As we embrace a New Year—and for many of us, a healthier diet—it’s a good time to eat a little less meat and a few more veggies. 

The concept of a meat-free Monday has been around for a while. It’s a great excuse to plan a healthy weekly menu, in which meat is still eaten—along with fish and other proteins—but in a smaller portions and in conjunction with a few vegetarian, and perhaps vegan, dishes.

I always try to have at least two meat-free days every week. It makes you more adventurous with what you cook and eat—as the below recipes prove!

 

1. Mixed-bean shakshuka

shakshuka
Image via Lavender and Lovage

Here’s a fabulous spicy and meat-free idea for lunch, brunch or a family supper. This dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chilli peppers, and onions, is often spiced with cumin and is fabulous when served with crusty bread for essential mopping. As well as being meat free, this recipe also comes in at just over 250 calories.

Get the recipe for mixed bean shakshuka

 

2. Sweet potato and blue cheese dauphinoise

dauphinoise
Image via Jam and Clotted Cream

Although this isn’t particularly low in calories, it’s the perfect meat-free dish for a cold winter’s day and is real comfort food for all the family. This creamy one-pan sweet potato and blue cheese dauphinoise recipe is made with lots of Christmas cheeseboard leftovers, making it “no waste” friendly too.

Get the recipe for sweet potato and blue cheese dauphinoise

 

3. Green Thai tofu bowl

thai-tofu-bowl
Image via Tinned Tomatoes

Here’s a wonderful vegan dish of spicy goodness that’s perfect for any light lunch, as well as being great for the office lunch box (if you have heating facilities available at work). This bowl is made with spiced tofu, mushrooms, spinach and fine green beans served on wholegrain rice with a Thai green curry sauce. It’s topped with a sprinkle of finely chopped spring onions for an extra veggie kick.

Get the recipe for green Thai tofu bowl

 

4. Wholewheat ratatouille pizza

ratatouille-pizza
Image via A Hedgehog in the Kitchen

How wonderfully decadent does this veggie pizza look? Using homemade ratatouille as the base, as well as high fibre wholemeal pastry, it’s the perfect no-meat pizza for any family pizza night, and is what I would call “healthy comfort food”.

Get the recipe for wholewheat ratatouille pizza

 

5. Hearty mushroom and barley soup

mushroom-barley-soup
Image via Food and Spice

There should always be a soup on the menu for meat-free Monday, especially during the colder winter months. This mushroom and barley looks absolutely delicious; the soup is loaded with vegetables and is seasoned with dried herbs and spices—just the thing to warm and nourish the body as the cold weather sets in.

Get the recipe for hearty mushroom and barley soup

 

6. Chole chaat (chickpea curry)

chole-chaat
Image via Lavender and Lovage

I love this “street food” style dish for Chole Chaat, with its tea, ginger, onion and garlic base—it’s wonderful when served with rice or in a small pot with warm, fluffy naan bread. Spices really sing when added to pulses, beans and veggies, and this is the perfect bowl of spicy warmth for a cold day, as well as being lower in calories than a standard curry.

Get the recipe for chole chaat

 

7. Sprout salad with cranberries, pecan nuts and clementines

sprout-salad
Image via Easy Peasy Foodie

Salads don’t have to be boring or frugal, as this recipe demonstrates with its fabulous seasonal ingredients. This salad is filling enough to be a delicious vegetarian meal in its own right, perhaps with a chunk of crusty bread or stuffed in a pitta bread.

Get the recipe for sprout salad with cranberries, pecan nuts and clementines

 

8. Marmite and chilli quarter pounder

quarter-pounder
Image via The Veg Space

A meat-free quarter pounder? Yes, please! This recipe for a marmite and chilli quarter pounder looks amazing, and is packed with delicious ingredients such as mixed beans and pre-cooked rice—plus cooked mushrooms and onions for moisture—all packed into a large, toasted sesame seed bun.

Get the recipe for marmite and chilli quarter pounder

 

9. Fully loaded vegetable frittata

vegetable-frittata
Image via Foodie Quine

Eggs are a dieter’s and meat-free menu planner’s friend, and here we have a recipe for a tasty looking frittata that is packed with veggies such as spring onions, courgettes, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, peppers, sweetcorn and an avocado!

Get the recipe for fully loaded vegetable frittata

 

10. Healthy three-cheese macaroni cheese gratin

macaroni-cheese-gratin
Image via Lavender and Lovage

Cheese is also a great source of protein for meat-free menus, and this recipe for healthy three cheese macaroni cheese gratin is not only a hearty and comforting family dish, but is lower in calories than the usual “Mac and Cheese”, which means it’s a win-win recipe!

Get the recipe for healthy three-cheese macaroni cheese gratin

 

Karen Burns-Booth is a freelance Recipe Developer, Food and Travel Writer and is a member if the Guild of Food Writers. She writes for her own blog Lavender and Lovage.

You can follow Karen on InstagramTwitterFacebook and Google +

 

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