Eating less meat and more plants is one of the best things you can do to improve your health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Going meatless even one or two days a week (just start with Meatless Mondays) helps promote a healthy weight and reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
If you're new to vegetarian cooking, or you're looking for new and creative meatless meal ideas, start here! These 40+ easy and delicious meatless recipes will inspire you to get creative with plants in the kitchen. They'll also delight your tastebuds from breakfast through lunch, dinner, and everything in between.
Does Meatless Mean Vegan?
If you're confused about terms like meatless, vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based, you're not alone. These terms have different meanings.
- Meatless meals don't contain meat, chicken, or fish. However, they can contain eggs or dairy. And they always have plant ingredients like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes/beans, nuts, or seeds.
- Vegetarian meals usually don't contain meat like beef, pork, or lamb or poultry like chicken or turkey. But — You can be a pescatarian vegetarian and eat some fish; a lacto-vegetarian and eat some dairy; or an ovo-vegetarian and eat some eggs. Or you can be a combination of these.
- Vegan meals don't contain any animal foods at all. They're free from meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs.
- Plant-based meals or diets can range from vegan to a diet focusing on lots of vegetables and other plant foods.
As a dietitian, I recommend a "whole-food, plant-forward" diet. It's one in which your meals and snacks are home cooked with whole, real ingredients. And most (or all) of those ingredients are plant foods like fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
If you crave meat occasionally, stick to small amounts of good quality meat or poultry. Choose lean, grass-fed beef and organic, pasture-raised poultry when you eat meat. And I'm a fan of fish at least twice each week (especially fatty fish like salmon).
But try to make most of your meals heavy on plants with small meat, chicken, or turkey portions most of the time. And one or more days each week, skip the meat entirely and eat only plants with some good-quality dairy or eggs if you like.
The best diet depends on your health goals and personal beliefs about the environment, animal welfare, sustainable farming, etc. There is no one best way to eat.
These Meatless Recipes don't have any meat, poultry, or fish. Some are vegan, but many contain dairy or eggs. All are made with whole ingredients, and I promise you'll still get plenty of protein to satisfy everyone in the family.
Try a few of these meatless recipes out. I hope you find some new favorites for Meatless Monday or any other day of the week.
High Protein Vegetarian Breakfast Ideas
It's easy enough to make breakfast meatless. But to ensure it's healthy and filling, aim for meatless breakfasts that are high in protein and made with whole grain carbs. These high protein vegetarian breakfast ideas will keep you full and satisfied for hours.
Meatless Lunch Ideas
With these delicious meatless lunch ideas you'll never have to eat another sad salad again! Try these meatless meal ideas for lunch or a light dinner.
Meatless Dinner Ideas
If you're used to eating meat for dinner, try going meatless just one day a week. That's the concept behind Meatless Mondays. After a while, the idea of a meat-free dinner will become second nature. Especially when you have a supply of hearty and delicious Meatless Monday recipes like these.
Work on gradually expanding Meatless Monday to a few other days of the week with these easy meatless dinner ideas.
Meatless Pasta Recipes
Pasta is a staple for a meatless dinner, but don't just limit yourself to noodles and sauce. These meatless pasta recipe will delight your taste buds.
Meatless Soup and Stew Recipes
A hearty vegetarian soup will satisfy even the biggest appetite. And leftovers are perfect for another meatless dinner or lunch. These meatless soup recipes are so healthy and packed with vegetables.
The healthiest snacks come from meatless recipes too! Try these easy vegetarian snack ideas. They all have significant health benefits.
Hope you try all of these meatless recipes! Let me know which is your favorite - and if you need more ideas, please check my Pinterest Boards!