Priyanka Naik's Advice For Branching Into Plant-Based Cooking - Exclusive

Priyanka Naik has found her niche in the foodie world. Naik has built a career showcasing the versatility of vegan and plant-based food on TV shows, in articles, and in her book, "The Modern Tiffin." Recently, Naik made her first appearance at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival FoodieCon, where she was the only vegan chef. We spoke to Naik in an exclusive interview prior to the event and asked her what her best advice was for someone looking to start doing more plant-based cooking. 

Naik's strategy is simple but will open a world of opportunities: "I always advise people to explore their produce aisles and pick a new vegetable every week." She recommends doing this for about four weeks. This will help you gain a greater understanding of the vegetable department and open you up to trying new things. Of course, you can pick vegetables you have tried before, too. "You've probably eaten these vegetables all in some way or some form throughout your life." But the point is to look at them in a new way.

Exploring vegetables

If you stay consistent with it, using Naik's method becomes like a game. The goal here isn't to pick a vegetable and steam it on the side of a larger meal but to make that plant the focus. Naik says, "Especially in America, vegetables and plant-based or vegan, vegetarian food are always an afterthought or they're always considered the side dish and not the star of the show." For home cooks, forcing themselves out of the idea that the vegetable is just a side "and making an actual dish out of it where it's the star of the plate can not only bring new recipes to their repertoire but also change their perspective on that particular vegetable."

While the task can seem daunting, Naik says there are plenty of recipes out there to explore. "Refer to your favorite chefs, your favorite blogs, TV shows, and kind of build your recipe repertoire for those plant-based dishes based on those vegetables."

Information about next year's South Beach Wine & Food Festival can be found here. Keep up with Priyanka Naik on her website.