As many of us begin looking for ways to eat healthier and lose a few pounds, it’s a natural step to try cutting back on meat, at least partially. Easier said than done, however. Many people miss the rich flavors and filling warmth of meat-filled dishes. So, we’ve collected some great dishes that maintain the heartiness and texture without the need for adding in extra meat.
Unlike traditional Texas-style chili, meatless chili is going to have some beans. They’re a great source of protein and flavor. Try black beans, red beans or great northern beans for a variety of colors and textures. Then just bump up the veggies: onions, peppers, even celery and carrots. When cooked down slowly in your favorite blend of chili spices, this thick and nourishing meal has everything meat chili can offer. For another twist, try “ground round,” a ground tofu meat alternative. It soaks up the flavors well and gives the chewy texture of ground beef or turkey.
Sure, you may have grown up with lasagna with meat sauces, but it’s not as crucial as you might imagine. Pack your lasagna with roasted veggies, like squash, zucchini and mushrooms to give a bold flavor. Cherry tomatoes and diced onions can also help to give the texture you’re craving. And don’t forget the cheese: try a creamy ricotta for a smooth finish.
You could always make stir-fry healthier by subbing out beef or chicken for shrimp or fish. But if you want to go totally meatless, an all-veggie stir fry is both filling and delicious. The first rule of a good vegetable stir-fry is that no veggie is off limits. Try broccoli, green beans, snow peas, peppers, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts – see where this is going? Pair them with fragrant spices like lemongrass, garlic and ginger. And then top it off with a soy sauce and sesame oil based sauce. Serve over rice for a filling meal you’ll come back to night after night.
Moussaka is traditionally made with ground beef or lamb layered with eggplant. But you may find that meaty quality of eggplant is enough on its own. Blended with a mix of spices including garlic, parsley, cinnamon and nutmeg, you can get tons of flavor without adding any meat at all.
As you can see, there are lots of ways to cut meat from your diet. But don’t limit yourself to just these recipes. Try transforming any lunch or dinner by simply adding more of the veggies and ditching some of the meat.