Healthy, Easy, and Quick Recipes with Stanford Lifestyle Medicine Experts

Nourishing our bodies with wholesome food is an investment in our health and well-being, but does not need to be expensive or complicated to be effective. In the series, “Healthy, Easy, and Quick Recipes with Stanford Lifestyle Medicine Experts,” Jessica Hope, RN and Rusly Harsono, MD, share simple, efficient, and affordable nutrition tips and recipes.

Stanford Lifestyle Medicine nutrition expert Jessica Hope is a 15-year advocate of plant-based diets who conducts clinical research in nutrition at the Stanford Prevention Research Center and staffs the Humane & Sustainable Food Lab at Stanford Medicine. 

“By creating a simple, thoughtful meal plan, you will be able to minimize food waste, save time, and transform budget-friendly and quick-to-prepare ingredients into a variety of nutritious and delicious meals,” says Hope.

Hope recommends eating nuts and beans as great sources of whole-food protein. While her go-to for nuts are ones that have not been roasted, she recommends having beans either straight from the can or preparing dried beans, which is the more affordable option. “Beans are an amazing whole-food, zero-prep, affordable nutrition source,” says Hope. “For breakfast, I often eat two cups of kidney beans with salt, green peas, or chickpeas with tahini.”

Recipe Ideas for Easy and Inexpensive Meals

Stanford Lifestyle Medicine experts Jessica Hope and Dr. Rusly Harsono share simple recipes containing the whole foods of beans and nuts.

The Stanford Simple Salad


  • Two handfuls of leafy greens 
  • Canned beans (pinto, black, garbanzo, or kidney) as the source of protein
  • A handful of nuts (peanuts, almonds, or cashews) for crunch 
  • Fruit (apples, cherries, or pears) for sweetness

Mix these ingredients together and enjoy!

Jessica’s Sweet Potato and Beans


  • Sweet potato (baked)
  • Black beans with salt (heat up and pour over the sweet potato)
  • A sprinkle of salt 

This recipe makes a delicious, protein- and iron- rich meal that only takes about 5 minutes to prepare (if you bake the potato ahead of time). 


  • Since sweet potatoes keep well in the refrigerator, you can bake a bunch of them at once until they are very soft, then store them for later. 
  • To make your sweet potato even sweeter, swap the beans for natural peanut butter that is free of sugar, preservatives, or added oil. 

The common denominator across all these recipes is that they follow the golden rule to use natural or minimally processed foods and freshly made dishes and meals over ultra-processed products. This golden rule is defined by NOVA, which is a nutritional organization recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Through the insights of Stanford Lifestyle Medicine experts, Jessica Hope and Dr. Rusly Harsono, we can see that good nutrition does not have to be a complex equation. We hope these simple tips and recipes can be a gateway toward a healthy lifestyle where flavor, nutrition, and simplicity coexist.


By Helena Zhang, BS