Sometimes, we just need to take a break from meat. Whether it’s for religious reasons, money-saving, or even just because we want something light and flavorful, it’s a lot easier to create vegetarian meals when you have beans as a backbone. In fact, you can go through an entire day without a touch of meat—but with a lot of flavor.
Breakfast: There’s nothing easier than a breakfast burrito, and you can easily make a batch of these to put in the fridge for the week and reheat in the oven (or even in the microwave). You can vary this by switching black beans for pinto, different types of salsa (a pineapple or mango salsa would be a delicious change of pace!) or even using tomato, spinach or another flavor of tortilla. They’re versatile, filling, and nutritious.
Lunch: A salad that can be easily toted to work (and made ahead) is one of the easiest way to embrace a meat-free meal. The cucumber with citrus tastes better the longer it sets. The fresh flavors mingle in the citrus vinaigrette. While the recipe calls for lemon, you could easily use lime, orange or grapefruit juice instead, and you could vary the fresh herbs as well: use fresh tarragon with grapefruit, cilantro with lime, or basil with orange.
Dinner: A substantial, hearty dinner is just what you need after a long day of work or school. You don’t need meat to do that. Try these meat-free burgers using Portobello mushrooms which are easy to grill in just a few minutes. Vary up the ingredients to please your family: cheddar, American or mozzarella cheese are delicious, and look for herbed mustards to compliment the smoky portabellas. And, of course, serve with vegetarian baked beans on the side.
Dessert: Sweets can involve beans, too! In these brownie bites, the beans provide a fudgy texture and protein without adding a ton of calories. They’re sweet, chocolaty and satisfying and could be popped into a lunch box or just grabbed off the counter for dessert.
Meatless doesn’t mean complicated—it can be easy and delicious, with a few tweaks, some creativity, and of course, beans!