You hear it always: eat less meat, save the planet. But for many people who want meatless, meat substitutes just don’t cut it. They taste like cardboard and leave you hungry after an hour or so. Luckily, there are ways to nix animal products while still enjoying satisfying meals that won’t leave you feeling hungry an hour later. Here are three super-light vegetarian meals that have the staying power of their meaty counterparts—and don’t take long to make either!
Filling Light Meals
The key to a successful diet is eating enough food to feel full, but not so much that you’re constantly feeling stuffed. On the other hand, no one wants to feel like they’re going to explode after every meal! To help you achieve this balance, try some of these super-light meals:
The baked burrito is ideal for those who want to avoid gluten or other dietary restrictions but still hunger for something filling. This dish is so easy to prepare and contains such a wide range of nutrients that it’s a great way to start your day or end your day.
You can make this recipe with any combination of ingredients you like—black beans, white beans, chicken breast meat, and eggs are just some ideas. The only drawback with these burritos is that they’re best eaten fresh; otherwise, they will get soggy and mushy at room temperature. They do freeze well, though!
Caesar Pasta Salad
Next up, pasta salad. Caesar pasta salad is a classic recipe everyone can enjoy and make in advance—it’s hot or cold, so it works for any season or occasion. You can serve this as a side dish or as your main meal!
To make the best Caesar pasta salad:
- Cook your whole wheat or gluten-free pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle. Then toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and some salt and pepper in a large bowl until completely coated.
- In another bowl, combine 2 tbsp mayo with 1 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (or more if you like), and chopped chives—or whatever herbs you have on hand! Mix well and pour over the cooled pasta along with 4 cups of chopped romaine lettuce leaves (you could also use baby spinach). Toss everything together until evenly combined and refrigerate until ready to serve!
Loaded Veggie Soup
If you’re looking for a quick and easy meal, there’s no better choice than vegetable soup. It requires minimal effort, can be made ahead of time, and is extremely filling!
Here’s how to make your own:
- Chop up your favorite veggies (carrots, onion, and celery are great starters)
- Add broth or water until it reaches the desired consistency (you’ll want enough liquid so that the vegetables don’t burn)
- Simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes until the vegetables soften
Eating light doesn’t have to be boring.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight and are looking for a way to keep your meals interesting, these recipes are for you. They’re all super-light and packed full of flavor!