Vegetarian and vegan diets provide innumerable health benefits, including but certainly not limited to reduced risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, lower body mass index, and less oxidative stress. Nevertheless, for the commitment averse — and those who know the sheer pleasure of a pan-seared grass-fed steak — a flexitarian diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes has its merits.
Whether or not you’re ready to say so long to your salmon, try adding a few simple vegetarian recipes to your weekly menu. Each has only five ingredients — not counting oil, salt, and pepper — and contains less than 500 calories.
Pasta with Browned Artichokes and Lemon
Use whole-grain or fresh pasta, which contains eggs, for added protein and a more steady stream of energy than pasta made with white flour. Browning the artichoke hearts brings out a nutty, complex flavor, but if you’re looking for a little more flavor, feel free to add some freshly-shaved Parmigianino Reggiano. Get the recipe for pasta with browned artichokes and lemon.
Cold Lentils with Mango, Mint, and Lime
Get a healthy dose of protein and fiber in this simple summer lunch recipe. Feel free to eliminate the olive oil for a fat-free version, but remember that a little fat helps with nutrient absorption. Get the recipe for cold lentils with mango, mint, and lime.
Vegan Chickpea and Spinach Tapas
Serve this Spanish tapas recipe over crusty bread or quinoa, or enjoy on its own. A generous splash of red wine vinegar elevates the flavor and the health benefits. Researchers out of Japan found that a tablespoon of vinegar daily helped study participants lose abdominal fat. Get the recipe for vegan chickpea and spinach tapas.
Chilaquiles Verdes with Roasted Vegetables
Easy vegetarian Mexican recipes never tasted so good. If you’re looking to save a few calories, skip the queso fresco. On their own, the eggs provide a creamy richness and satiating protein for a filling meal. Want to spice things up a little? Make your own salsa verde. Get the recipe for chilaquiles verdes with roasted vegetables.
Caprese with Buffalo Mozzarella and Balsamic Reduction
Elevate the classic Italian appetizer with buffalo mozzarella and balsamic reduction. The former has more protein than cow-milk mozzarella and can be found easily in well-stocked grocery stores. Make your own balsamic reduction by slowly reducing balsamic vinegar over very low heat for about half an hour. It loses much of the acerbic bite of vinegar and concentrates its musky sweetness. You’ll be licking your plate. Promise. Get the recipe for caprese with buffalo mozzarella and balsamic reduction.
Kondo T et al. Vinegar intake reduces body weight, body fat mass, and serum triglyceride levels in obese Japanese subjects