30 Days of Simple Meatless Recipes
Ever wondered what it would be like to cut out meat, but never been exclusively vegan or vegetarian? Try our 30 days of plant-based recipes that focus on simple meal ideas and pantry staples. Beginners welcome.
Crunchy Salad with Creamy Vegan Avocado Dressing
Remember back when dousing some iceberg lettuce with ranch dressing was considered healthy? We know better now, but a lackluster vinaigrette makes us want to skip the salad altogether. Without the buttermilk and mayo, is it even worth it? This dressing, made with creamy avocado and tangy umeboshi vinegar, will show you the possibilities. You can make it as-is or substitute whatever herbs you have on hand: parsley, basil and cilantro are all great options. The salad itself is a colorful, texture-rich antidote to the stereotypical boring salad, and it's also customizable. Here we use a base of romaine because it's crunchy and sturdy enough to stand up to a creamy dressing, but you can use kale, mixed greens or any blend of greens your heart (and fridge) desires. Same for the add-ins: You can sub in green beans for the asparagus, use black beans instead of chickpeas, or mix in additional veggies you have available like cucumber or shredded carrots. If you want to get extra fancy with it, try grilling the corn for an added smoky flavor. While this salad can be eaten as a side, it's strong enough to star as the entree.
Mushroom Ragout with Herbed Ricotta & Pappardelle
This mushroom ragout is topped with dollops of ricotta, which cut through the acidity of the tomato-based sauce for a balanced flavor and creamy texture.
Spring Salad with Pickled Shallot & Avocado
Quick-pickling the shallot tames its sharpness while preserving its crunch. Instead of pouring the pickling liquid down the drain, we use it to make a flavorful vinaigrette for this spring salad.
Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas & Spinach
Simmer eggs in a rich tomatoey cream sauce studded with chickpeas and silky spinach for a super-fast vegetarian dinner. Serve with a piece of crusty bread to soak up the sauce. Be sure to use heavy cream; a lower-fat option might curdle when mixed with acidic tomatoes.
Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing
Hearty yet simple to prepare, this stuffed sweet potato with black beans, kale and hummus dressing is a fantastic 5-ingredient lunch for one!
Black Bean Wraps with Greens & Cilantro Vinaigrette
A simple salad tossed with a tangy vinaigrette packs these no-cook wraps with tons of bright cilantro flavor. The mix pairs well with mashed beans and avocado, which hold everything together.
Parmesan-Crusted Cauliflower with White Beans & Tomatoes
This Parmesan-crusted cauliflower makes a flavorful and hearty vegetarian main that is ready in under an hour. A generous amount of cooking spray helps the panko breadcrumb coating on these cauliflower steaks get nice and crispy.
Pesto Pasta Salad
A creamy pesto sauce turns this simple pasta salad into a delightful dinner. Adding broccoli to the pasta cooking water just before the pasta is done is a convenient way to briefly cook it so that it turns a vivid shade of green and softens slightly.
Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Almond butter and coconut oil replace dairy butter and eggs in these vegan treats, giving them the crisp but chewy texture that we all love. On its own, chocolate is a vegan ingredient but dairy products are often introduced during processing. Some chocolate chips may not be labeled vegan, but if they do not contain dairy products, such as whey, casein, milk, milk fat and milk solids, they are vegan. Check labels carefully.
Clean-Out-the-Fridge Vegetable Soup
This recipe is purposefully flexible so you can incorporate just about any veggie into it. Top with a dollop of pesto and/or a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.
Meatless Sweet Potato Hash
Each serving of this meatless sweet potato is packed with flavor, fiber and protein, and has just 216 calories.
Chipotle Tofu Tacos
Here, we tear the tofu instead of cutting it. That might sound odd, but it's the best way to get crisp, crumbly edges reminiscent of fish tacos. Coating with a flavorful cornstarch mixture helps maximize the crunch.
Veggie Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup
Maya Feller, M.S., RD, CDN, of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition, upgrades this popular budget-friendly combo. "Adding veggies to a classic sandwich—in this case, broccoli, zucchini and red bell pepper—boosts the nutrient-density of the meal," she says. This recipe was part of a feature story, "The Real Cost of Healthy Food."
Cheese Quesadillas with Peppers & Onions
These 15-minute quesadillas are a notch above basic with the addition of sautéed peppers and onions. Let the kiddos load them up with the toppings at the table.
Vegetarian Black Bean Soup
Packed with protein and fiber, this soup doesn't need meat to be satisfying. Soaking and cooking the beans yourself, rather than opening a can, ensures you'll have wonderful flavor and texture. (And the slow cooker does most of the work!)
Broccoli-Cheddar Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Shredded sweet potato creates a low-carb crust for this healthier quiche recipe. A classic broccoli and Cheddar filling makes this brunch classic an instant crowd-pleaser.
Pineapple Green Smoothie
Use ripe bananas for this creamy Greek yogurt, spinach and pineapple smoothie. Chia seeds add healthy omega-3 fats, fiber and a little protein for an extra nutritional boost.
Mushroom Barley Soup
Float some homemade croutons on top of this mushroom barley soup for extra flavor and body. Serve with a simple salad for a healthy dinner.
Macaroni Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
Give classic pasta salad a fresher, more flavorful spin. This fast pasta dish calls for avocado to replace some of the mayonnaise, which makes it extra creamy. Whole-wheat elbow macaroni and fresh vegetables lighten up this healthy pasta salad that you'll be making all summer long.
Vegetarian Mushroom Stroganoff
This mushroom stroganoff recipe has all of the comforting flavors you love from beef stroganoff, but without any of the meat! This vegetarian dish has incredible depth; the combination of dried and fresh mushrooms makes this main feel unctuous and meaty. The sour cream and mustard add richness, while the herbs add a hit of brightness.
Sweet Potato-Black Bean Burgers
These vegan sweet potato-black bean burgers spiced with curry powder are easy to make. Blending the mixture with your hands gives you a soft, uniform texture then the outside gets crispy by cooking in a cast-iron pan. To make this recipe gluten-free too, use gluten-free oats and serve the patty in a lettuce wrap, omitting the bun.
Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
Stuff crisp lettuce leaves with a savory filling inspired by PF Chang's famous lettuce wraps. These low-carb wraps made with tofu, mushrooms and daikon radish are an easy vegetarian dinner that beats takeout! Garnish the wraps with julienned carrots for added crunch.
Beefless Ground Beef
Crumbled extra-firm tofu is a great stand-in for ground beef for a meatless meal. This vegan substitute is perfect in lasagna, tacos, soup and more. We boost the flavor with garlic powder, paprika and tamari, but feel free to add your own flavorings.
Vegan Shepherd's Pie
Lentils take the place of ground meat and vegan butter adds creaminess to the mashed potatoes in this easy vegan shepherd's pie recipe. If you want to cut down on the cooking time, use precooked lentils and omit most of the vegetable broth, adding some in only if the mixture seems dry.
Kitchen Sink Burritos
This vegetarian bean burrito recipe is perfect any time of day, from breakfast (add a scrambled egg) to a late-night snack. It's also ideal for days when you need an energy boost to get through a draining event like a soccer tournament or a marathon meeting. Bonus: You can wrap it in foil and eat it on the go.
Vegan Coconut Chickpea Curry
To make this 20-minute vegan curry even faster, buy precut veggies from the salad bar at the grocery store. To make it a full, satisfying dinner, serve over cooked brown rice. When shopping for simmer sauce, look for one with 400 mg of sodium or less and check the ingredient list for cream or fish sauce if you want to keep this vegan. If you like a spicy kick, add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce at the end.
Vegan Minestrone Soup
Is minestrone soup vegan? It can be, with the right ingredients! This vegan minestrone soup is heavy on the green vegetables (it has peas, zucchini and kale, to name a few!), setting this quick healthy soup recipe apart from the rest. If you miss the tomatoes, feel free to add them to the mix. Last but not least, enjoy the crispy garlic croutons that float on top and soak up the flavorful broth.
Slow-Cooker Lentil, Carrot & Potato Soup
Puréeing some of the lentil-vegetable mixture, and then combining it with the remaining vegetables and lentils gives the soup a texture that satisfies those who love a creamy soup and those who prefer it chunky. Serve this slow-cooker lentil soup with crackers.
No-Bake Vegan Date Brownies
Sweetened with dates, these whole-grain bars provide energy and protein, thanks to nut butter. With just 5 ingredients you probably already have in your pantry, you can make these delicious, chewy brownies with no added sugar. Whip up a batch as a healthy dessert or for grab-and-go energy bars for a healthy snack.
Asparagus & Potato Rösti
Preshredded potatoes for the rösti are the key to making this crisp pancake quickly. Top with fried eggs and a salad and it becomes a meal.