LEAH ITSINES: '3 of my favourite hearty plant-based winter dinners.'


When it gets super cold during autumn and winter, I love to make a hearty meal packed with nutritious veg to keep warm and cosy.

Here are three of my favourite warm plant-based recipes for you to try that are full of flavour, super easy to cook at home and so delicious the whole family will love them.

Some fruit-infused water recipes to wash down your delicious dinner. Post continues below.

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These recipes use a variety of healthy yummy veg such as capsicums and cauliflower, with protein-packed chickpeas and lentils that will keep you feeling full, alongside your pantry staples such as tomato paste, olive oil, mustard and red wine vinegar.

Happy cooking!

1. Quinoa Stuffed Capsicums.

hearty plant-based dinners
Quinoa Stuffed Vegetables. Image: Supplied.

Serves: 1

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes


  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded and diced
  • Handful of parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup canned brown lentils, drained
  • 1-2 small red capsicums
  • 3 tablespoons tomato passata
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil spray
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 1⁄2 small zucchini, grated and excess water squeezed out
  • 1⁄2 small eggplant, diced finely
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. Cook quinoa according to packet instructions, but remove from heat 2 minutes earlier than the cook time. Drain any excess water.
  3. In a small pan, heat olive oil over a medium–high heat. Add zucchini, eggplant, garlic, tomato paste, chilli, parsley and cook for 10 minutes until vegetables have completely softened. Add lentils and heat through.
  4. Slice the top off the capsicums (but keep them!) and remove the membrane and seeds from the inside.
  5. Add cooked quinoa to lentil mixture and stir through. Add tomato passata and water. Mix well and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the capsicums and replace the lid, using a toothpick to close them and ensure no mixture escapes.
  7. Place the capsicums into a baking dish and spray with olive oil.
  8. Cook for 25-35 minutes until capsicums have softened. Then serve and enjoy!

2. Plant-Based Dahl.

hearty plant-based dinners
Plant-Based Dahl. Image: Supplied

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes


  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • 1⁄2 small brown onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 teaspoons Madras curry paste
  • 1⁄2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1⁄2 cup basmati rice, cooked (30g uncooked)
  • 1⁄4 cup dried red lentils, rinsed
  • 1⁄4 cup coconut milk, canned
  • 1⁄2 - 3⁄4 cup water
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1⁄4 cup coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Heat olive oil in a small deep saucepan over a medium–high heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 2–3 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add curry paste and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add chickpeas and lentils and stir to combine.
  5. Add coconut milk and water to pan and stir.
  6. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20–30 minutes until lentils are tender.
  7. Stir in baby spinach, coriander leaves, lemon juice and heat until leaves have just wilted.
  8. Serve with rice!

3.Warm Mustard Vegetable Bowl.

hearty plant-based dinners
Warm Mustard Vegetable Bowl

Serves: 2

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1⁄2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 200g assorted vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots)
  • 1 400g can chickpeas
  • 2-3 kale leaves, shredded
  • 1 tsp seeds of your choice

Dressing for vegetables:

  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water or olive oil to thin if needed


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add vegetables. In a small mixing bowl add all ingredients under “dressing for vegetables” section and mix well. Pour over vegetables and ensure all are coated.
  3. Place into a lined oven baking tray and bake for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the chickpeas into the pan and mix well. With 5 minutes to go, add the kale.
  4. Serve vegetable tray with quinoa and top with seeds.

Which plant-based dinner will you be making first? Let us know in the comments.

These recipes originally appeared in Leah Itsines BARE Vegetarian Guide and Leah's Plant Based Exploration Recipe E-Book with Maille Mustard and have been republished here with full permission. For more from Leah, follow her on Instagram.

Feature image: Supplied.