As a certified meat lover, it’s hard to imagine cutting tasty bacon, savory chicken thighs or buttery steak from my diet.
Still, I know that it’s considerably healthier to reduce the amount of meat that I eat. A vegetarian diet could lower my risk
of chronic conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. And—no surprise—people who cut meat from
their diet tend to take in less saturated fat and cholesterol and get more fiber, vitamins C and E and heart-healthy
unsaturated fat. Getting the recommended 6 to 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables is a cinch when you take meat out of
It’s cheaper too. Since meat is the most expensive part of most meals, eating vegetarian will almost certainly save money.
You can save $17.33 per month if you replace 1 pound of sirloin [$5.99] with a 14-ounce block of tofu [$1.96] once a week for
There’s more. While my wife and I try to do our part for the environment—bringing reusable bags to the supermarket,
recycling, taking shorter showers, etc.—we could do a lot more simply by cutting back on the amount of meat we eat. Simply
put, vegetarian sources of protein are much kinder to the planet. Livestock emissions contribute to global warming. And
compared with growing vegetables, livestock require more land and resources including water, fertilizer, pesticides and
But hold the celery sticks! Since I’m not ready to ditch my meaty favorites entirely, my wife and I are doing our best to eat
meatless a few nights a week. That way, we still get some of the health benefits of vegetarianism without having to change
our lifestyle completely. And, in the process, we’ve discovered that it’s possible to make a meatless meal that’s as
satisfying as a porterhouse steak. The trick is umami, and the results are delicious.
You’ve probably heard of the four basic tastes: salty, sweet, sour and bitter. Well, the fifth taste is umami. It’s best
described as that round, mouth-coating sensation you get from eating a tasty meat dish. It’s the reason why many low-fat
versions of your favorite foods often don’t taste quite right. But here’s the thing: certain vegetarian foods
actually have quite a bit of this satisfying flavor, including common kitchen staples like tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, tofu,
corn and mushrooms. And if you mix those foods together, the effect is multiplied. The result? A meatless dish that satisfies
just like a meaty one. Delicious!
Not convinced? Put it to the test: try one of these mouthwatering meatless versions of classic meaty meals and see whether
you miss the meat. I’m sure you won’t.
These delicious mini vegetarian shepherd’s pies feature lentils, carrot and corn, crowned with a velvety
mashed potato topping. The recipe can also be made in a broiler-safe casserole dish.
Get the Recipe: Vegetarian
Shepherd’s Pies & More Vegetarian Casseroles
tofu “steaks” in our revamped Parmigiana are breaded and lightly pan-fried in just a small amount of oil then topped with
part-skim mozzarella, fresh basil and your favorite marinara sauce, instead of having a greasy, battered coating. This
Italian classic will please even those who are tofu-phobic.
Get the Recipe: Tofu Parmigiana
& More Meaty Tofu Recipes
Nobody will miss the meat in this colorful, zesty vegetarian taco salad. The rice and bean mixture can be made ahead and the
salad quickly assembled at mealtime.
Get the Recipe: Vegetarian Taco Salad & More
Satisfying Dinner Salads
Portobello “Philly Cheese Steak”
Cheese steaks are a Philadelphia tradition: thin slices from a rich and very fatty slab of beef, fried up
and topped with a heavy cheese sauce. We've cut down on the fat considerably—but not on the taste. Make this fully vegetarian
by using vegetable broth in place of chicken stock.
Get the Recipe: Portobello “Philly Cheese Steak”
Sandwich & More Satisfying Meatless Sandwiches