Meatless Dinner Ideas That Taste Just Like Your Favorite Comfort Foods
Hearty Vegetable Cacciatore
Translated from Italian, cacciatore means “hunter.” So it stands to reason that the classic Italian entrée’s centerpiece is normally braised rabbit or chicken. For this healthy no-meat recipe for dinner, allow meatlike portobello mushrooms, buttery fingerling potatoes, and chewy fava or soy beans to steal the show. Simmered in a sauce of tomatoes, peppers, onions, and wine, it tastes every bit as hearty and satisfying as the original dish.
Original Pizza Margherita
Make pizza a little fresher—and vegetarian—by skipping the greasy sausage or packaged pepperoni. Instead, sprinkle your favorite pizza dough with garden-fresh basil and grape tomatoes, and top things off with melty mozzarella cheese. The kicker: This, one of our best meatless dinners, can be on the table in just 30 minutes; quicker than most delivery pies.
"Beef" Picadillo-Style Tacos
Shake up some margaritas and prepare to dive into a vegan taco night that tastes just as good as (maybe even better than!) all fiesta feasts you’ve had before. A poblano chile, cumin, and coriander seasoning flavors the plant-based meat just as it does in your favorite taco recipe so you won’t notice there’s zero beef. This Meatless Monday idea turns up the flavor volume even more with almonds, green olives, and potatoes—all elements inspired by picadillo, a classic dish in many Latin American countries.
Veggie Shepherd's Pie with Stout
Lentils, mushrooms, carrots, and rich stout beer beef up this meatless dinner idea so it’s wildly cozy—even sans meat. Don’t worry: The peas, tomatoes, and potatoes are still invited to the savory pie party! To sneak in even more nutrition, follow our tip for mixing the spuds with parsnips and cauliflower.
Greek Spinach-Veggie Burgers
Skip the fast-food hamburger tonight and head to the Mediterranean! Well, at least you can take your taste buds on a trip there with this Meatless Monday meal that takes just 30 minutes. Herb stuffing mix, spinach, and feta cheese make a healthy hamburger alternative, even when loaded with your favorite toppings.
Black Bean-Chipotle Tostadas
Nutty farro and filling black beans make a substantial topping for this easy meatless dinner idea. Corn, lime, cumin, salsa, and chipotle in adobo sauce bring major south of the border flair to this crowd-pleasing Mexican recipe. Try one as a starter for a meal (with a side of chips and guac, naturally).
Mushroom-Sweet Potato Moussaka
Typically built around ground beef or lamb, this Greek casserole is the epitome of comfort food. With a foundation of tomatoes, beef, and eggplant, it’s traditionally coated in a thick layer of egg-thickened béchamel sauce and baked until bubbly. This lighter meatless dinner recipe rendition is completely vegan, showcasing a cashew cream sauce, garlicky roasted mushrooms instead of meat, and a luscious mashed sweet potato topping. Oh yes, and an impressive 20 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber to boot.
Mile-High Meatless Lasagna Pie
Chickpea Alfredo with Spring Veggies
Even if you’re used to chicken-loaded restaurant Alfredos, this meatless dinner idea will win you over from first slurp. No one will guess it's completely vegan! (That is, if you skip the optional Parm garnish.) The hearty and super-silky Alfredo sauce made with chickpea flour, cashews, and a couple cloves of garlic is almost indistinguishable from Alfredo sauce made with dairy, especially once you toss it with fettuccine noodles, spinach, asparagus, and peas.
This healthy Meatless Monday recipe is chock-full of beans and spices, so it tastes surprisingly similar to the classic stew (and is super-hearty). Volume eaters (aka those who try to eat large quantities of food without a lot of calories), listen up: You can scoop up a full 1½ cups for just 256 calories, and that portion has more protein than 2 eggs. Serve the vegetable-loaded chili recipe with corn bread, toasted bread, or a dinner roll to complete the meal.
Barbecue Jackfruit Sandwiches
With a similar texture and appearance to pulled pork, jackfruit makes a great sub for barbecue meat. Especially once it's slathered in barbecue sauce! Even the meat eaters at your table won't be able to tell the difference once they take a bite of this easy meatless dinner idea.
Portobello mushrooms are often considered the go-to plant-based “protein” swap for carnivores because of their meaty texture and umami flavor. Brushed with a simple olive oil mixture and grilled to perfection, portobello mushrooms star in this 23-minute meatless dinner recipe. Serve with our nicely spiced, easy guacamole recipe, so each serving is jam-packed with satisfying, heart-healthy fats.
Hearts of Palm Cakes
Like a mash-up of falafel and crab cakes—minus the seafood—this Meatless Monday idea is packed full of fiber and flavor. Hearts of palm, a slightly nutty vegetable that’s low in carbs and somewhat reminiscent of artichokes, star in the Creole-seasoned patties. Pair with our easy vegan rémoulade sauce and try the panko-coated crabless cakes over leafy greens or as the filling for a wrap sandwich.
Smoked Tomato Po'boy Sandwiches
Reimagine this traditional seafood sandwich with smoked tomatoes. Why? Because smoked vegetables are unexpectedly amazing. Add some fresh-off-the-grill sliced onion, arugula, radishes, and a Southern-style rémoulade, and you'll forget that this easy meatless dinner idea is supposed to be made with pork, chicken, or seafood.
Black Bean and Root Vegetable Enchiladas
Craving Mexican cuisine minus the meat? We’ve got you covered with this healthy no-meat recipe for dinner packed with loads of protein and vitamin A. Root veggies cook in cumin until they're crisp-tender to go into the enchiladas. Add black beans and a spicy tomato filling for a boost of flavor.
Cajun-Seasoned Vegetarian Gumbo
This vegetarian-friendly Southern favorite needs just seven ingredients, including beans, tomatoes, okra, and frozen stir-fry veggies. Even better news? This, one of our best meatless dinners, takes just 10 minutes to prep before it essentially finishes itself in the slow cooker.
Buffalo Cauliflower Salad
Cauliflower is having a comeback. Roast florets of the versatile vegetable, then toss with a lemon juice-spiked cayenne pepper sauce for a Meatless Monday-friendly twist on Buffalo wings. Pile atop a bed of veggies—including carrots and celery, of course. Add almonds and an easy avocado dressing and you have an entrée salad that might just inspire everyone to say, “Who gives a cluck about chicken?”