It’s not very trendy to admit this, but here we go: I am not a veggie. Rather embarrassingly, I can’t remember the last time meat wasn’t the star of my evening meal and I’m not sure that I’ve ever ordered a vegetarian meal in a restaurant, even at the salad bar I’m all about the bacon bits. 

Obviously, eating all that meat has an impact, not only on animals and the environment but also on your health. As long as you don’t end up just eating blocks of cheese, it’s pretty easy to drastically cut down on your fat intake when you stop eating meat, which can be good news for weight loss. That said – it’s important not to conflate vegetarianism with healthy. Even vegetarians have to bow to the mighty CICO equation. 

Seeing as this week is National Vegetarian Week, I thought it’d be the perfect time to give vegetables a starring role in my evening meals. Because I don’t want to eat what my mum would call a ‘traditional vegetarian diet’ (read: lettuce leaf on a plate) I’ve put together a mouth-watering meal plan featuring 7 vegetarian recipes for a meat-free week. Drool over the pictures and then click the links to find the recipes. You’re welcome.

Chilli dogs

Using vegetarian sausages means that this recipe is one of those ones where you think ‘why do I need meat again?’ because although veggie sausages aren’t comparable to your Cumberlands, they are pretty damn delicious in their own right.

Aloo gobi

If you’re anything like me, you don’t even throw one cursory glance at the vegetarian options when ordering from an Indian takeaway. But actually, vegetables and vegetarian cheese like paneer lend themselves extremely well to Indian cooking and aloo gobi, a potato and cauliflower curry, is one of the best. 

Honey roasted veggies with quinoa and pesto

If you’re not very excited by the sound of this recipe, I don’t blame you. Roasted vegetables are one thing, but quinoa too?! It’s all very Instagram. But give it a go – the honey works really well and Deliciously Ella really knows how to make quinoa delicious. Really.

Spaghetti and meatless meatballs

Ok so you’re not going to get two dogs fighting over this (pretty sure that’s what happens in Lady and the Tramp, right?) but you might be fighting off family members for the last helping of these mouthwatering ‘meat’balls that, to be fair, are a cut above most real meat meatballs. 

The ‘really hungry burger’

This burger is EPIC. Alright, so it’s more effort than just squishing meat into a patty shape and grilling, but it’s a hearty alternative that’ll impress any veggie BBQ-goer.

Spinach, red onion and goat’s cheese pizza

Pizza is amazing no matter what’s on it (apart from when there’s pineapple involved, because that’s just wrong) and goat’s cheese and red onion is a heavenly combination. Making a pizza from scratch isn’t difficult but it can be quite time consuming. It’s definitely worth it though, so plan to make this one on a Saturday when you’ve got the time (and if you haven’t, the toppings also work well on a tortilla wrap to make a speedy wrap ‘pizza’).

Roasted vegetable lasagne

Some vegetarian lasagnes mess around with ricotta or crème fraîche, but this recipe keeps it simple, sticking to the tried and tested tomato sauce, white sauce and cheese combination which makes lasagne so great. Using lots of different roasted vegetables gives a hefty boost to your 5-a-day efforts too, so you can spoon that cheesy goodness into your mouth with the smug knowledge that you’re being all healthy and virtuous.

As a meat-eater, it’s way too easy to fall back on boring recipes you’ve tried hundreds of times before. Going veggie requires a little more imagination and a bit more effort, which isn’t a bad thing when it means your weekly meal plan is as varied and exciting as the recipes above. If you wanted to keep the veggie love going, why not try Meat free Mondays?

What are your favourite meat-free recipes? Let us know over on the forum