MPR and I have been on quite the food journey this year. We started out by cutting all processed foods and carbs. Then I dabbled in paleo and used the spiralizer to turn veggies into noodles. Then we fell into a Netflix food documentary hole and discovered the benefits of a plant-based diet. We started incorporating more vegetarian and vegan meals into our weekly meal plans, and eventually cut out meat entirely. It has now been a little over three months and we’ve never felt better.
You’re probably wondering, “but why?” Once I dug in, I found that this is actually the simplest way to eat (at least to me). We buy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and tofu. We can eat any combination of them without worrying about counting calories and are still able to maintain our weight loss. I had to retrain my brain that carbs are not the enemy. In fact, whole grains are really good for you and an important part of a well-balanced diet – hello guilt-free pasta on Sundays once again! I missed you dearly!
Instead, I now do my best to avoid all added sugar and animal products. There’s quite a bit of research that ties animal proteins to just about every chronic disease, and since we cut it out, we never feel gross or bloated after any meal.
So in honor of World Vegetarian Day today, and Vegetarian Awareness Month this October, I thought I’d share some of our favorite vegetarian meals so far. Because if we can do it, anyone can do it!
- Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes from Simply Quinoa: These lentil sloppy joes are 100% better than traditional ones with ground beef, in my opinion! You could serve them on rolls or over brown rice – both are equally yummy.
- Southwestern Black Bean Pasta Salad: This is one of my favorite pasta dishes we’ve tried since lifting our ban on carbs. We make it with nutritious whole wheat pasta and the black beans provide protein to keep you feeling fuller longer.
- Roasted Chickpea Gyros: I could easily eat this meal every single week. The delicious seasonings on the roasted chickpeas are so much more flavorful than the chicken or lamb traditionally served in gyros. We pair it with this homemade tzatziki sauce! 💯
- Cowboy Caviar: This just replaced queso as my favorite dip. Seriously! It is so refreshing and the perfect side to bring to a BBQ.
- Spicy Sofritas Black Bean Bowls: This Chipotle copycat recipe is a game changer. It was the first tofu dish I tried and I am hooked!
- Sticky Sesame Cauliflower Bites: This is better than any Chinese takeout I’ve ever had. Their chicken always freaked me out 🙈
- Honey Sriracha Tofu: I love to pack this for lunch with brown rice and broccoli.
- Chickpea Salad Sandwich: Less stinky than tuna, but just as filling!
If you’re thinking about dipping your toe into the vegetarian/vegan pond, here are some of my favorite resources:
If you have any favorite vegetarian or vegan recipes, please share! We’re always looking for new dishes to add to our weekly rotation.