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Just because you prefer to skip the meat in your meals doesn’t mean you have to skimp on protein — or flavor for that matter! Some people give up meat temporarily, while others choose to live without meat for good. Whatever your motivations, meatless meals can be delicious, healthy, and packed with protein. Here are seven easy ways to make meals and side dishes that don’t involve meat and rank high on the protein profile. You’ll be amazed at the flavor possibilities that are out there just waiting to be tried!
Whip up a quick frittata for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
A frittata is a quick and inexpensive meal solution any time of the day! A cross between an omelet and a crustless quiche, a frittata contains protein-rich eggs, and nutritious veggies like tomatoes, onions, asparagus, or mushrooms. Toss in some grated Parmesan cheese and diced, cooked potatoes and you have a hearty, meatless meal to share!
Pair cottage cheese with chives and tomatoes.
If you’re looking for a quick snack, or even a savory side dish, try a dressed up version of traditional cottage cheese. High in protein and big on flavor, cottage cheese doesn’t have to be eaten plain or just with fruit. Give your cottage cheese a flavor kick by adding a sprinkle of chives, diced tomatoes, and cucumbers to bring up the nutrition and flavor factor.
Get creative with ravioli.
Ravioli is a fantastic culinary base for a deliciously creative dish without the meat. Try cheese ravioli with lemon butter, garlic and fresh wilted spinach, or garlic, extra virgin olive oil, escarole, and cannellini beans. Or think outside the box by pairing artichoke ravioli with cherry tomatoes and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, butternut squash ravioli topped with balsamic vinaigrette and walnuts, or mushroom ravioli with white wine butter, asparagus and feta.
Bake a potato and top it with protein.
A baked potato can be just as fantastic when you skip the bacon bits. Feel free to add all of the non-meat toppings you love and then add a sprinkle of cilantro for an extra kick of flavor! Pair with low-fat mozzarella or cheddar cheese to give your dish that extra protein push!
Dress up quesadillas with veggies.
Mexican food is quick to make anyone’s mouth water, but tends to be a very meat-based culinary genre. If you crave a little spice, but want to skip the chicken or beef, try dressing up a traditional cheese quesadilla with peppers, onions and tomatoes! Top with cilantro and sour cream to get the south of the boarder flavor with more of a vegetarian twist.
Skip the PB&J and make a grown-up peanut sauce.
Peanuts are an excellent source of protein, and peanut sauce is an excellent way to incorporate peanuts into your cooking. Whip some up and pour it on top of noodles for an exotic dish that is sure to satisfy! Top your dish with chopped peanuts for an extra protein punch.
If you are the type of person that craves meat, it’s still a good idea to have at least one meatless meal a week, to reduce your risk of diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. You will also save money, and may even loose weight! So go ahead…. give these delicious, protein-rich foods a try today!
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