Welcome to this list of 40 easy meatless meals rich in protein and with maximum flavor.

We’ve collected our favorite soups, pasta, stews, and salads. Expect plenty of taste, chewy texture, creamy sauces, and fulfilling plantbased ingredients.

Meatless meals with dinner and lunch ideas

Tasting meatless meals can be exciting for seasoned vegetarians and curious omnivores.

Whether seeking to reduce your carbon footprint, explore new protein sources, or add more plantbased variety to your diet, these meals cater to diverse dietary preferences.

So, let’s dive into a world of flavors, textures, and aromas, proving meatless doesn’t mean flavorless. Instead, it means a vibrant, fulfilling, and sustainable culinary experience.

Meatless meals video

Our 40 best Meat-free Meals

1. Orange tofu

Orange Tofu on a plate with rice and a spoon

Orange tofu is an easy vegetarian substitute for orange chicken. 

Make it in less than 30 minutes for an Asian-inspired everyday dinner that is healthier and better than takeaway.

2. Tofu pizzaiola

tofu with tomato sauce

These easy tofu cutlets in marinara sauce are a simple yet tasty pan-fried recipe, ready in 20 minutes.

Serve them with white rice, crusty bread, or focaccia on the side to sop up the sauce leftovers.

3. Lentil loaf

lentil loaf in slices on a cutting board

Lentil loaf is a family-friendly recipe for those who want to eat less meat but are not necessarily vegan.

Our vegetarian meatloaf combines lentils with vegetablesherbsspicescheese, and egg to make a meat-free alternative that is tasty and satisfying.

4. Tofu Cacciatore

Tofu cacciatore in a skillet

We might use tofu instead of chicken, but this caciatore is rich, earthy, meaty, and packed with rich tomato flavor.

Chewy and jerky-like, you’ve never had tofu like this before.

5. Lentil chili

lentil chili in a white bowl with avocado and pickled red onions

With this meat-free chili, you can expect a hearty, satisfying, and high-protein meal that is easy to make with pantry staples.

Ingredients like lentils, black beans, onions, peppers, and tomatoes meld with a blend of aromatic spices to create a dish with comforting flavors.

6. Lemon tofu cutlets

lemon tofu with sautéed zucchini

An Italian recipe for lemon chicken inspires this lemon tofu.

We replaced the chicken fillet with tofu slices, resulting in a delicious meal that can be prepared in 15 minutes.

7. Vegetarian Meatballs

tofu meatballs in marinara sauce

With these vegetarian meatballs, you can have meatballs without the meat.

This recipe is quick and easy to make with straightforward ingredients. It’s cozy, delicious, and with a rich marinara sauce.

8. Fried tofu

Kale quinoa salad with tofu

Fried tofu is one of the easiest ways to cook it in a pan; you can serve it on a bed of white rice, salad, or kale quinoa bowl.

Our vegetarian, vegan-friendly recipe is tasty, and you can make it in less than 20 minutes with simple ingredients.

9. Hummus Pasta

a forkful of hummus pasta

Make this 20minute vegetarian dinner with homemade or store-bought hummus and quick sautèed mushrooms.

The combination of creamy hummus and charred mushrooms makes a satiating meatless meal.

10. Microwave stuffed sweet potato

Microwave stuffed sweet potato with pickled red onion and black beans

Microwave sweet potato is ready in 5 minutes, is healthy, and is delicious. 

Eat it as is, or load the potato with a colorful topping with beans and grains – it’s a veggie-packed and meat-free main dish.

11. Kung Pao tofu

kung pao tofu with chives

Try this delicious Chinese-inspired Kung Pao dish in less than 30 minutes and get plenty of plantbased protein, sticky sauce, and fresh veggies.

It’s a colorful and vegetarian alternative to kung pao chicken with delicious Asian flavors.

12. Lentil curry

Lentil curry with rice and fresh cilantro

One of our favorite meatless dinners is this easy lentil curry, which you can make in one pot with simple ingredients in 30 minutes.

Serve with white rice, fresh parsley, and a dollop of yogurt for a comforting and creamy meal and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

13. Mushroom Alfredo

Mushroom Alfredo with fork and parsley

This tasty mushroom Alfredo is an easy 15-minute vegetarian meal with an irresistibly creamy and smooth sauce and sautéed mushrooms.

Serve it with an easy side salad for added greens and crisp; it’s a perfect weeknight idea!

14. Lentil bolognese

Lentil Bolognese on a white plate with a fork

Here’s an easy lentil bolognese with simple ingredients rich in taste and meaty texture.

You can make it for an everyday dinner or meal prep, as it keeps in the fridge for several days.

15. Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli with a silver spoon and fresh rosemary

Pasta and beans is an easy and comforting meal with simple ingredients and Italian flavor that will please everyone around your table, kids and adults alike.

Serve it with a slice of toasted bread or bruschetta for an authentic and cozy dinner.

16. Chickpea pasta salad with avocado

creamy chickpea pasta salad with avocado

This chickpea pasta salad is a quick and wholesome dish made with fresh and nutritious ingredients in less than 20 minutes.

A creamy mustard dressing gives a glossy and tangy coating, making this pasta a meal-prep favorite.

17. Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo

Cauliflower Alfredo with fork

You’ll love this veggiepacked Alfredo because it’s a million times lighter than the original Alfredo, but it’s still tasty, fulfilling, and ready in 30 minutes.

Serve it with a sprinkle of parsley and a quick salad for extra greens.

18. Red pepper pasta

Red Pepper Pasta is a bowl with basil

Here’s a 20-minute vegetarian pasta recipe that is simple and made with minimal effort for an everyday dinner. 

It’s creamy, nutritious, and delicious, with hidden veggies (roasted peppers) that please even the pickiest eaters.

19. Cauliflower pasta

roasted cauliflower pasta

Try this white and refreshing vegetarian cauliflower pasta with fresh herbs and pine nuts.

Roasted cauliflower florets meet delicious garlic and olive oil sauce, plenty of fresh parsley, and lemon zest, a light and wholesome dinner idea.

20. Butternut squash pasta

Butternut squash pasta with pistachio

This butternut squash pasta is creamy, restaurant-worthy, and with a velvety smooth sauce.

It’s quick and straightforward; you can make it any day of the week, either as a vegan or vegetarian dinner.

21. Lentil pasta

pasta and lentils

Meatless and delicious pasta is not a problem with this Italian lentil pasta.

It’s a perfect main dish for dinner, is kids-friendly and contains all the macros to keep you healthy and satiated.

22. Stuffed bell peppers

red and yellow stuffed bell peppers on a serving platter

Our stuffed peppers recipe is inspired by MediterraneanLevantine, and Middle-Eastern flavors, especially from our lentil mujaddara.

We make a meat-free filling that mixes lentilsricefresh herbs, and fragrant spices.

23. Vegan mushroom pasta

vegan mushroom pasta with cherry tomatoes and parsley

Try this restaurant-worthy pasta with jerky-like mushrooms and authentic Italian flavor.

Vegan mushroom pasta is a delicious recipe with a few ingredients in about 20 minutes.

24. Tofu curry

Tofu curry recipe with white rice lemon wedge

Making a delicious tofu curry is an excellent way to eat meatless.

Here, we’ll show you how to put this Indian-inspired meal together in less than 30 minutes and make the best everyday vegan curry.

25. Easy chickpea curry

Chickpea Curry with a silver spoon

Here’s a fun and delicious way to cook with chickpeas in one pot.

Chickpea curry is an easy and plant-based curry you can make with simple ingredients in about 30 minutes.

26. Tuscan bean stew

bean stew with toasted bread

This Italian bean stew is a comforting and tomato-packed dinner favorite.

It’s an excellent recipe for a quick weeknight meal, ready in just over 30 minutes, and great as a meal prep recipe.

27. Lentil vegetable soup

Lentil Vegetable Soup with hand

We love this wholesome lentil vegetable soup because you can make it with little effortsimple pantry staplesin one pot, and with little hands-on time.

The lentils make the dish nutritious and fulfilling, with textureproteiniron, and heart and gut-healthy fiber.

28. Asian-style tofu soup

Tofu soup recipe with hand and white spoon

Here’s a tofu soup that is quick, tasty, and with seasonal vegetables.

You can make it in 30 minutes with simple ingredients, seasonal veggies, and noodles.

29. Pasta e Ceci

Pasta e Ceci in a bowl with a hand holding a spoon

You’ll love this pasta with chickpeas; it’s easy to make in one pot in 30 minutes with simple and affordable pantry staples.

Sprinkle with parmesan or dairy-free parmesan for an Italian vegetarian or vegan dinner.

30. Chickpea soup

Chickpea soup with hands and red nails holding the bowl

This rustic chickpea soup is easy to make, with minimal effort and a few simple and affordable ingredients. 

It tastes like home, it’s cozy, and it’ll transport you to the Italian countryside bite for bite.

31. Lentil soup

Red lentil soup with garlic, lemon, bread, and rosemary

This red lentil soup guarantees a hearty, meatless meal with plenty of plant-based protein.

It’s perfect for autumn or winter weeknight dinners as it’s easy to make with a few pantry staples, and it only needs to simmer for about 20 minutes.

32. Tuscan soup

Tuscan white bean soup with silver spoon and fresh herbs on the side

You can make this plant-based soup from scratch in less than 45 minutes and store it in the refrigerator for several days.

If you love comforting and rustic Italian flavor, this Tuscan bean soup must go on your recipe list.

33. African peanut stew

Creamy African peanut stew in a white bowl with lime and pickled onions

This African peanut stew recipe is without meat; we use chickpeas for an easy 30-minute high-protein vegetarian meal.

It’s excellent for a creamy weeknight dinner with rice and fresh lime and convenient for meal prep.

34. Mashed chickpea tuna

vegan tuna sandwich

You can make this mashed chickpea tuna in 10 minutes, with simple ingredients and without cooking.

It’s an easy, fun, and tasty recipe that uses mashed chickpeas and a few other simple ingredients to recreate the texture and flavor of tuna salad.

35. Falafel

Falafel in pita bread

Falafel is an easy and sandwich-friendly recipe you can make as a meal-prep-friendly meal.

Cook it in an air fryer for a quick and lighter vegetarian meal, and serve it with pita bread and hummus.

36. Avocado-tahini toast

avocado spread on toast with roasted chickpeas and cherry tomatoes

This is the creamiestmost delicious avocado spread to eat in sandwiches and on toast or serve as a dip.

Top the toast with chickpeas or tomatoes for a colorful and vibrant lunch idea.

37. Chickpea Frittata

vegan frittata with sautéed zucchini

There are no eggs or tofu in this chickpea frittata, but plenty of flavors and roasted zucchini.

Quick to make, it cooks for 8 minutes on a pan or 18 minutes in the oven; it’s an easy and fast lunch idea.

38. Aloo Gobi

Aloo gobi with cilantro and lemon

The Indian cuisine is a fantastic source of inspiration for meatless meal ideas.

This cauliflower and potato curry is one of our favorite dishes, a satisfying and healthy dinner or side dish idea served with garlic-brushed Naan.

39. Tofu salad

tofu salad with dressing

This tofu salad is crunchy and wholesome and perfect for a quick lunch.

It’s low in calories, packed with flavor, and satiating to eat (the creamy tahini dressing is a must-try).

40. Chickpea salad

Chickpea salad with a silver fork

We end this meatless meal collection with a quick and healthy plantbased dish.

This chickpea salad is a quick, tasty, and nutritious main dish. Make it in 15 minutes with fresh ingredients and a creamy mustard dressing.

More easy meatless meals

Get more vegetarian and vegan dinner ideas from these reader favorites. They’re packed with veggies and protein and are easy to make:

For many more 30-minute meal ideas, check out our 30-minute meal category page.

Meatless meals with pasta soups and stews

40 Easy Meatless Meals

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 6 votes
Fried tofu cutlets in tomato sauce is a 20-minute dinner idea with plenty of plant-based protein.
Browse through this list of favorite meatless meals, such as soups, pasta, stews, and salads. Expect plenty of flavor, chewy texture, rich sauces, and 100% plant-based ingredients!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American Italian


  • 8 ounces firm tofu
  • cups tomato puree or passata
  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Drain the tofu from its water and pat it dry. Next, cut the tofu into ¼-inch thin slices.
    Fry it on a non-stick pan on medium heat with a drizzle of olive for 5 minutes on each side.
    Season it with a pinch of salt and pepper.
    pan fried tofu on a pan
  • Add tomato pureedried oreganothinly sliced garlic, and the remaining salt and pepper.
    tomato puree and oregano added to the tofu
  • Spread the sauce and simmer on low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until the tomato passata becomes a tasty pizzaiola sauce.
    tofu pizzaiola is ready in the pan
  • Serve this Italian-inspired tofu in a pizzaiola sauce as a main dish with sautéed or microwaved spinach and some crusty bread on the side to scoop up the delicious pizzaiola sauce.
    tofu with tomato sauce


Nutrition information is for 1 portion of tofu out of 2, without the bread and the spinach.


Calories: 244kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 913mg, Dietary Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1048IU, Vitamin B6: 0.3mg, Vitamin C: 22mg, Vitamin E: 5mg, Vitamin K: 27µg, Calcium: 225mg, Folate: 28µg, Iron: 6mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 54mg, Zinc: 1mg
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If you liked these meatless meals, you might also enjoy:

Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

5 from 6 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Good recipes! I have a new one for you guys too try out! its called lentil gravy… Ingredients- Lentils, Mushrooms, Shallots, Mustard sauce, Tomato sauce, Water, Corn flour or corn starch too thicken. That’s it I think. we normally serve with mashed potato and a fried egg u try it and perfect the recipe!

    1. Hi Stevie,

      That’s a wonderful idea! I’ve put the recipe on our testing schedule, Thanks very much for your input 💪

      All the best, Louise