The USDA’s 2020 release of Dietary Guidelines encourages a plant-based diet for optimal health. While this doesn’t mean eliminating meat from your meals, it does encourage a notable shift in the “core” of the meal. For example, instead of making chicken your main and veggies your side, a plant-based diet promotes a large serving of fibrous, colorful veggies, perhaps with a side dish of fish or rice and beans. It’s important to remember that plant-based diets don’t solely rely on vegetables; this misconception usually leads people to jump ship too quickly!
Important proteins and dietary fiber come from healthy plant foods, mung beans, and quinoa. There are lots of ways to make a meal that’s rich in plant fiber, glucose, protein, and healthy fats—and trust us, it doesn’t mean you’ll be dining on a big plate of broccoli. In celebration of America’s move toward a diet that incorporates more of these earthly gems, the idea of Meatless Monday has gotten a lot of support (and a lot of Instagram posts!).
If you’re looking for a way to get your kids to eat their veggies or trying to eat less meat, hop aboard the Meatless Monday train and check out these delicious recipes—they’re flavorful, fun, easy to make, and if that isn’t enough incentive, we’ll also tell you exactly why they’re so darn good for you.
Zucchini “burgers” with seasoned carrot fries
You’ll fool the kids (and yourself) with this healthy dinner that perfectly imitates the classic burger and fries meal. This meal is not vegan (due to egg content), but it is paleo. It’s also loaded with Vitamin C, fiber, protein, and—most importantly—flavor! As a bonus, you need less than 10 ingredients. We recommend making the carrot fries before your burgers so that you can time dinner just right.
Carrot fries ingredients: 10 medium-sized carrots, 2tsbp olive oil, 1tsp salt (we recommend pink Himalayan for added iron and minerals), and your favorite seasonings. Some popular choices include ½ tsp of pepper, rosemary, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder or chili powder (for fans of spice).
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Cut your carrots into the size of fry you like—the best size for baking is about 3 inches long and a ½ inch thick.
3. Mix the seasonings and oil in a bowl, toss your carrots in, and make sure they’re all coated.
4. Place the carrots on a lined baking sheet and pop them in the oven for roughly 30 minutes. We’d suggest checking on them about halfway through to mix them up with a spatula.
In the meantime, get started on your burgers!
Zucchini burger ingredients: 2 zucchinis, 1tsp salt (again, we recommend pink Himalayan), 2 green onions, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 egg or 2 egg whites, ½tsp baking powder, ¼ cup coconut flour or chickpea flour, and healthy cooking oil (e.g. olive oil or coconut oil.)
1. Heat your skillet or pan with your oil on low heat to let the oil spread. You want a very thin layer, but not a pool of oil in your pan.
2. While your pan is heating, combine the grated zucchini with remaining ingredients in a bowl.
3. Now it’s time to get a little messy! Bring the kids in for some hands-on food art, and mold your burger patties to whatever size you like. Like pancakes, however, larger patties are harder they to flip without falling apart.
4. Cook on each side for about 5 minutes, or until they’re golden brown and crispy at the edges.
Super-filling superfood salad
This recipe is perfect for a hearty summer salad—take it with you for an easy picnic or a trip to the beach. Not your typical greens salad, this grain-based treat combines all the filling favorites for a colorful, healthy Meatless Monday dish!
Quinoa is an excellent plant-based protein, and it’s gluten-free as well as vegan. It’s also versatile and can be used in both hot and cold dishes. Adding crunch and color through veggies and fruits, you’ll have a perfect ingredient that you can “dress up” with almost any additions. Oh, and did we mention that it takes less than 30 minutes to make?
Ingredients: 1 cup dried quinoa, ½ cup chopped strawberries, ¼ cup pepitas, ¼ cup cashews, 1 sliced grapefruit or orange, ¼ cup raisins, 1 avocado, 2tbsp basil. For the dressing: 2 lemons, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and a dash of agave or honey if you need a little sweetness.
1. Cook the quinoa according to box instructions—for this recipe, if you used 1 cup of dried quinoa, you will most likely use 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil, add your quinoa and let it cook while you work.
2. Chop your veggies and fruit, and portion out the rest of your ingredients. Your citrus choice and avocado should be sliced into small, bite-sized wedges. Add all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
3. For the dressing, squeeze 2 full lemons and remove the seeds if necessary. Add ¼ cup of olive oil and salt. Whisk together, and add your optional sweetener.
4. Let your quinoa cool, then combine it with your dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix until the ingredients are evenly dispersed. Add your dressing, and carefully toss your salad to avoid quinoa flying everywhere! You can serve this dish lukewarm or place it in the fridge to serve cool.