5 Delicious Recipes for Meatless Monday Meals

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
healthy meatless vegetable pasta dinner

Whether it’s to save some money, save the environment or just mix up your meal ideas, “Meatless Mondays” are a great way to dabble in vegetarianism without taking the full plunge. But if you aren’t used to making vegetarian meals, it can be frustrating. Somtimes it feels like all you know how to make are side dishes!

Problem solved. These five meatless dinner recipes are real, hearty meals that just happen to be vegetarian. And they also qualify as Flex dinners on the Nutrisystem plan—meaning each contains one SmartCarb and two PowerFuels per serving. So, you’ll stay on your meal plan, feel full and won’t feel like you missed out on the main course.

1. Meatless Mushroom Chili

If it’s possible for a food to be meaty without having meat, this mushroom chili does it. The multiple mushrooms provide a variety of flavors while their textures mean you won’t miss the ground beef. And by making a big pot, you can freeze some for next meatless Monday.

What you need:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 pint of white button mushrooms, diced
1 pint of baby bella mushrooms, diced
1 pint of oyster or other mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 pint shiitake (or other) mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 large Vidalia onion, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 Tbsp. black pepper
1.5 Tbsp. chili powder
1.5 Tbsp. ground cumin
1.5 Tbsp. paprika
2-3 plum tomatoes, diced
28-oz. can low-sodium crushed tomatoes
15.5-oz. can low-sodium kidney beans (don’t drain)
15.5-oz. can low-sodium cannellini (or great northern) beans, drained
16-oz. shredded cheddar cheese (for topping)

How to make it:
1. Heat the olive oil in a big pot over low heat until it starts to shimmer.
2. Add the mushrooms and onions with about a teaspoon of salt, stirring to coat with the oil. Let them cook on low until they release their juices, stirring occasionally. (This can take a while, but that juice will flavor the whole dish!)
3. Once the juice level is almost as high as the solids, add the chopped peppers and continue to cook until they start to soften.
4. Add the black pepper, chili powder, cumin and paprika. Stir to coat.
5. Add the fresh and crushed tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium or medium-high. Stir and bring to a boil.
6. Add the beans and stir. Once the chili returns to boiling, lower the heat back to low. Let it simmer for 30-50 minutes. (If the liquid gets too low for your liking, add a cup of water, stir and let simmer for another 20 minutes.)
7. Serve in bowls topped with a half cup of cheese per bowl.

Makes 8 servings

Counts As:
1 SmartCarb, 2 PowerFuels and 2 Vegetables

2. Veggie Stuffed Peppers

Two secrets will make your stuffed peppers better than ever: First, instead of cutting off the top and struggling to pull out the ribs inside, cut the pepper in half to create a small bowl to stuff (Bonus: You can eat two instead of one). Second: Steam the peppers lightly in about a quarter inch of water before cooking them with the stuffing inside. This way, the pepper cooks through without drying out the stuffing.

What you need:
2 large bell peppers, cut in half and seeded
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup diced bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped finely
2 large eggs
1/2 cup low-sodium black beans, drained
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried chopped parsley
2 slices low-fat cheese

How to make them:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Pour a quarter inch of water into a baking dish and place the peppers in the water, cut-side down. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove them from the oven. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees.
3. In a large bowl, mix the rice with all other ingredients except cheese.
4. Divide the mixture among the four pepper halves.
5. With the water still in the pan, put the filled peppers in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
6. Put a half slice of cheese on each of the four pepper halves, and bake for another 10 minutes (until rice and bean mixture is at 165 degrees F).
7. Remove from the oven and enjoy.

Makes 2 servings

Counts As:
1 SmartCarb, 2 PowerFuels and 1 Vegetable

3. Garden Veggie Pasta

On the Nutrisystem diet meal plan, one half cup of cooked pasta equates to one SmartCarb. We know that can feel small and pairing it with jarred sauce makes for a meager, sad meatless meal. Pump up the volume—literally, the amount of food—with some veggies and you’ll feel like you’re splurging instead.

What you need:
Dash of salt for cooking
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini, cut into slices
1 medium yellow squash, cut into slices
1/2 medium onion, sliced into half-moons
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 large round or 2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup whole wheat pasta of your choice (we like penne!)
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated low-sodium Parmesan cheese
4 basil leaves, cut into strips (optional)

How to make it:
Put the salt in the water and bring it to a boil.
2. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat until simmering.
3. Add zucchini, squash and onion to the pan, and stir to coat with the oil. Cook over medium for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the black pepper and continue cooking until the veggies start to soften.
4. Just before the squash and onion mixture is done, add the diced tomatoes to the pan. Remove all the vegetables from heat and set aside.
5. Boil the pasta according to package directions.
6. Drain the pasta, reserving one quarter cup of the pasta water.
7. In a bowl, crack the egg into the pasta and stir it in vigorously. The hot pasta will cook the egg and create a kind of sauce.
8. Mix the vegetables and a quarter cup of the pasta water into the pasta.
9. Top with Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with basil.

Makes 1 serving

Counts As:
1 SmartCarb, 2 PowerFuels, 3 Vegetables and 1 Extra

4. Portabella Mushroom Pizza

Portabella mushrooms are thick, juicy and make an incredible meatless pizza for one. With broccoli roasting in the oven at the same time, you’ll have a meatless main course and side dish ready in about 20 minutes.

What you need:
Zero-calorie cooking spray
1 large head of broccoli, roughly chopped
Black pepper
1/2 cup grated low-sodium Parmesan cheese
2 medium portabella mushrooms
2-4 medium tomato slices
1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
Handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
Oregano or other pizza seasoning
Juice of one lemon, as desired

How to make it:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Spread the broccoli on a baking sheet in a single layer.
3. Spray the broccoli with cooking spray.
4. Season with black pepper and the grated Parmesan.
5. Put in the oven—these will cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the broccoli start to brown and get crisp.
6. While the broccoli cooks, remove the stems from the mushrooms and place mushrooms on another baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray.
7. Top the each mushroom with a tomato slice, a quarter cup of breadcrumbs and a quarter cup of mozzarella cheese.
8. Put the mushrooms in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
9. Top the mushrooms with basil, oregano, or desired seasonings.
10. Squeeze lemon juice over broccoli then serve with mushroom pizza.

Makes 2 servings

Counts As:
1 SmartCarb, 2 PowerFuels and 3 Vegetables

5. Zesty Black Bean Soup

Nonfat yogurt is a PowerFuel. Sour cream, sadly, is not. But when used to mix in to a soup like this, the yogurt is every bit as creamy and tart as the sour cream—and offers added protein to your meatless meal. So not only can you make soup at home, you can make creamy, satisfying, meatless soup to warm you up until spring.

What you need:
1 tsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
Two 15.5-ounce cans of black beans
1 cup water
3 plum tomatoes, diced
1 hot pepper, cut into small pieces (skip this if you don’t like it spicy!)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. vinegar
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lime
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, to taste
4 cups nonfat plain yogurt
12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

How to make it:
1. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat until simmering.
2. Add the garlic and half of the onion. Cook for about 60 seconds, or until the garlic starts to brown.
3. Pour one can of undrained black beans and water to the pot. Bring to a simmer, and let simmer for about 5 minutes.
4. While that cooks, create a salsa mix by combining the rest of the onion in a bowl with the tomatoes, hot pepper, cumin, vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, salt and half the cilantro. Mix this up and let it sit so the flavors can combine.
5. Put one can of drained beans into a blender with a little bit of water. Blend until smooth.
6. Add the blended beans to the simmering beans. Bring back to a simmer for about 5 minutes, adding 1 cup water if it gets too thick.
7. Add the salsa you made in step 4. Cook until the salsa is warmed.
8. Ladle into bowls, and add a half cup yogurt to each. Mix until combined, and top with 1.5 ounces (about six tablespoons) shredded cheese per bowl, plus some more cilantro if you would like.

Note: Freeze the extra without mixing in the yogurt and cheese, and add those after defrosting and heating each serving.

Makes 8 servings

Counts As:
1 SmartCarb and 2 PowerFuels

If you enjoyed these meatless recipes, check out our 15 Plant-Based Recipes for a Vegetarian Feast! >