Making the jump to a meat-free diet can be daunting, especially if you’ve been a big meat eater all your life.
If you aren’t used to meatless cooking, you might be a bit stuck when it comes to meal ideas.
Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you, and gathered a list of 28 delicious vegetarian recipes in this handy list!
So whether you’re looking to switch to a meat-free diet or simply just want to try something new, there’s sure to be something for everybody to love!
Delicious Meatless Meals
Mexican-style food is a great way to introduce yourself to meatless meals, as a lot of dishes are already based around vegetables.
This burrito bowl recipe is a great example of this, and it’s absolutely bursting with veg and flavor.
Not only that, but they’re really quick and easy to make, and are super-healthy to boot! Just cook up some rice along with beans and some veg, and you’re good to go!
Something great about burrito bowls is that you can use practically any ingredients you want, making it an easy recipe to adjust to suit your preferences.
Whoever said that vegetarian food isn’t bursting with flavor? This delicious pasta bake definitely proves them wrong!
With a mix of roasted veg and crumbly feta stirred into pasta, this dish is as simple as it is tasty.
What’s more, most of the cooking doesn’t involve anything more than popping your ingredients in the oven, making it a great recipe to make if you’ve got your hands full.
Looking for something that brings a bit of heat to the table? Then look no further than this spicy bang bang cauliflower!
Cauliflower florets are tossed in a spicy sauce made with olive oil, garlic, lime juice, sweet chili sauce, and sriracha, before being baked in the oven.
Like the pasta bake above, most of the cooking time comes from the cauliflower being in the oven, making this recipe simple and easy to prepare in just a few minutes.
Serve it with some plain rice, or just eat it on its own!
This rich and creamy risotto is almost too good to resist.
The combination of chestnuts and a mix of wild mushrooms gives the risotto a deliciously nutty umami flavor, making for a hearty and warming dish perfect for winter.
Just swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock, and find a vegetarian alternative to parmesan (which contains animal rennet) – if you can’t find a vegetarian parmesan, then feel free to substitute it with cheddar or mozzarella.
Falafel is a popular Middle Eastern street food made with chickpeas and spices.
While it’s typically fried, this recipe involves baking it for a healthier alternative.
Making your own falafel is easy, and mainly involves blending all your ingredients together in a food processor before baking.
Falafel is a versatile dish – you can use it as part of other meals such as burgers and wraps, or simply eat it as is!
Jackfruit is a popular ingredient in vegetarian cooking due to its similar texture to meat, which makes it a great way to ease into meat-free cooking.
This recipe for pulled BBQ jackfruit sliders is meant to replicate pulled pork.
Cooked in vegetable broth with onion, garlic, and a variety of spices until tender, the jackfruit is almost identical to pulled pork!
Mix it with some BBQ sauce and bake it before putting it on some sliced buns. Top with some homemade slaw, and enjoy!
It’s hard to go wrong with a good lasagna, and this recipe packed with cheese and roasted vegetables is just as delicious (if not more so!) than any recipe with meat.
It takes a bit more work than some of the other recipes on this list, but it’s definitely worth the effort!
Fry some roughly chopped peppers, squash, zucchini, onion, and tomatoes in a pan until soft and fragrant, adding crushed garlic and chili flakes for some added flavor.
Then layer it in a pan with cheese sauce and noodles before baking until the top layer is crispy and covered in gooey cheese. Delicious!
Sometimes you just want something simple and satisfying that’s as easy to cook as it is delicious.
Mac ‘n cheese is all of this and more. It’s rich, creamy, and filling – basically, it’s the ideal comfort food!
Grate your own cheese whenever possible; pre-shredded cheeses are typically coated in a starchy coating to keep it from sticking in the bag, and this makes it harder for the cheese to melt properly.
Other than that, though, you can customize your mac in any way you want. Use your favorite cheeses, and feel free to add some extra ingredients to suit your preferences.
Speaking of comfort food, this spicy five bean chili is the perfect dish to keep you warm on a cold winter’s day.
Packed with five different beans (kidney beans, haricot beans, black beans, aduki beans, and black-eyed beans), this chili is absolutely bursting with protein and fiber. On top of that, it’s also completely vegan!
It does take a while to make, but a lot of the prep time involves letting the chili stew in a pot and occasionally stirring it.
If you have a slow cooker, all you need to do is toss all the ingredients in and leave it to cook for a few hours.
Spicy, hearty, and tasty – what more could you ask for?
These vegan Sloppy Joes are incredibly simple to make and taste just as good as the original.
They substitute the ground beef for red lentils, which keeps the texture similar to a regular Sloppy Joe, and use a vegan Worcestershire sauce to make sure that everything’s meat-free.
Other than that, though, pretty much everything stays true to the original recipe!
Simmer the lentils in vegetable broth until tender, while frying up some onion, garlic, and bell peppers in another pan.
Then add your tomato and Worcestershire sauce with some spices, mix it all together, and serve on some lightly toasted buns.
Sweet potato is a versatile ingredient in a lot of meatless cooking, and for good reason.
It can be prepared in a variety of ways, it’s great at holding flavors, and it’s super-healthy!
As a result, it’s the perfect base for this delicious sweet potato masala.
Creamy and lightly spicy, this one-pot recipe is warming and filling.
Start by making a paste with tomato puree, garlic, ginger, and various spices (you can use a premade masala spice mix, or make your own).
Coat your sweet potato and other vegetables in the paste, and add it all to one tray for roasting.
Serve it on a bed of plain rice or curried rice along with some naan bread. If you aren’t a big fan of sweet potato, this recipe also works great with cauliflower.
Stir-fry is a quick and easy option if you’re looking for some delicious food in a rush.
Loaded with vegetables and packed with flavor, this recipe can be prepared in less than 40 minutes!
Pre-cook your noodles, leaving them with a bit of bite, and set them aside.
Then, stir-fry your favorite veg like onion, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, beansprouts, and snap peas until tender and fragrant.
Add the noodles and sauce to your wok and continue to stir-fry for a few minutes to make sure everything’s incorporated.
Finish it off with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and diced green onions, and you’re ready to serve!
This recipe uses teriyaki sauce, but feel free to swap in a different sauce like chow mein, Szechuan, or hoisin – the choice is yours!
Jamaican cuisine is renowned for its bold, powerful flavors, and this jerk grilled eggplant recipe is no exception.
Made by coating eggplant ‘steaks’ in a jerk marinade and grilling them on a skillet or barbecue, this recipe brings some incredible flavors with barely any effort on your part.
The real star of the show here is, of course, the marinade. This soaks into the eggplant and creates a sticky glaze when you grill it.
To make the jerk marinade, mix together crushed garlic, ginger, coconut sugar, jerk seasoning, tamari sauce (see also ‘5 Tamari Substitutes‘), green onions, habaneros, and some coconut oil, and a squeeze of lime juice in a bowl.
Brush your eggplant with a generous coating and leave it to soak for a few minutes before grilling.
Serve your grilled eggplant with Jamaican rice and peas, or with some sweet potato dirty fries if you’re looking for even more bold flavors.
14. Chickpea Salad
This fresh and tasty chickpea salad is bursting with protein and nutrients and only needs a few simple ingredients.
All you need to do to make this delicious salad is slice up some avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers.
Then, toss the veg and rinsed chickpeas in a salad bowl and drizzle with a lemon and garlic vinaigrette.
Crumble in some feta and sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste, and your salad is good to go!
You can also add or remove ingredients to suit your preferences. Overall, this recipe takes just a few minutes to prepare and makes a perfect healthy lunch or breakfast.
Tofu is great at absorbing the flavors of whatever it’s cooked in. This makes it ideal for this fragrant coconut curry.
This recipe is incredibly easy to make, and can be prepared in a single pot in only half an hour.
Start out by sauteing onion and pepper in a pan until they start to brown, then add garlic and ginger along with your spices.
Coconut curry is typically mild, so it’s perfect for milder palates; alternatively, you can use a spicier curry powder if you prefer more heat.
Once your veg is fragrant and well-coated in your spice mix, add coconut milk, tomato paste, and your tofu.
Now, just leave it to simmer for 5-10 minutes so the tofu can absorb as much flavor as possible.
Serve it with plain white or brown rice and top with some fresh chopped cilantro.
As mentioned before, Mexican-style food works great as part of a meat-free diet; if you weren’t convinced before, these delicious black bean burritos are all the proof you need!
They’re also simple and super-easy to make, only needing a few ingredients.
Fry onion, garlic, bell peppers, and jalapenos in a skillet for a few minutes before adding your black beans, and continue to cook them for another 2-3 minutes.
While you’re doing this, warm your tortillas in the oven.
Once your filling is cooked, add it to the tortillas with whatever toppings you want. Roll the tortillas up, and your burritos are ready to go!
17. Tofu Pad Thai
Pad thai is a type of stir-fried noodle dish from Thailand (see also ‘20 Tasty Thai Chicken Recipes‘).
While it’s typically made with shrimp or chicken, tofu is a great meatless substitute that carries all the delicious flavors it’s cooked in.
You can use a pre-made sauce or make your own. Stir-fry your tofu and veg while you cook your noodles.
Once your noodles are mostly cooked, toss everything together with the veg and tofu in a large pan or wok, and continue to stir fry until it’s all incorporated.
This recipe is incredibly quick, making it ideal for when you’re busy and need something delicious fast.
Buddha bowls pack a lot of healthy nutrients and flavor into one big bowl of food, and they can be made in no time at all.
This tasty buddha bowl recipe uses chickpeas and sweet potato for protein and fiber and combines it with kale, broccolini, a variety of spices and a sweet tahini sauce for a hearty meal that’s every bit as delicious as it is healthy.
Looking for a quick and easy lunchtime meal? Then look no further than these stuffed peppers!
They’re packed with a mix of beans, rice, and chopped fried veggies and topped with cheese.
Baked until the cheese is crispy and golden, this simple meal is sure to go down a treat!
As we’ve mentioned already, tofu is a great flavor-absorber.
The firm tofu in this 15-minute recipe holds all the delicious flavors from the earthy shiitake mushrooms, sesame oil, and fragrant garlic it’s stir-fried with.
Add in some bok choy for a bit of extra crunch and serve it with some fluffy white rice.
There’s nothing more comforting on a cold day than a bowl of tomato soup.
Made with just three ingredients – butter, onion, and tomatoes – this tasty soup is the perfect pick-me-up and is ready to go in less than an hour.
You can use fresh tomatoes, or simply go with canned tomatoes for the added convenience.
22. Lentil Loaf
Meatloaf is a favorite comfort food, but sometimes it can be a bit too heavy and greasy – not to mention the fact that meat is the main ingredient!
This vegan alternative uses lentils to replicate the texture and is packed with veggies and spices for that comforting flavor that honestly tastes better than the original.
Not only that, but it’s much healthier and lighter, too!
Cheesy, crunchy, and full of flavor – these quesadillas have it all!
Their filling of chopped veggies, sweet potatoes, and black beans makes them a healthier option, while a selection of spices such as cumin and chipotle powder packs even more flavor into this simple recipe.
You can also customize them whichever way you want with different ingredients and toppings, making them a great fridge-clearer if you have a ton of odds and ends to go through.
This iconic Mexican street food is typically served on its own as a snack, but can also make a great lunch or even dinner if you have two (or three!) of them.
Whole grilled cobs of corn are topped with a selection of toppings, typically including cheese, mayo, chilli, and a squeeze of lime juice.
The perfect veggie option for a barbecue!
Made by grating potatoes and frying them until crispy, this delicious rosti recipe also includes veg like zucchini and carrots for a more colorful and flavorsome meal.
Topped with a tomato-corn relish, these tasty fried potato patties are a great quick meal that cooks in just 5 minutes.
General Tso’s Chicken is a Chinese takeout favorite, and this meatless alternative (which uses cauliflower florets instead of chicken) is a great take on the classic recipe.
The battered cauliflower is fried until crispy and coated in a sticky, flavorful sauce.
Top with some sesame seeds and chopped spring onions and serve it with white rice.
This tasty lunch recipe turns a few simple ingredients into a delicious sandwich.
Mash chickpeas, red onion, red pepper, mayo and mustard in a bowl until its a chunky texture.
Add it to some brown bread and layer on some fresh greens, and enjoy!
This recipe takes a bit more time to make, but it’s more than worth it.
The slices of tomatoes, caramelized onion, and cheesy filling all combine in a tasty crust for a filling meal that tastes absolutely incredible.
Fresh basil on the top adds an extra bit of flavor to tie everything together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Go Meat-Free?
Cutting down or completely removing meat from your diet is a great way to eat more healthily and sustainably.
Plant-based diets are packed with nutrients to keep your body healthy and in good shape, while also being better for the environment than meat-based diets.
You might be worried about leaving meat behind, but there are countless options for nutritious and delicious meatless meals out there to help you make the jump.
Are Any Of These Recipes Vegan?
While all of these recipes are meat-free, not all of them are 100% vegan.
With that said, though, there are still several vegan options available. 5 bean chili, chickpea salad, baked falafel, and grilled jerk eggplant are just a few of the vegan options on this list.
You can also make most of the other recipes vegan by switching out non-vegan ingredients for vegan substitutes!
How Nutritious Are Meatless Meals?
A common concern leveled at meat-free diets is the potential lack of nutrients present in the food – especially protein.
However, there is still plenty of nutritional value in these recipes, so don’t worry about missing out on vital nutrients.
Meat isn’t the only source of protein, and there are many plant-based alternatives out there.
Tofu, chickpeas, beans, and mushrooms are only a handful of plant-based sources of protein.
Eating meat-free can be daunting at first, but there is a nearly endless variety of great-tasting meatless meals out there.
With all the variety in this list, there is a meat-free recipe that everyone can enjoy!
So now that you’ve taken a look at 28 delicious meat-free recipes, all you have to do now is try them out for yourself. Enjoy!