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25 Meatless Monday Recipes (2024)

Meatless Monday recipes 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 dinner 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 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!

Quick & Easy (30 minutes or less)

Easy Veg Gnocchi Recipe in 20 Minutes (Indian-Style)

veg gnocchi in an indian sauce with spinach in white bowl
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 Noodles With Roasted Vegetables

roasted veggies over spaghetti squash on white 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 Vegetable Spaghetti in 30 Minutes

vegetable spaghetti on white plate with wine behind plate.
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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Simple Mediterranean Spaghetti (22 Minutes)

Mediterranean spaghetti in a white bowl on wood table.
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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Butternut 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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Creamy Orzo Pasta with Spinach (15 Minutes, One Pot)

bowl of parmesan orzo with spinach
You're going to want to try this creamy orzo pasta 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 Dinner Ideas (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

grilled stuffed mushroom cap 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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Old Fashioned Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Spinach

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

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)

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 Gratin (with pre-make gnocchi)

gnocchi au gratin in serving bowl
The pillowy gnocchi in this easy gnocchi 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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Broccoli 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

These two popular dinners are made with plant-based meat.

Best Vegan Bolognese (Instant Pot or Stovetop)

vegan bolognese with fusilli pasta in bowl
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 (Instant Pot or Stovetop)

bowl of curried lentil soup with cilantro garnish..
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

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

bowl of vegetable barley spup.
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

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 and Carrot Soup With Spinach

bowl of sweet potato and carrot soup with spinach topped with grated parmesan.
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

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
Get the recipe

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 Resources Defense 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 a significant portion 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.

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).

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