Spinach pasta with basil and feta.
Lisa M Baragiola

Plant-Based Power

Plants are Power

Are you familiar with the trend happening in the food industry these days around “plant-based” foods? If you’re a tried-and-true meat eater, this may sound like an out of this world concept. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. It can be as simple as starting with one meatless meal a week or adding powerful plant-based foods into your current eating habits. Plant-based isn’t just about tofu, it includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans.

Fruits and Vegetables

I hope you’ve had a chance to read my previous blogs about powerhouse vegetables and fruit. Consider filling half of your dinner plate with a variety of colorful vegetables and fruit. Summertime is garden season in Missouri and fresh vegetables and fruit are plentiful and more flavorful.

Nuts and Seeds

I’m nuts about nuts and seeds. Many are a source of healthy fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein. I love ground flax meal added to yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal. Try adding almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds to salads, baked goods and more.


Often people fear fat in their food, but it is an essential part of our diets. Fat is involved in many parts of digestion and nutrition and adds flavor to food. Cooking oils are a source of dietary fat. Don’t worry, many oils you may already use or have in your pantry are health promoting and perfect for everyday use. Do you love avocado toast or guacamole? Try avocadoes in its oil form. Avocado oil is composed primarily of oleic acid, an Omega-9 monounsaturated fatty acid. Olive oil contains the most oleic acid and both oils may provide benefits for heart health.

Whole Grains

For most whole grain products, you’ll see the words “whole” or “whole grain” first on the ingredient list. You may already be incorporating whole grains into your eating plan. Consider oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain breads and cereal and one of my favorites, popcorn.

Legumes and Beans

Beans and legumes contain fiber, protein, healthy nutrients, and minerals. They may help reduce cholesterol and increase healthy gut bacteria. A few of my favorites are chickpeas, black beans, and lentils. All of which make excellent additions to hummus, soups, burgers, tacos, and wraps.

Did this information surprise you? Did you learn you’re already on track for consuming more plant-based food? If so, keep up the momentum and share the good news with others. Be more daring and try new market products. To start try this tasty recipe Roasted Beet Hummus with Pine Nut Tabbouleh.

Roasted Beet Hummus with Pine Nut Tabbouleh

Ken Foland, Executive Chef, Events by FSC
Flavorful Beet Hummus
Prep Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Appetizer
Servings 4


Roasted Beet Hummus

  • 2 each medium red beets, with tops
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp chickpea liquid
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 1 each lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

Pine Nut Tabbouleh

  • 1/8 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 each lemon, zested and juiced


Roasted Beet Hummus

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Remove the greens from the beets and reserve for later. Wash the beets thoroughly.
  • Rub beets with vegetable oil and roast in oven 30-45 minutes, or until tender.
  • Allow to cool slightly and remove the skin. Chop into large pieces.
  • Place roasted beets, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and kosher salt in a blender.
  • Puree while slowly adding chickpea liquid until smooth.

Pine Nut Tabbouleh

  • Toast pine nuts in a saute pan until golden brown. Remove from heat and place in a small bowl.
  • Pick large stems from the parsley and rough chop.
  • Add chopped parsley to the pine nuts along with the lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.


Sprinkle pine nut tabbouleh on top of hummus.
Serve with warm pita bread, crackers or fresh cut vegetables. 

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