New Ways to Go Meatless on Monday
Eating less meat can be an easy way to improve your health as well as the health of the planet. Replacing meat with an assortment of colorful vegetables and plant-based proteins like quinoa can make your meals more nutritious and can make our food system more efficient — hence the trend of going meatless one day a week. But, if vegetarian meals aren't a part of your regular routine, you aren't comfortable cooking a variety of foods, or you're having a hard time coming up with new or creative meat-free meals, making even one delicious and satisfying meatless main course once a week can be daunting.
A lot of people are under the impression that a vegetarian meal is not as filling as one that also contains meat. And, sure, if you’re replacing your usual meal with a plate full of lettuce, you won’t be satisfied for long. But meat-free meals can be hearty and filling if they’re made with healthy starches and whole grains, plant-based proteins, and good-for-you fats. When you’re looking for recipes for meat-free meals, choose those that include ingredients like protein-packed beans, nuts, or quinoa, or “good fats” like avocado; these ingredients will help you stay fuller longer.
One of the easiest tricks for refreshing your Meatless Monday routine is to get creative with these delicious and filling ingredients. If you’re making bean burgers, give them a new texture and flavor by binding them with cooked wild rice instead of breadcrumbs, make your favorite pasta dish but replace the noodles with white beans instead, purée avocado into bean dips before spreading it on sandwiches for an extra flavorful and filling condiment — simple swaps can make old recipes feel fresh and exciting.
If you’re ready to make over your meat-free meals, we’ve got a few hearty and delicious recipes to get you started.
Baked Egg Bell Pepper Tarts
These quick and easy baked egg tarts are the perfect way to start your day (and your week). They’re loaded with vegetables and ready in just a few minutes. As an added bonus, they’re cooked just until the whites are set so you’ll have lots of runny egg yolk to accompany the crunchy tart shell. Click here for the recipe.
Baked Quinoa Falafel Pita with Tzatziki
(Credit: Katie Parker)
Adding quinoa to falafel is a great way to add more protein to your diet; quinoa is a complete protein, which means it has all the same amino acids as an animal-based protein. Add some homemade tzatziki sauce to these crunchy oven-baked patties for a perfectly delicious meat-free meal. Click here for the recipe.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.