Meat-Free Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

Last Update: April 3, 2024

Whether you’re going plant-based for good or just for the day, there’s a lot of merit to cutting down on your meat intake. 

Raising the livestock to produce the meat you buy at the grocery store requires huge amounts of animal feed, water, and other infrastructure, all of which contribute to the effects of climate change. Studies show that producing feed for livestock contributes directly to greenhouse gas emissions; for example, about 20% of the 80 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer produced each year are to produce animal feed. 

Food systems are complex and vary greatly depending on geographic location, socioeconomic conditions, and other factors. While there are many responsible ways to consume meat — particularly by purchasing from ethical supply chains like our trusted partners at Thrive Market — one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is by cutting back on the amount of meat you’re eating. If you’re looking for ways to substitute meat with veggie-forward meals, here’s some inspiration. 

Meat-Free Breakfast Recipes

Start your day off sans the breakfast sausage to make way for hearty whole grains, fresh fruits, and plant protein sources. 

Gluten-Free Strawberry Baked Oatmeal Cakes
No time to make breakfast? Whip up a batch of these oatmeal cakes in single-serving muffin tins at the beginning of the week for a filling, handheld breakfast.

Golden Milk Chia Seed Pudding
Your favorite turmeric-infused latte, in pudding form. Top with almonds and dried fruit for extra protein and fiber. 

Veggie Frittata Sandwich With Broccoli Pesto
Make a whole frittata ahead of time so you can prep these pesto-topped sandwiches in no time flat. 

Fermented Black Seed Powder Scones With Everything Bagel Topping
These savory scones are loaded with good-for-you seeds, nuts, and healthy fats. 

Warm Cacao Smoothie Bowl
For chilly mornings, this warm smoothie bowl is the comforting breakfast you’ve been craving. 

Apple Cider Donuts
Donuts aren’t typically the healthiest breakfast option, but these apple cider donuts will have you thinking twice. Made with protein powder, applesauce, and maple syrup for natural sweetness, they’re a sweet and spicy morning treat. 

Meat-Free Lunch Recipes

Skip the takeout in favor of a nourishing, plant-based lunch you can make at home. 

Chickpea Falafel
If you normally go for chicken shawarma, this meat-free falafel recipe will satisfy your cravings — and give you a mid-day dose of plant protein.

Massaged Kale Salad With Sweet Potato & Tahini
Sometimes the best lunch option is a big, colorful salad — and this one is about as colorful as it gets! 

No-Waste Food Scrap Veggie Burger
Save your veggie scraps throughout the week to make these homemade veggie burger patties. Good for you, and for the planet! 

Tomato Chickpea Soup
This isn’t your typical tomato soup recipe. To make it a more filling lunch option, puree chickpeas with the stock for a dose of protein and a creamy texture.

Spicy Cold Peanut Noodle Salad Recipe
The antidote to boring lunch sandwiches, this spicy noodle salad is easy to make and loaded with big, bold flavor. 

Grilled Romaine Salad With Avocado-Lime Dressing
Whether you grill it over an open flame or on the stovetop, this romaine salad is the perfect elevated lunch. For extra protein, add a couple hard-boiled eggs on top.  

Matcha Soba With Spicy Tofu Nuggets
This soba noodle salad has a sweet and savory flavor and tofu nuggets on top to leave you full for the rest of the day. 

Charred Cabbage and Roasted Vegetable Soup
With deep flavor from the charred and roasted vegetables, this rich, creamy soup pairs perfectly with a piece of crusty bread. 

Meat-Free Dinner Recipes 

Dinner is often the trickiest when you’re cutting out meat, but have no fear! These hearty, wholesome recipes are so filling, you won’t even miss the meat.

Deliciously Ella’s Creamy Ginger & Tofu Noodle Soup
This cozy, creamy tofu and noodle soup gets its flavor from spicy ginger, red chili flakes, and fresh lemongrass. 

Vegan, Gluten-Free Buffalo Truffle Mac and Cheese
The whole family (or all your friends) will love this shareable vegan macaroni and cheese. Add in buffalo sauce for an even bigger punch of flavor! 

Deliciously Ella’s Roasted Squash Pasta With Crispy Paprika Crumbs 
On your next pasta night, skip the carbonara in favor of this plant-based spaghetti with a creamy squash sauce. 

Charity Morgan’s Nacho Average Nachos
If you’re planning a movie night or watching the big game, these meat-free nachos make the perfect dinner for the whole crew. 

Jackfruit Jambalaya
While jambalaya is traditionally made with sausage, chicken, and shrimp, this meat-free version uses plant-based jackfruit for a similar texture. 

Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta
With only six ingredients, this simple vegetarian pasta recipe makes tonight’s dinner both flavorful and easy. 

Plant-Based Dessert Recipes 

If you also want to cut down on dairy, try these vegan and plant-based dessert recipes after your meat-free meal. 

Vegan Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake Bars
Looking for ways to add more protein to your plant-based days? This decadent dessert uses crumbled protein bars instead of a traditional crust. 

Kids Strawberry Almond Crisped Rice Treats
With vegan marshmallows and organic coconut oil instead of butter, these sweet and fruity rice treats are a nutritious take on a classic dessert. 

Black Bean Brownie Bites
Black beans give these brownie truffle bites a bit of extra protein, while chia seeds add an extra crunch to every bite. 

Vegan Olive Oil Skillet Brownies
Serve this batch of brownies warm straight from the oven with a scoop of vegan ice cream on top — perfect for date night at home!  

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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