I know we shouldn’t be eating meat with every single meal. But other than pasta, I have a lot of trouble coming up with good vegetarian meal ideas. Add to that needing to please a family of picky eaters and a husband with dietary restrictions and it becomes even more challenging!
I’ve rounded up 15 healthy meatless meal ideas (and some vegan ones too) for every meal of the day to help inspire you. From breakfast to dinner and even a few bonus dessert ideas these are delicious enough to please everyone!
1. Tofu Scramble … No, Seriously. Mention tofu in most homes and you’ll get a funny look but once you learn how to use it wisely, tofu can be kind of amazing. The trick is knowing what to buy and how to prepare it. Making a tofu scramble is pretty easy once you learn a few tricks and pick up some Black Salt, which is the key ingredient and gives the dish a truly eggy flavor. Check out A Vegan Obsession for this yummy tofu scramble wrap recipe.
2. Pancakes! In addition to omitting meat from the diet, many people also try to cut back on other animal products like milk and eggs. These vegan pancakes are light and fluffy but don’t use eggs or butter. You can add blueberries or dairy-free chocolate chips to sweeten them up or try this amazing cinnamon syrup. Find the recipe for these fluffy pancakes over at food.com.
3. Veggie Breakfast Sandwich. I don’t know what it is about fast food breakfast sandwiches, but I would eat them every morning if they weren’t so unhealthy. These veggie breakfast sandwiches require a little more effort than just running to a drive-thru, but they’re healthier and can still be eaten on the run. Skip the drive-thru and cook your own with this recipe from Happy Healthy Life.
4. You Can Still Pack a Sandwich. Need meatless lunch options that are lunchbox friendly? Try meatless sandwich options like egg salad or even eggless egg salad (really!) or this chickpea pesto. Worried about your bread getting soggy? Just keep your spread in a separate container and spread it on at lunchtime. The protein in this chickpea pesto from Thug Kitchen will give you an afternoon energy boost.
5. Bean & Beer Chili. Who says chili needs meat? This recipe comes out so savory and delicious it will easily become a family favorite. You can top it with your favorite cheese and sour cream or, if you want to keep it vegan, just use non-dairy alternatives like Tofutii Better Than Sour Cream and Dayia, Chao or Veggie Shreds cheese. Get the recipe here then grab some oyster crackers.
6. Healthy Chinese Food. Forget the take-out options and opt instead for a healthy lunch of Sweet and Sour Broccoli Salad with a side of vegetable fried rice. (It’s easy to make Chinese food once you find the right spices in your grocery store). Prefer an egg free version for friend rice? This one is completely vegan and cooks up in 20 minutes. Get the recipe for this amazing broccoli salad here.
7. The All Time Hot Lunch Classic. A grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup is pretty much the epitome of comfort food for lunch. Of course, this lunch is naturally meat-free but you can make it dairy and gluten free with a few tweaks. Vegan cheese for grilled cheese can be hard to find, but I’ve found Chao cheese works well – it melts with a creamy texture and tastes like real cheese. Either way, forget the canned soup and whip up this amazing Roasted Tomato Soup. Delicious and simple – get the recipe here.
8. Hummus Spiral Wraps. I have to get in a better habit of making wraps, because they are so easy when it comes to lunchbox meals. Either fill and wrap them before you head out the door or take the tortillas and spread and assemble them fresh at your desk. These hummus spiral wraps combine edamame, avocado and spicy hummus for a filling and healthy lunch.
All wrapped up! Get the recipe here.
9. 10-Spice Vegetable Soup. I love soup – and this soup is warm and filling thanks to its special 10 spice blend and the inclusion of plenty of fresh veggies. Best of all, this is totally freezer friendly, so whip up a huge batch and freeze it in servings for a quick grab and go lunch option. Warm, savory and easy to freeze. Get the details here.
10. Avocado Pasta. Looking for a dinner you can whip up in 20 minutes or less? Try this creamy avocado pasta recipe! Fry up some mushrooms or veggie meatballs to go along with it and serve with warm crusty rolls – the perfect quick weeknight dinner. Perfect creamy pasta sauce without cream!
11. Kale and Mushroom Stroganoff. This is a great twist on a classic savory comfort food classic. It delivers all the flavour of the original but with the extra goodness of kale which is loaded with all sorts of health benefits. Healthy and Delicious – get the recipe at My Tiny Oven.
12. Not Your Mom’s Alfredo Sauce! Chicken Alfredo is one of my all-time favorites – savory, cheesy, rich and indulgent! This veggie alfredo sauce keeps the rich flavor and savory taste but cuts absolutely all the bad stuff out. Throw in some sautéed mushrooms, broccoli florets or meatless chicken-alternative strips from the grocer’s freezer to recreate an amazing meal that comes without the cholesterol, calories or guilt. Better than the real thing! Get the details at Oh She Glows.
13. Shepherd’s Pie. This is another comfort food classic that everyone loves and is surprisingly easy to remake for a meatless meal. This recipe uses lentils and you can add meatless crumbles if you want. A comfort food classic without the meat – check out the recipe at Mamatoga.
14. Italian Night! Want to really impress your kids – let them have their favorite spaghetti and ‘meatballs’ with a healthy twist. These vegetarian ‘neatballs’ can be swapped out for meatballs easily and if you really want to make this a healthy meal, forget the boxed spaghetti and try it with spaghetti squash instead. Find the recipe at Vegangela.
15. Veggie Pot Pie. Finally we have the classic pot pie, filled with so many savory herbs and vegetables no one will ever miss the meat. This recipe uses filo dough instead of pie crust which gives it a deliciously different texture. Filling and healthy – grab the recipe at Luminous Vegans.
BONUS – Don’t Forget Dessert!
Okay, okay, I know desserts are meat free, but I’ve struggled finding good recipes for my dairy free and gluten free husband so I thought I’d tack on a few ideas. These dairy free recipes will have you rethinking the way you see veganism. They’re also a great alternative for people with lactose intolerance and most can be easily adjusted to be gluten free.
16. Peanut Butter Cup Pie. I LOVE peanut butter cups. And this recipe turns the same flavour into a pie! Creamy, chocolaty and not overly sweet, this pie is kind of perfect. Get the recipe at Minimalist Baker.
17. Chocolate Avocado Pudding. This recipe is so simple – and so healthy – you may never buy the instant stuff again. Get the super simple 2 step recipe at Warm Vanilla Sugar.
18. Snickerdoodles. These family favorite cookies come out fluffy, light and with just the right amount of crisp along the edges. Perfect for making with the kids and you don’t have to worry if they sneak a taste of the dough – there are no eggs! Get the recipe and then round up the kids!
19. Nectarine and Strawberry Pops. These are great for a quick treat since you can make them, leave them in the freezer and grab them whenever you feel like a sweet treat. Easy to make and so healthy, your kids will love mixing them up and choosing which popsicle molds to use. Get the simple three-ingredient recipe from Martha Stewart.
20. Perfect Ice Cream. If you love ice cream and wish you could have it more often, consider getting a Yonana machine. (I laughed when my Grandma bought me one for Christmas a few years ago, but we use it all the time in the summer!) It works like an ice cream maker but it uses only frozen fruit – no cream, no sugar, no eggs. You can put bananas, mangoes, berries and any other kind of frozen fruit through it and it comes out as ice cream. Their website offers plenty of recipe ideas, including this Apple Pie Ice Cream. So good you won’t miss the pie. Get the details from the Yonanas website.
By now you probably already know that eating a more plant based diet is associated with all kinds of health benefits. Still it can be hard to take a break from meat when so many of us are used to including it in every meal. Save these recipes for the next time you need to a nutrient dense, meat free menu idea for your meal plan.