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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 27 Healthy Pressure Cooker Meals (with Easy Recipes) 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 March 24, 2021

                                    8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

                                    8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

                                    We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

                                    On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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                                    Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

                                    1. Smart Door Locks

                                    A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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                                    2. Smart Kitchen Tools

                                    Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

                                    3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

                                    If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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                                    4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

                                    These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

                                    5. Nest Thermostat

                                    This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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                                    6. Smart Lighting

                                    Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

                                    7. Google Chromecast Ultra

                                    Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

                                    8. Canary

                                    This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

                                    Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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