When I first went vegetarian, at first I wasn’t sure what I would eat. I love burgers, chicken, and sausage very much. Plus my family loves meat and many of our favorite recipes include it. However with a little patience and ingenuity, I was able to make some small changes to allow me to enjoy many of my favorite dishes. Here are a few of them.

If you love American food, try black bean burgers


Photo by Parisa Soraya

This might be one of the most common substitutions for meat. I actually many meat eaters who love a good black bean burger. These are very nice because you can buy them frozen and just heat them up in the microwave, or make your own. Easy and delicious.

If you like Asian food, try tofu stir-fry 


Photo by Danny Schuleman

Now I know tofu can sound and look a little freaky but it really is delicious and a great protein source. Tofu is a bit more difficult to cook but it is not too bad. The key is letting it sit on paper towels for about 20 minutes to get as much water out of it. Then all you have to do is cook it in some olive oil until it is golden brown on all sides, add a little soy sauce, rice, and veggies and you have yourself a meal. Tofu can be substituted for any meat in most Asian recipes. Try it with this recipe.

If you like Mexican, try black bean tacos or burritos


Photo by Katherine Baker

Again a very easy substitution. All you have to do is heat up some black beans, add some spices such as cumin or red pepper, and you have a delicious meat-free meal. Add as many yummy toppings as you would like. Or make yours vegan with this recipe.

If you like Italian, try cheesy or veggie pasta


Photo by Judy Holtz

Pasta is really easy to keep meat-free. All you have to do is leave out the meat and add plenty of veggies. If you want more protein, you can even use quinoa pasta, which is gluten-free and high in protein. Make it with this recipe.

If you just need a meat replacement, try meatless chicken 


Photo by Mollie Simon

Now I know this one does sound a little freaky. But I promise once you get over the texture, it is quite good. Meatless chicken is soy protein molded to look like chicken strips or nuggets. You can get them in the freezer section of the grocery store and add them to any dishes that you want to. All you have to do is pan fry them in a little olive oil. See which imitation chicken brand you should buy here.

As you can see, going vegetarian does not mean that you cannot eat well. All you have to do is get a little creative with your cooking and be willing to try some new things.