If you’re looking for dinner ideas that don’t involve meat, you are in the right place.
Several studies show that eating less meat is healthy and important for longevity.
For example, a study in the journal, Advances in Nutrition, found that many modern diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer are related to a diet high in animal fat and low in plant foods.
In this article, we discuss meatless dinner ideas to inspire you to eat less meat without sacrificing flavor and satisfaction.
Let’s get started.
1. Chickpea Curry
Chickpeas are wonderful sources of plant protein. They easily absorb other flavors too!
Cooking them in a curry allows you to add vegetables such as pumpkin, peas, and cauliflower, for added flavor, texture, and nutrition.
Chickpea curry pairs well with rice, flatbread or crusty bread, or cauliflower rice, for a lower carb option. This is also a freezer-friendly dish.
In the British Journal of Nutrition, chickpeas were found to help with weight management, blood sugar regulation, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
2. Veggie Burger
Veggie burgers can be made of black beans, firm tofu, Portobello mushrooms, or beetroot. The great thing about this is, you could make your burger patties in advance and freeze them.
Whichever type you fancy, a veggie burger can be quite nutritious.
It can be especially delicious with avocado or guacamole, pickles, cheese, ketchup, crisp lettuce, and sliced onion and tomato.
In a study by Cancer Science, it was found that high red meat intake increases the risk of colon cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Consuming a veggie burger instead of a regular beef burger can help reduce these risks.
3. Red Beans and Rice
Red beans and rice, a popular dish from Louisiana, USA, can easily be made meatless.
The USDA states that one cup of cooked red beans has 15.7 g of protein and 14.4 g of fiber. This is more than 50% of the daily recommended intake for adult women and more than 35% for adult men.
With herbs like bay leaves, sage, thyme, and parsley and vegetables like celery and bell pepper, this is a dish packed with flavor.
This is also a freezer-friendly meal.
A study in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism found that beans are associated with lower body fat and smaller waistlines in women.
Beans are definitely a nutritional powerhouse!
4. Tofu Stir-Fry
If you love Asian food, tofu stir-fries can make for a great dinner!
They are quick, easy, and usually one-pan meals too because you can easily combine them with vegetables. Soy, of which tofu is made of, has been getting a bad rap recently.
However, it’s a good source of protein and it has many antioxidants that have many beneficial effects in the human body, according to Antioxidants.
Pasta has been vilified in the past decade, but who doesn’t love pasta?
Easting pasta helps release glucose into your blood slowly and keeps you full for longer.
The key is to stick recommended serving size of 75 g per person, according to The British Nutrition Foundation. You can also add vegetables to your meal.
And contrary to what you might think, pasta can actually be a low glycemic index food.
In a study by Current Developments in Nutrition, it was found that al dente pasta helps keep the glycemic index low. And this keeps you feeling full for longer, which helps in weight management and blood sugar regulation.
6. Matar Paneer
Matar Paneer is an Indian vegetarian dish of cubes of cottage cheese (paneer) and peas in a spiced tomato sauce.
A freezer-friendly meal, two ounces (56 g) of paneer has 14 g of protein, while the peas provide fiber.
Together with the tomato sauce, this makes for a healthy, nutritious dish. Serve with flatbread, rice, or cauliflower rice for a lower-carb option.
According to the Journal of Food Science and Technology, paneer, which is made from milk, is nutritious and is a good source of calcium and phosphorus.
7. Thai Curry
Thai curry made with widely available Thai curry paste and canned coconut milk is a great dinner option.
You can use whatever vegetables you have in the fridge like eggplant, pumpkin, and green beans and throw in chickpeas or tofu for protein.
In this study by the International Journal of Food Science, it was found coconut milk is a good source of antioxidants, which help prevent diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Serve with rice or cauliflower rice for a lower-carb option, or your favorite kind of noodles – a fun twist to Thai curry!
8. Vegetable Lasagna
Lasagna needs not to have meat to be delicious. With so many vegetarian lasagnas out there, you could pack yours with eggplant, zucchini, spinach, and carrots for a high-fiber dinner.
You could also use cottage cheese, which is lower in fat, as a partial substitute for other cheeses to make it even healthier.
In this study by Nutrients, diets high in fiber have been associated with lower risks for lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. So filling up your lasagna with vegetables is definitely a good thing!
9. Lentil Shepherd Pie
A casserole traditionally made with ground meat and vegetables and topped with mashed potatoes, the ground meat may be substituted with lentils. It’s one of my favorite meatless dinner ideas.
The best thing about this is, you layer your pie, pop it in the oven, watch some Netflix and after 45 minutes, you have dinner!
Lentils are a great plant-based protein. Smaller than beans, they add texture and flavor to this traditional English dish and are also available in canned form. Many recipes are also freezer-friendly.
According to the Foods journal, lentils not only have protein but are also a source of antioxidants with numerous health benefits.
10. Kimchi Fried Rice with Egg
Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented vegetable dish, and needs to be on my list of mouthwatering meatless dinner ideas.
It can be cooked with rice to make kimchi fried rice, and topped with a fried egg and served with dried seaweed.
Kimchi is readily available in many groceries or you can make some yourself.
A yummy dish that’s full of flavor, it is also a quick and easy weeknight meal.
Kimchi has been found to have many anti-inflammatory benefits, especially for the liver, as found by Food Science and Biotechnology.
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Meatless dishes need not be unsatisfying. Eating plant-based has many benefits, for our own health and for the environment.
You don’t have to go completely meatless. Even having a few meatless meals a week can make a difference.
Try these meatless dinner ideas today and see for yourself the numerous benefits of going plant-based!