~ 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! When someone asks me what are the best vegetarian recipes, this is the post I refer them to! (Originally published August 18, 2016; fully updated with many new recipes, photos, and additional tips.) ~
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How We Picked the BEST Vegetarian Dinners
Way back in 2016, we polled hundreds of other food writers and bloggers, asking them to share the one – just one! – absolutely, positively most popular healthy recipe from their entire site.
We sorted through those submissions to choose the most outstanding of all for our very first collection of 13 Best Healthy Vegetarian Meals.
But 2016 was a long time ago (at least in the Internet world), and soooooo many other amazing vegetarian recipes have popped up since then!
Search Our Site for MORE Healthy Vegetarian Recipe Ideas! Here’s How …
So, more than 4 years later, we reached out again – to hundreds and hundreds of food writers and blogging friends, asking them to share their ONE (and only ONE!) most popular vegetarian main dish. The very best vegetarian dinner recipe they had.
The response was overwhelming! But once again, we’ve narrowed it down to the very best of the best, and added about 40 new, inspiring and healthy vegetarian recipes to our lineup.
And we think you’ll agree … there’s absolutely no doubt why all these recipes are so incredibly popular!
The Vegetarian Meal Trend
Read more: what to serve vegetarian main dish
The current meatless trend is undeniable: even non-vegetarians are embracing the benefits of subbing out at least 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, if all those recipes above aren’t inspiration enough … we’ve also got some tips that can make truly delicious, ultra-satisfying veg meals completely do-able!
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” 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 recipes that taste just as delicious and satisfying as meals that include meat?
As you’ll see from our lineup of recipes above, 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.
Lots of little techniques to try, along with so many great new recipe ideas!
Oh … and to keep that veggie-momentum cranking all year long, we’ve even got specific collections of vegetarian and vegan meals just for the holidays:
- Best Healthy Thanksgiving Vegetarian Main Dishes
- Best Christmas Vegetarian Main Dish Recipes
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)