Eggplant Parmesan

Hearty Meatless Meals Even Carnivores Will Devour

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Eggplant Parmesan

Veg Out!

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!

Related: 30 Vegetable Recipes for People Who Hate Vegetables

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

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.

Recipe: Delish  

Broccoli-Cheddar Frittata
Vezzani Photography/shutterstock


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

Chicken & Chorizo Enchiladas
Jackfruit Pulled Pork

BBQ Tofu Sliders

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. (Think you know barbecue? Take our quiz.)

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Cauliflower Steaks

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Steaks

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

Black Bean Burger
gluten-free banana pancakes

Gluten-Free Blender Pancakes

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. (Is gluten-free eating part of your life? Here are some of Costco's Best Gluten-Free Finds.)

Recipe: Kitchen Treaty

mexican chili

30-Minute Vegan Mexican Chili

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. (If you love chili, check out these 13 Regional Chili Recipes, too.)

Recipe: The Vegan 8

Pasta Pomodoro

Pasta Pomodoro

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. (Think outside the spaghetti box, too: Here are 20 Creative Recipes That Highlight Pasta's Many Shapes.)

Recipe: Bon Appetit

Bean Burritos
Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Fritters

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. (Got a lot of zucchini? Here's how to Make the Most of a Zucchini Surplus.)

Recipe: Simply Recipes

Stuffed Peppers

Orzo Stuffed Peppers

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.

Recipe: Giadzy

Halloumi and Summer Vegetable Kebabs

Halloumi and Summer Vegetable Kebabs

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. (Overloaded with summer produce: Here are 25 Easy Recipes for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.)

Recipe: Southern Living

Simmered in Curry

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables

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

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is the epitome of comfort food, and incidentally meatless. The perfect satisfying meal for any occasion. There's a recipe for a quick marinara sauce included, but you can instead use any bottled sauces that you have if you'd like. (And these 20 Comfort Food Recipes will freeze well.)

Recipe: Food Network

Gnocchi and Veggies

Crispy Sheet Pan Gnocchi and Veggies

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

green bean salad

Green and Wax Bean Salad

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

Udon Noodles.jpg

Vegetarian Japanese Udon Noodle Soup

When you simmer ginger, rice vinegar and soy sauce together, you get an intensely flavorful broth, which becomes the basis for this udon noodle soup. It's both vegetarian and vegan, and if you subbed in gluten-free noodles, it could be gluten-free as well.

Recipe: The Spruce Eats

avocado salsa omelet

Avocado, Salsa, and Cilantro Omelet

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! (Are eggs a favorite around your house? Here are 13 Simple Ways to cook them.)

Recipe: Martha Stewart

 Chana Alu Masala

Easy Chana Masala

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

panini with cheese and greens
Jess Lessard Photography/istockphoto

Broccolini Cheesesteaks

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

kale salad

Garlicky Kale Bowls with Red Beans and Cauliflower Rice

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

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd's Pie is delicious and comforting, yes, but can also be incredibly 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

Related: 19 Savory Pies From Around The World

vegetarian mushroom meatballs

Mushroom Meatballs

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.

Recipe: Cooktoria