Strategic Diets: 5 Meat-Based Recipes Get a Plant-Based Makeover

Cutting back on meat consumption without cutting out your favorite meals.

Can’t remember the last meal you ate without meat in it?

It may be time to cut back a little.

Diets rich in high-fat animal proteins have been linked to an increased risk of diseases such as certain cancers, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and even earlier death. While diets rich in plant-based foods are consistently linked with decreased risk for disease and longer life span.

While you don’t have to go completely vegetarian, reducing your meat intake is a smart move—but it’s one often met with resistance. Many people see taking meat off the menu as restrictive, but when you can’t fall back on meat as your protein source, it actually opens up the door to getting a lot more creative in the kitchen.

And, you’ll be happy to know that your favorite meals don’t have to get the boot, too. Instead, recreate them using plant-based sources for filling, hearty meals that will help you cut back on red meat, without sacrificing any of the flavor (or pissing off your tastebuds).

Portobello caps are drizzled with olive oil and spices before being grilled, and topped with cheese, sautéed onion, pepper and spinach, and a chimichurri sauce made by blending avocado, garlic, olive oil, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice red wine vinegar and chili flakes. Seriously, with this flavor overload, you won’t even be thinking about beef.
If you want a burger that more closely resembles the texture of beef, give this version a try. Mashed beans are combined with breadcrumbs, onion and spices, then quickly pan-fried in olive oil for a cry outer texture and heart, soft inside. The filling, protein-rich burgers take just 20 minutes from can to table.

Vegetarian taco “meat” made from quinoa and black beans provides the protein necessary to fill you up, plus a satisfying texture (compared to just all veggie tacos).


Two Bean Meatless Meatloaf

Smooth and creamy pinto beans combined with dryer chickpeas (plus sunflower seeds and oats), help create the traditional texture of ground beef-based meatloaf. A flavor-packed sauce made from ketchup, molasses, chili powder and mustard finishes off the vegan, and gluten-free meatloaf.


Vegan Chicken Parmesan

Chickpea cutlets are cooked with a crispy cornmeal crust, then covered in marinara sauce and sprinkled with cashew Parmesan cheese.