This week’s post is by Casey Lindberg-Coghill.
I love reading Meal-Planning Monday myself, so I was honored and excited when Christine reached out and asked me to write a guest post while she took a brief blogging hiatus.
This week’s Meal-Planning Monday is composed of vegetarian recipes that contain meat substitutes such as black beans and beef-style, meatless crumbles. I know that last statement likely turned some of you off to this post completely because you may be a meat-eater, but hear me out before you click away.
When I first tell people that I abstain from eating meat, they often ask how I can possibly get enough protein to stay healthy. I will be the first one to admit that sometimes it is tricky to ensure that I am getting all of the nutrients I need while living a meat-free lifestyle. There is a huge misconception that omitting meat from one’s diet instantly makes it healthier, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Having personally known vegetarians who live on french fries and sugary cereals, I can attest that vegetarians who don’t follow the lifestyle in a healthy manner can actually balloon in weight and face other health problems.
However, those who do follow vegetarianism properly consume nutrient-rich foods while avoiding processed meats and abstaining from the cholesterol and high saturated fat that can be found in even organic meats. While going meatless even just occasionally is a step in the right direction for your health and overall well-being, it is so important to fill the void that meat leaves in your diet with protein-rich, meatless replacements.
The dishes in this week’s Meal-Planning Monday are all vegetarian-friendly, but they are also rich in protein, providing you with the strength you need to blaze through your week ahead with lots of energy!
Monday: Bean Caesar Salad Sub (Pictured above)
While sub sandwiches typically contain cold cuts, this one replaces the meat with kidney beans and leafy greens. This recipe features dark red kidney beans, which pack 13 grams of protein per each serving of one cup. This recipe is also super easy to throw together and will undoubtedly act as a lifesaver for those particularly manic Mondays!
Most lasagna recipes either feature ground beef or completely omit a sizeable source of protein, but this easy stovetop lasagna uses cannellini beans, also known as white kidney beans, which contain 12 grams of protein per one cup serving.
Wednesday: Easy Cheesy Casserole
This hearty casserole is so rich on flavor that even the biggest meat-lovers in your family won’t feel as though they’re missing out on anything. While refried beans are a great source of protein in this recipe, make sure to check the can’s label before purchasing. Some varieties of refried beans are made with animal fat, which makes the dish far from vegetarian-friendly. Most brands sell both a “regular” and “vegetarian” variety of refried beans, so finding a can that is truly meat-free should be an easy task as long as you keep it in mind.
Thursday: Low-Fat Cheddar Broccoli Campanelle Bake
You’re probably looking at this photo and wondering where the meat replacement is. There are no beans or “fake” chicken or beef products in this pasta bake. Actually, the meat replacement in this dish is one of the most commonly consumed veggies, broccoli! While broccoli is often revered for its high fiber and Vitamin D content, it actually has more protein than any other green vegetable (about 11 grams per cup) and only slightly less than most bean varieties. If you make this dish with whole wheat pasta, the protein content of the overall dish will only rise further.
Friday: Crispy “Quorn” Tacos
When I first started following a meat-free diet, one of my biggest struggles was dealing with the fact that I would never again eat my mother’s homemade beef tacos. I still get strong cravings for them, but I now satisfy them with my own meat-free version that is very similar in taste to the ones I grew up devouring. I’ve tried just about every vegetarian “crumble” product out there that is designed to replicate the consistency and flavor of ground beef. Admittedly, some of these replacements taste like dog food, but others are absolutely delicious. My family’s personal favorite brands are Quorn and Boca. While Boca’s meatless crumbles do contain soy, Quorn’s version is free of soy and instead contains Mycoprotein.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- One package of meatless crumbles
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ tablespoon paprika
- ½ tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ½ cup of water
- Fixings of your choice (I highly suggest using kale or other mixed
greens, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, and diced tomatoes.)
- Mix together the dried spices in a small bowl.
- In a medium pan, heat the olive oil and brown the meatless crumbles according to the package’s directions.
- Once the crumbles are browned, add the spices and water, stirring constantly for about a minute. Then allow the “meat” to simmer for another two minutes before serving on taco shells!
In addition to running her wellness blog Veggies and Glitter, Casey Lindberg-Coghill is a freelance writer based out of Charlotte, NC. Aside from being a writer, Casey is also a huge bookworm and fashion enthusiast who has rather unhealthy obsessions with Justin Timberlake and anything pumpkin-flavored.