02/26/2013 05:22 pm ET Updated Apr 28, 2013

Plant-Based Meals: Everyone Loves a Quickie

The most common question I get about healthy plant-based cooking is this: "Do you have some really quick recipes?" Everyone loves a quickie for different reasons, but when it comes to food prep, time and work are the biggest challenges for most people...and a close second is that many just don't know how to cook, because they have never learned. They need a few easy recipes that will not overwhelm them -- before they even start. 

Over the past couple of months, I've been looking hard to find the best tasting, easiest to prepare recipes for my nephew, now that he is finding his Rheumatoid arthritis pain to be greatly relieved by eating whole plant-based foods. I've gone through my own recipes, and those of my friends, to find some truly healthy recipes that can be easily prepared by those with limited cooking exprience. Here are a few tried and true "quickies" anyone can easily enjoy. 

This Chickpea Salad recipe has always been a hands down favorite in the easy category. It can be made in only 10 minutes when using canned chickpeas, as this recipe recommends. If you buy good quality bread without sugar or corn syrup added, all the better for your health. 

If you use canned beans a lot, you may want to buy the chickpeas in a BPA-free can. I recommend the veganaise without sugar, and I like the Follow Your Heart brand.

When you have a little more time and inclination to learn how to cook beans from scratch, it will add even more taste to your recipes. Dried beans are the most economical way to go, so if you want to stretch your dollars, give this a try!

Secondly, I chose burritos because everyone loves them, and once you get the hang of wrapping a bean and rice burrito, it's as easy as making a sandwich.

Beloved Burritos!

This recipe is perfect to make on a weekend so that you can make enough to last the week. Wrap them individually and freeze to pull out for a pre-made quick lunch (or dinner).

1 can black beans, drained & warmed (I use lower sodium brands.)
1 cup brown rice, uncooked (Cook it per instructions on package. Quick brands are also OK, like Uncle Ben's Minute Brown Rice.)
4 large leafs of romaine lettuce, sliced thinly
1 jar tomato salsa 
1 package of 8 whole grain tortillas, (I prefer Maria & Ricardo's brand or a brand without saturated and trans fats.)

For wheat- and gluten-free tortilla review.  

Take tortillas out of the package and put onto a flat surface, like a cutting board or counter top.
Spoon on a layer of each of the following nutritious ingredients: brown rice, black beans, shredded lettuce, green chilies and spoon on some salsa. Roll up the tortilla while carefully turning in the sides. Don't get discouraged if the first few are messy. After you do a few, you'll get the hang of it!
If you want to serve immediately, heat oven to 375 degrees and put one or several in a casserole dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Or for later, wrap in foil and freeze to use as needed.

Serves 8

Rice and beans (especially when you spice them up like these below) are just plain easy and delicious! 

Crazy Dick's Red Beans & Rice
3 cups uncooked organic brown Basmati rice
5 cups of spring or filtered water
2-3 teaspoons organic olive oil
1 large organic Vidalia (or other) sweet onion, chopped
Crazy Dick's Smokey Cajun Seasoning (or non-smokey)
2-3 cloves organic garlic, minced
4 cans organic kidney (red) beans (no salt added)
See how to cook here.(link)
1 12-ounce package Field Roast Apple Sage Veggie Sausage (if you are wheat-& gluten-free, use 1 8-ounce package of tempeh, made with soybeans)
Get the rest of the recipe here.

Do you have any quick and healthy plant-based recipes to share? Please help me find more of the quick ones, so that I can teach my nephew! I'd love it if you would comment directly onto my Huffington Post comments section below. Thank you!

Interested in learning how to move towards a healthy plant-based way of eating? My 8-week "Life In Balance" teleseminar will be starting soon! Why not join the many others who are making this life-saving choice!

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