Meatless Monday: 7 Delicious, Healthy Vegetarian Recipes to Try

November 7, 2011  |  
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Consuming less meat is both good for your health and good for the planet. Research has shown that reducing your meat intake and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet can reduce you risk for diseases like cancer, heart disease and help fight obesity. Feeling fit and looking fly are not the only reasons to reduce your meat consumption. Eating less meat also minimizes your carbon footprint. Livestock emit a tremendous amount of harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. But if you’re not ready to give up that hamburger completely, try forgoing a meaty meal such as that once a week.  “Meatless Monday” is an international campaign that encourages giving up meat on Mondays for better health and a better environment. Interested? Here are seven meatless recipes to get you started.

Black Bean Soup

This yummy soup recipe from Eating Well is low in calories and high on deliciousness. It’s perfect to make on Sunday night and pack for a Meatless Monday lunch. Pack a piece of whole grain bread with it for a meal that’s both filling and nutritious.  Don’t even trip if your co-workers hate on your healthy lunch and head to Wendy’s. Unlike them, you’ll be able to fit into your jeans on Friday night.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup prepared salsa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chili powder and ground cumin and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Add beans, water, salsa and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in lime juice.
  2. Transfer half the soup to a blender and puree (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Stir the puree back into the saucepan. Serve garnished with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

Mushroom Risotto

Your man giving you grief about no meat Mondays? This delicious recipe from the Food Network’s Tyler Florence will make him change his tune.  The amazing flavors and meaty mushrooms make the dish succulent and substantial enough that he won’t miss that steak. Well, maybe… If not, then grill some veggies on the side for an extra nutritional punch.


  • 8 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 pound fresh Portobello sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 1-ounce dried Porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh Italian parsley, for garnish


  1. Heat the vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the fresh mushrooms, herbs and butter. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in truffle oil then add the dried Porcini mushrooms, which were reconstituted in 1 cup of warm chicken broth. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Coat a saucepan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Saute the remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute. This step cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking. Stir in wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated.
  5. Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy.
  6. Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, then cook briefly until melted. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and chopped parsley before serving.

Cranberry Spinach Salad

This unique salad is both sweet and spicy, just like you (*wink*). Try this deliciously simple recipe for a cranberry spinach salad from Jamie Hensley at for a light lunch or dinner on Meatless Monday.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered
  • 1 pound spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil


  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook and stir almonds in butter until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the spinach with the toasted almonds and cranberries.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, onion, paprika, white wine vinegar, cider vinegar, and vegetable oil. Toss with spinach just before serving.

Grilled Tomato and Brie Sandwiches

Oh you fancy, huh? Make yourself a bourgie sandwich that is uber delicious. Fire up that Foreman Grill to make this recipe from Maureen Callahan at Cooking Light. This grilled tomato and brie sandwich is a great look for lunch. You know, instead of making that trip to the McDonald’s and what not. Plus, it also gives people something to talk about since it’s so colorful and fresh.


  • 8 (1-ounce) slices of 100 percent whole-grain bread (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 2 teaspoons country-style Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces Brie cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/3 cups packaged baby arugula and spinach greens
  • 8 (1/4-inch-thick) slices beefsteak tomato
  • Cooking spray


1. Prepare grill (or George Foreman Grill) to high heat.
2. Brush one side of each bread slice with oil; rub cut sides of garlic over oil. Spread 1/2 teaspoon mustard on each of 4 bread slices, oil side down. Top each bread slice with 1 ounce cheese, 1/3 cup greens, and 2 tomato slices. Top each with remaining 4 bread slices, oil side up.
3. Place sandwiches on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 2 minutes on each side or until lightly toasted and cheese melts.

Farmer’s Market Vegetarian Quesadillas

In the mood for some Mexican? The kiddies won’t complain about  this delicious, cheesy quesadilla recipe from  They won’t even notice the nutritious vegetables that you’ve snuck in.  This dish will have everyone at the table saying “Está buenisimo!” Or at least something like, “Mmmm good!”


  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cooking spray
  • 6 (9 inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese


  1. In a large nonstick pan, cook red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium to medium-high heat for about seven minutes, or until just tender. Remove vegetables from pan.
  2. Coat the same pan with cooking spray, and place one tortilla in pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese evenly over tortilla, and layer 3/4 cup of the vegetable mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle another 1/8 cup of cheese on the vegetables, and top with a second tortilla. Cook until golden on both sides, for approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove quesadilla from pan, and repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into 8 triangles with a pizza cutter. Serve hot.

Chana Masala

Love a lot of spice in your life? Try this delicious Indian recipe from Pop by the the frozen food aisle and pick up some pre-made naan to complete the dish.


  • 1 can chickpeas in water (also called garbanzo beans) or 1 1/2 cups precooked + 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • juice from one lemon, (approx 2 tbsp )
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 large bunch of spinach or two handfuls, rinsed


  1. In a large skillet or frying pan, sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add chickpeas straight from the can, including all the water. Add spices and lemon juice, cover, and simmer about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and adding more water if needed until chickpeas are cooked and soft.
  3. Reduce heat, add spinach and cover. Allow spinach to wilt for 2-4 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy your chana masala!

Jamiacan Jerk Tofu

Wah Gwan? Add some spicy flavor to your tofu in this delicious vegan dish from Serve your  jerk tofu with rice and peas for an authentic island dish.


  • 6 scallions, sliced thinly (discard top 1/3 of green ends)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 Tbs. vegan brown sugar
  • 1-2 blocks extra firm tofu


  1. In a large bowl, mix the first nine ingredients, including olive oil.
  2. In a smaller bowl, combine spices and brown sugar. Add to liquid mix and stir. If using one block of tofu, spray an 8 x 8 pan with oil.
  3. Slice tofu into three slices from its narrow end. Place in pan and pour HALF of marinade over tofu. For two blocks of tofu, use a 9 x 13 pan, and pour ALL the marinade over tofu.
  4. Let stand for 15 minutes. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

What is your favorite vegetarian dish?

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