• Su-Nui Escobar, MS, RDN

Beginners guide to a plant based diet

Updated: Jul 31

By Amanda Johnson

When transitioning to a plant based diet, it is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone is going to go about it at their own pace. Adapting a plant based diet doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing ordeal. Start by replacing one animal product with a plant based alternative. Just say you eat spaghetti with a meat sauce, try omitting the meat and replacing it with cooked lentils, chopped mushrooms, broccoli, and bell peppers. The cooked lentils are saitiating and will provide protein. The mushrooms will give the sauce a meaty texture, and the broccoli and bell peppers will make the dish a little heartier while adding three new vegetables to the dish.

Focus on eating fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds. If food is paired correctly, a plant based diet can contain all of the nutrients your body needs, with the exception of B12. B12 either needs to be supplemented or it is found in nutritional yeast.

Nutrients that are of critical concern in a strict plant based diet are; protein, calcium, iron, and zinc. Protein sources include; tempeh, peanuts, tofu, lentils, quinoa, and chickpeas. Calcium sources include; dark leafy greens, calcium fortified soy milk, and tofu. Good sources of plant based iron include spinach, lentils, chickpeas, and quinoa. Zinc is found in beans, chickpeas, lentils, walnuts, and quinoa.

Vegan Ramen

This ramen recipe is my attempt at recreating my favorite ramen from a restaurant. It is savory, hearty, and a good plant based substitute for a meat version of ramen. Tofu or shelled edamames work well for a healthy plant based protein source.



-3 Tablespoon olive oil

-3 cloves of garlic

-1 tsp red chili flakes

- Pepper to taste

-6 cups water

-3 vegetable bouillon


-1 Tbs soy sauce


-Ramen noodles


-Extra firm tofu

-Bamboo shoots

-Baby bok choy

-Green onions

-Seaweed flakes (optional)

Preparation Method

  1. Broth: In a Dutch oven or large pot add olive oil. When the oil is hot add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Saute until the garlic is fragrant. Add water and bouillon cubes. Crush the bouillon cubes with a wooden spoon and stir the broth. Add soy sauce. Bring broth to boil and reduce to simmer, cover and let simmer for 30 mins or more (the longer the better).

  2. For the sauteed mushrooms: rinse and slice the mushrooms. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a saute pan and saute the mushrooms until tender (about 7 mins). Season with soy sauce and black pepper.

  3. For the tofu: drain and cube the tofu to the size of your choice. Add the tofu directly into the broth while the broth simmers.

  4. For the noodles: cook according to package directions.

  5. For the toppings: rinse bamboo shoots, baby bok choy, and rinse and slice green onions.

  6. Add the broth to ramen noodles and then add toppings. Serve immediately.


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