Healthful Vegetarian Meal Ideas

Contributors: Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN and Cordialis Msora-Kasago, MA, RD and Grace Derocha, MBA, RD, CDCES and Su-Nui Escobar, DCN, RDN, FAND and Rahaf Al Bochi, RDN, LD and Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE
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A healthy vegetarian diet includes a wide variety of foods from all the food groups. Be creative in planning menus and trying new foods. Here are some healthful, vegetarian meal ideas to get you started.

Breakfast 

  • Instant oatmeal made with low-fat or fat-free milk* with nuts and chopped banana
  • Low-fat yogurt* layered with crunchy cereal and blueberries for a breakfast parfait
  • Spread almond butter on a whole-grain toasted bagel and top with apple slices.
  • Scrambled eggs with vegetables or tofu scramble.

Lunch 

  • Vegetable sandwich: Sliced tomato, pepper, onion, avocado and hummus stuffed in a whole-grain pita
  • Main dish salad with your choice of vegetables, beans or tofu, fruit and nuts
  • Vegetable burger or falafel with sauteed mushrooms and tomato on a whole-grain bun
  • Vegetarian stuffed grape leaves (dolmas)
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole-wheat bread with carrot and celery sticks
  • Chili made with beans and textured vegetable protein with cornbread

Dinner 

  • Tofu and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice
  • Whole-grain pasta with tomato sauce plus vegetables (mushrooms, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and onions)
  • Tacos or burritos filled with beans, textured vegetable protein, tofu or tempeh
  • Pizza with or without cheese* and topped with vegetables and tofu or meat substitute

Snacks 

  • Trail mix
  • Popcorn
  • Low-fat or fat-free yogurt*
  • Smoothie made with low-fat milk*, frozen berries, spinach and a banana
  • Hummus and pita wedges, cucumber slices, or pickles
  • Bagel with nut butter
  • Tomato soup and whole-grain crackers
  • Fruit
  • Puffed rice
  • Chutney sandwiches
  • Cucumber with chile powder and lime
  • Mango or apple slices with chile powder
  • Seaweed
  • Wasabi Peas
  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Plantain chips
  • Bagel with nut butter
  • Tomato soup and whole-grain crackers

*Soymilk, soy cheese and yogurt if vegan

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