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15 vegetarian dinners that taste like they were made from meat

The Minimalist Baker

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Not every meal needs to feature meat, but occasionally, the human body still crave something hearty, salty and satisfying come dinner time. Thankfully, there are loads of vegetarian meals that can be cooked to taste like they were made with meat.

So whether you’re trying out Meatless Monday for the first time or you’re committed to eating a plant-based diet 24/7, these 15 recipes will “beef up” your dinner schedule… in a purely vegetarian way.

1. Lemon and lentil veggie burgers

A life without lentils isn’t one worth living. Dramatic? Perhaps, but the point is that they’re damn good. These little fibre bombs are so versatile and they make the perfect base for a burger patty. Season with turmeric, cumin, mustard seed and lemon for a zesty taste that’ll work well any time of year.

Lemon and Lentil Veggie Burger

A is for Apple

2. Pecan no-meatloaf and mushroom gravy

Slices of fluffy portobello mushrooms and roasted pecans take the reigns from ground beef and lead this no-meatloaf dish into dinner-winning territory. A vegetable-stock gravy with rosemary and thyme add to the gold medal-worthy flavours.

3. Dairy-free mac ‘n cheese

If dairy upsets your belly, this milk-free sharp cheddar mac ‘n cheese just might change your life. Or, at the very least, how your insides feel after this meal. Believe it or not, the faux-cheese base is made from potato, carrot and nutritional yeast. Blend it and pour it over your fave pasta shells.

4. Cauliflower steaks

Cauliflower needn’t be mashed or boiled. This recipe calls for thick slices that are baked to perfection and topped with a sweet sauce that blends raisins, capers, thyme and butter.

5. Vegetable tangine

Cauliflower, eggplant, carrot, zucchini, green beans and tomato make up this particular tagine. Serve it over couscous on a cold winter day, and you won’t be disappointed.

6. Barbecued, pulled jackfruit

Jackfruit is easiest to prepare when you buy it canned (find it at the grocery store, and avoid ones in syrup or brine) rather than fresh. Jackfruit “pulls” the same way pork or chicken would, and takes on the smoky bbq flavours. Top with slaw and you’re set.

7. Mushroom stir-fry

What makes this mushroom stir-fry stand out from the rest is the wide mushroom variety used in the recipe — like button, oyster, king and shiitake — while the soy sauce, shaoxing wine (a Chinese fermented rice wine) and sesame oil seasoning will make your taste buds sing.

8. Cassoulet

Typically, this French dish is loaded with pork, duck, mutton or all three. But in this case, there’s no pig, lamb or bird. Instead, tempeh takes centre stage, providing a tasty texture as well as an extra boost of protein.

 

9. Hot Buffalo-Style Cauliflower Bites

Are you craving chicken wings? If you answered yes, then you’re going to have to give these cauliflower bites a try. When coated in a tasty batter and baked, this finger food takes on a texture that truly resembles chicken wings.

The Food Gays

10. Vegan enchiladas

Most Mexican meals can easily leave out the meat and no one would notice. These spicy enchiladas are filled with black beans, lentils and spinach, which perfectly absorb the Mexican spices.

11. Hummus and tofu ricotta lasagna

Chances are you won’t believe how much tofu ricotta tastes like the real thing. Firm tofu crumbed up combined with hummus, nutritional yeast, basil and oil is a simple and satisfying filler, while hearty veg like zucchini, spinach and mushrooms replace the ground beef.

12. Sweet potato noodles in cheesy cashew sauce

Gluten got you down? Swap wheat pasta for sweet potato noodles. You’ll reap the extra nutritional value from the yam, and the cashew cream sauce will make you forget cow’s milk is even missing.

13. Stuffed squash with walnuts and beans

This dish calls for red kuri squash to be quartered and then stuffed with black beans, walnuts, olives sage and basil. Bake it for 45 minutes and be merry!

14. Veg French dip sandwiches

Instead of stuffing a crispy baguette with roast beef, use thickly sliced mushrooms and onion mix for a vegetarian-friendly French dip sandwich. Since the au jus sauce is mushroom-based, its flavours is just as rich as a meat-based sauce.

15. Beet pesto pasta

Garlic, almonds, beets and oil make a tasty pesto, which is a welcome change from traditional basil. Boil a pot of your fave pasta, scoop on some purple sauce and enjoy.

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