The kind of food we put into our bodies really does have an effect on our mood and energy levels. We all remember getting a short sugar rush after eating all of our Halloween candy, making a cup of coffee for an afternoon pick-me-up, and perhaps turning to a warm glass of milk before bedtime to help us fall asleep a bit easier.
As more and more people start to change their diets in order to fit their lifestyle and their health goals, veggies seem to be making a comeback. There are vegetable-based versions of many classic meat dishes such as vegetarian hamburgers, vegetarian burritos, and even vegetarian hot dogs! In fact, some restaurants cater specifically to vegetarians and offer a completely vegetable and fruit-based selection.
The number of vegetables out there is endless, and there are definitely some around the world that we may not ever have heard of. Choosing a non-meat dish has become a lot easier, and the people who are choosing to go down this meatless path have a long list of options in terms of what kind of dishes they can make. One of the biggest perks of incorporating more vegetables into your diet is the vitamins and minerals that so many vegetables have. And with all the recipes available out there, the resulting dishes are sure to be colorful and delicious.
Below, we take a look at some delicious dishes that are filling, satisfying, and completely meat free.
25 Spinach Artichoke Lasagna
Although many versions of lasagna include a few layers of meat in between the pasta, cheeses, and other ingredients, this spinach artichoke lasagna is completely meatless but no less filling. Most of the ingredients remain the same as regular lasagna; however, what gives this lasagna a different flavor is the addition of artichokes, which make it a bit more substantial. Since the basic recipe of lasagna generally remains the same, any vegetable can be added to make this dish your own based on personal preferences.
Chili is often an old favorite, and every person makes this dish just a little differently by adding their own unique spices and veggies. This vegetarian chili combines a lot of different healthy ingredients to make a chili that's hearty and nutritious. In addition to the different kinds of beans, both white and kidney, there are veggies like kale, tomatoes, corn, and green peppers. You can also add a bit more hot sauce to kick it up a notch if the sour cream and cheese aren't enough for toppings.
23 Thai Pineapple Fried Rice
Some people are a bit intimidated by making rice because the timing has to be just right so that it doesn't end up in some sticky or overly dry mess. However, once you learn how to cook regular rice with ease, the fun can really begin as you start to mix in different ingredients. This Thai pineapple fried rice puts an island twist on rice by adding freshly cut pineapple cubes along with vegetables like red peppers, peas, carrots, and eggs to make it a bit more substantial.
22 Portobello and Poblano Fajitas
If you like peppers, this recipe is definitely sure to please. It includes three different kinds of peppers: poblano peppers, bell peppers, and jalapeños. Large portabello mushrooms are sliced depending on your preference and accompanied in the tortilla with some sliced avocados, which always help to make any food just a bit creamier and more nutritionally dense. Seasonings like salt, cumin, and garlic powder add flavor to the cooked vegetables, and toppings like salsa, hot sauce, and cheeses help make this fajita recipe a flavorful treat.
21 Spicy Coconut Noodles
For a different taste that has a flavor a bit out of the ordinary, these spicy coconut noodles will definitely be a nice change of pace. Unsweetened coconut milk is given some flavor by adding some salt, chili powder, chili paste, and tomato paste, and some bean sprouts and scallions also help add some texture. Toppings can range from a light cheese of your choosing to some toasted coconut flakes to add a bit of a crunch. A squeeze of lemon juice can also freshen up the dish.
20 Black Bean Enchiladas
Black beans are typically used to substitute for meat in food items like burgers, and it makes a delicious filler in between some tortillas for an amazing dish. After cooking the onions and green pepper, half of the black beans are added and smashed, and the other half is added and left whole to provide different textures of the same ingredient with every bite. After being baked in the oven so that the tortillas are a nice crispy texture, they can be topped with cheese, sour cream, or anything else you may like.
19 Portobello Mushroom Burgers
Although classic burgers are typically made with an all-beef patty and just a few basic veggies like lettuce and tomato, this portobello mushroom burger is much more nutritious and filling in a lighter way. While the main ingredient is the large portobello mushroom that's left whole, there are also some other veggies like caramelized onions, arugula, and even red beans that'll add some more sustenance and taste to a burger that you can have more than one of without feeling too heavy afterward.
18 Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps
Hummus is another one of those food items that have been making their rounds in different restaurants, each one making the dish in a slightly different way to achieve its own unique flavor. You can either buy the hummus pre-made or make your own with different spices. In addition to the hummus, the number of veggies that you can fill this wrap up with is endless, from different kinds of peppers to mushrooms, spinach, kale, and tomatoes. Try out a wide variety, and see what flavor combination suits your tastes!
17 Curried Cauliflower Soup
Soup is easy to eat and generally easy to make with a lot of leftovers if you don't have a lot of people to share food with. Thicker soups like this curried cauliflower soup are perfect on cold winter days when you just want something smooth and warm to fill you up. With ingredients like potatoes and cauliflower, you can add your own spices to make this as flavorful or as spicy as you'd like, or you can simply go with the cumin and the curry powder as the distinguishing spices.
16 Spicy Sweet Potato and Green Rice Burrito Bowls
Burritos and burrito bowls are very popular food items for those who want to have a lot of ingredients and different flavors in one bite. There are endless possibilities in terms of what you can choose to put inside your burritos, and meat doesn't have to be one of them in order to get filled up. This recipe calls for seasoned black beans, caramelized sweet potatoes, and cilantro-spinach brown rice along with some slices of avocados and salsa in order to spice it up just right.
15 Spiced Lentil Soup
Lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition despite their small size. Packed with folate, protein, and iron, this spiced lentil soup will provide a lot of benefits while still remaining a low-calorie food. This particular spiced lentil soup really only has two vegetables—garlic and onion—but there's a long list of spices that give it its unique flavor. These spices include cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. The soup includes ingredients that one may not think ordinarily go together like coconut milk and vegetable broth, but they combine to give this soup a very unique flavor.
14 Sweet Potato Burrito Smothered in Avocado Salsa Verde
Another variation of the sweet potato burrito bowl, this recipe calls for a traditional burrito wrapped in a large flour tortilla. The sweet potatoes are baked after being coated in cumin, salt, and three different kinds of pepper: smoked paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Other possible fillings include black beans, different kinds of cheeses, and peppers, depending on how spicy your preference is. What really makes this burrito deliciously different is the avocado salsa verde, which is made of pureed avocados, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, and salsa verde.
13 Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce over Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Rice
Sweet potatoes are a favorite of many people who want to make their vegetarian dishes a bit heavier and more filling, and this recipe is a great way to incorporate them into your cooking. The spicy Thai sauce really makes this recipe unique and includes ingredients with very strong and distinctive flavors of their own such as peanut butter, tamari or soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, honey, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Depending on your preference, in addition to the potatoes, you can also add different kinds of peppers or other vegetables that you like.
12 Quinoa Vegetable Soup with Kale
Quinoa has become a very trendy food item because it's so nutritionally dense. Although the seeds themselves are quite small, they're packed with fiber and protein without being high in calories or fat. Since quinoa is plain and relatively flavorless by itself, you can add whatever seasonings you want, which allows people to get creative. This quinoa vegetable soup with kale includes other vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, and celery, which ensure that this will be a light soup that's heavy on the nutritional benefits.
11 Zucchini With Quinoa Stuffing
Quinoa is a very versatile food because it can be flavored in an infinite number of ways and mixed into a dish as an additional ingredient or eaten by itself, too. This dish uses baked zucchini as a base for the quinoa, which can be mixed in with a variety of veggies like tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and onions to make a heartier mix to put on the zucchini and enjoy. Toppings like sauces and different kinds of cheeses can be added depending on your preferences.
10 Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s pie is a very filling dish because of the large variety of ingredients that can be stuffed inside and enjoyed. One of the more important ingredients in this recipe is the potatoes, which will be covering the pie on top and adding a lot of weight to the entire dish, which is mostly composed of the veggies of your choosing. More traditional shepherd’s pie is made with peas, carrots, tomatoes, and kidney beans, and once this dish is popped in the oven, it's just a matter of time before the delicious aroma fills the kitchen!
9 Black Bean Soup With Roasted Jalapeno Salsa
Beans are well known for being a great source of fiber and protein, and black beans are no different. This recipe is easy to eat and will keep you full while providing you with the energy that a lot of plant-based protein usually does a great job of. This recipe is simple but delicious and easy to make because it only includes black beans, a large poblano pepper, onions, and as many jalapeños as you want to achieve the level of spice you can tolerate.
8 Cheese Tortellini With Spinach, Peas, and Brown Butter
Pasta lovers who want a bit of a change might want to try making this tortellini dish that's packed with different kinds of veggies and flavors. The veggies can include but are definitely not limited to peas, spinach, tomatoes, and peppers. The tortellini itself is relatively easy to make and consists of a few basic ingredients like butter (which can be browned to add a slightly different flavor to the veggies) along with salt, black pepper, and a bit of lemon zest to add a fresh flavor.
7 Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Feta and Almonds
Portobello mushrooms are featured in a lot of vegetarian recipes and are usually used to replace meat in many dishes that call for it. Full of B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid, they're a great substitution for anyone who wants to have a hearty meal without the addition of meat. This recipe calls for large baked portobello mushrooms as the base and, in addition to the feta cheese, spinach, and almonds, which add flavor, they're also seasoned with lemon juice and thyme.
6 Vegetable Paella
This veggie paella recipe makes for a nutritious and filling meal that's also very colorful and eye-catching. In addition to distinct spices such as saffron and turmeric, the long list of nutritious ingredients includes red and yellow bell peppers, green beans, tomatoes, green peas, and artichoke hearts over a bed of short grain rice that's been cooked al dente instead of being too soft. Additional flavors include lemon, parsley leaves, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, and veggie broth.
5 Tofu and Vegetable Curry With Rice
Tofu has been used as a replacement for meat in recipes for a very long time because of its texture and the endless ways that it can be prepared to add more sustenance to a recipe. Made from soya milk, tofu’s nutritional benefits include being high in protein while being low in calories and fat, and it's been found to be helpful in lowering bad cholesterol. This recipe calls for tofu on a bed of white rice with distinct flavors coming from the coconut milk, the red curry paste, the ginger, and the okra.
4 Eggplant Parmesan
Eggplant is a powerhouse vegetable that's been shown to help lower blood pressure, help with anemia and diabetes, and even helps to prevent some cancers! With all of these nutritional benefits, it makes a great ingredient in recipes that are both healthy and filling. This recipe is relatively simple, as the list of ingredients isn't long, but they all add a strong flavor. Once the eggplant slices are dipped in eggs, they're coated in breadcrumbs and layered with spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese.
3 Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Peppers are a very popular vegetable because they can be sliced, diced, or cut open and stuffed to offer a variety of different flavors. Although you can definitely stuff poblano peppers with your favorite ingredients, this recipe is relatively simple to prepare because it only calls for a few veggies to be stuffed inside the poblano pepper: sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn, which amount to a healthy and tasty finished product that's full of protein and fiber and low in calories or fat.
2 Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata
Goat cheese is a great addition because it has a very strong and distinct flavor, which means that any recipe that calls for it is sure to be tasty without the need to add a lot of additional spices. Frittatas are easy to make and are also a great breakfast food because while it's filling, it's also light and nutritional depending on the kinds of ingredients added to the baked eggs. This recipe calls for spinach and onions along with salt and pepper to taste and is very easy to prepare.
1 Thai Spiced Tofu
Many Thai dishes call for a curry paste, which automatically lends any recipe a unique taste that's sure to make an impression. Since tofu is relatively bland by itself, this recipe calls for a number of spices that are sure to give it a lot of flavor. The spices include red curry paste, sugar, fish sauce, peanut oil, and veggie broth. Veggies like green beans or spinach can be added to make it more nutritionally dense, and several servings can be enjoyed because of its simplicity.