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6 Vegetarian Meals So Good You Won't Even Remember Meat

By HERWriter
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6 Vegetarian Meals So Good You'll Forget About Meat Igor Mojzes/Fotolia

I've been a vegetarian for more than 10 years and I'm constantly hear things like “HOW do you do it?!?” and “Don't you MISS meat?!?!” Then there's “You CAN'T POSSIBLY get enough protein in your diet!!”

The fact is, there are SO many amazing ways to eat food that don't include meat, that DO provide you with all the essential amino acids that you need to have a dose of complete protein and help you get all your servings of vegetables.

Moreover, eating vegetarian meals will save you money and is better for the planet, using less energy and fewer resources to produce tasty dishes.

The six recipes listed below are just a small sampling of the many delicious vegetarian options available to you.

I selected these ones because they highlight vegetables rather than carbs, and because they aren't the typical, boring, single vegetarian option you often see on a menu.

Portobello mushroom “burgers?” Pastas? Salads? Come on. folks. We can be more creative than that.

These six recipes are relatively simple, quick and cheap to prepare. Even the most meat-loving people in your life will enjoy these meals without feeling like they are eating an incomplete diet.

Check them out. And please comment with your own favorites!

1) Healthy Veggie Lentil Shepherd's Pie

This recipe recreates an ultimate comfort food with a healthier, lighter twist. You'll still feel like you have a hearty meal with all the flavors of a cozy winter-night dinner but you'll save time and money (and calories!) by leaving out the meat.

This version of the recipe is vegan and uses dairy substitutes, which you can choose to utilize or swap out for milk and butter if you are not a dairy fan. The recipe makes eight servings and is easily frozen, so plan to feel full and please a crowd!

2) Veggie Pot Pies

Who said that pot pies require chicken?? This recipe hooks you up with a tremendously tasty, totally vegetarian version of the classic chicken pot pie. It uses simple, easy-to-find ingredients. Many of them are similar to the Lentil Shepherd's Pie, if you want to get TWO meals out of 1 batch of groceries.

The recipe recommends that you use (vegetarian) poultry seasoning to get all the flavors you might expect from the classic chicken version, but I personally don't think it's necessary.

Spice your recipe up with whatever seasoning you enjoy for a new twist! I recommend trying curry powder. No one will ever know that these are packing in your daily veggie requirements.

3) Zucchini Burrito Boats

You truly can't go wrong with a good veggie burrito. Chock full of delicious vegetables, beans and rice, this is a complete and balanced meal, all wrapped up into one beautiful package.

And to lighten things up — and squeeze even more vegetables in! — rather than wrap these delicious ingredients in a tortilla, they are adorably heaped into a little zucchini boat.

This recipe is fast and easy and will definitely lend itself to leftovers. Especially for folks who like cheesy, spicy, fresh tasting foods — this is a winner!

4) Eggplant Lasagna

I know, I know — I said that none of these recipes were boring old pasta dishes. No fear! This lasagna is noodle-less and uses tasty grilled veggies to layer up with fresh sauce and creamy cheese.

This dish will feed a crowd and chances are, they won't even realize that their meal is meatless and low-carb. The recipe recommends that you include a fake meat product — ground beef-style soy crumbles — which you can usually find at most grocery stores that carry tofu, but I don't think it is at all necessary.

There is already plenty of bulk to each bite of this lasagna — eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach and PLENTY of cheese!

5) Sweet Potato and Kale Curry

Curry is absolutely one of my go-to vegetarian meals. You can truly toss whatever vegetables you have hanging around the house into a pan, doctor them up with some spices and coconut milk, and have a rich, filling, healthy meal ready in no time.

HOWEVER, this recipe takes curry to another level. The sweet, savory mix of sweet potatoes with kale — alert! superfoods! — is tantalizingly tasty and chock full of nutrients. I don't have any macadamia nut oil in my home, so I used olive oil to make this and it was just fine.

While the actual cooking part of this recipe goes quite quickly, you'll have a leg up on dinner if you can start the eggplant and sweet potato roasting ahead of time. If you follow the suggestions of this chef and use quinoa rather than rice to accompany your curry, you'll have all the protein you need, no meat necessary.

6) Lentil and Black Bean Chili

This recipe is so incredibly easy it basically cooks itself. With beans and lentils as the star of the chili show, you are getting an essentially fat-free dose of protein AND some Vitamin A (carrots) and C (tomatoes) to boot. The legumes that are incorporated into this one-pot meal provide a meaty texture to the soup, and may even fool your meat-crazy friends into forgetting their "need" for animal flesh.

This is also a great make-ahead dinner or option for large-group settings. While the recipe calls for stock, either vegetarian or chicken, if you are looking for places to cut out extra sodium or fat, I find that the recipe works just fine with water —and some extra cayenne for a kick!

So these are just to get you started. Happy veggie explorations! Can't wait to hear what you try.

Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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