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Delicious Meat-Free Recipes for Newbie Vegetarians

Food | Lifestyle

So you decided to go meat-free! Good for you. It is a choice that, if done conscientiously, will benefit the planet, your health, and your wallet.

It’s never easy for newbie vegetarians to make the switch at first – they might find that their homemade food lacks texture and flavor. It doesn’t have to be this way! Finding staple recipes that ease you into vegetarianism without missing out on the texture, flavor, or nutrition, is key to sticking with it in the long term.

Here are 3 delicious, must-try recipes for newbie vegetarians.

1. 3-Bean Chili

Credit: Basheer Tome

Beans are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. They also really “stick to your ribs” to make you feel full and satisfied after your meal. This recipe is only mildly spicy, but you can choose to add your favorite hot sauce if you want to spice it up.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red beans
  • 1 can white beans
  • 2 cups stewed tomatoes (homemade or canned)
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup carrots, cubed
  • 1 cup celery, cubed
  • ½ cup green pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup yellow onions, in slivers
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, chopped, seeds removed
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat up oil in a large pot.
  2. Add onions and garlic and heat on low until transparent
  3. Add green pepper, carrots, jalapeño, and celery and sauté until slightly brown
  4. Drain beans and add to the pot.
  5. Then add stewed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir together. If it is too thick, add ½ cup water.
  6. Stir in spices, cover, and let simmer for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Top with regular or vegan cheese and avocado, and serve with brown rice.

2. BBQ Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Credit: Karitsu

One of the most common foods that newbie vegetarians miss is hamburgers. Portobello mushrooms are about the size of a hamburger patty, and they have a texture that is consistent and slightly bouncy like meat. It can be seasoned as such, but at the same time it’s refreshing and light—unlike anything you have ever tried before.


For burgers:

  • 4 Whole wheat buns
  • 1 sliced tomato
  • 12 pickle slices
  • 4 Portobello Mushrooms
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • Onion slices
  • Olive oil

For BBQ Sauce:

  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tbsp. teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Serves 4. Top with cheese, if desired.


For the BBQ sauce, mix the ingredients in a bowl until it reached your desired consistency. If you would like it to be thicker, you can put all of the ingredients in a small saucepan, stir, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Heat up the grill or a grilling pan. Rub olive oil on the Portobello mushrooms, and sprinkle salt and pepper on them to taste. Once the grill is hot, place the Portobello mushrooms on it and grill for about 5 minutes each side, or until the mushroom reaches your desired consistency.

You can also cover the mushrooms with aluminum foil as you grill them to heat them more thoroughly.

Slather the BBQ sauce on the buns, then put on the Portobello mushroom with all of the fixin’s.

3. Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

Credit: Karolina Grabowska

This hearty soup is perfect for cold weather. Pair it with a slice of pita and you have a perfect fall meal.


  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 lb. potatoes, cubed (you can leave the skin on, if preferred)
  • 3 leeks, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of white wine


Heat up the oil and add onions and garlic until transparent. Add potatoes, and leeks until covered with oil. Add the vegetable stock and spices and bring to a boil. Let simmer on low for about 20 minutes until the potatoes are very soft.

With an immersion blender, blend the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. Add the white wine and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Serve and top with chives.

Do you know someone who has just gone vegetarian? Share these recipes with them to make their shift to a plant-based diet easier and yummier!

Image Credit: Mandy Martini

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