VEGGIE VIBES: A Local Guide to Boosting Your Plant-Based Eating

In a world that’s increasingly aware of the impact of our dietary choices on the planet, society and health, the trend toward plant-based eating is on the rise. Whether you’re already a seasoned vegetarian or a curious carnivore, we have some creative ways for you to get more plants on your plate.

After writing a university paper on animal rights, I adopted a strictly vegetarian diet. I maintained this for decades, despite it being a less popular lifestyle back in the early 90s. When I was pregnant with our first child, however, I succumbed to some pretty hard-core cravings for red meat until our son was born. My husband said watching me aggressively carve into a blood-rare steak was, “somewhat alarming.” Well, the pregnant body wants what the pregnant body wants. Funnily enough, that baby grew up to be a plant-based, animal activist.

For the most part, my family would be considered, “flexitarian.” We eat mainly vegetarian meals, but we occasionally indulge in chicken, eggs and dairy. This can be a great approach for easing into a more plant-centric lifestyle. 

Regardless of your motivation, whether you opt for a fully plant-based diet or simply aim to incorporate more plants into your meals, here are some simple ways to increase your plant intake.

Meatless Mondays: Designate Mondays as the day to experiment with a new vegetarian or vegan recipe. It’s a fun way to start your week on a fresh and tasty plant-based note.

Culinary World Tour: Explore the world of global cuisines, focusing on vegetarian dishes from different cultures. From spicy Indian curries to savoury Italian pasta dishes, you’ll discover so many plant-based meals to add to your meal rotation.

DIY Veggie Garden: If you have some outdoor space, try growing your veggies. There’s nothing more satisfying than harvesting your own produce to use in a delicious meal.

Plant-Based Potlucks: Host a plant-based potluck with friends and family. Everyone can bring a dish, showcasing the diversity of plant-based eating. This is a fantastic way to exchange recipes and broaden your culinary repertoire. 

Some of my family’s veggie go-tos include:

Veggie-Packed Burritos
Swap out the meat for beans, quinoa, or lentils, and load up on colourful veggies like bell peppers, onions and grated carrots. Slather on some guacamole and salsa and wrap it all up in a whole grain tortilla.

Mushroom Main
Try making a mushroom “burger” by marinating portobello mushrooms in a balsamic glaze and grilling to perfection. Or, chop and use as a hearty addition to pasta or stir-fries.

Taco Bout Delish Lentil and walnut taco “meat” is versatile, tasty and easy to make. This is a staple in our meal rotation. 

High-fives for Stir-fries
Mix and match your favourite vegetables like broccoli, carrots, snow peas and bell peppers. Add tofu or tempeh and nuts like toasted almonds and cashews for a protein boost. Toss in a flavourful sauce made with soy sauce, ginger and garlic, and serve over brown rice or noodles and bam! Dinner is served. 

Don’t feel like cooking? We are blessed with an abundance of vegetarian-forward restaurants and boutique grocery stores in our community. 

Fresh Kitchen + Juice Bar ( in downtown Oakville boasts an extensive menu of “food that loves you back.” Pop in for a freshly squeezed juice made to order. Or try one of their tasty vegan bowls or a nine-layer burrito.

Community Restaurant ( in Kerr Village is “where good vibes and awesome plant-based food come together.” We’re fans of the Community Nachos. 

Bliss Kitchen ( in Waterdown is a vegan eatery that “creates delicious, soul-nourishing food, handcrafted daily in house, from scratch.” Try the shawarma taco, kimchi fries or stuffed jalapenos. 

The journey to more plant-based eating is about exploration and enjoyment. Experiment with different ingredients, chat with local market vendors, get creative in the kitchen and don’t be afraid to think outside the salad bowl. 

Visit one of these local markets for a helping of plant-based info and creative inspo!

Nature’s Emporium
2180 Itabashi Way, Burlington
210 North Service Road West, Oakville

The Simple Kitchen
137 Lakeshore Road East, Oakville

Organic Garage
579 Kerr Street, Oakville

Revel Foods (Vegan Market)
503 Pinegrove Road, Oakville

Goodness Me
2300 Fairview Street, Burlington

Farmer Jack’s 
676 Appleby Line, Burlington

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