Food & Drink

I’m Not a Vegetarian—But These Meatless Recipes Are Insanely Good

written by ASHLEY SELLEKE
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Source: Ambitious Kitchen
Source: Ambitious Kitchen

For something as simple as meat, my relationship with it is surprisingly volatile. Some days, I experience an instantaneous disgust toward meat. It’s similar to how some people feel about eggs, where you suddenly become overly aware of the texture and can no longer finish your meal. You might think, “If you don’t like meat, don’t eat it,” but just as quickly as I turn away from meat, it draws me back in. Every few weeks, I have a truly phenomenal meal that convinces me I was overanalyzing the whole meat thing, and I declare it a friend, not a foe. Then, the cycle repeats. It’s toxic, but it’s a cycle I’m stuck in. While I wouldn’t declare myself a vegetarian (I could never give up bacon), during my anti-meat phases, I rely heavily on vegetarian meals. And let me tell you, a lack of meat does not mean a lack of a tasty meal. Read on for 30 vegetarian recipes that are so good even carnivores will devour every last bite.

1. Slow Cooker Mexican Rice Bowl

Meatless Recipes—Slow Cooker Mexican Rice Bowl
Source: Live Eat Learn

This Mexican rice bowl is cheap, easy, flavorful, full of veggies, and, of course, vegetarian. It’s super customizable, so you can add your favorite veggies and spices to make the dish your own.

2. Chickpea Curry

Meatless Recipes—Chickpea Curry
Source: Downshiftology

Considering its bold flavor, you might expect this dish to require hours in the kitchen, but it only takes 30 minutes. This meal, with chickpeas for protein, will not only taste good but also keep you full all night.

3. Vegetarian Butternut Squash Pasta

Meatless Recipes—Vegetarian Butternut Squash Pasta
Source: Oh, Sweet Basil

I eat an embarrassing amount of pasta when I’m in my aforementioned meat-hater state, and this vegetarian butternut squash recipe will have you doing the same. It’s a mouthwatering combination of sun-dried tomatoes, smoked maple gouda, and basil.

4. Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Meatless Recipes—Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers
Source: Love & Lemons

Roasted bell peppers stuffed with rice and beans, and topped with melted cheese create the ultimate weeknight dinner. They’re great for meal prepping, so cook them ahead of time and enjoy them throughout the week.

5. Stir Fry Sesame Noodles with Chickpeas & Basil

Meatless Recipes—Stir fry Sesame Noodles
Source: Ambitious Kitchen

These vegan stir-fry noodles are absolutely to die for. This recipe, featuring an array of vegetables, plant-based protein from chickpeas, and a delectable sesame stir-fry sauce, will surely be a repeat.

6. Skillet Cheesy Chickpeas

Meatless Recipes—Cheesy Chickpea Skillet
Source: What’s Gaby Cooking

Any recipe with “cheesy” in the title immediately piques my interest, and this skillet cheesy chickpeas are no exception. The recipe notes that this dish is reminiscent of chicken parmesan without the meat (or parm). Trust me, it’s just as good, though.

7. Zucchini Cacio e Pepe

Meatless Recipes—Zucchini Cacio e Pepe
Source: Half-Baked Harvest

This recipe takes cacio e pepe to another level with garlic, zucchini, and brown butter. It’s super simple to whip up and produces an incredible bowl every time.

8. Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme

Meatless Recipes—Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme
Source: Pinch of Yum

Taco Bell fans, listen up. This recipe recreates the famous Crunch Wrap Supreme but is vegan, so you can enjoy it even if you don’t eat meat. You can stuff the wrap with your favorite toppings, but this recipe uses a tasty medley of sofritas tofu, black beans, cashew queso, tomatoes, avocado, and more.

9. Korean BBQ Cauliflower Lettuce Wraps

Meatless Recipes—Korean BBQ Cauliflower Lettuce Wraps
Source: Pinch of Yum

You’re missing out if you haven’t jumped on the cauliflower-as-meat-replacement bandwagon. This recipe calls for roasted cauliflower coated in a sweet and sticky sauce, topped with chives, peanuts, and spicy mayo, all wrapped up in lettuce.

10. Cheesy Crispy Cauliflower Gratin

Meatless Recipes—Cauliflower Gratin
Source: What’s Gaby Cooking

This recipe checks two of my previously mentioned boxes: the word cheesy in the title and a cauliflower feature. It uses thyme, bay leaves, nutmeg, and lots of cheese to make cheesy crispy cauliflower gratin, AKA the side dish of our dreams.

11. Chimichurri Cauliflower Tacos

Meatless Recipes—Chimichuri Cauliflower Tacos
Source: Two Peas and Their Pod

Vegetarian tacos don’t mean flavorless tacos, and this recipe proves it. After trying it, you will be tempted to drizzle the chimichurri sauce on everything in your fridge.

12. Baked Veggie Egg Rolls

Meatless Recipes—Baked Veggie Eggrolls
Source: Family Food on the Table

When I see egg rolls on a menu dining out, it’s an immediate order every time. Surprisingly, they’re not that hard to cook at home. This recipe breaks it down step by step so you have fresh ones at home whenever you want.

13. Greek Orzo Salad

Meatless Recipes—Greek Orzo Salad
Source: Cooking Classy

Salads are an easy recipe to make meatless, but let’s be honest, sometimes they’re just a snooze fest. Thankfully, we have recipes like this one to save salads’ reputation. This Greek orzo salad is far from boring, with fresh herbs, bright veggies, and a zesty lemon vinaigrette.

14. Three Cheese Pizza

Meatless Recipes—Three Cheese Pizza
Source: What’s Gaby Cooking

Ah, pizza…a classic for good reason. With this three-cheese pizza, you won’t miss pepperoni or sausage toppings; mozzarella, burrata, and goat cheese are all you need.

15. Eggplant Lasagna

Meatless Recipes—Eggplant Lasagna
Source: by Erin Clarke of Well Plated

This lasagna recipe swaps the typical noodles for roasted eggplant, layered with ricotta, spinach, parmesan, and mushrooms. It’s so good the vegetarian alternative might replace your old recipe.

16. Vegetarian Nachos

Meatless Recipes—Vegetarian Nachos
Source: Savory Nothings

I don’t think anyone has ever regretted making nachos, and don’t worry; they’re not out of the question if you’re cutting out meat. Add beans for protein instead of meat, and finish with your favorite toppings, resulting in an amazing meal.

17. Vegetarian Chili

Meatless Recipes—Vegetarian Chili
Source: Ambitious Kitchen

Everyone needs a fabulous chili recipe, and if you want a vegetarian one, this is for you. It includes two different kinds of beans, veggies, sweet potato, and sweet corn, creating a hearty, tasty dinner.

18. Baked Gnocchi with Vodka Sauce

Meatless Recipes—Baked Gnocchi in Vodka Sauce
Source: Pinch of Yum

Vodka-sauce pasta is my death-row meal. I could literally drink the sauce on its own; that’s how much I love it. So trust me, as a vodka sauce expert, when I say this baked gnocchi meets my high standards.

19. Caprese Sandwich

Meatless Recipes—Caprese Sandwich
Source: Oh, Sweet Basil

If you think sandwiches are off-limits without deli meat, think again. Caprese salad sandwiches are the perfect vegetarian option to satisfy your sandwich cravings.

20. Sweet Potato Kale Caesar Salad

Meatless Recipes—Sweet Potato Kale Caesar Salad
Source: Half Baked Harvest

I don’t need to convince you that Cesar salads are delish. I think it’s probably one of about three things the whole world can agree on. However, if you want to mix things up for a new take on an old classic, this recipe uses kale and adds sweet potato and crispy chickpeas.

21. Cheesy Pasta Alla Vodka

Meatless Recipes—Pasta Alla Vodka
Source: What’s Gaby Cooking

I’ve already ranted about my passion for vodka sauce, so I will save you another lecture. If you’re more of a shells girl than a gnocchi girl, try this recipe, or, if you’re as obsessed as I am, sample both.

22. Tempeh Tacos

Meatless Recipes—Tempeh Tacos
Source: by Erin Clarke of Well Plated

You aren’t trying the right recipes if you have written off tempeh as bland. Give tempeh a clean slate, and these tempeh tacos’ sweet and smoky flavors will convince you of how good they are.

23. Baked Mac and Cheese

Meatless Recipes—Baked Mac and Cheese
Source: Basil and Bubbly

Although I love boxed mac and cheese, nothing beats freshly made mac and cheese. It’s the ultimate comfort meal and is worth the extra effort for something homemade.

24. Peach, Tomato, and Corn Arugula Pasta Salad

Meatless Recipes—Peach, Tomato, and Corn Arugula PAsta Salad
Source: Ambitious Kitchen

This pasta salad is full of fresh summer fruits and vegetables and is the perfect lunch or dinner during the warmer months. But I won’t judge if you’re so hooked you eat it all year long.

25. Veggie Enchiladas 

Meatless Recipes—Veggie Enchiladas
Source: Pinch of Yum

Enchiladas are a great go-to dinner because they’re so versatile. Add any roasted veggies, and when they’re wrapped in a tortilla and slathered in cheese and enchilada sauce, they will taste delicious.

26. Broccoli Cheese Soup

Meatless Recipes—Broccoli Cheese Soup
Source: Oh, Sweet Basil

If there’s one thing that can turn a rainy day around, it’s a bowl of broccoli cheese soup. Previously, I’ve driven to the nearest Panera to indulge, but after finding this recipe, I’m making it even better from home.

27. Creamy Miso Ramen

Meatless Recipes—Creamy Miso Ramen
Source: Half Baked Harvest

We all love a good Cup Noodles, but trust me when I say ramen can be so much better than the ones you find in a styrofoam cup. Plus, it only takes about 20 minutes longer than instant ramen.

28. General Tso Cauliflower Wings

Meatless Recipes—General Tso Cauliflower Wings
Source: Jessica in the Kitchen

These general tso cauliflower wings are just as good as your Chinese takeout order but without the meat. This recipe bakes perfectly crispy cauliflower and drenches it in rich sticky sauce for a fantastic dinner in no time at all.

29. Crispy Quinoa Burgers

Meatless Recipes—Crispy Quinoa Burger
Source: Half Baked Harvest

Yes, you read that right—burgers with no meat. These quinoa burgers taste much fresher than the meat alternatives you would fight in the frozen aisle of the grocery store. The sweet potato fries and beer caramelized onions are excellent final touches for a scrumptious meal.

30. Spinach Strawberry Salad

Meatless Recipes—Spinach Strawberry Salad
Source: by Erin Clarke of Well Plated

Strawberry salads are a quintessential summer dinner, and this year is no different. It’s the best lunch or dinner for something nutritious that still tastes amazing.