Whether you’re making the switch to a vegetarian, vegan or plant-based diet, or just looking to cut back on the amount of meat your family eats, these easy vegetarian food swaps can be used for most meals.
Studies have shown that a vegetarian diet has been linked to many health benefits, including lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and one’s risk for heart disease. While some nutrients can be lacking for vegetarians and vegans, eating balanced meals filled with fresh, frozen, or canned fruits and vegetables is really easy.
Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?
One of the biggest questions about vegetarian, vegan or plant-based diets is where you get your protein. There are so many other ways to get protein than just meat! Plant-based protein sources like beans, legumes, nuts, tofu, tempeh and quinoa are all great sources.
The Difference Between Vegetarian, Vegan and Plant-Based Diets
A vegetarian diet is free from all meat and fish, but many vegetarians still consume eggs, cheese, dairy and honey. Meanwhile, vegans don’t consume by meat or animal byproducts, including eggs, dairy and honey.
While many think of a vegan and plant-based diets as the same, a plant-based diet focuses on whole or minimally processed plants such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains and seeds while avoiding meat and animal byproducts. The main difference is that vegan diets can contain highly processed foods, where plant-based diets tend to avoid those foods.
Skip the meat and opt for one of these vegetarian swaps!
When you want a meaty taste and texture, mushrooms are the way to go. Their flavor is meaty and earthy, while being extra healthy and filling. My favorite way is to finely chop mushrooms and mix with lean ground beef for an extra flavorful, veggie-packed meatball or burger. You can also slice portabella mushrooms, grill or sauté with your favorite taco seasoning, and add as a filling for tacos, fajitas, or enchiladas.
Learn more about mushrooms on our Produce Tips page and try them in one of these yummy recipes:
- Pizza-Bella Stuffed Mushrooms
- Grilled Vegetable Pizza
- Turkey & Mushroom Tacos
- Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
According to recent food trend findings, jackfruit consumption is on the rise among vegetarians and vegans. If you haven’t tried jackfruit yet, it makes one tasty meat replacement, low in calories, sodium, and zero saturated fat and cholesterol. With a fairly neutral taste, jackfruit takes on the flavor of any sauce or seasoning you pair it with. Its consistency is stringy, so it works well in recipes where you’d use pulled chicken, pork, or beef.
Eggplant can do much more than the “parmigiana” it’s known for. Eggplant can be grilled, turned into steaks, or used as the “patty” in burgers. It’s also less expensive and an equally filling alternative to steaks and burgers. To make it even more flavorful, marinate the eggplant before grilling, roasting, or sautéing.
Learn more about eggplant on our Produce Tips page and try it in one of these yummy recipes:
Mild in flavor and easy on the budget, cauliflower has a reputation for being a popular meat replacement. Cauliflower is a meat substitute that you can use as taco filling, pizza topping, or pasta sauce. Cauliflower replaces chicken in buffalo wing recipes, is a gluten-free pizza crust option, and even makes a lighter side dish when mashed like potatoes.
Learn more about cauliflower on our Produce Tips page and try it in one of these yummy recipes: