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Last Updated on July 12, 2018

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

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                                    Heather Nicholds

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

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                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                    How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                                    Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                                    Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                                    I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                                    You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                                    Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                                    When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                                    I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                                    Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                                    Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                                    Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                                    1. The Inner Critic

                                    This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                                    • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                                    • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                                    • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                                    • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                                    He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                                    Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                                    2. The Worrier

                                    This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                                    He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                                    Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                                    3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                                    He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                                    He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                                    He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                                    4. The Sleep Depriver

                                    This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                                    His motivation can be:

                                    • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                                    • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                                    • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                                    • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                                    How can you control these squatters?

                                    How to Master Your Mind

                                    You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                                    Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                                    There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                                    • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                                    • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                                    This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                                    The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                                    Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                                    For the Inner Critic

                                    When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                                    You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                                    For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                                    You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                                    “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                                    If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                                    • He riles up the Worrier.
                                    • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                                    • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                                    • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                                    • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                                    Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                                    Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                                    For the Worrier

                                    Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                                    Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                                    You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                                    • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                    • Muscles tense

                                    Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                                    If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                                    Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                                    “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                                    Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                                    If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                                    Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                                    Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                                    For example:

                                    If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                                    “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                                    Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                                    “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                                    Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                                    For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                                    Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                                    The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                                    • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                                    • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                                    • Muscles tension

                                    I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                                    Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                                    Breathe in through your nose:

                                    • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                                    • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                                    • Focus on your belly rising.

                                    Breathe out through your nose:

                                    • Feel your lungs emptying.
                                    • Focus on your belly falling.
                                    • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                                    Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                                    Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                                    One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                                    Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                                    For the Sleep Depriver

                                    (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                                    I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                                    Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                                    1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                                    2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                                    When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                                    From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                                    For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                                    If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                                    You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                                    • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                                    • Shut down your thinking.
                                    • Calm your feelings.
                                    • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                                    Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                                    Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                                    You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                                    Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                                    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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