It’s no secret that there are tons of beneficial reasons to forgo eating meat for dinner. Not only can it help reduce our chances of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity, going meatless for just one meal a week can actually help reduce our individual carbon footprints and conserve resources, like fossil fuels and fresh water.
Of course, one of the main questions people have when dropping meat is how to replace the protein meat adds to their diet? Can you really feel full eating only salads? Well, for one: if you think vegetarians only eat salads, you’re missing out! For another, there are plenty of foods that supply just as much – if not more – protein to the body as meat; foods like beans, nuts, certain vegetables, you get the idea.
And if you’re ready to take that meat-less plunge, we’ve got ten protein-packed vegetarian dinners to get you started!
2 med zucchini; 1 med eggplant; kosher salt; 16 oz tomato-based pasta sauce; 1 med red onion, diced; 16 oz low fat cottage cheese (1%); 2 large eggs; 8 oz part-skim shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese (or both!), divided (about 2 cups); parmesan cheese, freshly chopped basil or parsley (for serving)
Since this recipe swaps veggies for pasta, this recipe is gluten-free in addition to vegetarian! The protein you’re getting is coming from the cheeses, so if you want to take this recipe a step further and go vegan, make sure to substitute another protein.
4 hard-boiled eggs & 2 hard-boiled egg whites; ¾ cup diced celery (about 3 med stalks); ¼ cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt; 1 tsp dijon mustard; ½ tsp kosher salt; ¼ tsp black pepper; 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
They’re called classics for a reason – and this classic recipe’s a bit healthier than your grandma’s egg salad! It swaps mayo for Greek yogurt and on a sandwich, with tons of greens, it makes quite the filling dinner.
Prep Time: 20 minCook Time: 15 min Yields: 6 servings
What You’ll Need:
13 oz bag tortilla chips; 15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed; ½ red onion, thinly sliced; 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered; 1 cup frozen corn, thawed; 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese; 1 tbsp olive oil; 4-6 eggs; sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, salsa, and sour cream (for serving)
The original recipe calls for pork sausage, but with the eggs, beans, and cheese, it’s got plenty of protein even without the meat!
This dinner is not only filling (eggs and kale make great protein options), it’s great for your digestion! Kimchi is full of the good bacteria that our bellies love because it helps keep them regular and healthy!
15 oz can of chickpeas, drained & rinsed; a serving for 2 of grains (quinoa, rice, barley, etc.), cooked; vegetable broth; ¼ tsp coriander; ¼ tsp chili hot sauce; 1 tsp chili powder; ¼ tsp chipotle chili powder; ⅓ tsp cumin; ⅓ tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp oil; 8-10 mushrooms, sliced; 2 tsp minced garlic; ½ red onion, diced; 2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped; 20 oz shredded potatoes, thawed; 10 eggs; ⅓ cup half and half or milk; ¼ cup hot sauce; salt and pepper; 1 cup shredded cheese
Another breakfast for dinner treat, or save this delicious recipe for a protein-packed brunch!
What are some of your favorite meatless, protein-packed meals or snacks? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments!
Kat Wiseman is a content writer for Span Enterprises in Rock Hill, SC. She has a B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Winthrop University and her RYT 200 from Yoga Alliance. When she's not writing or doing yoga, she enjoys Netflix marathons, mystery novels, and being at the beach.