Email Link SMS X Search Clock Right Arrow Caret down Caret up Caret left Caret right Thumbs up Speech Audio on Replay Plus Minus

I've Been Vegetarian For Six Years; Here Are The Easiest Snacks & Meals I Always Stock In My Kitchen

No meat? No problem.

Hi! I’m Evie, and I stopped eating meat back in 2015.

Evie Carrick

While I identify as a pescatarian, because I’ll eat fish when I go out to eat or go to someone’s house for dinner, at home I follow a vegetarian diet.

Over the years, I've noticed that having a few staples in my kitchen is key to staying on track and not just defaulting to snacking on candy and chips.

NBC / Via Giphy / giphy.com

If you’re not eating enough protein you might crave simple carbs — especially sugar — more often than most. And since vegetarians have fewer sources of protein to choose from, it can be easier to fall into the trap of under-eating protein and overeating other stuff.

If you know me, you know I’m no angel when it comes to avoiding simple carbs (sugar, in particular), but I have found that having a few protein-rich snacks and easy-to-make meals on hand make eating well a little easier. Progress, not perfection, right?

Advertisement

Advertisement

Here are a few of my favorite vegetarian-friendly foods. 🌱

Lynda Obst Productions / Via Giphy / giphy.com

1. Plant-Based Sausage

Evie Carrick

Honestly, the possibilities are endless with this one. I keep a pack of Tofurky’s plant-based sausage (I think the Italian style is the most versatile) in my freezer and defrost one sausage at a time for an easy protein boost to spaghetti or an egg scramble.

I also love Chicago-style hot dogs. When the craving hits I’ll throw a sausage in a bun and top it with onion, sport peppers, tomato, and yellow mustard for lunch. (Side note: I don't always follow the strict Chicago dog rules, as you'll see above.)

Advertisement

Advertisement

2. Nut Butter

Macey Foronda / BuzzFeed

Nut butters — especially plain ole peanut butter — is one of my main sources of protein. I’ll smear PB on slices of apple, celery, crackers, toast (topped with banana, of course), and pretty much anything else I can think of. It’s a great way to make something healthy and boring (looking at you, celery) taste salty and creamy.

3. Miso

When most people think of miso they think of miso soup or spicy miso ramen, but in addition to being a veggie-friendly soup base, miso paste is great on sandwiches and in homemade salad dressings. Plus, if you’re into marinating or glazing stuff (two things I’m too lazy for) miso will give your meal a dose of umami goodness.

Advertisement

Advertisement

4. Meatless ‘Chicken’ Nuggets

Evie Carrick

Admittedly, meatless nuggets are not the most nutrient-dense meal, but it beats cheese and crackers for dinner (something I’ll do when I’m starving and rushed for time). I did a full-on faux chicken nugget taste test last fall, and Quorn’s nuggets were the easy winner.

I throw a handful on a cookie sheet and cook at 425˚F for 15 minutes while I put together a spinach salad to feign health consciousness.

5. Eggs

@eviecarrick / Via instagram.com

To be honest, the idea of eggs weirds me out, but they taste so good I've trained myself to get over it. You know how some foods feel like they’re truly nourishing you? That’s how I feel about eggs. I always have eggs in my fridge because you can do a million things with them in a matter of minutes. Fried eggs on toast, huevos rancheros, eggs in a basket, egg and veggie scramble, egg salad sandwich, hard-boiled eggs, poached eggs in ramen...the list goes on.

Advertisement

Advertisement

6. Beans

Beans sound boring, but I promise you, if you’re trying to eat less meat (or trying to be a more protein-conscious veg) they will become your best friend. I always keep several cans of black beans and refried beans in my cupboard alongside a bag of lentils. They make it super-easy to add a dose of protein to a meal.

When I’m in a rush, I’ll smear refried beans in a quesadilla (with green chili, of course), and when I have a bit more time, a lentil-based Indian curry is a total crowdpleaser.

Read more: 21 Easy Can-To-Pan Dinners That All Start With Beans

7. Frozen Dumplings

TBS / Via Giphy / giphy.com

This is a new kitchen staple for me, but a good one. I love making ramen, soba, and udon soup, and dumplings are the perfect way to turn a bowl of soup into a meal. So far, I’ve alternated between Wei-Chuan and Nasoya dumplings — Wei-Chuan's are packed with veggies, while Nasoya incorporates tofu, too.

Advertisement

Advertisement

8. Nuts

Fox / Via Giphy / giphy.com

The solution to that afternoon hunger pang? Nuts! I’m boring and like plain almonds or salted cashews the best, but I also have a soft spot in my heart for pistachio anything (a nut that the folks over at Setton Farms do well). If plain or salted nuts are too bland for you, Setton Farms sells amazing garlic-onion seasoned pistachios (SO good) and pistachio-based mixes that incorporate berries, chocolate, and other nuts.

9. Cheeses

@eviecarrick / Via instagram.com

Cheese makes everything taste better and is key in any vegetarian (but not vegan) kitchen. For example: I’m not much of a salad person, but if I have some blue cheese in my fridge, it’ll make me actually excited to down some greens. Grated sharp cheddar cheese or Parmesan on top of eggs is a must and a veggie sammie is nothing without a thick slice of cheese.

I usually keep cheddar, blue, Parmesan, and a rotating “fancy cheese” in my fridge at all times.

Advertisement

Advertisement

10. Energy Bars

Evie Carrick

Just like anyone else, vegetarians need something they can grab when there isn’t time to make or order a meal. For me, that grab-and-go go-to was always the Lärabar, but lately, I've been obsessed with the RXBAR. Both bars only use ingredients you've actually heard of and somehow they make just a few things — egg whites, nuts, and dates on the RXBAR pictured, for example — taste amazing.

11. Chia Seeds

Admittedly, I don’t eat these a ton, but I always mean to. I keep a bag of these fiber- and protein-rich seeds around the house so that (when I remember to) I can add them to smoothies — or make chia pudding, which I am truly obsessed with.

Advertisement

Advertisement

12. Tofu

@lisaawheeler / Via instagram.com

People tend to have strong feelings toward tofu, but I'm all for it as long as it’s cooked well. The secret is to only buy extra-firm tofu and to coat it with a little cornstarch so it doesn’t break apart or get mushy when you cook it.

If you think you hate tofu, try the blackened tofu recipe from Honga’s Lotus Petal: Pan-Asian Cuisine cookbook. You’ll never think of tofu the same way again. Promise.

13. Nutritional Yeast

@_ms_and_taxes / Via instagram.com

I don’t use nutritional yeast a ton, but I keep it around because my mom, who’s a popcorn devotee, puts it on her stovetop popcorn and it is SO GOOD. It has an almost cheesy taste and because of that, it is also used to make a vegan cheese sauce.

Advertisement

Advertisement

14. Spinach

ABC / Via Giphy / giphy.com

I buy those giant plastic tubs of spinach and try to add the leafy green into anything I can think of: smoothies, stir frys, egg scrambles, and spaghetti sauce, to name a few. Plus, it makes an excellent salad base — just add some blue cheese crumbles, thinly sliced apple, and walnuts and you have a meal!

15. Quinoa

@healthygffamily / Via instagram.com

It only takes about 20 minutes to cook quinoa, but I tend to make a giant pot and eat it throughout the week. Quinoa is super nutritious and super versatile. I throw it in salads or use it as the base of a Buddha bowl (basically a lighter version of a Chipotle burrito bowl), but you can also mix it with beans to make veggie burger patties or sprinkle it in your tacos and burritos.

16. Dates

Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Ever since I started drinking coffee (a semi-new thing for me) I’ve been obsessed with medjool dates. Not only does their sweetness pair perfectly with a cup of coffee, but they also have a fair amount of protein (2.5 grams per serving) and can be used as a natural fruit-based sweetener when baking.

Coconut date balls are amazing — and dates stuffed with a soft cheese (like goat cheese) are a super easy appetizer.

What are some of the go-to vegetarian-friendly snacks and meals that you always keep stocked in your kitchen? Share in the comments!

Need easy dinner ideas?

These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Trending Recipes

Advertisement

Advertisement

Latest Tasty Guides

56 Dinner Ideas That You Can Make In A Half Hour Or Less
Here's Alton Brown's Trick For Cooking Pasta Perfectly
We Asked Nutritionists And Dietitians What They Eat For Breakfast; Here's What They Said

Advertisement

Advertisement

25 Dinners That Are Basically Impossible To Mess Up
45 One-Pan, One-Pot, And One-Sheet Recipes For All Your Weeknight Cooking Needs
21 Healthy And Delicious Freezer Meals With No Meat

Advertisement

Advertisement

48 Food And Drink Hacks From Around The Internet That Are Actually Genius
These Are The Back-Of-The-Box Recipes Our Readers Swear By
20 No-Cook Meals You Can Make To Feed Yourself Or Your Family After A Power Outage

Advertisement

Advertisement

Need easy dinner ideas?

These meals will make your weeknights way simpler. (And tastier!)

Advertisement

Advertisement

Share on Pinterest Share on Pinterest Pinterest Pinterest Share on Facebook Share on Facebook Share on Email Share on Email More More