If my high school self could see how much my eating habits have changed, she would be surprised. I grew up on a small acreage and my family had a freezer in our basement dedicated to meat. Now that freezer is getting a lot less use and is mostly filled with vegetables from my families garden. Becoming a more plant based eater and eating more vegetarian meals has been a process but it's one I can't wait to continue into the future. I have generally felt so much better and also have more energy which is a major plus. These 10 vegetarian meals should help add variety to your diet. 

Majoring in Nutritional Science Research at Iowa State University, reading scientific literature, reading popular nutrition books, and watching documentaries when I get a chance has changed my eating habits. I now no longer buy red meat for my own apartment and only eat it when I am out somewhere with friends. Now that you know how difficult I know it is to give up meat (I grew up with it being a daily staple), I believe we all can have at least a Meatless Monday every Monday. With these recipe ideas I hope to give everyone a new idea of what to make to have a more plant based diet that are all available on a college students budget. 

1. Avocado Toast

This might show that I am a millennial but it is my new favorite thing to make for breakfast. Just toast a piece of bread, cover it in avocado and top with an egg. I personally love using Trader Joe's Everything But The Bagel seasoning as a final touch to add flavor.  

2. Hot dog and Homemade Fries

Field Roast hot dogs have been one of my favorite discoveries lately because you can make them be fancy or simple. An example would be cutting up the sausage version and putting them in pasta for some protein. To make a budget friendly version go for the frankfurter on a bun with homemade French fries done in the oven. 

3. Chicken Nuggets

I know chicken nuggets aren't exactly a complete meal but for me I'll pair them with whatever frozen vegetables I have around and call it a day. These Gardein chicken nuggets are next level and are the best gateway food in my eyes to not eating meat.  

4. Chickpea Tacos

This is a great way to get some protein in! Just simply place drained chickpeas on a baking sheet and cover them in your favorite taco seasoning and roast for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Now you have your taco filling!

5. Vegetarian Lasagna

This recipe is only calls for one change from the traditional lasagna recipe, replace the meat with spinach! I have had this several times and its a way to sneak in those greens. 

6. Curried Chickpeas

This recipe has become a staple since all one needs is four ingredients to make this dish. It starts with boiling a can of chickpeas, draining them, and covering them in a jar a curry sauce of choice. I like to top my curry with raisins and have a side of rice to complete the dish. 

7. Cauliflower Rice Stir Fry

Emily Elliott

Now this is the simplest of meals because it truly requires only buying one item. Green giant (along with several other brands) has a riced cauliflower option that includes usually peas and carrots. A person should add some soy sauce and sesame oil to make it more Asian inspired. Some fried tofu and a veggie egg roll would also be a great addition. 

8. Overnight Oats 

This is another easy one with it just taking a bit of prep. the night before. Just layer vanilla yogurt, oatmeal, chia seeds and fruit of choice and voila. This is a delicious breakfast option. 

9. Huevos Rancheros

Now this recipe looks hard since it so pretty in the end but really is not that much prep. Making two over-easy eggs while canned black beans are boiling and a bag of minute rice is in the microwave is pretty simple. The beans should also be seasoned with garlic powder, chili powder, and some taco seasoning if you can. Half of an avocado, salsa, cheese, and two small tortillas make the meal.  

10. Slow-Cooker Mushroom Strogonaf

This recipe does require a slow cooker for ease but I am sure a person could make it on a stovetop with some patience. This recipe was one I snagged off of Pinterest so I will leave the link here and just show the picture below. 

Having a meatless Monday can have lots of flavor or be one of your favorite foods even without meat. Saving money is also possible without the McDonald's dollar menu and with a lot more nutrients being involved. I hope you try out one of these recipes next Monday!