Food & Drink

10 of the greatest meat-free recipes

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Emily Badiozzaman
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Veganuary, meat-free Monday and that part-time veggie book someone got you for Christmas - dropping your carnivorous tendencies is a ‘thing’ now.

Yes, there are definitely benefits to cutting down/out on meat but the energy that goes into making veggies interesting (and more importantly, satisfying) is much more than the thought process that goes into a good old steak and jackie p. And between being told to cut down on carbs and sugar too, what’s a man to eat these days?

Well, these meals for a start. Here are 10 healthy-not-sad dishes that will hit the spot and your health targets:

 Chickpea dumplings and tomato curry sauce

This one may have quite a few ingredients and the DieTTaste recipe may need to be Anglophide (cilantro is coriander FYI) but it’s a one pot wonder, dumplings in there and all. The spice in the sauce is warming on a winter’s eve and the chickpea dumplings stodgy enough to fool you into thinking you’ve had bad carbs. Serve up next to some cauliflower rice with a bit of butter mixed in if you think it needs something extra. 

Find the recipe here.

Cauliflower and mushroom risotto

There’s a lot of cauliflower happening at the moment, but it turns out its a great alternative base to all your staples. Mashed potato? Mashed cauliflower. Pizza base? Cauliflower base. Rice? Cauliflower. Cauliflower rice is much faster and easier to make than it sounds, and actually easier to nail than the real stuff. It also means you can get away with stuff like risotto and call it a detox meal because there’s basically nothing but veg and stock (plus a bit of cheese) in clean eating blogger ifoodreal.com’s Olena version. Big on flavour, little on the bad stuff. Unless you add a (tiny) splash of wine to take it up a notch, which you didn’t hear from us.  

Find the recipe here

Courgetti and burst tomatoes with avocado sauce

Don’t worry, you’re not going to have to go out and buy a spiraliser from Argos. Everywhere from Marks and Spencer to Sainsbos and Tesco has pre-spiralized courgettes (AKA courgetti) that you can whack in the microwave and half your meal is ready in two minutes. And seeing so avocados aren’t going anywhere (yet), you may as well make them into the health nut’s equivalent of a creamy pasta sauce, a la Pinch of Yum blogger Lindsay. Tip: supermarket courgetti doesn’t last long so buy it on the way home the night you want to make this. Don’t fancy courgette? Buy butternut squash spaghetti instead.

Find the recipe here.

Veggie Keralan Malabar

South Indians know how to work a vegetable. They also know how to make killer deep fried breads. So as long as you focus on the former, you should be good. This curry may not inspire you like your local’s masala but it packs just as much of a flavour punch. Fragrant and lashed with coconut, Lazy Cat Kitchen’s Ania loads this vegan number up with cauliflower, sugar snap peas and chickpeas, topping it off with cashews. 

Find the recipe here.

Courgette and sweetcorn pie

Hefty on the cheese, but you deserve it. This is basically a really, really good frittata rather than a pie packed with courgettes, sweetcorn and mushrooms, topped off with melt-your-cold-dead-heart gooey cheese. Plus it has the bonus of doing everything in one pan, lessening your clean up but not your joy. You won’t even notice that it’s only 250 calories per serving. It’s also one of those that you can have for dinner and lunch the next day.

Find the recipe here.

Moroccan chickpea bowl

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A whole happy meal (not that one) in a bowl. We’re talking tomato-y chickpeas, cucumber salad, couscous and a dollop of yoghurt topped with coriander. Add a pinch of nutmeg to Pinch of Yum’s recipe and you’ll keep raking in the taste benefits as well as the health ones. If you’ve got leftovers, chuck them into a wholeweat tortilla and you’ve got the healthiest burrito on the block. Think detox is hard? Chick, please. 

Find the recipe here.

Hotpot lentil soup

Let’s be real. Soup may warm your cockles and Heinz may tell you nothing compares, but often it can be so sad. Like you’re back in your student flat choosing between food and heating sad. And the shop bought stuff plays some Potter-level wizardry on us schmucks. There can be way more sugar, salt and carbs in them than you think. But thankfully this lentil option from Cookie and Kate is detox friendly (it’s vegan), tasty and filling. You can chuck everything (including veg stragglers in the fridge that you’ll end up throwing away) into a slow cooker overnight ready for the next day.

Read the recipe here.   

Miso glazed aubergine

Some say aubergine doesn’t have a discernible taste. The benefit of that is it’s basically like an edible sponge, and they’ve clearly been surrounding it with the wrong flavours and definitely not miso. Because Pickled Plum’s traditionally Japanese miso (extra health points) glazed aubergine is some next level melt-in-the-mouth umami. On par with the flavour it is the time it takes to make. While the aubergine is in the oven, throw together a crunchy kale salad and you’re ready to go in 15 minutes. 

Find the recipe here.

Cauliflower calzones with mushroom, cheese and spinach

A normal calzone is like a pizza pasty, which is truly delightful but instantly coma inducing. So The Iron You came up with a cauliflower crust version that is health friendly, but still gives you a hit of happiness. Remember when you were a kid and you were somehow tricked into making dinner by creating your own pizza as a craft project? This is basically that in reverse – dinner that tricks you into doing a craft project (when you’re squeezing water out of cauliflower through a tea towel you’ll see what we mean). But it’s worth it and your body will probably thank you. Spread some tomato paste on the cauliflower before adding your filling to amp up the pizza comparison. 

Find the recipe here

Stuffed portobello mushrooms 

Mushrooms are edible cups. Cups that need to be filled, stuffed even. Food blogger Caroline of Taste, Love and Nourish makes these with a bunch of sauteed vegetables – courgette, onions, spinach, peppers – and topped with parmesan and mozzarella. The cheese makes it feel bad enough that it’s actually really good. Teamed with a leafy side salad and you realise you’ve made it through 10 meals without meat or the weird tasteless stuff like qourn or tofu and it wasn’t even that hard. 

Find the recipe here

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Emily Badiozzaman

Emily is a freelance writer for Shortlist.com. She covers breaking news, entertainment, style and lifestyle for the site. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found eating and drinking or thinking about food and drinking. Follow Emily on Twitter: @ebadiozzaman 

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