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10 Must-Try Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes For A Healthy New Year

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I have been a vegetarian for five years now, and I can’t really imagine that ever changing. There are so many reasons to make dietary and lifestyle changes — ethics, health, religion, and more. No matter what your reason might be, there is substantial evidence that reducing your daily meat intake can greatly improve your health and wellness. Whether you decide to go fully vegetarian or vegan, or you choose to opt in occasional Meatless Mondays — every bit of change adds up to a greater picture of health.

My personal favorite vegetarian meal is a simple rice and veggie bowl, and we eat this several times each week in our house. Here is the basic recipe, but there are so many different ways to customize it and make it your own:

Hearty Grain and Veggie Bowl

IMG_6552-640x427_thumb

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cooked grain (rice, quinoa, millet, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup cooked protein (beans, lentils, quinoa, tofu)
  • 2 cups roasted vegetables (sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, broccoli, squash)
  • 2 tablespoons healthy fats (sliced avocado, olives, nuts)
  • 1-2 tablespoons flavorful sauce (salsa, balsamic glaze, hummus, miso sauce)

Instructions:

Layer into a bowl, top with sauce, and serve warm! Simple as that.

For more veggie inspiration, check out these delicious vegetarian and vegan recipes we’ve rounded up from around the web!

  • Vegetarian Mexican Pizza 1 of 10
    vegetarian-mexican-pizza

    Take a healthier approach to pizza night by making it yourself at home! This fun Mexican spin on a classic pie includes plenty of protein (black beans!), healthy fats (avocado!), and veggies galore. 

    Recipe source: MJ and Hungryman

  • Basil and White Bean Spread Sandwich 2 of 10
    basil-and-white-bean-sandwich

    One of the things I hear most often as a vegetarian (other than the endless bacon jokes) is, "What do you eat for lunch?" For some reason it's hard to imagine a sandwich without deli slices or pulled pork. But vegetarian sandwiches can be just as delicious and flavorful. Check out this tasty white bean spread that is paired with crunchy veggies and fresh herbs. 

    Recipe source: Oh My Veggies

  • Sesame Kale Tofu Salad 3 of 10
    sesame-kale-tofu-salad

    Tofu feels like such a cliche vegetarian "thing" but despite it's crunchy reputation, it's actually really tasty (when prepared correctly!) and full of important things like calcium and protein. Paired with cabbage, kale, and a tasty dressing — this recipe fills you up but feels you leaving refreshed and energized.

    Recipe source: Daily Garnish

  • Mango Jicama Salad 4 of 10
    mango-jicama-salad

    Healthy is essentially synonymous with the word salad - especially at this time of year. But leave the iceberg and thousand island behind. Salads like this one — with mango and jicama! — will leave you filling your plate over and over again. And because it's healthy and packed with nutrients - you can!

    Recipe source: Edible Perspective

  • Vegan Strawberry Dark Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream 5 of 10
    vegan-strawberry-dark-chocolate-chunk-ice-cream

    You don't have to sacrifice indulgences just because your New Year's resolutions involve losing a few pounds. This vegan ice cream has all the taste of the creamy real deal, but includes healthy swaps like coconut milk and no refined sugars. A little goes a long way, and smaller servings will still satisfy your sweet tooth.

    Recipe source:  Nutritionist in the Kitch

  • California Barley Bowl 6 of 10
    california-barley-bowl

    As mentioned above, my personal favorite way to eat a hearty vegetarian meal is to make a colorful grain bowl. This particular recipe pairs barley with queso fresco, fresh avocado, toasted almonds, bean sprouts, and much more. Light and comforting at the same time!

    Recipe source: 101 Cookbooks

  • Sweet and Sour Stir Fry 7 of 10
    sweet-and-sour-stir-fry

    Who says you have to use chicken to make a delicious sweet and sour stir fry? Skip the takeout and try this healthier homemade vegetarian version of an Asian classic. 

    Recipe source: Chelsea's Messy Apron

  • Vegetarian Pho 8 of 10
    vegetarian-pho

    This recipe is for all of you out in "polar vortex" land. How about a little hot soup to warm you up? Pho is a classic Vietnamese noodle soup that typically includes beef or chicken. But this recipe offers a delicious vegetarian version that can easily compete with the original. 

    Recipe source: The Realistic Nutritionist

  • Green Lentil Swiss Chard Stew 9 of 10
    green-lentil-swiss-chard-stew

    Lentils are such a nutritional powerhouse, and it wasn't until I went fully vegetarian that I really learned to appreciate them. This recipe mixes cooked lentils with colorful veggies and swiss chard — perfect for dinner tonight and a packed lunch tomorrow.

    Recipe source: Treehugger

  • Ultimate 4-Layer Vegan Sandwich 10 of 10
    vegan-sandwich

    Looking for lunch ideas?  Check out this ultimate 4-layer vegan sandwich. You can customize it any way you like — this is just a map to get you started!

    Recipe source: Oh She Glows

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