Hearty Meatless Meals Even Carnivores Will Devour
We all have probably heard by now that going meatless is one of the best ways to get healthier while saving the planet. Even if you’re not a full-time vegetarian, it’s worth subbing some meatless meals into your week. The good news is that skipping the meat won’t make your meals less flavorful when you’re following the right recipes. Read on for 25 hearty meals where you won’t miss the meat!
Many traditional Italian pasta dishes are meatless, including the classic Cacio e Pepe, which is both simple and quick to make. It’s six simple ingredients, including black pepper, and is basically Italian mac and cheese.
In the U.S., you’ll mostly find frittatas on brunch menus, but in Italy, they love them for lunch or even a light dinner. The egg base makes it quick to whip up and protein-heavy, despite being meatless. You can use just about any combination of veggies, herbs, and cheese in your fridge, making it the perfect fridge cleanout meal.
Recipe: Love and Lemons
This slow-cooker enchilada recipe boasts lots of protein and fiber, thanks to the beans and sweet potatoes, and is also incredibly flavorful. Don’t be surprised if it starts becoming a regular part of your menu planning.
Recipe: Simple Healthy Kitchen
Sometimes, you just need a good barbecue dish. But, it doesn’t have to have meat to be tasty, as proven by these BBQ Tofu sliders. Thanks to the trick of freezing and then thawing the tofu, it becomes extra crispy and even more meat-like. And, it works out to be $1.44 a serving.
Recipe: Budget Bytes
These filling cauliflower steaks could be a hearty side or a main when served with rice. The herbs and garlic give it Italian flair, as does the Parmesan, which adds protein. A simple but irresistible dish.
Recipe: Damn Delicious
Hearty, earthy black beans come together in this burger to make a nutritious and delicious patty. You may opt for these instead of beef burgers even on days that you’re eating meat, and This Meatless Burger Fooled Our Tasters.
Recipe: Sally’s Baking Addiction
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These oatmeal-based banana pancakes are the perfect filling meal at any time of day. And, the entire batter mixes up in your blender, making them incredibly convenient to prepare.
Recipe: Kitchen Treaty
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Black beans, red beans, veggies, and spices come together in a healthy, vibrant main that you’ll crave. If you want to go the extra mile, use this chili as a topping for nachos.
Recipe: The Vegan 8
Pasta Pomodoro is another classic Italian dish that just happens to be meatless — it’s simply pasta with tomato sauce. With such a simple ingredients list, make sure everything that you’re using is the best quality you can find.
Recipe: Bon Appetit
These baked bean burritos are easily batched and easily frozen. It’s hard to beat such a tasty, easy recipe.
Recipe: Taste of Home
Fritters are easy to whip up and feel like a special treat. These zucchini fritters will ensure that everyone eats their veggies while also seriously enjoying their meal.
Recipe: Simply Recipes
These stuffed peppers from Giada De Laurentiis take only 15 minutes to prep and will delight your family. For a true vegetarian option, sub veggie broth for chicken broth. To keep things colorful, use a mix of red and yellow bell peppers.
The Greek cheese Halloumi is perfect for grilling because it keeps its shape and its briny character is delicious with summer veggies. Plus, it provides important protein for those going meatless.
Recipe: Southern Living
Many Thai recipes can easily be made meatless. This red curry is rich and comforting, but entirely veggie-based. Plus, the recipe is written to be flexible — you can sub in other veggies if you have them on hand, rather than what she calls for, as long as you chop them all around the same size.
Recipe: Cookie and Kate
Eggplant Parmesan is the epitome of comfort food, and incidentally meatless. There’s a recipe for a quick marinara sauce included, but you can also use any bottled sauces that you have, helping make this the perfect satisfying meal for any occasion.
Recipe: Food Network
This recipe looks impressive, but also takes literally five minutes to prep. Just drizzle store-bought gnocchi and veggies with some olive oil, toss with herbs and black pepper, then roast. Voila!
Recipe: The Kitchn
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The genius of this recipe (a take on panzanella, but using green beans and wax beans) is its layering of flavor and texture. When you try it, you’ll actually be excited to eat a salad for dinner. When has that ever happened? And, when you’re not going meatless, you can toss in some anchovies or grilled chicken to make it extra hearty.
Recipe: Food and Wine
When you simmer ginger, rice vinegar, and soy sauce together, you get an intensely flavorful broth that becomes the basis for this udon noodle soup. It’s both vegetarian and vegan, and if you sub in gluten-free noodles it could be gluten-free as well.
Recipe: The Spruce Eats
This omelet is inspired by huevos rancheros, but is much easier. It could make an excellent brunch dish, but you could also be like the French and choose omelets for dinner!
Recipe: Martha Stewart
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If you love chicken tikka masala, you’ll love chana masala too, which uses chickpeas instead of chicken. The chickpeas add extra creaminess to the dish, and round it out in a way where you won’t even miss the chicken.
Recipe: Minimalist Baker
Just because you’re going meatless doesn’t mean you can’t have a good cheesesteak. This version uses roasted broccolini, a thick, tangy romesco sauce, and plenty of cheese. The heartiness of the broccolini will quickly endear this version even to the most committed carnivores.
Recipe: Broccolini Cheesesteaks
These veggie-based bowls are filling without being heavy, plus it’s just as good as leftovers. It’ll last in the fridge for up to three days, but we guarantee you’ll gobble it up before then.
Recipe: With Food and Love
Shepherd’s Pie is delicious and comforting, yes, but can also be heavy. This version using mushrooms instead of beef is just as tasty and, thanks to the sautéed mushrooms, keeps that meaty flavor. You may even prefer the meatless version!
Recipe: Crunchy Creamy Sweet
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This charming dish comes together in 15 minutes using miso, garlic, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, kale, and a soft boiled egg. To make it vegan, sub tofu for the egg.
Recipe: Love and Good Stuff
These juicy mushroom meatballs can be fried or baked and are ridiculously flavorful either way. And, with 14 grams of protein per serving, you won’t even miss the meat.