It seems like plant-based eating is the hottest thing in food options today.

Fast-food chains all seem to have alternative “meats” on their menus. And grocery stores have upped their options.

It makes sense. Studies have associated regular intake of red meat with health and environmental consequences.1 Red and processed meats contain high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. There are many studies that link regular red meat consumption to developing heart disease, cancer and even death.

Still, use caution with meat alternatives since they are highly processed and may contain just as much saturated fat as beef versions.

Natural ways to add plant-based protein:

  • Quinoa
  • Flax seeds
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Nut butters
  • Garbanzo beans

Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Some people describe themselves as semi-vegetarian or “flexible” vegetarian,2 consuming mostly plant-based foods with occasional meat. You could adopt a “Meatless Monday”3—or any day of the week.

Try substituting one of the following recipes for a meatless meal. Maybe it’s dinner one day or breakfast the next. Before you know it, you could be filling your plate with more plants than animal products. With all the options, the choices are endless.

A veggie scramble skillet featuring tofu, green onion and tomato.

Breakfast: Veggie scramble with a side of berries

(Swap for scrambled eggs)

Makes 1 serving | Prep: 5 min | Cook: 3-4 minutes


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup firm or extra firm tofu, cubed
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • ½ cup chopped bell peppers
  • 1 cup strawberry halves


  • Spray a pan with cooking spray.
  • Over medium heat, add tofu, tomatoes, onion and bell pepper.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, until onions are translucent.
  • Serve with a side of berries.

Veggie boost: Add extra non-starchy veggies like spinach or zucchini.

Flavor boost: Use pepper and garlic powder.

Energy boost: Mix in ½ cup sautéed sweet potato.

Nutrition information per serving

Calories 259; Fat 11 g; Sat. Fat 2 g; Sodium 42 mg; Cholesterol o mg; Carbs 30 g; Fiber 5 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 24 g; Potassium 809 mg

A slice of toast topped with healthy items including avocado, cucumber and spinach

Breakfast: Veggie-packed avocado toast with an apple

(Swap for salmon avocado toast)

Makes 1 serving | Prep time: 4 minutes | Cook time: 2 minutes


  • 1 slice whole-wheat bread
  • 2 Tbsp hummus
  • 2 Tbsp avocado, mashed
  • 4-5 slices cucumber
  • 1 cup spinach, loosely packed
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • Small apple


  • Toast bread and top with hummus, avocado, cucumber and spinach.
  • Serve with a side of sunflower seeds and 1 small apple.

Veggie boost: Add more spinach.

Energy boost: Serve the apple with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter.

Nutrition information per serving

Calories 420; Fat 22 g; Sat. Fat 3 g; Sodium 289 mg; Cholesterol 0 mg; Carbs 46 g; Fiber 14 g; Sugars 15 g; Protein 14 g; Potassium 792 mg

A plant based burrito wrapped in a collard green leaf

Lunch: Black bean collard burrito

(Swap for carnitas tacos)

Makes 1 serving | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 2 large collard greens leaves
  • ½ cup canned low-sodium vegetarian refried beans, warmed
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice, warmed
  • 2 Tbsp salsa
  • ½ avocado, sliced


  • Wash collard greens leaves well, and trim off thick stems.
  • Lay flat. With a fork, mash the center vein to make it more pliable.
  • Put beans, rice, salsa and avocado on leaves and roll like a burrito.

Veggie boost: Use an unlimited amount of non-starchy vegetables.

Flavor boost: Add a squeeze of lime or diced jalapeno peppers.

Nutrition information per serving

Serving size: 1 burrito

Calories 420; Fat 17 g; Sat fat 2 g; Sodium 347 mg; Cholesterol 0 mg; Carbs 58 g; Fiber 16 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 13 g; Potassium 584 mg

Fresh mushrooms being cooked on a grill

Dinner: Grilled portobello mushroom with broccoli & sweet potato

(Swap for a pork chop)

Makes 1 serving | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 12 minutes


  • 3-4 oz portobello mushroom
  • ¾ cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp salsa
  • ½ cup roasted broccoli
  • Small baked sweet potato


  • Coat a medium skillet with cooking spray.
  • Over a medium flame, cook portobello mushroom until lightly browned, around 3-5 minutes.
  • Flip and cook on other side for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Slide mushroom onto plate.
  • In the same skillet, sauté cannellini beans with rosemary and garlic.
  • Top mushroom with bean mixture and salsa.
  • Serve with broccoli and sweet potato.

Veggie boost: Add extra roasted non-starchy veggies on top of sweet potato or serve with a side salad.

Flavor boost: Add lemon pepper and fresh lemon juice on top of the portobello mushroom and roasted broccoli.

Nutrition information per serving

Calories 305; Fat 1 g; Sat. Fat 0 g; Sodium 465 mg; Cholesterol 0 mg; Carbs 64 g; Fiber 20 g; Sugars 10 g; Protein 20 g; Potassium 1,687 mg

Roasted cauliflower steaks on a serving plate set on a table

Dinner: Cauliflower “steak”

(Swap for a beef steak)

Makes 1 serving | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes


  • 1 1½-inch-thick slice of cauliflower, cut lengthwise from the core of a whole cauliflower
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • ½ cup quinoa, cooked


  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Place cauliflower on a baking sheet and brush with ½ of the olive oil.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, then flip sides.
  • Brush with the olive oil and roast another 5 minutes, or until tender.
  • While cauliflower is roasting, add remaining olive oil to sauté pan and place over medium heat.
  • Add spinach and sauté 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove cauliflower from oven and place on serving plate.
  • Top with sautéed spinach and almonds.
  • Enjoy with ½ cup of cooked quinoa.

Veggie boost: Add a side of cucumbers and carrots.

Energy boost: Add a side of ¼ cup of hummus.

Nutrition information per serving

Calories 416; Fat 24 g; Sat. Fat 2 g; Sodium 78 mg; Cholesterol 0 mg; Carbs 42 g; Fiber 9 g; Sugars 6 g; Protein 13 g; Potassium 748 mg

Whether for ‘Meatless Monday,” or any day, these plant-based options are all delicious and packed with nutrients, including protein. Your overall health will thank you.

Speak with a dietitian today

You know what to eat, but do you know how it fuels you? Learn more about the process of what keeps us going and energized.

Published March 22, 2023


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