Hearty Meatless Meals Even Carnivores Will Devour

Eggplant Parmesan


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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  

Related: 21 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Mac and Cheese

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

Related: 28 Recipes to Use Up the Bulk Food You Overbought at Costco

Chicken & Chorizo Enchiladas
Paul_Brighton / istockphoto

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

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

Related: 21 Cheap and Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes

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.  

Recipe: Budget Bytes

Related: How Much Do You Actually Know About Grilling?

Cauliflower Steaks
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.

Recipe: Kitchen Treaty 

Related: 25 Best Gluten-Free Finds at Costco

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.

Recipe: The Vegan 8

Related: 13 Regional Chili Recipes to Try This Fall

Pasta Pomodoro
Bean Burritos
Zucchini Fritters
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

Related: 11 Grilling Recipes That Showcase Summer Produce

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.

Recipe: Southern Living

Related: 25 Easy Recipes for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

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

Related: 23 Light and Easy Comfort Food Recipes for Warm Weather

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

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

Related: 20 Comfort Food Recipes That Freeze Well

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

Related: When Is It Worth Buying Organic?

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

Related: 22 Quick and Easy Cold Salads for People Who Hate Lettuce

Udon Noodles.jpg

Vegetarian Japanese Udon Noodle Soup

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

Related: Exotic Condiments to Add Zing to Meals

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!

Recipe: Martha Stewart

Related: 13 Simple Ways to Cook Eggs

Chana Alu Masala
Rocky89 / istockphoto
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

Related: 15 Simple, Tasty Sandwiches That Cost $1 or Less to Make

kale salad
Shepherd's Pie

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

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

Related: 19 Savory Pies From Around The World

vegetarian mushroom meatballs