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A plant-based diet, when done correctly, can help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and aid athletes in fueling properly for performance. An abundance of food items provide a variety of lean protein, healthy fats and whole grain carbohydrates. Even carnivores can benefit from incorporating plant-based recipes into their weekly routine, not only for their health and performance benefits, but also for variety in their meals. Chicken can grow old after awhile!
Here are some of my favorite vegetarian recipes, which even dedicated meat-eaters can enjoy:
Quinoa is not only a complete source of protein, it also provides an excellent carbohydrate base for lunchtime salads. Make a batch on the weekend and stir in different toppings throughout the week. Some of my favorite add-ins are beans, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, dried fruit and nuts. I encourage you to get creative!
Black Bean and Butternut Squash Enchiladas
I made this recipe last year and was impressed by its flavor and ease. It was very satisfying, keeping me full for hours. The sweetness of the squash and the savory beans made a great combination. I froze the leftovers and they reheated perfectly for a quick weeknight meal.
This is a great alternative to pasta, full of vitamins and lower in carbohydrates. When topped with sauce, it's hard to tell the difference. To bulk up this veggie and add protein, toss in some veggie protein crumbles or black beans.
Homemade Veggie Burgers
These can be fun and flavorful. Add different spices and textures when creating your own. I love this tutorial on how to make these burgers ahead of time and freeze them for future use. The options are endless. Use a variety of beans, grains, and veggies for a burger you can feel good about eating.
Tacos are fun and tasty no matter what ingredients you use, so why not try a vegetarian option? These chickpea tacos are so full of flavor, you do not even miss the meat!
Sweet Potato Egg Boat
I've written about this recipe before, but this is one of my favorite vegetarian dinners. Leafy greens, healthy starch and great protein make it a complete (but quite different) meal! Eggs are great in savory dishes and perfect for quick weeknight meals.
I encourage you to start slow when planning vegetarian meals. Get on board with something as simple as "Meatless Mondays," then get creative with a variety of recipes.