Very Best Healthy Recipes Series: Part 7
~ These wildly popular, healthy vegetarian meals are perfect for Meatless Monday … or any day! Easy vegetarian recipes that’ll even keep meat-lovers happy – perfect for the whole family! (Originally published August 18, 2016 and updated October 31, 2019.) ~
It’s easy to be veg-inspired this time of year, isn’t it? Veggie power reigns in late summer!
When the farm markets and grocery stores are overflowing with gorgeous produce, vegetarian meals are the perfect way to put it all to delicious use! No doubt … we knew this was a great time to feature some of the very most popular vegetarian recipes out there in blog-land!
But you know what? The inspiration doesn’t have to end with the first frost. No, siree! With so many outstanding recipes here, you’ll have plenty of ways to stay veg-inspired all year long!
Search Our Site for MORE Healthy Vegetarian Recipe Ideas! Here’s How …
The Vegetarian Meal Trend
You’ve probably noticed the meatless trend: even non-vegetarians are embracing the benefits of subbing out even one meat-focused meal each week, in exchange for a vegetarian dinner. Meatless Monday? Yup! It’s totally a thing! And for good reason – vegetarian meals can be a terrific way to work more nutritious ingredients into your weekly dinner rotations.
But they’ve gotta taste amazing, right? So amazing that your family (even those meat lovers!) won’t care one bit about leaving out the meat and trying a vegetarian recipe instead.
Well (full disclosure here) … I pretty much drooled on my keyboard as I put this list together for you. If anything is going to convince a meat-atarian to veg out for an evening, these recipes are definitely it!
Making Healthy Vegetarian Meals Satisfying
If you aren’t eating a lot of vegetarian meals yet (and you’re sort of in a “beginner vegetarian meals” phase) … or if you’re a vegetarian who’s looking for ideas that your non-vegetarian friends will like, too … you might keep stumbling against this question: What are some strategies for making healthy vegetarian meal recipes that taste just as delicious and satisfying as meals that include meat?
As you’ll see from our lineup of recipes below, there are lots of different ways to achieve this!
• Some “all veggie meals” directly swap the meat for protein-rich “meat substitutes” like soy crumbles, tofu hot dogs or sausages, and other plant-based meat “look alikes” (think of examples like Boca Burgers, Beyond Burgers or Impossible Burgers).
• Other recipes don’t really attempt to fake you out by tricking you into thinking you’re eating meat. They simply focus on high-protein ingredients like quinoa (one of the only plants that has all the amino acids needed to be a complete protein), or legumes such a beans and lentils.
• And some recipes basically just skip the meat altogether, focusing instead on satisfying grains, pastas, and loads of flavorful veggies.
Whichever path you choose, I would argue that the most important goal is to make sure there are interesting textures and, especially, to make sure those vegetarian diet recipes are hugely flavorful.
• You might focus, for example, on coaxing lots of flavors out of your veggies by grilling or roasting them (one of my favorite techniques!). The caramelization that happens yields big flavor!
• Or, layer on lots of flavors with terrific sauces and condiments. Maybe you’re shooting for rich, cheesy, homey flavors … or bright, citrusy, summer notes … or spicy Mexican or Latin flair … or … well, you get the idea! Huge, totally vegetarian flavor can come through your sauces and condiments and make your dish, ultimately, very delicious and satisfying (with or without meat).
• One of the things many vegetarian-based meals miss out on is the umami flavor profile found in meat. But, that umami flavor profile can also be achieved through things like mushrooms, soy sauce, cheese and tomatoes.
So with all that in mind, here’s how we picked the healthy vegetarian food ideas to showcase here …
How We Picked the BEST Vegetarian Dinners
You loyal THK’ers know by now that, for each of the lists in our special Very Best Healthy Recipes Series (this is the 7th in our series), we polled hundreds of other food bloggers, asking them to share the one – just one! – absolutely, positively most popular healthy recipe from their entire site.
Sure, we got plenty of chicken recipes and definitely lots of healthy fish recipes … but we also got loads of fantastic vegetarian meals. We sorted through to choose the most outstanding of all (trying, trying not to slobber shamelessly on the keyboard …), and I’ve gotta tell ya … this honestly may be my personal favorite “Very Best Healthy Recipes” post yet! I have absolutely no doubt why all these recipes have become so crazy popular!
Whether you’re making brilliant use of your garden’s bounty (and the 15.2 million extra zucchini that no doubt showed up), or simply searching for a few exciting ideas for meatless Monday, or really just looking for fresh twists to rotate into your existing line-up of vegetarian meals … hey, we’ve got you covered, all year long! (And that drooling on your keyboard thing … remember … I warned you …)
Two Healthy Kitchens’ Favorite Vegetarian Meals
While we’re talking vegetarian recipes and veggie-centric meal ideas, check out a few of our own personal favorites here at THK. These are all recipes I make again and again for my own family that we just love … and I’m pretty sure your family will love, too!
Note that you’ll need a spiralizer to make this recipe (which is super quick and easy … about 15 minutes!), as well as a couple of the recipes from other bloggers in this list. If you don’t have a spiralizer yet, I definitely urge you to give it a try – so fun and so many healthy new veggie-filled options! After doing a ridiculous amount of research, these are the first two spiralizers I bought, which are still the two I’d recommend checking out: the Spiralizer 5-Blade and the Mueller 4-Blade.
Alrighty! Feeling veg-inspired?!?!
Then go grab all those zucchinis waiting in your garden, and get to work … but be sure to pop back when the first snow flies, to figure out how to keep that veggie-momentum cranking all year long! We’ve even got specific collections of vegetarian and vegan meals just for the holidays – our Best Healthy Thanksgiving Vegetarian Main Dishes collection, and our Best Christmas Vegetarian Main Dish Recipes collection!
Veggies for the win, my friends … all year long!
And don’t miss all the other super-popular recipes in our “Very Best Healthy Recipes” series!
- Food Bloggers’ Best Healthy Cooking Tips and Swaps … with Recipes! (Part 1)
- 11 All-Time Best Healthy Breakfast Ideas (Part 2)
- 5 All-Time Best Healthy Smoothie Recipes (Part 3)
- 10 All-Time Best Healthy Snack Ideas (Part 4)
- 11 All-Time Best Healthy Salad Recipes (Part 5)
- 6 All-Time Best Healthy Side Dish and Vegetable Recipes (Part 6)
- 11 All-Time Best Healthy Chili and Soup Recipes (Part 8)
- 11 All-Time Best Healthy, Easy Chicken Recipes (Part 9)
- 9 All-Time Best Healthy, Easy Seafood and Fish Recipes (Part 10)
- 7 All-Time Best Easy, Healthy, Dessert Recipes (Part 11)