There’s no need to go fully vegan or vegetarian to take advantage of the benefits of a plant-based diet. From mains to sides, these 33 plant-based recipes and flexitarian dishes are healthy and delicious, and are a great way to incorporate more veggies into your diet.
The two main reasons we as humans eat are a) for health and b) for taste. Food is what makes life possible, and that much better, and so much more tasty and delicious. Eating for health doesn’t have to mean sacrificing all of the things that make food so enjoyable. With so many popular elimination diets out there right now (that often contradict each other), balancing this issue can seem complicated. But it doesn’t have to be.
Instead of focusing on what to cut out, I’ve been keeping it positive by simply incorporating more fresh whole foods and vegetables into my diet. Mediterranean and Asian cuisines are perfect examples of how healthy grains and veggies can be made into some of my favorite and most flavorful dishes.
- It’s good for the environment! Not to go all Food Inc. on you, but did you know that the meat industry puts out more carbon emissions than the entire travel sector? Yikes!
- Eating seasonally also is better for the environment dues to less transport, PLUS you’re supporting local sellers.
- Eating fresh whole foods and vegetables bypasses preservative-filled foods.
These reasons and so many more are why we should all think about eating more plants, like the plant-forward recipe ideas I’m sharing below. These recipes serve as carb-light, nutrient-heavy lunch and dinner options that are heartier and tastier than your standard salad. Cheers to eating more veggies!
1. One-Pot Skinny Pasta Primavera
There isn’t a better springtime dish than pasta primavera- it’s all in the name! This easy one-pot dish is loaded with fresh seasonal veggies and herbs.
2. Mediterranean Style Baked Cod
from Olive and Mango
Fast and easy, this one-pan Mediterranean style baked cod makes for a simple, healthy dinner during the week. Tender, flaky cod is roasted with a colorful medley of olives, artichokes, and tomatoes, which (bonus, yield some very delicious pan juices).
3. Spiralized Zucchini, Quinoa, and Turkey Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers
Spiralized zucchini and quinoa replace rice for a healthier take on one of my family’s savory stuffed peppers.
4. Veggie Black Bean Enchiladas
from Cookie and Kate
These satisfying vegetarian enchiladas are stuffed with black beans for protein, broccoli, bell peppers, and spinach, then topped with a delicious homemade red sauce.
5. Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Squash and Shiitake Mushrooms
Smooth butternut squash puree and shiitake mushrooms lend their flavors for a lighter lasagna.
6. 30 Minute Vegan Stir Fry Sesame Noodles with Chickpeas & Basil
from Ambitious Kitchen
This 30 minute vegan, veggie-studded stir fry features a homemade stir fry sauce and gets a healthy dose of plant-based protein from chickpeas.
7. Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Herbed Ricotta
Grilled veggies pair with a creamy, herbed ricotta spread for a melt-in-your-mouth bite.
8. Crockpot Quinoa Chicken Primavera
from Pinch of Yum
This bright green bowl of healthy goodness includes tender-crisp asparagus, peas, and pesto, quinoa, and chicken that requires minimal prep thanks to the crockpot!
9. Hummus Veggie Wrap
Stuff this wrap full of your favorite crispy veggies and a generous dollop of hummus.
10. Grilled Eggplant with Chimichurri
Smoky, sweet eggplant is fired up on the grill and topped with a tangy, garlicky chimichurri for perfectly tender eggplant with just the right bite. This dish can be a side or a main, just as easily.
11. Green Goddess Cream Cheese Veggie Sandwich
A truly heavenly green goddess, this stacked up sandwich has all the elements of a good deli, and is loaded with greens.
12. Sweet Potato & Chickpea Buddha Bowl
from Platings + Pairings
Quinoa, chickpeas, & veggies topped with a tangy mojo sauce will power you through the day.
13. Italian Chicken Wrap
Skip the dry, pre-made pinwheel deli sandwiches found in the grocery store for these wraps loaded with lean chicken and fresh mediterranean veggies, like red onion and kalamata olives.
14. Crispy Peanut Tofu & Cauliflower Rice Stir-Fry
from Minimalist Baker
The secret to magically crispy tofu isn’t lots of oil! This tofu is baked and tossed in an easy, 5-ingredient peanut glaze and served over cauliflower rice with sautéed veggies. It’s remarkably crispy, vegan, and gluten-free.
15. Curry Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash and Greens
Lentils pack the protein while butternut squash and curry provide creamy, delicious flavor. Top with fresh greens for a meal that checks all the boxes.
16. Mashed Cauliflower with Parmesan and Chives
This creamy mashed cauliflower with Parmesan and chives is the perfect side for when you’re looking for an easy way to incorporate more veggies into your meal.
17. Chopped Grilled Vegetable Bowl with Farro
This colorful bowl is easy to whip together, filling, and packed with all of the mediterranean flavors I love.
18. Creamy Orzo Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash
This vegetarian dish features creamy, comforting orzo pasta studded with roasted butternut squash, nutritious kale, fresh sage, and Parmesan cheese.
19. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos
Cilantro, heirloom tomatoes, and lime give these protein packed burritos fresh flavors and texture.
20. Taco Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Mexican flavored ground beef taco meat fills these stuffed zucchini boats topped with melted cheese and all the taco toppings for an all-in-one, easy dinner. Feel free to sub ground turkey or plant meat (such as Impossible Beef) for the ground beef, if you prefer.
21. Baked Eggplant Parmesan
Gimme Some Oven
This Eggplant Parmesan is lightened up a bit with baked (instead of fried) panko-crusted roasted eggplant, and layered with marinara, cheeses and fresh herbs for a super satisfying vegetarian dinner.
22. 30 Minute Greek Shrimp Grain Bowls
from Dishing Out Health
You can make these healthy Greek Shrimp Grain Bowls with zucchini, peppers, and lemon-garlic yogurt in just 30 minutes. They lend themselves well to meal prep or easy weeknight dinners and are full of bright and wonderful Mediterranean flavors.
23. Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
from Crowded Kitchen
These roasted cauliflower steaks are bursting with amazing savory flavor from a zesty garlic-lemon marinade. Cooking them in the oven lends more flavor and gives them an irresistibly caramelized and crisp exterior with a tender interior. Serve over mashed potatoes or parsnip purée for even more veggies on your plate!
24. Mediterranean Chicken Quinoa Bowl with Broccoli and Tomato
Perfect to meal prep for a quick dinner or lunch on the go, this power bowl is fresh and flavorful.
25. Baked Spaghetti Squash with Garlicky Chickpeas
from Alexandra Cooks
Inspired by cacio e pepe, spaghetti squash is baked and then pulled with a fork to create noodles. It’s topped with brothy, garlicky chickpeas and sharp Pecorino for a warm and cozy dish that’s hearty and healthy.
26. Teriyaki Salmon Bowls with Ginger Sesame Greens & Coconut Rice
from Gather & Feast
These super delicious, savory bowls are perfect for a quick and easy lunch or dinner. Salmon is baked in a homemade teriyaki sauce and served over coconut rice and a mixture of bok choy, Chinese broccoli, and snow peas (but this recipe is easily adaptable to use other greens or veggies, and you could easily swap jasmine rice for cauliflower rice).
27. Thai Coconut Cauliflower
Cauliflower is so buttery and pairs so well with basically any other topping, that I almost forget its still a vegetable.
28. Vegan Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
from The Modern Proper
This bright and filling salad is loaded with roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, black beans and kale, and tossed in a creamy lime-cashew-cilantro dressing.
29. Grilled Zucchini with Feta and Pine Nuts
Make the most of your garden with this grilled zucchini dish that is anything but boring.
30. Buddha Bowls with Turkey Meatballs or Crispy Tofu
These easy, healthy quinoa buddha bowls are loaded with a long-lasting rainbow of veggies—sweet potatoes, cauliflower, and broccolini—that are roasted then layered with make ahead/leftover proteins and straight from the pantry quinoa.
31. Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos with Avocado Crema
from Pinch of Yum
For these insanely delicious tacos, chunks of cauliflower are breaded in a two-ingredient batter, are baked, not fried, then tossed in a hot and tangy buffalo sauce. The cool avocado crema, crunchy shredded cabbage and cilantro are refreshing complements that tie everything together.
32. Mediterranean Zucchini Boats
Zucchini boats make the perfect vegetable vessel for ground turkey sausage, kalamata olives, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, basil, and Parmesan cheese for a Mediterranean spin on everyone’s favorite stuffed zucchini recipe.
33. Kale Salad with Quinoa and Shrimp
Hearty and nutritious, with pops of antioxidant sweetness, this kale and quinoa salad with baked garlic shrimp puts all things super into the epitome of a super, superfood salad.
More Healthy Recipe Roundups to Check Out
- 10 Healthy and Hearty Salad Recipes That Make a Meal
- 20 Easy Healthy Cauliflower Recipes to Make for Dinner Tonight
- 30 Healthier Spring Pasta Recipes to Make Now
- 30 Super Savory Salads to Make Now
- 31 Healthy Lunches to Make Now
- 31 Quick and Healthy Veggie Side Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less
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I agree with several other people (apparently posts have been deleted) that calling recipes “plant-based” when they include animal products is intentionally misleading. It’s great that people want to have a more balanced diet and incorporate other food groups besides just animal protein, but you don’t need a special word for it. Not plant-based. Not flexitarian. That just seems so silly and unnecessary to me. It seems like people are trying to get clicks and capitalize off of the *actual* movement toward exclusive plant-based eating. I’m taking what little free time I have today to search for new meal ideas for my family, and clicking on this link was a waste of my time and a source of frustration. Just call them what they are. Regular old recipes.
Hi, I was just surfing the web looking for some more yummy plant based recipes and found your site. Recipe pictures looked amazing at first glance until I actually looked at the ingredients. There was parmesan cheese in the first two recipes. I am not understanding this when it says “31 plant based recipes” at the top of the webpage. I thought Plant Based meant that all the ingredients are plant based. I am sorry to say I won’t look further into the rest o the recipes because I believe this is misleading.
Hi Karen, the meals are all made with more plants than meat, but are not vegetarian or vegan. As noted here, “A plant-based diet is a way of eating that focuses on vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, and lentils), nuts and seeds, i.e. foods that come from plants. It is not a vegetarian diet that avoids meat, but it de-emphasizes meat and its contribution to our meals.“
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
Sorry for the confusion Erin
Since some people are believing their opinion is fact, a plant-based diet is not completely free of meat. It doesn’t matter what you “think” it is, it matters what it is. Some of us need to be willing to change our thinking when we learn new information. That would be vegan or vegetarian. Katherine D. McManus of Harvard Medical School explains it in this way:
“Plant-based or plant-forward eating patterns focus on foods primarily from plants. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It doesn’t mean that you are vegetarian or vegan and never eat meat or dairy. Rather, you are proportionately choosing more of your foods from plant sources.
Thank you for the recipes
Thanks so much Veronica. I’m glad to see your clarification and agree with my recs too.
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
Sorry for the confusion, Matt.
Plant based actually means that you consume more plant items than anything else. It does not mean there is no meat. It does not mean vegetarian or vegan. Plant based usually means a person is going back to more non-processed, healthier foods.
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
Yes, exactly! Thanks Michelle.
a nice alternative to many of my meat filled dishes, stuffed sweet potatoes, for instance, look wonderful, thank you for all of these
That’s a delicious, healthy roundup.thanks for all the ideas.
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
Thanks so much Patti!
All of these recipes are so delicious looking and so different! This was a great recipe round up idea!
Ashley @ Foodie Crush
Thank you Chels!!