Join the movement and get started with these Meatless Monday tips and recipes.

What is Meatless Monday?

Detroit and Japan to Mexico, people all over the globe are choosing to cut out meat once a week. 

The Meatless Monday initiative was launched in 2003 by Sid Lerner in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Since then, it has continued to gain momentum. It requires little commitment and minimal sacrifice because it’s just one day a week. 

There are a variety of reasons people are jumping on the bandwagon of Meatless Mondays. Some people want the health benefits of starting a plant-based diet. Others are going vegetarian at least one day of the week for environmental reasons. Either way, it’s the kind of initiative where we can all come together and reap the benefits. 

Does Meatless Monday Make A Difference?

There are lots of health perks to starting a plant-based diet, even just one day a week. Filling your plate with healthy, whole foods means you’re getting all of the benefits of their vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. In fact, people who eat a plant-based diet are less likely to develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer. They’re also more likely to maintain a healthy weight. As you know, being overweight and obese leads to lots of other health issues. You can start a plant-based diet, even just one day a week, and see improvements in your health.

Another top reason for starting Meatless Mondays is to help protect the environment. You can decrease your carbon footprint, help eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, protect the rainforests, and keep our oceans clean. Sure, one person might not be able to make a huge difference alone. But joining forces with people around the world can have a huge impact on our global environment. 

What Can You Eat On Meatless Monday?

As the name implies, you can eat anything except…meat. It’s simple. But when you consider your usual mealtime routine, how often do you skip the beef, fish, or poultry? You might realize there are sneaky ways meat gets into your diet too—pasta sauces, salad toppings, and homemade soups, for example. It’s likely you’re consuming more meat than you realize.  

Plant-based meals usually include lots of whole foods like fresh fruits, veggies, beans, rice, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Restaurants around the world now feature meatless meals on Mondays as part of the campaign. Chefs enjoy showcasing their delicious, vegetarian recipes as their Meatless Monday specials. 

Meatless Monday is an opportunity to try new recipes at home, too. You can try whipping up your own mushroom risotto, buffalo cauliflower wings, or vegetable lasagna. There’s a good chance you probably like some foods that are already meatless, like the classic mac and cheese. 

If you’re craving meat, there are plenty of faux meat alternatives, like meatballs made with neat Italian Mix or tacos using Loma Linda’s Taco Filling

Making a plant-based, meatless meal doesn’t mean you have to spend the whole day in the kitchen. Some recipes take just a few minutes. In fact, Loma Linda’s Southwest Bowl with Chipotle Peppers is ready in just 60 seconds! If you like saving time, Meatless Monday just might become your favorite day of the week. 

Top Meatless Monday recipes!

Get started with some of these tasty, Meatless Monday meals!

Meatless Monday Sheet Pan Dinner by A Couple Cooks

This is the perfect, easy-to-make dinner to kick off your Meatless Monday routine. Grab your favorite veggies, toss them on a pan, and roast them in the oven for about 20 minutes. You can put the veggies on rice, quinoa, or any of your favorite whole grains. Your dinner will be packed with vitamins and nutrients. 

Loaded Quinoa Tacos by Punch Fork

This Meatless Monday recipe might inspire your next Taco Tuesday dinner party. Add some neat Mexican crumbles and your favorite taco toppings. It’s an easy, go-to meal that makes everyone happy. 

Vegan Sloppy Joes by Atlantic Natural Foods

These sandwiches put a new spin on a family favorite. They’re mini versions of the childhood classic you know and love. Whip up a batch for your next potluck dinner or backyard party. It’s a Meatless Monday recipe your kids can fully get behind.

Stir Fry Vegetables with Teriyaki by Dreena Burton

This gluten-free, meatless meal is a healthy swap for your usual take-out order. It’s the kind of dish you can completely devour and still feel good about what you just ate. 

Shakshuka with Feta White Beans by Making Thyme for Health

This vegan recipe is inspired by the classic Israeli Shakshuka dish. It’s a one-pot wonder that’s full of flavor and makes you feel cozy and warm. It’s a great recipe for those busy weeks with a million to-dos on your agenda. It’s quick and delicious.

Vegetarian Burrito Bowl with Cauliflower Rice by Minimalist Baker

Is there anything more filling than a big ol’ burrito bowl? Gimme all the veggies, guac, and salsa! This recipe uses cauliflower rice as its base, which means it’s full of antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin C. Add some neat Southwest crumbles for an extra boost of protein and flavor.

Best Sweet Potato Stuffed Chili by Atlantic Natural Foods

This meal is packed with flavor and nutrition. The sweet potatoes alone are low in saturated fat and cholesterol and contain lots of fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin A. When you add the benefits of Loma Linda’s Ultimate Chili, you really have a wholesome meal you can feel good about serving to your family.

Best Mexican Pizza by The Curious Chickpea

Everyone loves a good pizza night. Ditch the greasy delivery, and try your hand at this homemade meal. Top it with some neat Mexican crumbles for an extra serving of protein and fiber. 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas by Cookie and Kate

These sweet potato and black bean enchiladas will get the whole family excited for dinnertime. You can also add any of your favorite toppings, like neat Southwest crumbles to beef up your meal. 

Vegan Poke Bowl by The Simple Veganista

When you think of eating the rainbow, this Meatless Monday recipe will come to mind. It’s full of naturally bright colors. Poke bowls are traditionally served with salmon or tuna, but this vegan option still delivers on taste with the marinated tofu. This is the kind of recipe you can easily throw together, especially if you have cooked rice already sitting in your fridge.

Simple Calzone Recipe by Pass the Plants

Calzones are just enormous pizza pockets, right? You can fill them with any of your favorite pizza toppings. They were first served up in the 1700s in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza. “Calzone” roughly translates to “trouser” in Italian. Perhaps it’s named for its shape, or perhaps it got its name because it was created for people to eat while they walked around on their lunch break. Either way, this recipe is a fun one to add to your list of Meatless Monday options.

Mexican Lasagna by Well Vegan

Traditional lasagna has layers of noodles, sauce, and cheese. This recipe puts a Mexican twist on a family favorite. It has layers of tortillas, beans, and sauce in a delicious combo of colors and flavors. It’s a great meal to make ahead of time and pop in the freezer till you’re ready to devour it. It’s warm, flavorful, and filling. Your family will love it!

Hearty Sweet Potato Kale Soup by The Vegan 8

This soup is the perfect dinner to warm you up on those crisp, fall nights. The garlic, onions, and ginger are the perfect combo. This soup is so good you’ll be dreaming of it year-round. Chickpeas are a great, plant-based protein that are also full of fiber. Plant-based proteins and fiber make an excellent combo for weight loss, if that’s one of the reasons you’re starting a Meatless Monday routine.

Vegetarian Gumbo with Red Beans and Okra by A Couple Cooks

Gumbo is a popular soup that originated in southern Louisiana. The word “gumbo” is a West African word for okra. While there are lots of recipes for delicious gumbos, traditional ones include okra. This soup is full of antioxidants and is a great source of Vitamin C and K1. 

Perfect Homemade Margherita Pizza by A Beautiful Plate

The Queen of Italy in 1889 loved this pizza so much, it was eventually named after her. A Margherita pizza is a classic in Italy because there are only three toppings—the red sauce, white cheese, and green basil leaves. These are the same colors as the Italian flag. 

If you’re looking to cut some corners on this recipe, you can swap out the homemade dough for a store-bought substitute. 

Quinoa Burger Recipe by Feel Good Foodie

Protein. Fiber. Flavor. This quinoa burger promises a healthy swap for a backyard bbq burger. While quinoa is referred to as an ancient grain, the part we eat is technically the seed of the plant. Did you know there are over 100 different types of quinoa? Combined with black beans, this quinoa burger contains 10g of protein. It has the perfect combo of spices to fill it with flavor too. 

Creamy Coconut Curry Soup by The Roasted Root

If you love curry, this soup is a must-make. It’s a great meal for any time of the year. The creamy coconut soup is another one-pot wonder. You can throw everything into the same pot and enjoy the soup within 30 minutes. It has the perfect combination of savory spices and sweet coconut milk. 

Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich by Healthy Midwestern Girl

If you love Panera’s Mediterranean sandwich, this recipe is a great, homemade substitute. The basics of the recipe include whole-grain bread, pickled sweet red peppers, red onion, cucumbers, jalapeno hummus, tomato, and lettuce. It’s a fresh, summertime lunch option that you can create at home. 

Creamy Pasta Marinara by The Conscientious Eater

This satisfying dish is full of flavor, and you can easily load it up with veggies. Because the veggies just blend in with the sauce, you can sneak some in without your kids noticing. Another perk of this creamy pasta marinara is that it’s a one-pot recipe. That means easy clean-up for you. Everyone wins when you serve up this meal at dinnertime.

Quick Coconut Lentil Curry by The Endless Meal

The words coconut and curry have my mouth watering already. This recipe also calls for a whole-lotta garlic. So you know it’s gonna be good. This curry is easy to make, tasty, and full of nutritional benefits. Did you know turmeric is what gives curry its yellow color? It also has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers. This delicious, Meatless Monday meal is a total winner. 

Superfood Veggie Quesadilla by Punch Fork

If it’s a battle getting your kids to eat their veggies, this recipe is for you. You can be extra sneaky about the kinds of greens you stick in this meal because there’s a pretty good chance they won’t even notice. You can hide the spinach or sweet potato around the layers of cheese, and you’re good-to-go. Cheese really does make everything better, right? 

Italian Vegan Pasta Salad by I Love Vegan 

This is it. The perfect, pot-luck dish for every occasion. It has all of the classic ingredients with a slight, vegan twist. Just swap the feta for tofu. You’ll coat it with nutritional yeast, which has a natural, cheesy flavor. This tangy, Italian pasta salad is perfect for your next summertime soiree. 

Chickpea Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce by A Couple Cooks 

Couscous is a staple in northern African cultures. And it symbolizes good luck and prosperity. This meal is fresh and light. It is extra delish with fresh greens and tomatoes from your garden. The savory tahini sauce is the perfect dressing for this tasty lunch. 

Sweet Potatoes with Thai Peanut Butter Sauce by Shared Appetite

Your vegetarian meals will get a solid boost with this dish. It’s filling and full of flavor. It’s both sweet and savory. And it’s sure to make even your pickiest eater smile. You just might find it’s a new, family favorite at your house.  There’s something about a good, Thai peanut butter sauce that makes people happy. Your family will devour it in no time.

Italian Soup with Vegetables Gnocchi by Eating Well

As with most vegetable-based soups, you can switch up the veggies based on what you have on hand. No kale? No problem. Swap it out for some spinach. Or throw in the sliced carrots you have in the fridge. If you’re looking for a gluten-free or keto-friendly alternative to traditional gnocchi, try cauliflower gnocchi. You have lots of options with this Meatless Monday recipe. 

Everything Bagel Pasta by Delish

Once you realize how easy and delicious this meal is, you’ll be making it over and over. It gives you the ingredients for making your own “everything bagel” mix, but if you already have some on hand, the whole recipe just got a lot easier. This rich, creamy pasta is a good reminder that you don’t need meat to make a fantastic dinner. 

Easy Korean Ramen by Live Kindly

This meal is simple, delicious, and has a bit of a kick. There’s just enough spice to keep things lively around the dinner table. If you’re new to Meatless Monday meals, this dinner solution will give you a taste of vegan bacon and sausage. It just might be the meal that makes you ditch the meat more often than just on Mondays. 

Written by Aftan Hoffer

I’m a self-proclaimed flexitarian, living in Lancaster, PA with my vegetarian husband and our two picky, omnivore toddlers. We’re also a foster family, so the number of chairs around our dinner table can change from time to time. Meals at our house involve a variety of foods, so everyone has at least one thing they’re excited to eat. No one wants a battle at mealtime.