If you are expecting a vegetarian at your holiday dinner, wanting to help the environment by going meatless, or just want to incorporate more veggies in your diet, give these easy and delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes a try. The holiday season has a huge impact on our planet and by going meatless for you holiday dinner, you can help reduce carbon emissions, help save water, and reduce fossil fuel use. Not to mention, a vegetarian diet is nutritious and has great health benefits including reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and improving energy.

Many people are hesitant about trying vegetarian or vegan dishes because they exclude ingredients that make food taste, well, good! But many vegetarian and vegan recipes include ingredients that taste similar to the non-vegetarian and non-vegan ingredients that are missing. Best advice, give a vegetarian or vegan dish a try; you may be surprised how delicious a meal can be substituting a few ingredients.

Lentil Loaf:

This recipe was provided by Whole Foods, and it completely vegan. The lentils make a great substitute for ground beef, still providing you a great source of protein and leaving you full.

Source: WholeFoods.com

  • Brown lentils
  • Bulgar wheat
  • Cremini mushrooms
  • Apple cider
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Sea salt
  • Cooking oats
  • Red bell pepper
  • Fresh parsley

Learn how to make lentil Whole Food’s lentil loaf here.

Veggie Lasagna

If you are a lasagna fan you’ll love this recipe provided by Cooking Light. This main course is completely vegetarian and includes these veggies:

  • Butternut squash
  • Spinach
  • Red pepper
  • Onion

Butternut squash is known as a power food; it’s packed with phytonutrients and antioxidents and low in fat. It is also a great source of fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is essential to proper immune and nervous system functioning. Learn how to make this recipe on the Cooking Light website.

Chickpeas and Tomatoes with Sweet Peppers

This vegetarian main dish was provided by Saveur, and is stocked with intense flavors. Essential ingredients include:

  • Chickpeas
  • Red bell peppers
  • Red chile
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Tarragon
  • Parsley

Also known as garbanzo beans, chickpeas are a great source of protein and is a great substitution for meat. One cup of chickpeas provides 27% of your daily protein requirements.  They are low in fat and are a great source of foliate, iron, and manganese, which plays an essential role in energy production. Learn how to make this recipe at Saveur.com.