5 Tips For Becoming A Plant-Based Eater

5 Tips For Becoming A Plant-Based Eater

We’re excited to introduce a new collaborator on LaurenConrad.com: Kate Ramos of ¡Hola! Jalapeno. Kate shares fresh and delicious Mexican-inspired flavors on her blog, and will soon have a new cookbook, Plant-Based Mexican coming this fall. Today, she’ll be sharing 5 tips for becoming a plant-based eater, as well as a scrumptious new recipe, a Black Bean Tostada Salad with Hatch-Chile Avocado Dressing, for you to try. Meet Kate, everyone…

Whether it’s for health reasons, going easier on the planet, or simply for flavor’s sake, there are so many reasons we are switching to a more plant-based diet these days. However, sometimes the idea is way easier than the execution.

Going plant-based can mean many things to many people. Maybe you’d like to incorporate one meatless meal into your weekly routine, or maybe you’d like to cut out all animal products entirely. Whatever your goal, these 5 tips will help make small but powerful changes in your health.

1. Focus On 5 a Day

Life is always easier when you focus on what you CAN have instead of what you can’t. Rather than thinking about all the meat you aren’t eating, turn to fruits and vegetables when hunger strikes. If you focus on getting 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day, you start finding ways to include them in your meals and snacks. To help, have snackable veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, and radishes prepped and ready to go in the fridge so when you feel like snacking, they are there waiting for you. Or go the extra mile and prep a plant-based snack or dip that you can quickly grab like this Vegan Ceviche with Avocado and Lime.

2. Change the Way You Think About Meat

When my husband and I were first dating, a romantic dinner would often include a New York strip—for each of us! Now our family rarely eats steak and when we do, we share one between the four of us. Dinners like this Mexican Summer Cobb Salad helped us start to think about meat as the condiment of our meal, instead of the focus. That shifted our thinking to fill up our plates with veggies and maybe a couple slices of meat to compliment them, rather than the other way around.

3. Don’t Just Eliminate the Meat—Replace It

If your typical dinner looks like chicken, rice, and a vegetable {or some variety of that theme}, don’t just take out the chicken and expect to feel satisfied. Replace it with something that is just as satisfying. Sweet potatoes, tofu, beans, or mushrooms are all excellent choices. A perfect example would be this Vegan Pozole Verde where the traditional pork or chicken is replaced with creamy pinto beans.

4. Stock Your Pantry {And Fridge}

What’s the saying? If you fail to make a plan, plan to fail. Set yourself up for success by stocking your kitchen with easy-to-prepare plant-based foods that you can turn to when dinner time rolls around. Shelf-stable essentials like canned beans, nuts and nut butters, pasta, whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, and sweet potatoes should always be in your pantry. Long-lasting fresh items like tofu, eggs, plant-based milk, and hearty vegetables like carrots, celery, jicama, and even bagged salads should always live in your fridge to give you plenty of options and prevent falling back on old habits.

5. Make Your Plant-Based Meals MORE!

When you’re creating plant-based meals, think about satisfying all the senses. Use the most colorful vegetables and fruits you can find, add lots of texture (crunchy nuts, creamy beans, silky tofu), and incorporate more spices than you might normally use. This Black Bean Tostada Salad is the perfect example of a plant-based meal that’s a feast for the senses. It has crunchy tostada shells, colorful veggies, and a flavor-packed Hatch chile dressing made extra creamy with ripe avocado.

Ready to try a delicious plant-based meal? Keep reading for the recipe…

Black Bean Tostada Salad With Hatch Chile-Avocado Dressing

Makes: 4 servings


For the Dressing:

  • ½ ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
  • 1 (7-ounce) can roasted Hatch green chiles, drained
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • ¾ cup water
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups thinly sliced kale
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 1 Romaine heart, washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5-6 baked tostadas, broken into bite-sized pieces
  • 2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
  • ¼ cup roasted, salted pepitas

5 Tips For Becoming A Plant-Based Eater


1. Make the dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Massage the kale. In a large bowl, combine the kale and cabbage and drizzle with ⅓ cup of the dressing. Rub dressing into kale until it is slightly wilted, about 1 minute.

3. Toss the salad. Add Romaine, tomatoes, black beans, tostadas, radishes, cilantro, and red onion to the large bowl. Drizzle with another ¼ cup of dressing and toss to combine.

4. Serve. Transfer to a platter or individual plates and top with avocado and pepitas. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve with remaining dressing at the table.

5 Tips For Becoming A Plant-Based Eater

What do you think of Kate’s plant-based tips and tostada salad?

Let us know in the comments below, and to see more of Kate’s work, here to here Instagram here and website here. To pre-order her cookbook coming this fall, click here.

Affiliate links may have been used in this post.