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10 Recipes You Can Make With or Without Meat

author image Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a chef, nutritionist, recipe developer, media personality and award-winning cookbook author. She’s a cooking instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and frequent contributor to Rachael Ray Every Day magazine. Her newest book is the second edition of "The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook." Instagram/Twitter: @jackienewgent

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10 Recipes You Can Make With or Without Meat
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

More and more people are eating vegetarian meals at least part of the time. That’s one reason why I created “The With or Without Meat Cookbook.” It’s basically a vegetarian cookbook for people who enjoy poultry, fish or meat. In other words, it’s flexitarian. It was published by the American Diabetes Association, so the book can fit it into any healthy eating plan, whether for diabetes, heart health or overall wellness. This is how it works: The recipes are all vegetarian to start with. By making an easy adjustment, each can be served either with or without poultry, fish or meat. Along with a few recipes from “The With or Without Meat Cookbook,” the following slides contain seven brand-new double-duty recipes that you can make to satisfy both vegetarians and non-vegetarians with the same recipe -- and at the same time.

1. Winter White Chili
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

1 Winter White Chili

For a change of taste, try white chili instead of the traditional version. This lovely adaptation has a hint of both sweetness and spiciness. Unsweetened apple juice and cinnamon provide sweet notes, while jalapeno pepper provides the spicy kick. There’s no chili powder here, which is why it’s not red. Pair a cup of it with salad for a delightful and balanced lunch or dinner, or serve a bowlful for an entire meal when you don’t want to mess with sides. You can make the chili in advance and reheat. And if you like, top with shrimp instead of cheese. CALORIES PER SERVING: 333

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

2. Satay Zucchini Noodles
Photo Credit: The American Diabetes Association

2 Satay Zucchini Noodles

When you need to keep carbs or total calories in check but are craving noodles, using zucchini as the noodles is one culinary trick. Doing so in this Asian-style dish makes it both fresh and filling. But it’s the flavors, textures and beauty that’ll bring you back to this recipe again and again. Use one zucchini and one yellow summer squash for the best-looking results -- especially in spring and summer when these vegetables are at their best. In other seasons, try other carb-friendly noodles like shirataki noodles or bean pasta. And if you’re a beef aficionado, you can make this recipe with the addition of grass-fed steak, transforming the main dish into a marvelous meal. CALORIES PER SERVING: 287

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

3. Florentine Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

3 Florentine Grilled Cheese Sandwich

A typical grilled cheese is usually made with American singles, a pasteurized processed cheese food, but you don’t need to settle for anything less than 100-percent real cheese. In this twist on the classic sandwich, you’ll find Gruyere, a naturally aged Swiss cheese, between whole-grain bread slices (although you can use any 100-percent natural Swiss cheese). Adding an oozy egg and lemony spinach transform this basic grilled cheese into a bodacious one, with a punch of high-quality protein from the egg and a significant amount of eye-healthful lutein and zeaxanthin from both the egg and spinach. Enjoy it any time of the day. You can also try it with a skinny turkey burger in place of the egg. CALORIES PER SERVING: 449

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

4. Indian Sweet Potato Edamame Stew
Photo Credit: The American Diabetes Association

4 Indian Sweet Potato Edamame Stew

One of the most memorable things about this stew is the distinctive worldly aroma that’ll come wafting from your kitchen. Your taste buds are sure to be enamored with this entree-size recipe. Even if you haven’t yet become an Indian-cuisine enthusiast, this inspired stew is a scrumptious starting point. The sweet, savory cinnamon and the warm, earthy coriander provide a global accent to the large bites of sweet potatoes and the unique addition of edamame. The cilantro goes beyond a regular garnish and adds freshness at serving time. To make this a meal, simply add cooked rotisserie chicken drumsticks into the stew. CALORIES PER SERVING: 243

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

5. California Breakfast Burrito
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

5 California Breakfast Burrito

A breakfast burrito is often full of greasy, saturated-fat-laden sausage and excess cheese, then wrapped in a giant processed “white” tortilla. That’s not the case here. This burrito is full of scrumptious, good-for-you ingredients, including protein-rich eggs, seasoned mushrooms, zingy pico de gallo, fresh cilantro and hearty black beans, all wrapped in a whole-wheat tortilla for whole-grain goodness. Plus, it includes avocado and just the right amount of natural full-flavored cheese for lusciousness. A little bit of natural poultry sausage can be added for meat lovers. Think of this burrito as a complete “superfood” meal for breakfast or beyond -- and it’s perfect for on the go. CALORIES PER SERVING: 441

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

6. Avocado, Scallion and Dill Tartine
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

6 Avocado, Scallion and Dill Tartine

A tartine is simply the French term for an open-face sandwich. Whatever you prefer to call it, the most important thing is to eat it. The main ingredient in this recipe is Hass avocado -- a nutrient-dense fruit that acts as a “nutrient booster” by enabling your body to absorb more beta-carotene, lutein and other fat-soluble nutrients from foods that are eaten along with it. On top of the avocado layer, you’ll arrange freshly roasted bell pepper in ribbon-like fashion for eye appeal and to increase your vegetable intake. If you’d like to boost the protein content, just top your tartine with smoked salmon instead. Or top with an egg if you prefer. Whichever way you serve your tartine, it’s an easy, palate-pleasing entree. CALORIES PER SERVING: 216

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

7. Pan-Grilled Tofu Skewers
Photo Credit: The American Diabetes Association

7 Pan-Grilled Tofu Skewers

These Szechuan skewers are a splendid introduction to tofu -- whether you’re trying it for the first time or the hundredth time. First, start with organic tofu because it is GMO-free. Then whip up this recipe by quickly marinating tofu pieces in a gingery vinaigrette, stacking onto skewers, grilling until caramelized grill markings form and sprinkling with fresh cilantro leaves and sesame seeds. The tofu “pops” will be a hit for all the senses at your next cookout. Prepare them with chicken instead of tofu for a change of taste. Serve three skewers per person as a party app or six skewers as an entree. CALORIES PER SERVING: 88

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

8. Champagne Cobb-Style Salad
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

8 Champagne Cobb-Style Salad

Salads are one of the easiest ways to meet daily vegetable needs. However, there are a couple of nutritional concerns when it comes to “building” them. Some select a too-low-calorie salad for lunch and forget to include any ingredients with quality protein, shortchanging muscle growth and reducing satiation and overall nutritional balance. Others go the opposite direction and overload a salad with every caloric ingredient that’s available -- like bacon bits, fried onions, croutons and creamy dressings -- turning a healthful salad into a diet disaster in a bowl. So here’s the best of both worlds: a slimmed-down entree salad that’s big on flavor, nutrition and satisfaction. Add rotisserie chicken or flaked tuna to make it a meal. CALORIES PER SERVING: 251

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

9. Baked Penne With Seasonal Vegetables
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

9 Baked Penne With Seasonal Vegetables

A puree of white beans, milk and a touch of olive oil creates a “cream” that’s way better for your arteries than heavy cream. But it’s the flavorful, plentiful vegetables that are the highlight of this saucy dish. A combination of eggplant, red onion and mushrooms is a great combination, although you can make it with a variety of other seasonal vegetables -- or just pick one. For extra flavor, top this recipe with just the right amount of cheese; and for extra fiber, you’ll want to choose whole-grain pasta. Pasta is a terrific vehicle for vegetables, such as in this recipe. Enjoy the baked penne as a perfect post-workout meal. Include poultry meatballs in it if you wish. Add a pinch of cinnamon for Greek pasticcio-like appeal too! CALORIES PER SERVING: 436

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

10. Curry Sweet Potato and Rice Salad
Photo Credit: Jackie Newgent

10 Curry Sweet Potato and Rice Salad

Mix things up! Creamy salads don’t need to be based on chicken, tuna or macaroni; rice salad is intriguing. Here it’s a light lunch entree with international intrigue. It’s truly versatile since you can serve it as a salad, appetizer or side. You’ll use more yogurt than mayonnaise for creaminess, and there are plenty of tasty herbs and spices. You’ll also caramelize the onions before they go into this creamy salad, creating another layer of flavor and natural sweetness. It’s a perfect recipe for stress-free cooking since it can be made a couple of days in advance. And the flavors are actually more pronounced after they’ve mingled a bit in the fridge. It’s a delicious way to increase whole-grain and vegetable intake. And to boost protein consumption, simply add diced grilled chicken breast into the salad. CALORIES PER SERVING: 294

Related: See Complete Recipe and Nutritional Info in MyPlate

What Do YOU Think?
Photo Credit: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

What Do YOU Think?

Do you currently follow more of a plant-centered diet? Why or why not? Do you have a challenging time during meal prep because you prefer vegetarian dishes, but another member of your household prefers meat-based meals? Which format of these recipes are you most likely to try “with” or “without” poultry, fish or meat? Please leave a comment below and let us know.

Related: 14 Protein-Packed Breakfasts

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