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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.

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                                    Last Updated on July 12, 2021

                                    100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

                                    100 Incredible Life Hacks That Make Life So Much Easier

                                    Want to learn some quick and easy life hacks that are easy to do, low cost and saves you time?

                                    By tweaking little things in your daily life, it can make your life much more convenient!

                                    Here’re 100 of the most practical life hacks so you can just pick up any of them right away!

                                    83 tie a small piece of bright colored fabric

                                      84 write random letter

                                        85 use a rubberband

                                          86 dorm smell bad

                                            87 lean your phone on your sunglassess

                                              89 how to waterproof your shoes

                                                90 take a picture of the name card

                                                  91 iron inside out

                                                    92 old newspaper

                                                      93 tumble try shoes

                                                        keep a card like this

                                                          SONY DSC

                                                            94 soap bar

                                                              95 make a hole

                                                                96 drop the battery

                                                                  97 use a coozie

                                                                    98 when taking a picture

                                                                      use a clean dust pan

                                                                        try a pants hanger

                                                                          use your cellphone light

                                                                            use a spring from an old pen

                                                                              quick and easy iphone speaker

                                                                                user binder clips

                                                                                  wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage

                                                                                    put pancake mix in a ketchup bottle

                                                                                      clean out an old lotion bottle for your beach

                                                                                        use a muffin tin to serve condiments at a bbq

                                                                                          doritos are great for kindling

                                                                                            use nail polish to identify different keys

                                                                                              use a hanging shoe rack to store cleaning supplies

                                                                                                freeze grapes to chill white wine without

                                                                                                  use paper clips to organize your cables

                                                                                                    almost finished your jar of nutella

                                                                                                      sick of having a box full of tangled

                                                                                                        unroll the rim to increase the capacity

                                                                                                          cut open toilet paper rolls and use as a cuff

                                                                                                            remove the stem from strawberries

                                                                                                              turn an old bottle into a simple little cord holder

                                                                                                                for iced coffee and iced cappuccino, use frozen coffee cubes

                                                                                                                  how to fold a fitted bed sheet

                                                                                                                    tired of snoozing past your alarm

                                                                                                                      place a rubber band around an open paint can to wipe your brush on

                                                                                                                        ut a wooden spoon across a boiling pot

                                                                                                                          use bread clips to save flip-flops

                                                                                                                            take pictures of friends holding items

                                                                                                                              how i always know which headphone is the left one

                                                                                                                                put a stocking over the end of a vacuum

                                                                                                                                  How to make sure you drink enough water

                                                                                                                                    user a can opener to open blister

                                                                                                                                      good sandwich guide

                                                                                                                                        turn your muffin pans upside down

                                                                                                                                          50 pounds of groceries and living on the 5th floor

                                                                                                                                            the right way to make a blt

                                                                                                                                              add one teaspoon of baking soda

                                                                                                                                                38

                                                                                                                                                  hair straighteners equals to collar irons

                                                                                                                                                    stack your clothes vertically to see them all

                                                                                                                                                      the right way to make cookies in the summer

                                                                                                                                                        how to clean a blender

                                                                                                                                                          the right way to eat a popsicle

                                                                                                                                                            use bread clips to label and organize power cords

                                                                                                                                                              to get the built up residue off of your shower head

                                                                                                                                                                user a hair clip to orgainize long wires

                                                                                                                                                                  a frozen saturated sponge in a bag

                                                                                                                                                                    rub stuck zipper teeth with a graphite pencil

                                                                                                                                                                      use a soda pop tab

                                                                                                                                                                        50

                                                                                                                                                                          51 How to multiply large numbers in your head.

                                                                                                                                                                            52 How to open a bottle if you dont have a corkscrew.

                                                                                                                                                                              rub a walnut on damaged wooden furniture

                                                                                                                                                                                kids fall out of bed

                                                                                                                                                                                  use toothpaste to clear up hazy car

                                                                                                                                                                                    58

                                                                                                                                                                                      59 keep pizza out while driving home

                                                                                                                                                                                        60 put your straw through the tab to keep it from rising

                                                                                                                                                                                          hold oreos with a fork so your fingers

                                                                                                                                                                                            Never lose your remotes again

                                                                                                                                                                                              hiding your emergency money

                                                                                                                                                                                                use a bread tab to hold your spot on a roll

                                                                                                                                                                                                  if you are at a hotel and run out of chargers

                                                                                                                                                                                                    keep a square of cardboard in a ziplock bag

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you need to pee or smoke at a bar

                                                                                                                                                                                                        drill holes in the bottom of your garbage

                                                                                                                                                                                                          use an accented letter as your passcode

                                                                                                                                                                                                            use a squeeze ketchup bottle top with your shopvac

                                                                                                                                                                                                              do something unusual when locking the door

                                                                                                                                                                                                                when heating leftovers space out a circle in the middle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  dont burn yourself in those hard to reach candles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    put a small amount of water in a glass when you microwave your pizza

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      75 use a piece of paper to organize

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        use half a pool noodle

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          pencil case to store cables

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            78 clothespin to hold nail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              79 make blts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                80 take a picture of your fridge

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  81 fill plastic water bottles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    82 right ways to eat chips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      99 if your plug keeps failing

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        100 put the banana on the wire

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          88 before you throw away a post it

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Source: Reddit LifeProTips

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            There you go, 100 awesome life hacks that you can try right now to make your life a lot easier!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            More Amazing Life Hacks for An Easier Life

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            50 Top Parenting Tricks and Hacks That Will Make Life Easier And More Fun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            20 Popular Life Hacks From the Internet Debunked (or Verified)

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