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25 Meatless Monday Dinner Ideas (2022)

Meatless Monday dinner ideas are all about eating less meat. We’re sharing some delicious vegetarian dinner recipes for the entire family to get the juices flowing.

Attention meat lovers: We know it can be hard to come up with ideas (beyond tofu). If you check out a few of these recipes, you might just find yourself adding one or two of these meatless Monday ideas to your weekly meal plan 🙂

collage of meatless monday recipes

Like many others, I am working on eating less meat. The other kook, Jenna, eats meatless meals every day because she’s a vegetarian since 8 years old. Here’s how I felt about that back in the day 🤦.

All the meatless Monday dinner ideas below are vegetarian dinners of course, but many are also vegan (which we’ve noted).

What does Meatless Monday mean?

Meatless Monday, according to Wikipedia, is an international movement that encourages people to reduce their meat consumption for their own personal health and the health of the planet.

It was founded in 2003 and follows the nutrition guidelines developed by the USDA.

Needless to say, ‘Monday’ is the international campaign pitch. You can certainly eat delicious recipes without meat any day of the week!

Reducing vs. eliminating meat consumption

If you are interested in eating less meat, then you may be surprised that you are part of a movement called Reducetarianism. Apparently, 30 – 50% of people are interested in cutting down on meat.

Reducetarians purposefully and gradually reduce their consumption of meat. One clever suggestion, I thought, was to treat meat as a side dish. Here is the Reducetarianism beginner’s guide to eating less meat.

Flexitarians eat mostly vegetarian recipes or plant-based meals and the occasional meat, fish and poultry. They are sometimes called semi-vegetarians.

Pescatarians eat a vegetarian diet plus fish (no poultry or meat).

Why eat less meat?

Benefits to the Environment

“If the average American cut just a quarter pound of beef a week from their diet, about one hamburger, it would be the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off the road for a year.”  -Sujatha Bergen, Natural Resoureces Defence Council Health Campaigns Director (in Huffington Post article)

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says meat and dairy are big contributors to climate change, with livestock production accounting for about 14.5 % of the greenhouse gases that humans emit worldwide each year.

Brian Kateman, author and founder of the Reducetarian Movement, believes that cutting back on meat is more effective than cutting out meat completely. He says that even a 10% reduction can have big effects on personal health, carbon footprint, the lives of 70 billion farm animals and global warming.

Benefits to Your Health

The Mayo Clinic agrees with cutting back on meat rather than cutting it out cold turkey. It suggests trying 1-2 meatless meals a week to start. And when you do eat meat, cut back on portions to about 3 ounces (the size of a deck of cards). The Clinic and most public health researchers believe that reducing meat, particularly red meat, has an impact on lowering the risk of heart disease and chronic conditions like stroke or diabetes.

Quick Easy Meatless Monday Recipes (30 minutes or less)

Easy Gnocchi Recipe Indian-Style

Indian style gnocchi in bowl f
In 20 minutes with a few store-bought items, this easy gnocchi recipe delivers deep, rich Indian flavors with a creamy tomato-based sauce. Soak it up with Naan for a simple, but decadent Indian style pasta. Vegan.
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Spaghetti Squash Recipe With Roasted Vegetables

spaghetti squash topped with roasted vegetables on plate
This spaghetti squash recipe with roasted vegetables is all about healthy, low cal and satisfying. The shortcuts below will get this veggie comfort food on the dinner table in under 30 minutes. It's a simple recipe and delicious way to pack in those veggies. Vegan.
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Easy Vegetarian Pasta Recipe (for all seasons)

vegetarian pasta on plate with wine
This is one of my favorite non-meat meals. Its a light, healthy, zesty, easy vegetarian pasta recipe with simple ingredients. Perfect for any season.
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Easy Cast Iron Pizza (22 minutes)

slices of pizza on cutting board one with dripping cheese
A simple cast iron pizza will take just 22 minutes to make – faster than delivery! This delicious easy pizza has a super crispy crust (thick or thin) and no pizza stone is needed.
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Mediterranean Pasta

Mediterranean pasta in bowl f
This light Mediterranean pasta is inspired by Mediterranean flavors of garlic, olives, lemon, basil and tomatoes. Red pepper flakes will give it some heat if you like that. It's a great weeknight vegetarian meal in under 30 minutes. 
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Squash Curry (30-Minutes)

squash curry over rice in bowl f
With a few good shortcuts, this healthy butternut squash curry can be on the table in 30 minutes. Rich, creamy, spicy deliciousness. Vegan.
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Easy Eggplant Parmesan (30 minutes)

piece of eggplant parmesan on plate
This easy Eggplant Parmesan recipe has no breading, no frying and no pre-salting. It's unfussy, healthy and simply delicious. Good shortcuts cut the time down to 30 minutes.
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Parmesan Orzo with Spinach (one pot)

parmesan orzo with spinach in bowl f
You're going to want to try Parmesan orzo with spinach if you're looking for a quick, family-friendly, easy dinner idea with good nutrition. Just 15 minutes in one pot.
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Meatless Monday Meals (35-55 minutes)

Vegetable Strudel in Puff Pastry

vegetarian strudel on plate f
This vegetable strudel recipe wraps a savory medley of sweet potatoes, onion, peppers, apple, spinach & goat cheese in a flaky buttery puff pastry. It's a wonderful make-ahead vegetarian meal for a special occasion or any day. And easy with a great shortcut.
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Veggie Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

portobello mushroom on cutting board
A delicious meatless meal, these vegetarian stuffed portobello mushrooms, filled with fresh veggies, fresh herbs and cheese, are a wonderful change of pace. When I talk about 'stuffed' in this recipe, I mean STUFFED!
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Spinach Mac and Cheese

spinach mac and cheese in casserole dish
Mac and cheese might be old school, but face it, as the ultimate comfort food, it's hard not to get the occasional craving. Give in. This spinach mac and cheese is creamy, cheesy and delicious. With a great way to sneak in some added nutrition. 
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Tofu With Peanut Sauce

close up of tofu in endive 1
If you're a peanut lover, you will love Tofu With Peanut Sauce. Even if you don't like tofu. The spicy peanut-y little pillows are packed with flavor and delicious in veggie bowls and appetizers. Vegan.
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Mushroom Spinach Pasta

mushroom spinach pasta in a bowl f
This versatile mushroom spinach pasta dish makes for a quick, hearty vegetarian recipe and easy meal for weeknights. Creamy, cheesy satisfaction mixed with mushrooms and healthy spinach. 
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Vegetable Spaghetti Squash Recipe (Mexican-style)

spaghetti squash with mexican veggie topping
This is a vegetarian spaghetti squash recipe with bold Mexican flavors. We top the 'spaghetti' with a rich sauce of black beans, onions, tomatoes, bell pepper, corn, salsa, spices and cheese for a great meatless recipe for a weeknight meal.
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Easy Gnocchi Recipe (Au Gratin)

gnocchi au gratin in serving bowl
The pillowy gnocchi in this easy gnocchi recipe au gratin is transformed with a rich, velvety white cheese sauce. Serve it as an appetizer, side or main dish using fresh store-bought gnocchi for a great shortcut. 
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Homemade Veggie Burgers (Baked)

broccoli-burger with purple coleslaw in bun
Even meat-eaters will love these tasty, baked homemade broccoli burgers made with broccoli, cheese, sweet potato, onion, garlic, Panko and seasonings.
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Vegetarian Dinners for Meat Lovers (with plant based meat)

Vegetarian Bolognese (Instant Pot or Stovetop)

vegetarian bolognese in bowl sprinkled with parmesan cheese f
I'm pretty sure you couldn't tell the difference between a traditional steaming bowl of pasta with meat sauce and our quicker vegetarian Bolognese sauce made with plant-based ground beef in an Instant Pot. No kidding – same rich flavor, texture and deliciousness. Vegan (with no cheese)
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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

piece of vegetarian shepherds pie on plate
This unique vegetarian shepherd's pie is made with plant-based 'beef' and topped with a root vegetable mash. Same tastes and textures as a classic beef shepherds pie  – and just as delicious. 
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Meal-in-a-bowl Vegan Soup Recipes

Curried Lentil Soup

Curried Lentil Soup in bowl garnished with cilantro
Rich, creamy Curried Lentil Soup is a delicious vegan meal in a bowl. Lentils, curry, tomato sauce, coconut milk, garlic, ginger and cilantro are the stars of this instant pot soup. Vegan
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Red Lentil Soup Recipe With Vegetables

Red Lentil Vegetable Soup
This red lentil soup recipe with vegetables is a healthy, hearty, satisfying meal in a bowl. Perfect for a weeknight meal served with crusty bread. Vegan
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Vegetable Barley Soup

Vegetable Bean and Barley Soup in bowl with bread and butter f
You will not miss the meat in this hearty, healthy vegetable barley soup with fiber and protein-rich beans. I make a big batch and serve it as a meal-in-a-bowl for lunch all week. The best… Vegan
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Root Vegetable Soup

bowl of root vegetable and barley with croutons
There's nothing like Fall soups to help ease the transition from summer. Root Vegetable Soup – loaded with squash, sweet potato, turnip, celeriac, carrots, barley and onions – is the perfect segue into Fall. Nutrient-rich, low calorie and, most importantly, absolutely delicious. Vegan
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Sweet Potato Curry Soup

Curried Sweet Potato and Vegetable Soup in a bowl with cheese toast
Curried Sweet Potato Soup is a hearty, healthy satisfying starter or meal. Robust, rich and spicy. And packed with nutrition. Vegan without cheese.
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Vegetarian Split Pea Soup Recipe

two bowls of split pea soup with croutons
I love it when comfort food and 'healthy' come together in one dish. Like in this full bodied nutritious vegetarian split pea soup. It's loaded with vegetables, well seasoned and satisfying. Smooth or chunky. Your choice. If you are too lazy to chop vegetables (like me), use a food processor for a great shortcut. Vegan
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