Easy Oil-Free Recipes: Essentials for Beginners



Oil-free cooking is probably new to you.  It was definitely new to me when I started my plant-based diet.  Long before I was ready to give up eggs and chicken breast, I gave up oil.  Within months, I had lost 20 pounds, not even trying.  I ditched the oil…and found my skinny jeans.

Oil is “delicious” because it is fat.  Our primal instincts tell us it is “good” in the same way they tell us to eat more sugar and other calorie-dense foods.

However, it really doesn’t do much to add flavor to a dish.  You can get naturally fat-free flavor from spices, herbs, vinegars, and mustards.  You can use different oil-free cooking techniques like roasting, grilling, and steam-sauté to create delicious, interesting recipes that are packed with flavor and nutrition, while staying low in empty calories.

Don’t be scared, I’m here to help.  

Here are some Easy Oil-Free Recipes to get you started.  These are essential…a must-have for beginners and plant-based enthusiasts.  


Easy Oil-Free Garlic Greens

This easy, oil-free starts by infusing water with garlic and red chili flake. Dark greens like chard, kale, and spinach then sauté for a simple plant-based recipe that is full of delicious Italian flavor.  

Garlic Greens with Red Chili Flake – Kale, Chard, Spinach Oil-Free Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Italian, Easy, Vegan Recipe

Quick Chinese Eggplant Stir-Fry

Long, slender Chinese eggplant cooks fast for this easy weeknight dinner.  Authentic Chinese flavor comes from ginger, garlic, and a kick from red chili.  If you crave bold Asian flavors, this gluten-free, oil-free vegan dinner is for you.  Serve with Oil-Free Quinoa Fried “Nice”5-Minute Adzuki Bean Salad with Oil-Free Asian Peanut Dressing, or enjoy over Black Forbidden Rice.

 Chinese Eggplant Stir-Fry: Healthy, Fat-Free, Oil-Free Steam Saute Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Asian Recipe

Chinese Eggplant Stir-Fry: Healthy, Fat-Free, Oil-Free Steam Saute Plant-Based, Gluten-Free Asian Recipe

Smoky Sweet Potato Oil-Free Breakfast Hash

This healthy, oil-free hash combines smoky flavor with Sweet Potatoes for a flavorful, plant-based start to your day.  Gluten-free and vegan, this suits any diet.  Use as a filling for corn tortilla breakfast wrap or serve as vegetarian side at Sunday brunch.

Smoky Sweet Potato Oil-Free Breakfast Hash – Healthy, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Recipe

Ultimate Vegan Portobello Mushroom Burgers

This is the ULTIMATE vegetarian burger recipe for your summer grilling: Hearty Portobello Mushrooms soak in an oil-free Dijon mustard marinade, with roasted peppers, grilled onions, and a spicy arugula kick. Fat-free, healthy, and satisfying: your plant-based summer dinner is now complete.

Ultimate Portobello Mushroom Burger – Healthy, Plant-Based, Vegan, Vegetarian, Grilled, Oil-Free, Hearty Recipe

Italian Three Bean Salad

Red kidney beans, garbanzos, and fresh green beans come together with an easy, fat-free Sherry dressing in this classic Italian salad. This makes a great dish for entertaining or serve with baked potatoes for a quick, healthy weeknight dinner. Bright flavor meets gluten-free, vegan nutrition.

Italian Three Bean
Italian Three Bean Salad -Healthy, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Plant-Based, Vegan Recipe

Lemon Tahini Dressing – 5 Ingredient Recipe

This creamy, oil-free, nut-free dressing pairs the bright flavor of fresh lemon with the roasted richness of tahini.  Use it flavor on a 5-Minute Broccoli Bowl, use as a dip for Rainbow Veggie Nori Rolls, drizzle on Wild Rice Pilaf.  This healthy recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and easy to make.

5 Minute Lemon Tahini Potato Bowl – Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Quick, Easy, Microwave, Vegan, Dinner for One Recipe

Grilled Asparagus Kalamata Olive Meyer Lemon Salad

Grilled asparagus is a quick and easy healthy vegetable side dish.  This oil-free recipe is low-fat, with delicious flavor from salty kalamata olives and a bright Meyer lemon.  Enjoy this plant-based vegetarian recipe from the first Spring stalks of asparagus until the summer season runs out.

Grilled Asparagus Kalamata Olive Meyer Lemon – Healthy, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Easy Summer Side Dish Recipe

Oil-Free Balsamic Dressing

Here is an easy, quick oil-free recipe for Balsamic dressing. Nutritional yeast and mustard help create healthy, vegan creaminess.  Use this simple recipe on a plant-based Arugula garden salad, the Ultimate Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers, or Roasted Bell Peppers.

Arugula Salad with Oil-Free Balsamic Dressing – Easy, Quick, Healthy, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipe

Italian Herb Roasted Oil-Free Red Potato Wedges

This basic recipe for oil-free Italian roasted red potato wedges is a must-have for healthy eating.  What’s the trick to making the herbs stick? Place them on the pan first.  Make a batch of these on the weekend and enjoy with Chickpea Frittata for breakfast or as a side for Southwestern Black Bean Burgers.

Italian Herb Roasted Oil-Free Red Potato Wedges – Essential, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free, Easy, Simple Vegan Recipe

10-Minute Roman Chickpea “Tu-No” Salad

Healthy chickpeas replace tuna in this easy vegan recipe.  A quick, oil-free dressing is made from tahini, Dijon mustard, and capers.  Mediterranean “Roman” flavor comes from a colorful mix of sun-dried tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, and more.  This plant-based, gluten-free, salad is a snap to make, and it gets even better the next day.

Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa Salad

Charred summer zucchini and yellow squash pair with quinoa, basil, and mint, for a delicious, gluten-free salad.  This is oil-free vegan recipe is packed with healthy protein and the flavors of summer.

Charred Zucchini and Summer Squash Quinoa – Healthy, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan Grill Salad Recipe

Videos and Tips on How to Cook without Oil

Why does Oil-Free Matter?

Ditch the Oil: Why Cutting Oil Can Help you Lose 25 Pounds in a Year

Make These?  Let me Know!

If you give any of these bean recipes a try, let me know!  Leave a comment, or take a picture and tag it @chefkatiesimmons or #plantsule on Instagram.

Peace and chickpeas, Chef Katie


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