Going vegetarian or vegan is one of the best things you can do for your heart health and your weight, so try transforming your current dishes into meat-free versions, such as meat-free tacos or burgers. Red meat raises cholesterol, contributes to environmental wastes, causes millions of animals to suffer every single day, and has caused national deforestation across our entire country. Poultry, egg, dairy, and seafood production and consumption also contribute to all of these things. Though many people know this, making the transition to meat-free meals can be quite a challenge, so how about starting with one of the simplest meals of all? Meat-free tacos are surprisingly awesome, they’re inexpensive, and you can make them a variety of ways. Try out some of these suggestions and save money, calories, and animals all in a few hearty bites!
I know lentils sound sort of boring and gross, but they make a mean batch of meat-free tacos, let me tell you! Lentils are hearty, filling, and a great source of protein and iron. Just cook up a batch and add taco sauce to them, serve, and enjoy!
Chickpeas are also a great stand-in for meat in a variety of recipes, tacos being one of my favorites. Chickpeas have a unique texture and provide a hearty, fiber-rich meal. I suggest buying no-salt-added canned varieties, slightly mashing them up, and tossing with tacos sauce to serve in shells.
Mushrooms are a great stand-in for meat in burgers, so try using them in tacos too. Use the smaller mushroom slices and grill or saute them. Then toss with taco sauce or enchilada sauce and serve in shells.
4. Black Beans
Black bean burritos are popular, so opt for black bean tacos when you're not in the mood for burritos. Black beans are high in fiber and protein, extremely filling, and they provide that dense, filling texture you’re looking for. Once you add your taco sauce to them, they’ll be so tasty that you won’t believe you’re eating beans in place of meat.
5. Meatless Crumbles
If you’re new to eating a vegan or vegetarian diet, you just might not be feeling the bean or legume approach at first. That’s okay- it’s fine to need a transition food and meatless crumbles make a great replacement. Some people get grossed out by fake meat but if you buy a great brand, such as Gardein, you’ll likely never know the difference. Though whole foods are the best option, meatless crumbles are much better than eating meat and contain no cholesterol or saturated fat of any kind.
6. Fill It up with Veggies
When making meat-free tacos, don’t just use one of the items above and taco sauce alone. Be sure you add some veggies to fill your tacos up! Use shredded lettuce, tomatoes, vegan cheese shreds like those from Daiya brand, onions, cilantro, avocado, and some fresh lime juice to top it off. This will keep you full longer and make the meal more satisfying.
7. Watch the Ingredients
Be sure to check the ingredient list in taco shells, taco sauce, and in any other prepared ingredients you use. Many items contain animal products like milk, cheese, or gelatin, so opt for the least processed option possible and check the brand’s website to make sure the product is vegan.
Going meat-free won’t only change your life but it will also show you how amazingly delicious and easy eating plant-foods can be. Do you ever eat meat-free tacos? Got a great recipe of your own? Share it!