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5 Healthy(ish), Easy(ish) Meatless Recipes

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to cook more or to eat less meat? If so, these recipes are for you!

But even if you didn’t make any resolutions for 2021 (understandable), there should be something for everyone on this list of recipes. This collection will hopefully add variety to your mealtimes and make eating from your own kitchen a little bit easier.

My apologies in advance if you get sick of seeing my plate’s design over and over.

Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry

A serving of my own version of the stir fry

This “recipe,” if you could call it that, was inspired by this peanut-broccoli stir-fry recipe that I’ve been making (and loving) for years. But when I had plenty of broccoli and carrots in my fridge one night, I didn’t feel like following a recipe for which I’d have to make sure I had all the ingredients and measure them out. So, instead, I decided to make a sort of “kitchen sink” version of a stir-fry based on what I already had.

For this one, I cook the rice the day before and let it sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours, since I remember reading somewhere that it was a great way to make fried rice and stir-fries. I also use tofu, broccoli and carrots to make mine, but you could use other vegetables and proteins if you want. I dry fried the tofu in a pan, then set it aside on a plate before putting oil and veggies in the pan so they can brown a little bit. Then I just add the tofu and rice in, plus seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder — this is another place where you can do it however you like) and some tamari (and maybe stir-fry sauce). I tend to top my serving off with Sriracha sauce. Like I said: This isn’t really a recipe, just a guideline based on how you want to make it. But if you want a full-blown recipe, use the one linked above. It’s great!

Lentil Taco Salad

A plate of my lentil taco salad

This is an incredibly simple meal to put together, and if you store the ingredients separately, you can make it for several days without anything getting gross. Taco salad isn’t new, and in fact, this is something along the lines of what you might be able to get at a burrito chain like Freebirds or Chipotle. What sets it apart slightly is the use of lentils for the taco seasoning (instead of meat or a processed meat substitute). This is an idea I got from a vegan Instagram post featuring delicious-looking “potatchos.”

For this salad, I used green leaf lettuce that I cut up as the base, but you could use spinach, arugula, kale, iceberg or whatever other greens you like. I cooked the lentils (which mostly amounts to letting them boil or simmer in water for 60 minutes or more), then added some store-bought taco seasoning and mixed it up. I put that on the bed of lettuce, then added my toppings. That’s where you can get really creative based on your tastes. I used guacamole, sour cream, diced tomatoes and sliced jalapeños for mine. It’s got more protein than your average salad, and it’s a tasty way to get your veggies.

Aloo Gobi

A serving of aloo gobi

I’ve only eaten Indian food from a handful of local/regional restaurants, until the past year. Cooking at home more — along with our weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box of produce — meant getting a little more adventurous with ingredients and recipes. That’s how I found this amazing food blogger; I’ve used at least two or three of her other recipes before making this one. As a vegetarian, I have so many choices when I order or make Indian food, so it’s a comfortable go-to cuisine. I especially love it when it’s cold and/or rainy outside.

I followed the above aloo gobi recipe pretty closely, but there were a few changes or omissions on my part. For one, I had jars of chopped ginger and minced garlic, but no ginger-garlic paste, so I mixed those two together to make one. I’ve also had a hard time finding dry mango powder (amchur) at stores, so I didn’t have any of that. I decided to forgo the chopped cilantro as an ingredient and a garnish; I don’t dislike it but I didn’t think I needed to buy a whole bunch of fresh cilantro for just one recipe. This turned out well, plus it’s very simple to make. You may want to add more punch to it, as it’s not very spicy, but it was flavorful enough due to the garam masala and red chili powder. Unfortunately, I also forgot to buy naan, but I definitely will pair some with this meal next time.

Pepper and Mushroom Pasta

A serving of pepper (no mushroom) pasta

I love pasta. But I don’t necessarily always want pasta with red sauce or alfredo sauce. And, of course, I’m trying to work more vegetables into my diet in a delicious way (so as not to be wasteful). I bought bagged mini peppers at the grocery store, and it turns out the company that distributes them has a website full of recipes. I thought their pepper and mushroom pasta sounded good — except I don’t like mushrooms.

I stuck pretty closely to this recipe too, with a few changes: no mushrooms, no parsley and chickpea pasta instead of traditional noodles. I chose to use chickpea pasta since veggies aren’t inherently full of protein, and I thought using a heartier pasta would make the meal more filling. I think it worked! I also added a dash of grated Parmesan and Romano cheese to add another burst of flavor and texture.

Three-Bean Chili

A bowl of three-bean chili

If you’re like me, one of the simple pleasures is curling up with a bowl of chili while you’re wearing a warm sweater, robe or blanket. This colorful chili recipe won’t have you missing your meat-filled version, I promise.

I’ve used this recipe for years, and I typically don’t stray from the instructions included. The hardest part of this recipe is chopping the onion and green bell pepper; pretty much all of the other ingredients are canned. I used extra vegetable broth this time, because I didn’t want any to go to waste and expire. But you could make it chunkier with less broth or water if you choose. I top mine off with the recommended sour cream, but you could also add shredded cheese, avocado or anything else you enjoy. I like to scoop up bites of chili with tortilla chips too — it works really well and adds a nice crunch.

Have you tried any of these recipes or similar ones? Let us know about them — and reach out in the comments or on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook if you try any of these dishes! We’d love to hear what you think.

Featured image via Unsplash

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