Health

Here’s What Real Vegetarians Actually Eat

No salads here. Promise.

Being a vegetarian seems like it can be pretty rough, tbh.

But lots of totally normal people manage to do it every day and get this… enjoy it! So we asked a bunch of real vegetarians to share what they eat on a regular basis, plus some recipes so you can follow their lead.

1. Veggie Pancake Stacks

“You can turn just about any vegetable into delicious veggie-packed pancakes. I’ve made this meal with combinations of zucchini, broccoli, pumpkin, corn, onion, carrot … basically whatever I have in my refrigerator! But it’s not only me who enjoys them — my husband and teenage sons (who are not full-time vegetarians) will devour a stack, then fight each other for the last one.”

Renae Westley, primary school teacher and owner of the @lifeofavegetarian Instagram

Get the recipe here.

2. Sweet Potato, Red Bean, and Kale Enchiladas

“For me eating vegetarian is far more than simply not eating meat. It’s about creating food that’s delicious, nourishing, exciting, and good food that just happens to be meat-free as well. These enchiladas are flipping amazing and one of my favorite veggie creations. Loaded with different veggies, spicy beans, and topped with a smoky sweet pepper sauce, you’ll never miss the meat, I promise!”

Trudy Slabosz, author of Going Veggie and creator of Veggie num num Australia

Get the recipe here.

3. White Chard Stew

“It’s what I want to eat all winter. It’s hearty, filling, and nutritious, with lots of greens and plump white beans. A riff on ribolitta, the classic Tuscan stew, you can flare it out with some chile oil or lemon oil… but it’s great as is. It delivers on the leftover front, too.”

Heidi Swanson, author of Near & Far: Recipes Inspired by Home and Travel and 101 Cookbooks, and culinary shop owner

Get the recipe here.

4. BBQ Lentils With Millet Polenta

“I love this dish because it’s basically a saucy, sticky, stew-like thing on top of starch. But it’s full of protein and fiber and stuff, too! The sauce is really easy to make and the meal itself is cozy, hearty, and warming to the core. My partner is an omnivore/meat-freak, and seems to crave this dish more often than I do.”

Laura Wright, food blogger at The First Mess

Get the recipe here.

5. Vegetarian Ramen Bowl With Spicy Brussels Sprouts

“This ramen bowl is a great representation of how I eat all the time: comforting food that’s overloaded with vegetables, full of flavor, and has just a bit of kick. One of the best (and most fun) things about eating vegetarian is the exploration of flavor combinations to best highlight the vegetables (in this case, brussels sprouts with Sambal Oelek).”

Erin Alderson, creator of naturallyella.com and author of The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen Cookbook

Get the recipe here.

6. Mini Pimento Mac & Chesse Bites

“These little mac and chesse bites are my go-to anytime I have people over! They are easy to prepare and so beyond addicting!”

Shelly West, creator of Vegetarian ‘Ventures and creative director for Driftless Magazine

Get the recipe here.

7. Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells

“Growing up, stuffed shells were my ultimate cozy, comfort food which is why I’m now obsessed with this veggie version. It’s full of spinach and hearty roasted butternut squash — a winning (and very filling) combination that makes eating vegetarian insanely delicious.”

Jeanine Donofrio, creator of Love & Lemons and author of The Love & Lemons Cookbook

Get the recipe here.

8. Buffalo Hummus

Angela Liddon

“Of all the foods I missed when I went vegetarian, buffalo chicken wings were number one. It wasn’t so much the chicken I craved as the tangy, burn-your-lips spiciness of the buffalo sauce. Fortunately, now I’ve got this recipe which combines my flavor with one of the foods we vegans eat most often, hummus. Booyah.”

Matt Frazier, author of No Meat Athlete

Get the recipe here.

9. Egg Foo Yung With Sriracha Gravy

“Egg Foo Yung is really old school, so we gave it a modern update with our spicy Sriracha gravy. This recipe is great because it incorporates lots of vegetables and a great source of protein into one dish. You can use any vegetables you want here, and if you have leftovers from Chinese take-out or something just use those vegetables in place of our mixture. It’s a great leftover makeover.”

Justin and Amy Burks, authors of The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table and The Chubby Vegetarian

Get the recipe here.

10. Kale Pesto Pizza

“Honestly, I couldn’t be a vegetarian if it meant giving up pizza. I love to get creative when I’m making pizzas at home. This one features a kale and pecan pesto, plenty of mozzarella, and crispy kale on top.”

Kate Taylor, creator of Cookie and Kate

Get the recipe here.

11. Spinach & Quinoa Patties in a Bowl

“The patties are made from cooked quinoa leftovers that are mixed with spinach, egg, oats, and feta cheese. They taste great and hold together really well. Sometimes we serve them like burgers in buns but more commonly we just add them to bowls that we fill with a mix of vegetables, fruit, seeds, pulses, and sometimes a cooked or poached egg – all depending on what’s in season and in our pantry and fridge. One thing I love about being vegetarian (apart from the obvious reasons) is that what’s on our plate (or bowl) changes so naturally depending on what’s growing at the moment.”

David Frenkiel, cookbook author of Green Kitchen Travels and The Green Kitchen, and blogger at Green Kitchen Stories

Get the recipe here.

12. Chickpea Fries with Garlic Mayo

“These chickpea fries are amazingly good, completely unexpected, and the best response to “but how do you get protein?”

Leah Lizarondo, Co-Founder of 412 Food Rescue and activist at The Brazen Kitchen

Get the recipe here.

13. Wholegrain Waffles

“Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day because it allows me to have the most fun and creative freedom. I love to make a hearty and healthy meal like wholegrain pancakes or waffles and go heavy on the condiments - fresh or sautéed fruit, yogurt, seeds, nuts, and even nut butters. It’s like a sundae for breakfast.”

Sophie MacKenzie, food blogger at Wholehearted Eats

Wholegrain Waffle Recipe:

1 3/4 cups spelt flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 eggs, separated
4 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil
1 3/4 cups almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
2. In a separate bowl combine the egg yolks, oil, almond milk, and vanilla. Stir to combine then mix in with the dry ingredients.
3. Whip the remaining egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold them into the batter leaving some clumps.
4. Spoon onto your waffle maker and bake until golden.

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