to put a meal together quickly when they’re in a hurry, e.g. tinned spinach, chickpeas & potatoes; herby tofu & salad (see recipe above); microwave broccoli, rice & carrots; wholemeal pasta with peas & mushrooms; winter squash, steamed red cabbage & green beans. Smart vegans always have some great leftovers – they know things taste even better the next day.
  • Plant-Based Health Professionals UK have produced an excellent factsheet with tips for weight loss/maintenance on a whole-food vegan diet, link here.
  • Chef AJ has made 4 amazing videos to help you lose weight and get healthy, they’re full of wisdom and and great tips: 1, 2, 3 & 4.

COMING SOON

Health Features…

  • Love vegan™
  • Vegan living
  • Rabbit food
  • Food prep/meal prep
  • Are you afraid of carbs?
  • Leptin, the appetite-controlling hormone
  • How to optimise your diet to boost your metabolism (no exercise needed!): eat a whole-food plant diet, eat at regular times, don’t skip breakfast, eat 2-3 meals a day instead of grazing all day long, eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper (or skip dinner). Dr Hana Kahleova of pcrm.org explains this (and backs it with science) in an excellent video which we’ll be linking to as soon as it’s publicly available. Her presentation was part of The truth about weight loss summit.
  • What if the rest of your family/household are not vegan?
  • Watch this excellent video about the social and cultural aspects of food that sabotage your healthy eating
  • Is stress the real reason why we overeat? Plant-based evolutionary psychologist Dr Doug Lisle answers this and other questions in this excellent video
  • Food and skin A very low-fat, low-sugar whole-plant food diet can clear your skin without the need for antibiotics, listen to the podcast and watch the video to find out more.
  • Reversing heart disease/type 2 diabetes on a whole-food plant-based diet
  • Food & PMS/menopause
  • Osteoporosis and the benefits of a whole-food plant diet
  • Watch this video about preventing osteoporosis with weight-bearing exercises and the importance of a positive attitude to overcome illness
  • Food & arthritis
  • 5 ways going vegan can boost a man’s love life
  • Food & fertility
  • Eating out/away from home
  • 10 reasons to start eating oats
  • 10-day challenge: try the whole-plant food lifestyle for just 10 days!
  • Batch cook and build-a-meal with coach Ami of Plantstrong
  • (Online) plant-based nutrition courses: Winchester University (UK); T Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Cornell University and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (US).
Make nice cream with an ordinary food processor – no need to buy an expensive one! You can even use a cheap immersion blender in a tall mixing jug, just let the bananas thaw a bit, then put the nice cream back in the freezer to firm up.

... & More Recipes

Veganise this walnut maamoul recipe by replacing butter with a vegan alternative
Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
This is brilliantly insightful and hopeful, well worth listening to despite a little bit of echo at the start