If you’re looking for some healthy dinner ideas with no meat, you’ve come to the right place. I created this list of healthy dinner ideas with no meat so that vegetarians and vegans can enjoy entertaining, hosting and cooking (or just cooking for themselves) just like everyone else! I’ve also provided an overview of my top five favorite meals to make when I’m in a hurry or want something tasty that won’t break the bank.
6 Healthy Dinner Ideas With No Meat
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan, or an omnivore, there are plenty of things to serve at dinner that don’t include meat. These filling foods are also incredibly nutritious, and surely not a waste of your calories or time to fix them. Many meat-free dishes are actually very satisfying, despite them lacking a dense source of protein. I actually prefer feeling full, yet still light and energized after a meal that has no meat, which is what the dishes below can do for you. Try some of my favorite things to serve at dinner. Perhaps include a few of them to round out the meal and make it more filling. These can be stand-in dishes for meat, or can be combined into one meal if you like too. Enjoy!
Let’s start with one of the most popular vegan things to serve at dinner besides meat- quinoa! Quinoa is one of the most well known vegan sources of protein that is also grain-free. Though it cooks like a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant, not a grain. Quinoa is a wonderful food, and so versatile! You can make it savory or sweet, and with 10 grams of protein per ½ cup, it makes such an easy stand-in for meat at dinner. It’s also full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and has a very low glycemic index.
2. SWEET POTATOES
I just love sweet potatoes, and they’re so filling! Sure, they don’t have protein, but they do have plenty of calories, are low-glycemic and actually keep you fuller longer than other vegetables. They can even lower your blood sugar, despite being higher in carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes make the perfect “bed”, if you will, for any toppings of your choice, such as veggies, salsa, yogurt or eggs if you’re vegetarian, and even nut butter for a really nice, sweet treat! Sweet potatoes are also full of Vitamin A, fiber, potassium, Vitamin B6, magnesium, and Vitamin C.
I’m not a huge fan of soy, but some organic brands of tofu are very popular today, and do make a great meat substitution. With a high protein content, tofu is actually a very lean food. It’s also easier to digest than soybeans for many people. If you buy tofu, do buy organic and non-GMO, since soy is one of the most processed foods in the food industry today and is often genetically modified. Tofu contains a wide array of nutrients as well, starting with phytoestrogens that can improve hormones, though this is a controversial issue for many people. Tofu is also pretty mild, so it can be flavored however you like. Many people like to chop it into a stir-fry and cook it with tamari or liquid aminos for a soy-sauce like flavor.
Have you ever made savory oatmeal? It’s actually really good! I had it for the first time a few weeks ago when I wanted something filling for dinner, high in protein, yet also meat-free of course. Oatmeal can be made savory or sweet for dinner, as many people enjoy having breakfast for dinner, so if you want to go that route, feel free! If you cook it savory, I suggest using a little black pepper, turmeric, and some basil, parsley, and tossing in a few onions slices or a garlic clove. It sounds strange, but is really good! Pair savory oatmeal with any veggies you like, or if you serve it sweet as in traditional recipes for dinner, add in some fresh berries, nuts, and seeds to round out the dinner.
If you’re vegetarian, most likely you eat eggs. Eggs can be a great way for traditional meat eaters to lean into plant-based eating more easily at first. Eggs are full of vitamins and minerals, have a decent protein content, and some varieties contain omega 3 fatty acids. Be sure to buy organic and/or certified humane for the most nutritious, and best raised variety of eggs on the market. If you can afford pastured eggs, they are even better. The more humanely raised the egg, the better it will taste, and the more nutritious it will be.
When all else fails, just throw in all the veggies you’ve got into a large pot, add in some seasonings and make soup! Who needs the meat with filling veggies like sweet and red potatoes, kale, red peppers, onions, garlic, carrots, peas, squash, green beans, and tomatoes? Add in some olive or coconut oil to add flavor, some sea salt and some black pepper, and even toss in a bit of oregano to add some heartiness. You’ll cozy up to a delicious meal that’s meat-free, yet so filling and satisfying.
Easy Meatless Dinners That Are Ready in 30 Minutes or Less
It’s easy to get a healthy and flavorful dinner on the table with these recipes. These recipes are meatless, which is great if you’re looking to cut back or make the transition to a vegetarian lifestyle. Plus, it’ll take you just 30 minutes or less to make the meal. Recipes like Creamy Broccoli Pasta and Thai Tofu Vegetable Curry with Zucchini Noodles are satisfying and so delicious you won’t even notice that it’s meatless.
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Easy Eggplant Stir-Fry
This eggplant stir-fry is easy to make. We call for long and tender Japanese eggplant, but regular eggplant will work well too, cut into 1-inch pieces. Jalapeño peppers can vary from mild to very spicy. If you need to cut the heat, opt for small sweet peppers in their place.
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Jackfruit Barbacoa Burrito Bowls
Jackfruit, a tropical fruit with a dense, chewy texture, is a blank canvas that takes on flavors well. In these vegan burrito bowls, the jackfruit is simmered in a warm and spicy chile sauce that’s so good you’ll never know you’re eating a plant-based protein instead of pork or beef.
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Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Almond Pesto & Butter Beans
Need some new meatless dinner ideas? This vegan recipe for grilled cauliflower steaks with buttery (but butter-free!) butter beans and almond pesto comes together in just 25 minutes but is impressive enough to serve to guests. We’re sorry to ask you to buy 2 heads of cauliflower to make this recipe when you only cut a couple of “steaks” from each, but it guarantees the best results. Just think of it this way: having leftovers gives you an excuse to try one of our many other healthy cauliflower recipes!
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One-Pot Lemon-Broccoli Pasta with Parmesan
This hearty pasta dish with bright, fresh flavor is ideal for busy weeknights. The Parmesan adds welcome saltiness and notes of umami and you get added texture from the slight crunch of broccoli and whole-wheat noodles. Add some shredded rotisserie chicken, grilled shrimp or crispy chickpeas to punch up the protein.
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Black Beans & Corn with Poached Eggs
This sweet and spicy black bean and corn recipe features queso fresco, a Mexican cheese that is salty, crumbly, and perfectly meltable.
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Chile-Lime Cauliflower Quesadillas
Poblano peppers add a touch of heat to these vegetarian quesadillas, but a sweet bell pepper is tasty, too, if you want something milder. Start these quesadillas in the oven and finish them off in a skillet for melty cheese and crispy tortillas.
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Asparagus & Smoked Mozzarella Pizzettes
These cute mini pizzas are topped with asparagus, walnuts, mint, orange and smoked mozzarella cheese for what may sound like a crazy combination of pizza toppings, but try it for yourself. The mix puts a downright delicious spin on pizza night.
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Roasted Red Pepper, Spinach & Feta Penne Pasta
In this quick 20-minute dinner recipe, tender penne pasta is combined with garlic, roasted red peppers and spinach and topped with crumbled feta cheese for a fast and easy Mediterranean-inspired meal. This recipe was graciously shared by EatingWell reader Dottie Carpenter, who states, “Recipes are no good if they’re not shared!”
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Mushroom & Tofu Stir-Fry
This tofu veggie stir-fry is quick and easy, making it a great go-to weeknight meal. Baked tofu has a firm, toothsome texture that crisps well in a hot pan. You can find it in flavors like teriyaki and sesame, both of which are delicious here. Or opt for a smoked version, which has the same texture with a more robust flavor. Serve over brown rice.
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Piled-High Greek Vegetable Pitas
The bright, fresh flavors of the Mediterranean come alive in these easy vegetarian pitas. Give yourself enough time to make the roasted vegetables called for in the recipe–or make them a day or two in advance for a healthy meal that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. These pitas would also work well with whatever leftover cooked veggies you have on hand. No need to warm the roasted veggies up; this recipe tastes great chilled or at room temperature.
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Jackfruit Sloppy Joes
Meaty jackfruit makes these vegan sloppy Joes rich and filling. Jackfruit, a starchy tropical fruit, is mildly nutty and sweet, a blank canvas for a warm and spicy sauce like the one for this quick meat-free sandwich.
Meat-free Monday recipes
Go meatless once a week for the environment and your health with these delicious vegetarian dinners.
Soba noodle salad
Yummy, delicious and healthy for lunch or snacking.
Sweet Potato Quesadillas
Quesadillas are a quick lunchtime fix. Fill them up, fold them over and fry on both sides. Weekday lunch, sorted.
Pumpkin, Kale and Fetta Quiche
A vegetarian quiche that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner or a work lunch.
Pumpkin, pasta and spinach bake
Lovely with a salad for lunch or dinner. This was originally from a weight Watchers cookbook, I modified it a bit to suit my taste. Enjoy!
Quinoa salad with balsamic maple dressing
A nutritious salad that can be varied to taste. Great for a barbeque side dish or vegetarian lunch dish.
Ange’s Vegan Greek Moussaka
Meat and dairy-free moussaka.
Roast Grape Salad with Goat’s Cheese
You’ll be inspired by this easy Italian recipe.
Vegetarian mushroom bolognaise sauce
Delicious spaghetti sauce for vegetarians instead of meat bolognaise.
These falafels are so easy to make, you’ll wonder why you’ve ever bought them from the store!
Pumpkin and Spinach Risotto
The flavours in this risotto work very well together.