How to Make Meatless Meals 

BY learning how to make meatless meals, you can get adequate nutrients such as protein, reduce extra fats and save money too. Many people fear by eating meatless meals, it will not provide enough protein in their diet. Although protein is very important to the diet, most people who consume animal products for their protein get way too much. Knowing the basics, a diet based primarily on plant sources can provide the requirements for the body’s protein. Even if you like to eat meat, it is a good idea to have your protein from grains and vegetables in some meals.

If you are learning how to make meatless meals, by serving several a month is a way to lower your food budget. If you do regular grocery shopping, then you will realize it is the meats than run up the register slip. Many delicious cheap recipes can be prepared by leaving out the meat. Unlike animal products, plant foods generally do not contain complete proteins so they should be combined with other ingredients to make a whole protein. Some grains like quinoa are very high in protein and can be prepared alone.

Plant foods contain certain amounts of complementary proteins that when consumed in combination with specific other complementary proteins become complete. The thinking is that as long as the right complementary proteins are consumed in the same day, complete proteins will be available for the body’s needs.

If you are learning how to make meatless meals, dried beans and grains play a very important part of the diet. Legumes, including dry beans, peas and lentils offer great nutritional value. They provide low fat, low sodium and a cholesterol free source of protein. They are also high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. They are loaded with many vitamins and minerals including iron and calcium.

Grains like barley, bulgur, corn, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, wheat and wild rice are the edible seed kernels of cereal plants and grasses. They are an excellent source of inexpensive protein and complex carbohydrates which play an important part when preparing meatless meals.

Meatless Meal Substitutes

By using the following chart you can prepare wonderful tasting dishes and get your protein in your diet.

Combine an ingredient from list 1 with an ingredient from list 2. Add a salad and rolls and you have a great meal.


  • Green peas
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Chick peas
  • Black eye peas
  • White beans
  • Peanuts
  • Lima beans


  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Almonds
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Corn
  • Bread
  • Sesame seeds

Most of these ingredients will help with your cheap living. I cook some of these in large quantities and have them handy for leftover recipes. This works well for retirees doing cheap retirement living. Package these items in small quantities for 1 or 2 and prepare as you need them.


  • ½ Cup sour cream
  • 1 Jar bean dip (12.5 ounces)
  • 2 Cups shredded lettuce
  • ½ Cup chopped tomato
  • ¼ Cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Bag tortilla chips

Mix together sour cream and salsa in a small bowl.

Spread bean dip in shallow glass bowl.

Top with sour cream and salsa mixture, spreading to cover bean dip.

Just before serving, top with lettuce, tomato and cheese; garnish with cilantro and serve with chips.


  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 Package Rice-a-roni mixture
  • ½ Cup green bell pepper
  • ½ Cup chopped onion
  • 2 Cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Cups water
  • 1 Can chopped undrained tomatoes
  • ¼ Teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 Can black beans, drained
  • 1 Can pinto beans drained
  • ½ Cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Over medium heat, sauté rice mixture, green pepper, onion and garlic until golden brown.

Stir in water, tomatoes, pepper sauce and seasoning packet; bring to a boil over high heat.

Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes; stir in beans.

Cover and continue to simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Top with cheese and cilantro.


  • 2 Tablespoons cooking oil, divided
  • 1 Medium cubed zucchini
  • 1 Medium cubed yellow squash
  • 1 Cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 Cup chopped onion
  • 1 Clove minced garlic
  • 6 Plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 Teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 Cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • ¾ Cup Arborio rice
  • ¼ Cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt/pepper
  • ½ Cup frozen peas thawed

Cook zucchini and squash in 1 tablespoon hot oil over high until crisp.

Place in medium bowl and set aside.

Add mushrooms, onions and garlic to saucepan; cook until tender.

Add tomatoes and oregano; cook until tomatoes are soft; place in bowl with zucchini mixture.

Wipe saucepan clean with paper towels.

Bring stock to a boil in saucepan, reduce heat and keep hot.

Add remaining tablespoon oil in pan over medium heat; add rice and cook for 2 minutes.

Add hot stock, reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed; about 30 minutes.

Stir in cheese, all vegetables, salt and pepper; cook until heated thoroughly and serve immediately.


  • ½ Cup chopped green pepper
  • ½ Cup chopped onion
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 Eggs slightly beaten
  • ¾ Cup Pace Picante sauce or salsa
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic salt
  • ½ Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ Cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 8 Taco shells heated
  • 8 Avocado slices

Cook green pepper and onion in butter in skillet until tender.

Stir in eggs, ¼ cup sauce, garlic salt and cumin.

Stir over medium low heat stirring frequently until eggs are set.

Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup cheese.

Fill taco shells with egg mixture, top with sliced avocado, 1 tablespoon of remaining cheese and 1 tablespoon remaining sauce.


  • 1 ¼ cups dried lentils
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 Cups canned vegetable broth (Divided)
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ½ Cups long grain rice (Uncooked)
  • 3 Cups chopped tomato
  • 1 Cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ¾ Cup tomato paste
  • ¼ Cup chopped celery leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon cumin
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 Medium onions (Sliced)
  • 4 Cloves minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Plain yogurt OPTIONAL

Combine lentils and oil in large saucepan over medium heat.

Cook and stir constantly until browned about 3 minutes.

Add 3 CUPS of the broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Bring to a boil; cover, REDUCE HEAT and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir in the rice and remaining 1 CUP of broth; bring to a boil.

Cover pot and REDUCE HEAT; simmer 25 minutes.

NOTE: Liquid should be absorbed and rice is tender.

Set lentils aside and keep warm.

Combine tomato and next 7 ingredients in a medium saucepan.

Bring mixture to a boil; REDUCE HEAT and simmer uncovered 25 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium high cook onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil.

NOTE: Stir constantly until tender.

TO SERVE spoon lentil mixture onto a serving platter.

Spoon tomato mixture over the lentils.

Top with the onion mixture; serve immediately with yogurt.

Serves 6.


  • 2 ½ Cups fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Cup uncooked rice
  • 3 Cups vegetable broth (Divided)
  • ¼ cup broccoli pieces (Bite size)
  • ¼ cup shredded carrot
  • ½ Cup seeded and chopped tomato
  • 1 Cup shredded Muenster cheese
  • ¼ Cup Parmesan cheese PLUS for topping
  • 2 Tablespoons basil
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons cracked black pepper

Combine mushrooms, onion and garlic in the oil in a large saucepan.

Stir in uncooked rice; cook until rice is golden adding more oil if needed.

Add 1 ½ CUPS of broth and all the broccoli; mix well.

Continue to cook stirring until liquid is absorbed and rice is softened.

Add remaining 1 ½ CUPS broth, carrots, tomatoes, cheeses and basil.

Cook and stir until creamy; add salt and pepper stirring to blend.

Top with additional Parmesan cheese to serve.