Meatless Meals Meat Lovers Will Love

Meatless Meals Meat Lovers will Love |

Incorporating a few meat-free meals into your weekly menu planning is a great way to save money.

People who are true “meat and potato” lovers may balk at the idea that they should have a meal without animal protein; however, there are many hearty dishes that will make them forget all about the omission.

Here are some meatless meal suggestions that don’t require special shopping trips for “faux meat” and similar products.


Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made with ground up chickpeas or fava beans that are well-seasoned and formed into small balls for frying.

They’re crispy on the outside and have a tender middle, sort of like chicken nuggets. Falafel can be served in soft pita spread with hummus for a filling sandwich.

Falafel on Pita Bread |

Line a few up on a platter and serve them instead of hoagie sandwiches during the next big televised football game. Mitchell Davis has an easy-to-follow, delicious recipe in his cookbook The Mensch Chef: Or Why Delicious Jewish Food Isn’t an Oxymoron or you can try Sarah’s recipe that’s embedded in her piece on “Cooking With Gluten Free Garbanzo Bean Flour.”

Black Bean Burgers

Although these are commercially available in preformed patties, the boxes found in the freezer section of local grocers often contain thin discs with portions meat lovers will be insulted by.

They are easy to make at home with low-sodium canned black beans tossed with a can of corn, some breadcrumbs, seasoning to taste, and an egg to bind. The mix can be pulverized briefly in a food processor for a more malleable patty.

Black Bean Burgers |

The bean burgers are particularly easy to handle once they’ve been shaped and put into the freezer for a few minutes. They’re fried in shallow vegetable oil until crisp, and then served on a bun with all the accoutrements usually found on burgers.

Because bean-and-corn burgers have a distinct texture of their own, devout meat eaters will be less likely to feel like they’re a (perhaps poor) substitute for beef as they might if they were served soy-based patties.

A grilled version is also great. These are particularly delicious served with a spicy mayonnaise.

Already thinking, “Black bean again?” If you’re looking for something a little different in the meatless burger department, check out our recipe for Sweet Potato Coconut Patties.

White Bean Cakes

Southerners worship beans, and serve them an innumerable ways ranging from simple to extraordinary. White bean cakes are a tasty, satisfying, and nutritious lunch alternative to meaty sandwiches.

They utilize leftover seasoned white beans that have been mashed, and bound with flour. They’re fried in butter, and oil and served simply on bread with a dab of mayo and perhaps a slice of tomato. The sandwiches can be served with a hot soup for a particularly satiating meal.

White Bean Cakes |

Quiches & Other Egg Casseroles

The classic egg is obviously a high-protein food item and it’s low-cost even when a whole carton needs to be used.

When combined with hearty vegetables like asparagus and potatoes and some leafy greens such as spinach (or kale, or even tasty foraged dandelion greens) and baked until firm in a pie crust, they make a filling meal that’s ideal for lunch or dinner. For a different taste, try making a quiche with peas!

Pea Quiche |

For a quick and easy egg casserole meal, check out our rice cooker frittata recipe. 

Vegetable Lasagnas & Other Baked Pastas

Sliced eggplant, zucchini, spinach, and hearty fall root vegetables make saucy baked pastas very filling.

Texture can be improved by gently breading and frying the large vegetable slices before layering into the dish (and people repulsed by “slimy” vegetables will appreciate this added step).

Vegetable lasagna |

The vegetables are layered with noodles, sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan, and then baked until bubbly. As an added benefit, veggie lasagnas can be prepared well in advance and then frozen for a future meal.

What’s your favorite satisfying meatless meat? And what are you making for dinner tonight? Let us know in the comments!

About Lynne Jaques

Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!

43 thoughts on “Meatless Meals Meat Lovers Will Love”

  1. There’s some great ideas here, particularly the black bean burgers – the ones sold in stores are way too small. I’m always trying to reduce the amount of meat I use in meals so I’ll be trying these burgers out this week!

  2. I recently introduced the ground up chickpeas burger into my weekly menu to extend the budget. It worked out very well. Thanks for the additional ideas.

  3. Ugh!! Why I torture myself with this blog I just don’t know. This is no place for a foodie like me to come to when I can’t go grocery shopping until I get paid on Tues, Feb. 10th!! But alas, here I am, drawn in by the beautiful pictures, and great recipe ideas.

    Glad I came though, because I’ve been introduced to something new to me, black bean patties. That is something that I definitely need to try, considering the fact that A) I feel like my body is constantly craving protein, but I don’t necessarily want to consume meat 30 days a month, and B) I love the taste of black beans.

    I’m going to research this recipe online in the next few minutes, because I have all of the ingredients on hand.

  4. My friend just became a vegetarian and I wanted to surprise her with some new recipes that look and taste delicious. The pasta and burgers look very good and seem to not to take forever to make. So far my friend misses meat and I hope these new recipes will help her get really excited and motivated to keep up with her new eating choices.

  5. Thanks Lynn for these creative dishes. I am a vegan and have tried them all, (minus the eggs), except for the white bean cakes. I am so excited to have a new dish to try. For any vegan who may be reading, all the recipes can use vegan cheese and egg replacers.
    I live in falafa heaven, and we never tire of them. Also, you can use different sauces each time you make them to give a varied taste. I just know meat eaters can and will get satisfied and the pasta is especially rich and comforting. Thanks for being versatile.

    • I must say, I really love meat! But… There are plenty substitues out in the world that one could use. I have tried several and I haven’t been disppointed yet. Lets just say, I am obsessed with trying new things and this is one is on my list.

  6. As a vegetarian for over a couple of decades I am glad people are trying meatless meals and finding they are tasty and healthy. I always liked bean burgers, but these days there are so many more choices of patties, with corn, red pepper and other vegetables mixed into the burger mixture. I find it’s a good way to use up leftover vegetables too and you can freeze the patties. Beans and pulses are a high source of protein, but can be a little windy.

  7. So…its not so hard to fall in the vegan/strict vegetarian type after all…plus the recipes within are just too enticing …am completely and wholly tempted to cease and desist eating meat after reading this topic 😉 …besides one can always fall back to eating meat later… right? ‘cheat days’… 😉

    • Diane, I can say for certain that I will always be an omnivore. I’m pretty open minded when it comes to food but I like animal protein too much to give it up. I do wish all animals could be raised the “Joe Salatin way” (Google him) on small farms vs large confinement operations but that would increase food costs throughout the world. I don’t know if there is a good answer.

  8. My boyfriend is a vegetarian and I find it very hard to create new meals for him, especially since he’s super picky. The dishes can’t have too many vegetables, it’s no good if it’s too healthy etc.

    The one thing he’ll always eat is a veggie burger. We always buy the frozen kind at the supermarket. Thanks for reminding me that I can always try making them myself! The frozen ones have gotten so boring and tasteless. We’ve also never actually tried using white beans.

  9. I’m surprised there was no mention of tofu in a meatless meals article. Tofu has gotten such a bad rap for being a meat alternative. I really blame the ignorance of some people when dealing with it. It’s a sponge! Its flavour comes from what you put into the dish otherwise you’re wasting the potential of the protein.

    • Joan,

      I have to admit I really don’t like most forms of tofu. The hard kind is ok fried with enough of an egg coating to hide the texture/flavor – but at that point I’d rather just though away the tofu and eat the egg!

      Living off and on in Asia, I’ve giving it every single possibility to become an “acquired” taste but it hasn’t stuck.

      I do like certain soft tofu dishes – Korean Sundubu Jjigae (tofu stew) is one such dish that is really tasty.

  10. You always have such great ideas Lynne! Thank you so much for sharing! I recently found out that I have an intolerance for meat. So, overnight I had become a vegetarian. I was put on a plant-based diet beforehand and had meat only on the weekends and special occasions. But now, I am a full-time vegetarian, haha! I’ve been having a tough time getting creative with my meals. I’ve been eating mostly soups. Needless to say, I’m very excited to try out these meals! I love black beans, I heard that they are packed with protein and the white bean cakes look tasty!!!

  11. Yay! Finally some dishes I recognize. I feel stupid browsing through the recipes in this blog, and not knowing most of them. Thus, I’m grateful that through this blog I’m made aware of new dishes.
    Among the dishes listed here, I’ve made my own bean burger and eggplant lasagnas. Mine, however, didn’t look as good as the pictures here, haha. Nevertheless, I could vouch that these dishes are truly yummy. Hopefully, I can forget my lazy and try whipping up these dishes again.

  12. Beans are the overall answer to an animal-protein-less diet. From black beans to tofu, these things will give you you daily protein needs just as good as the animal kind. Almost everybody is skeptical though because of the taste, but there are a lot of recipes out there that not only improve the taste, but push it to a whole new level. Soy sauce is your friend when experimenting with these meat substitutes.

  13. Is it just me or does anyone else find falafels to be a tad dry? I’ve never attempted making them myself. Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to fix that if I were to make them myself? An addition so that they’re a tad less dry?

  14. This is great inspiration for helping me get more protein into my diet. I really needed some new ideas, so this is perfect.

    I’m not a fan of tofu either. I’ve tried and tried. I can eat a couple of things that contain tofu, but it’s still something I’m not very fond of.

    Thanks again for all these beautiful ideas. I’ll be incorporating some of these into my menu.

  15. I know I’ll get a lot of hate for saying this but I love meat and I hate when someone gets insulted for liking something that is made out of/from an animal.
    With that being said, White bean cakes are one of my favorite meatless foods! Some great suggestions here though.

  16. Wow all those mouth watering meals yum. I could see myself not eating meat I could live on veggies alone. I love the fact that a non meat eater could easily enjoy the same types of foods as everyone else without the meat.

  17. This is a great article! I am not a vegan, but I enjoy incorporating varied dishes into my family dinners. It feels like we’re eating better, and at least cutting down on the amount of animal protein. Personally I love stir frys made with tofu ( after pressing out all of the moisture ). Also there is a burger that I make with a slice of fried or grilled portabella mushroom, that is really tasty. Everything is the same, except I switch the burger for a slice of mushroom, about an inch thick. My family really likes it.

  18. I’ve been craving falafel and hummus, which is probably why I clicked on this article. The pictures look delicious. I have never heard of white bean patties, so I will also have to look into making those, once I’ve had my falafel fix. Great ideas here, I love frittatas and quiches. I like meat, but I also enjoy substituting it sometimes, mainly to save money, and for a change of pace.

  19. I love this title. It’s practically a tongue twister.

    I have tried the black bean burgers, which are very good. I haven’t yet tried the white bean cakes, but I intend to do so. They could make a nice side dish instead of potato pancakes or something like that. I still want to make some felafel too.

    We are planning to have real lasagna this week. I’ve yet to be able to talk my husband into the veggie version.

  20. I might have to try some of these out on my family and see if they sail by. They are pretty big on the meat so it might be difficult. If I can avoid the onions without ruining the recipes I might be okay. We want to cut back saturated fats and other downfalls found in some meat dishes but want something with a good flavor that fills you up.

  21. I’m always looking for hearty meals to switch it up a bit, so this is great. I’ve made black bean burgers before (I usually use oats instead of bread crumbs, I think it works a treat) but I’ve never had falafel, so that’s going on my to-do list. And it’s been far too long since I had veggie lasagna… so delicious.

  22. Oh I really appreciate that this blog is covering more and more vegetarian meals! So hearty and healthy and ethical. 🙂 I have made black bean burgers a few weeks ago, but I made them from cooking black beans (with orange, onions and garlic). Mixed all of it with other stuff, including a lot of breadcrumbs. I sort of wondered though — should I have rinsed the beans post cooking to take away what seemed like yummy “gravy”? It seemed weird, like I would wash out the nice taste, but the patties were a bit more wet than they probably should have been (and I baked them before frying them, too!)

    I mean, also tried lentils and mushroom burgers, and they were also a bit mushy. As much as I love my veg-burgers (and oh, I really really do!), it seems like a bit of a challenge to get the texture perfect!

    • It’s always great seeing more and more veggie stuff! My partner is vegetarian, so I’m trying to incorporate a veggie lifestyle myself. It’s actually a lot easier than I thought and thankfully she isn’t forcing me and doesn’t mind when I cook meat. Still, more recipes for me to try out and keep everyone happy!

  23. The bean burger is something I have never seen. Brazillians love beans so this should be a cheap recipe for me to try. I probably already have most (if not all) ingredients at hand.

    The dishes are really gorgerous to look at. Specially the Falafels; Now I’m hungry.
    I did not ask for this 🙁
    (Well, what did I expect, searching for healthy food?)

    More seriously though, very nice recipe ideas. And since I really need to work on a new diet — mine is too imbalanced right now — I will definitely try out the Burger and probably the Falafels, at the very least.

  24. Vegetarian here! I love homemade black bean burgers! We are currently in the Mediterranean (Cyprus), and black beans only come in dry form. We make them weekly, but this week I’m planning on trying out lentil burgers. If I can get the texture right, they could be a lot easier to have on hand all the time. Thank you for the other great ideas! I love falafel, but never thought of making it at home!

  25. White bean cakes sound pretty good. I’m intrigued. For awhile I’ve been complaining about eating meat all the time. I doubt I’ll become a vegetarian, but I am seeking a little variety in my food choices. That’s why I like your post because here I find that. I’ll let you know how the white bean cakes turned out for me.

  26. These substitutes sound very interesting! Eating these substitutes every now and then can actually balance into a healthy diet.

  27. I love falafel. Making it perfect every time is the only difficult part for me. It’s very easy to make them that little bit too dry or crunchy (a little bit of crunch is good, but not too much!).

  28. I love your idea for the vegetable lasagna. While I do like having meat between the layers of the pasta, I am excited to try out the zucchini and breading combination. I can see that this can be a light but filling meal that my family can enjoy. 🙂

  29. I do like beans and they are healthy but I start feeling uncomfortable when I eat too much. I have to be careful with these. I do like your ideas of foods that can be made from beans. I will certainly try these. My family do enjoy beans, but they also like meat and won’t give it up for anything.

  30. The title of the article really caught my attention because my husband is a meat lover and refuses to eat when I try to give him food that doesn’t have any meat. He will always say thing like, “that’s not real food.”

    I loved the Bean Burgers idea. I’ve read hundreds of recipes and this is the first time I see a Bean Burger. I will definitely be trying this one!

    What I like about it is that it sounds like real food, you know like a “heavy” meal that will definitely satisfy him. Also the idea that I can grill the bean burgers instead of frying sounds like a nice option.

    • The bean burgers are indeed good substitute to the real thing. It can definitely satisfy any meat-lovers. As someone who loves my meat, I can say that they are just amazing. You can definitely enjoy them without feeling that something is lacking. The almost tast like you’re eating the real deal without the extra calories from greasy beef.

  31. I’ve had a vegan “beef tandoori” which tasted amazing, almost better than the real thing during a trip to Malaysia. As soy is pretty tasteless it’s really important to use good spices/herbs to impart flavor to the meal.

  32. Out of all of the options you listed here, I’m more familiar with falafel, especially in the neighborhood I live in. At first, I wasn’t too big on the idea on chickpeas, but a friend of mine gave me some hummus that was actually pretty good on hot pita bread. I had falafel in a burger and I wanted to be open minded and gave it a taste. It will never replace a real burger, but I can see myself eating this when I want to take a break from eating meat and for dietary reasons.

  33. I’ve been cooking vegetarian meals a lot lately so I was excited to see this article come up. It’s so easy to fall into a rut cooking the same things over and over again, and I’m always looking for new recipes like this to change things up a bit! It’s nice to see vegetarian entrees that are a little more substantial too, it makes it way easier to eat healthy when you don’t feel like you’re restricting yourself.

  34. Although I’m not a vegetarian any more, I do love vegetarian food and find it more interesting and sometimes more tasty than recipes that contain meat. Plus, they are generally a healthier alternative.

  35. I’m not the biggest fan of vegetables, but I have to admit that those meals looked really good, especially the falafel and the vegetable lasagna one, as a lasagna enthusiast I’m always looking to try new types of lasagna. Trying those meals can lead to a healthier life, a better self concept and it contributes to trying new types of food, what can be better than that?
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  36. Coming from a family of avid meat lovers, I know that I should be making healthier meal choices for me and my children, and this recipe is certainly one that I could serve without having a mutiny on my hands. It just looks like it oozes flavor. I’m so happy that I found this recipe right before the weekend. Now I know what to make for our Sunday lunch!

  37. Thanks for those recipes 🙂

    I agree with meat-free meals as a healthy and affordable alternative option. And my daughter has decided to become a vegan which can make meal time quite challenging – even vegetarian lasagnes and quiches at out unfortunately. I am going to try your black bean burgers – you’re right in that the rest of our family is not keen on the soy based meat-replacements.


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