Make It Meatless: Low-Fat Vegetarian Meals

Cutting out meat once or twice a week can cut our overall fat intake considerably, especially if we replace our weekly red meat options. Of course, not all vegetarian meals are low fat. Macaroni and cheese is a good example. In many cases, it's a matter of choosing some beans or legumes for lean protein and supplementing them with grains and vegetables. True, cheese features prominently in many vegetarian meals. By all means use it, but use it sparingly. A little strong-flavored cheese can go a long way.

  • 01 of 08

    Curried Chick Peas and Tomatoes

    Spoon in bowl of curry with chickpeas
    Getty Images/ImagesBazaar

    This curried chickpeas and tomatoes dish, mostly made with ingredients you'll likely have in your pantry, is super-quick and easy to prepare. It's also super-flavorful, thanks to the curry spices and fresh ginger if you have it. If speed is your goal, serve this dish with microwaveable whole grain rice or naturally fast-cooking couscous.

  • 02 of 08

    Black Bean Chipotle Chili

    black bean chili served in rustic casserole dish
    Getty Images/Stuart West

    The heat and smokiness of chipotle pepper add a depth of flavor to this satisfying black bean chili. Be sure to use only one chili from the can and just a little of the sauce. Serve this warming chili with a dollop of fat-free plain Greek yogurt on top, and garnish with a little cilantro.

  • 03 of 08

    Spinach and Ricotta Pasta

    Spinach and Ricotta Pasta

    The Spruce 

    This spinach and ricotta is a nice creamy dish that still manages to be low fat. It's also super quick and easy to make so you can have dinner on the table in under 15 minutes.

  • 04 of 08

    Potato Spinach Frittata

    Spinach and potato frittata
    Getty Images/Michael Powell

    A frittata is a fancy word for an open-faced omelet, which is often finished under a broiler. This hearty spinach and potato frittata, which is made using ​egg substitute, needs nothing more than a green salad and some whole grain bread to make a complete meal.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Light and Creamy Mushroom Lasagna

    Vegetable lasagne containing layers of pasta, spinach and mushroom
    Getty Images/Tony Briscoe

    Spinach, mushrooms and creamy low-fat ricotta cheese form the heart of this lasagna. This is comfort food with a little less guilt. This is also a great dish to prepare and assemble ahead of time so all you have to do is pop it int the oven when you get home from work. Another time saver, of course, is to use no-boil noodles.

  • 06 of 08

    Quinoa and Edamame Salad

    Quinoa salad
    Getty Images/Brian Hagiwara

    This super-nutritious quinoa and edamame salad make a great light meal option, and one that happens to be gluten-free so long as the broth you choose to cook the quinoa in is gluten-free. Kitchen Basics and Pacific Foods are two brands of gluten-free broths.

  • 07 of 08

    Asparagus Strata

    Baked Egg Breakfast Casserole
    Getty Images/Jon Lovette

    This light asparagus strata contains a blend of eggs and egg substitute, uses nonfat milk and reduced fat cheese. It also uses whole wheat bread for an extra nutritional boost. The result is still a wonderfully delicious casserole you'll want to make again and again. the other beauty of this strata is that you can make it ahead of time so all you have to do is pop it in the oven when you get home.

  • 08 of 08

    Baked Pumpkin Pasta

    Fresh Homemade Gnocchi with Pumpkin Sauce and Chili Pepper
    Getty Images/GMVozd

    You might think of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins, but how about pumpkin pasta? There are, of course, many things you can make using pumpkin. Mildly spiced, pumpkin makes a great addition to pasta, which it makes it a great option for a fall meal. Of course, if you want to add some heat, then up the spices a bit!