Sometimes I approach a classic recipe with meat and think, “How I can make this vegetarian?” While other times the transformation just happens by chance, as was the case with this Veg(etarian) Wedge Salad.
Though I’m not sure where or when the original Wedge Salad was created, the combination of crunchy lettuce, tangy cheese, creamy dressing and bacon has always been a favorite of mine. So while looking in my fridge one night, I spotted a number of Wedge Salad ingredients and started to get excited, until–oh wait, oh no!–I didn’t have any bacon. In search of a quick substitute, I found that I had falafel and thus a (meat-free) salad plan was hatched. To go along with my newly-inspired Mediterranean take on the wedge salad, I whipped up a feta-buttermilk dressing in place of the standard blue cheese dressing and substituted grilled romaine for the typical iceburg lettuce (I don’t think romaine is typically Mediterranean, but I like the chargrilled romaine flavor, so I went with it).
Get the recipe: Veg Wedge Salad
Go vegetarian this Meatless Monday with an Easy Egg Bake inspired by a Fried Egg and Spicy Tomato Sauce dish I had at Danny Meyer’s Maialino. As they’re unfortunately no longer serving the dish on their brunch menu, I decided to re-create the dish and add a bit of Southern flavor–in the form of cheese grits(!)–into the dish.
Feel free to get creative and add mushrooms or more veggies to grits or sauce. Serve this dish as either a hearty breakfast or brunch or as a meatless lunch or dinner with a side salad any time. Even better, make all of the components a day (or night) in advance and build the grits and tomato sauce layers and store in the fridge until you’re ready to top with eggs and bake everything off.
As I sometimes go about cooking with a no-recipe philosophy, here’s a quick talk-through of how to make this tasty dish:
- Make Moroccan-inspired spiced tomato sauce and let simmer to intensive flavor
- Make grits and add cheese
- Layer grits into a baking dish, layer tomato sauce on top of grits, crack two eggs on top and sprinkle with grated cheese
- Bake until eggs are cooked and other layers are warmed. Top with herbs (optional) and serve.
Prefer more detail?
Get the recipe: Easy Egg Bake
Mix up your Meatless Monday meal by adding tofu to the menu! Also known as bean curd, tofu is popular in many Asian countries and is an adaptable, versatile and protein-packed main ingredient–one 4-ounce serving is only 94 calories and has 10 grams of protein. Take a look at a few terrific tofu dishes to try this Meatless Monday!
Get the recipes:
This nutty noodle dish is delicious both hot and cold. Make an extra large batch and serve up leftovers for lunch all weeklong.
3 reasons to get your asparagus fix now–before the peak season is over:
1. It has only 5 calories per spear, zero fat and cholesterol, and almost no sodium. Talk about a dieter’s dream!
2. It is one of the most concentrated veggie sources of protein: 1 cup offers about 10% of your daily protein and fiber needs–a one-two punch that helps keep you full longer, so you can avoid overeating.
3. It has more glutathione–one of the most powerful cancer fighters–than any other fruit or vegetable. Glutathione also helps your body absorb nutrients and slows down the aging process.
Shopping Tip: Look for bunches with tightly closed buds on top–and eat them right away, because the nutrients fade fast.
Get the recipes:
Be a lean, green, protein-eating machine with edamame, one of our favorite meat-free muscle foods! Edamame has approximately 17 grams of protein per cup and is full of heart-healthy fiber, unsaturated fats and antioxidants. You’ve probably seen these green peas as a sushi bar appetizer, but these young soybeans can also be found in the freezer section of the grocery store and are sold shelled or in the pod (just pop ‘em out with your teeth).
To cook up these tasty (green) beans for Meatless Monday, simply toss them into your favorite stir-fry. Need a little more guidance?
Try our recipes below:
More Meatless Monday Recipes:
Are you an egghead? If not, then it’s time you become one! Try one of our top five favorite egg dishes for B, L or D–breakfast, lunch or dinner–and tell us what you think in the comments below.
5. 6-Minute Egg
After boiling eggs for only 6-minutes, give them a quick dunk into an ice bath before peeling off their shells. When you dig your fork in, the yoke will surprise you — it’s still soft! Serve on top of toast, polenta grits or even oatmeal.
I’ve often considered whole grains to be bor-ing and have definitely been guilty of relegating them to side dish status. Recently, however, I started noticing whole grains popping up in more and more restaurant–as stellar appetizers, salads and vegetarian main dishes–and have experienced a change of heart.
This Meatless Monday, I challenge you to get on this trending train and put these old, ancient grains in the spotlight as your main dish star. With the recipes below and numerous options including farro, millet, barley, brown rice, quinoa and more, there are multiple ways to make a satisfying meatless dish.
Since I’m a true believer in knowledge being power (nerd alert!), let’s go over a few quick “health hits” first. Did you know that whole grains…
- contain more antioxidants than fruit and vegetables including vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium and iron?
- can slash the risk of heart disease and diabetes by more than 25 percent when consumed regularly?
- cost half the price of meat and are full of fiber which keeps you full and helps you burn more calories? (Yup, that’s right. You can save money and lose weight? Hell yes!)
Now let’s get cookin’!
“Farro is one of my favorite types of wheat,” says Rachael. “And now you can find it in pasta!” Farro pasta has a nutty and complex flavor without the heaviness of whole grain pasta. Look for it in your local stores or online. Click here for more casual 30-Minute Meals from Rachael.
When you’re looking for flexibility, quinoa is the grain to use. I love this ingredient because it can be creamy or crunchy, shaped and molded into other dishes like patties and works as the main attraction or a just a garnish. In addition, it’s gluten-free and super fast to make. Zucchini and corn are tossed with light and fluffy quinoa in this colorful main dish. However, feel free to experiment with whatever veggies you like the most or whatever is in season. Serve this salad hot or cold and save time by making it up to 2 days in advance and storing in the refrigerator.
Farro is a healthy whole-grain that Italians have been eating for years in everything from salad to soups. As a complex carbohydrate, it breaks down slowly in your system which helps to keep your energy levels stable. Make this recipe for approximately $2.50 per person and add in mushrooms for an extra buck. Click here to get this recipe and more $3 Italian soups.
Usually you’ll find barley playing second fiddle in a soup recipe, but this meatless meal from our Italian-inspired Express Lane Suppers showcases barley’s subtly buttery flavor by pairing it with butternut squash and peas. Save time by using pre-cut squash from your grocery store and our Express Lane Supper recipes and customized 10-ingredient shopping list.
Wanna learn more? Get the scoop on how to cook 6 of our favorite whole grains, 7 easy ways to incorporate them into your every day recipes and the must-know do’s and don’ts of grains with our How to Cook with Whole Grains Guide.
Mushrooms can be a bit of an intimidating ingredient. I remember as a kid, my scientist mother told me that that they’re actually an “edible fungi” and that yes, I am supposed to eat them despite my knee-jerk reaction. “But don’t eat all of them,” she warned, “because certain varieties, like the ones in the park, could be poisonous.” Wait, what? Poisonous?! Talk about being confused from a young age!
These days though, I am a true believer in the magic of mushrooms–no, not that kind of magic–I’m talking about their ability to provide tons of flavor and enhance the other foods that they’re paired with. Don’t believe me? Well, it’s science! Mushrooms are high in glutamate, (an amino acid), making them the king of “umami,” that fifth hard-to-describe savory taste also found in aged cheeses, soy sauce and cured meats.
So what does this have to do with Meatless Monday? When you’re looking for a vegetarian recipe that will satisfy every palate, reach for mushrooms! With their distinctive texture and flavor boosting powers, you won’t even notice that the meal is missing meat! (Plus, by going for mushrooms, you can even save a couple bucks compared to buying meat and calories!) Check out some of our favorite meatless mushrooms recipes below!
What’s YOUR favorite mushrooms? Tell us below in the comments!
When you’re looking for a Meatless Monday meal with a one-two punch of flavor, look no further than one of our vegetable curry recipes. We guarantee that whether you’re a fan of spicy Thai red curries or tamarind and coriander-based Indian curries or prefer your curry dishes “wet” (made with lots of sauce or liquid) or “dry” (coated in the spice mixture), you’ll be so focused on all of the layers of robust, savory flavor that you won’t even notice that there’s no meat.
Whip up one of our three favorite vegetarian curry recipes below:
This 30-Minute Meal recipe from Rachael Ray brings together Middle Eastern and Italian flavors with a spiced tomato sauce over whole wheat noodles. Use a pre-mixed curry powder or create your own blend with tumeric, cumin, corinander, cinnamon and cardamom.
The red curry in this one-bowl meal is balanced with brown sugar and unsweetened coconut milk, which also adds a hint of luscious creaminess. To make this dinner even quicker, prep and freeze vegetables in advance or pick up steamed rice from your local takeout restaurant.
Believe it or not, you can make this meal for $2.29 per person–that’s under $10 for four people! If you have an extra buck and are interested in adding a burst of color and sweetness too, add 1/2 cup of frozen peas five minutes before serving.
With its creamy texture and meaty flavor, cooked eggplant is one satisfying and filling vegetable (think saucy eggplant parm — yum!). Plus, it’s down right beautiful. Check out those babies.
Swap out your protein for eggplant and you’ll get a meatless meal you’ll want to repeat…every Monday! Learn more about the benefits of eating eggplant. Plus, find 20 recipes to try tonight! Including our Linguine with Eggplant Ragout (below).