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17 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for the Meat Lovers in Your Life

17 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for the Meat Lovers in Your Life

Imagine if you could make healthy vegetarian recipes that even the most die-hard meat and potatoes fan would go wild for; maybe it would even make them ask for seconds.

It might seem like quite a challenge, but truthfully, there are a variety of foods and seasonings we can work with to create similar flavors and textures to what meat lovers crave.

With so many vegan and vegetarian recipes on the interwebs, you definitely won’t have a shortage of ideas; however, it can be tough to weed through all the kale salads to find the recipes that will truly satisfy an omnivore’s taste buds.

In this article, you’ll find 17 of the best recipes, curated from some of the best vegan food bloggers. But first, here are a few important tips that will help you understand how to successfully cook vegan food for meat lovers.

How To Cook Vegan Food Everyone Will Love

Tips for a Mixed Household

  1. If you’re cooking for your family, they may not be ready to shift to an entirely plant-based diet. Taking it one step at a time is still progress. A meatless meal one (or more!) night a week is a great way to start and still has a huge impact.
  2. Rather than struggling to fill the void of the animal-based food they’re used to having as the central focus of their plate, it’s more fun – and more effective – to start fresh by shifting the focus on building a flavorful and fun plate full of plant foods.
  3. Invite your meat eater to cook something for him or herself that can go along with your healthy vegetarian recipes. Then they can also try the delicious dish you’ve made, and you’re not forcing them to give anything up.
  4. It can take some time for our taste buds to adjust and fully appreciate plant-based foods. Give them time and your family might find that, after a while, they actually like vegetarian night and can enjoy it more often.

Flavors to Focus On

Savory or umami is a fantastic aspect of the flavor spectrum to focus on to ensure a meat lover’s palate is satisfied.

We often cover the salty or sweet tastes, but we don’t always consider savory in the same way. Think of things like roasted garlic, roasted eggplant, nutritional yeast, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and miso.

Including ingredients with a savory flavor like these in your dishes will tickle the taste buds that aren’t necessarily fulfilled by cucumbers and kale alone.

When cooking vegan or vegetarian recipes for meat eaters, be generous with the fat or oil. It will help to make a naturally low-fat plant-based meal more of a fair comparison with meat and give an omnivore’s body the satiety cues it’s accustomed to.

Once your meat-lover gets a taste for plant foods, you can slowly cut back the oil.

Don’t be afraid of salt either; it makes a huge difference in bringing out the flavor of vegetables and in seasoning grains and beans that would otherwise be fairly bland.

Getting more vegetables (which are rich in potassium) is more important than eliminating salt intake entirely, and when we shift from processed foods to whole foods, we reduce a significant amount of daily salt consumption.

17 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes to Satisfy Meat-Lovers

1. Grilled Portobello Mushrooms with Garlic Sauce

    Hearty and juicy grilled portobellos make for a super simple swap onto a meat-centric plate. They can be paired with mashed potatoes and green beans for a comforting balance that the meat lover in your life will appreciate.

    Top them with the creamy, smoky garlic sauce to satisfy that savory palate. These are so tasty, you’ll definitely want to make enough for seconds.

    ~ Check out the recipe here!

    2. Roasted Poblano Jackfruit Tacos with Adobo Cream Sauce

      These tacos are out of this world, with tons of spice and umami from the seasoning infused into the jackfruit, topped with roasted poblano peppers and drizzled with a rich adobo cream sauce. This is a feast everyone will appreciate. Get messy – in a good way.

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      Ingredient note: Jackfruit makes a great replacement for pulled pork, and you’ll find it used often in vegetarian recipes like tacos. But if you’ve never used it before, it can be daunting to know which brand to buy and how to prepare it.

      Luckily, Lauren has written a comprehensive review of various jackfruit options, and her recipe directions give all the preparation notes you’ll need.

      ~ Check out the recipe here!

      3. Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

        This will give you a fix for Chinese take out cravings, in a healthy vegan way. This sauce is bursting with flavor and ready to coat some battered and baked crispy cauliflower.

        Full of cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting nutrients, cauliflower is a definite nutritional win.

        Add this to a bowl with some rice, and it will disappear in no time.

        ~ Check out the recipe here!

        4. Vegan Seitan Steak

          For another easy swap onto a meat-centric plate, try this full-flavored seitan steak. The seitan is paired with lentils for a balanced texture. Enjoy this however you would want to have steak: grilled with fries and coleslaw, chopped on top of a salad, on a baguette with BBQ sauce, or whatever suits.

          Ingredient note: Seitan (pronounced say-tan) has a meat-like texture, and is made of wheat gluten. So it’s not good for celiacs or anyone with a wheat or gluten allergy, but it’s an easy-to-make meat substitute. Sam gives a great seitan-newbie guide with this recipe, showing how to prepare it with a full photo tutorial.

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          5. Seitan Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

            Infuse some meaty seitan with smoky, savory flavors, grill it on skewers, and pair with a luxurious spicy peanut sauce. Take these to a summer BBQ and you should have all the meat lovers crowding around for more!

            ~ Check out the recipe here!

            6. Spicy Vegan Chorizo Queso

              This is a creamy, smoky, savory dip for chips, nachos, veggie quesadillas or any other dishes you want to use queso sauce with for a decadent meal. It’s so creamy and flavorful, no one will realize it’s dairy-free.

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              This is soy-free, unlike a lot of vegan queso dips, and has a few surprising ingredients to bring the right texture and flavor – particularly the nutrient-dense cauliflower as the base!

              ~ Check out the recipe here!

              7. Chickpea Tacos and Avocado Cream

                Chickpeas have such a great texture for giving a slightly meaty mouthfeel, and are ready and waiting to soak up whatever flavors you want to infuse them with.

                Spiced up to make a vegan taco meat, they pair perfectly with a smooth and tangy avocado cream.

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                8. Hearty Vegan Chili

                  There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a hearty chili on a cold winter evening. Make this vegan version, and enjoy all the flavor without the cruelty or environmental impacts. With 10 cloves of garlic, you’ll be set for cardio-protective benefits.

                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                  9. Beef-less Tempeh Bourguignon

                    Get all the flavor of a rich Bourguignon sauce, with tempeh instead of beef. While Julia Child would probably not approve, this beef-less bourguignon is much better for our environment, the animals, and your body.

                    Ingredient note: Tempeh is an Indonesian cultured soy cake, with a lot more texture than tofu.

                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                    10. Eggplant Pulled Pork Burger

                      For another take on pulled pork, fill your bun with this delicious BBQ-slathered roasted eggplant, giving you a slightly soft but meaty texture. As Rhian says, “it’s not the meat that makes certain dishes taste good, but the sauce.”

                      Try out her homemade BBQ sauce, or simply use your favorite store-bought sauce. She topped her sandwich with a creamy coleslaw, and served with homemade fries for the ultimate meal. However you make it, it’s sure to be a hit.

                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

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                      11. Two-Ingredient Sweet Potato Gnocchi

                        As little packets of soft, chewy goodness, gnocchi is always satisfying in a comfort food kind of way. These are surprisingly simple to make, too, with just two ingredients.

                        Try these dressed with just a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt, toss with basil pesto, or try Julia’s spicy red chipotle sauce for a flavor explosion. Pair with roasted cherry tomatoes, red pepper and whole garlic cloves to up the savory ante.

                        ~ Check out the recipe here!

                        12. Smoky Red Pepper & Cheese Bean Burgers

                          This veggie burger is super satisfying, with so much smoky savory flavor you may not even need condiments. But then again, what is life without fun burger condiments?

                          With a base of beans and roasted peppers, and seasoned with spices and vegan smoked cheese, these delicious burgers would pair perfectly with a variety of toppings. You’ll just have to keep trying them until you find your favorite.

                          ~ Check out the recipe here!

                          13. Stuffed Jumbo Shells with Spinach

                            Stuffed pasta is so delicious and satisfying that many meat lovers will happily order a meatless dish at an Italian restaurant – so why not make one at home? This dish looks so gorgeous you would never guess how simple it is to make.

                            Simply cook the pasta, process the filling in your food processor, drizzle with tomato sauce, and bake.

                            ~ Check out the recipe here!

                            14. Mushroom and lentil vegan spaghetti bolognese

                              Spaghetti bolognese is always a hit with kids and families, and makes a great weeknight go-to meal.

                              Here, mushrooms and lentils join forces to create a meaty texture and savory flavor that will please even the pickiest tastebuds and nourish growing bodies with plenty of protein, calcium, iron and other nutrients.

                              ~ Check out the recipe here!

                              15. Moroccan Lentil Meatballs

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                                These savory meatballs include fragrant Moroccan spices to infuse flavor right through from the perfectly textured lentil-walnut base to the rich sauce. Served along with quinoa or couscous, this makes a wonderfully satisfying meal for both vegans and meat lovers to enjoy.

                                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                16. Smoky Southern-Style Meatless Meatloaf

                                  Meatloaf is a perennial comfort food craving, reminding most of us of childhood meals.

                                  This one is made with a base of chickpeas, black beans and oats for the perfect texture, and a beautiful mix of spices and seasonings for the perfect flavor. It’s topped with a homemade BBQ sauce, though you can always use a store-bought sauce or simply ketchup if you prefer.

                                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                  17. Sneaky BBQ Mushroom Steamed Buns

                                    Get your fix of dumplings and sneak some vegetables in for the meat lovers in your life.

                                    With a smoky-sweet mushroom filling, these little pockets of goodness are wrapped in a fluffy dumpling dough. The dough itself is easy to make, and although it does take a bit of time, it’s well worth the effort!

                                    Try getting the family in the kitchen to help, to enjoy some quality time creating these delicious little steamed buns.

                                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                                    What’s the bottom line?

                                    These dishes show you exactly how you can satisfy a meat lover’s tastebuds with healthy vegetarian recipes, and there are lots more out there to explore.

                                    Everyone has different tastes, so the best strategy is to think about the dishes your meat lover enjoys; then try to make a dish that hits a similar flavor, texture, and look.

                                    Remember to focus on the savory flavors, and use oil and salt to wean your meat lover over to the plant side. All that’s left to do is start cooking!

                                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via healthy vegetarian recipes

                                    More by this author

                                    Heather Nicholds

                                    A vegan, a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and a food lover.

                                    15 Easy Recipes for Kids That Don’t Require an Oven 15 Tasty Probiotic Drinks That Are Worth Trying for Better Digestive Health 17 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for the Meat Lovers in Your Life 15 Benefits of Probiotics (And How to Find One That Actually Suits You)

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                                    Last Updated on July 23, 2019

                                    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

                                    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

                                    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

                                    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

                                    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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                                    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
                                    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
                                    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
                                    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
                                    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
                                    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

                                    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

                                    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

                                    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

                                    2. Find What Inspires You

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                                    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

                                    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

                                    3. Give Yourself a Break

                                    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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                                    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

                                    4. Shake up Your Routines

                                    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

                                    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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                                    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

                                    5. Start with a Small Step

                                    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

                                    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

                                    More to Help You Stay Motivated

                                    Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

                                    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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