Eco-conscious living is a big topic of conversation these days, and one of the easiest ways to partake is to eat less meat. Cutting back on meat consumption means less carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions; it can also save water during these drought-stricken times, as nearly half of the water used in America goes toward animal agriculture. Not in the mood for fake meat? Fear not–we’ve got plenty of other meal ideas for you that go beyond the mock meat burger. Here are 13 recipes that draw inspiration from around the world.

1. Vegetarian Pelau-Stuffed Peppers


Pelau is a pilaf made with coconut milk that hails from Trinidad. It’s usually made with chicken, but tastes just as good meatless when filled with the goodness of black-eyed-peas and butternut squash. Get our Vegetarian Pelau-Stuffed Peppers recipe.

2. Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash


This one-pot meal boasts all of the flavors of a traditional Thai red curry, but only takes a little over an hour, thanks to the use of prepared curry paste. Get our Thai Red Curry with Kabocha Squash recipe.

3. Chiles Rellenos


Before America had jalapeño poppers, Pueblans had chiles rellenos: roasted poblano peppers stuffed with melted cheese, coated with an egg batter and fried until crispy. Get our Chiles Rellenos recipe.

4. Japchae


Japchae–translucent sweet potato noodles stir-fried with spinach, carrots, onion, and garlic in a sweet soy and sesame sauce–is straight-up Korean comfort food. Get our Japchae recipe.

5. Chole Masala


This saucy, spiced chickpea dish, which makes a lovely meal with yogurt and rice, is easy and approachable, even for those who are completely new to South Asian cooking. Get our Chole (Chana) Masala recipe.

6. Gumbo Z’herbes

Spring Vegan

This smothered greens dish, which is known for being a great way to use up leftover greens, may sound less than glamorous, but it proved to be more popular in our test kitchen than any of our meat-filled gumbos. Get our Gumbo Z’herbes recipe.

7. Lentil Hummus Wrap with Pomegranate Molasses


The key to a great vegetarian wrap is layers of flavor; start with cumin- and coriander-spiced vegetables, then pile on lemony red lentil hummus and pomegranate molasses. Get our Lentil Hummus Wrap with Pomegranate Molasses recipe.

8. Steamed Vegetable Dumplings


These slightly chewy steamed Chinese dumplings are made with a stuffing of spinach, carrot, mushrooms, and pressed tofu that’s stir-fried first before assembling. Get our Steamed Vegetable Dumplings recipe.

9. Luchen Kugel


This satisfying and rich kugel is made with skim milk, low-fat cheese, and reduced-fat sour cream, so it’s healthier than most, but still guaranteed to pass muster with even the most discriminating bubbes. Get our Luchen Kugel recipe.

10. Aloo Gobi


To make the Indian classic aloo gobi, start by browning diced potatoes, then sprinkle in aromatics like mustard seeds, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Add cauliflower, and steam the entire thing until it’s fragrant. Serve it with a pat of butter and freshly-steamed rice. Get our Aloo Gobi recipe.

11. Jai


Jai is a Buddhist vegetarian stew that’s traditionally served on the first day of Chinese New Year for good luck. It’s labor- and time-intensive, but the payoff is a dazzling dish that’s both complex in flavor and good for you. Get our Jai recipe.

12. Cacio e Pepe


If you have a box of pasta and Pecorino cheese at home, then you’re mere minutes away from tucking into a platter of cacio e pepe pasta, a dish that embodies Italian simplicity at its finest. Get our Cacio e Pepe recipe.

13. Kale and Mushroom Stroganoff


Don’t knock a beef-free stroganoff until you’ve tried our vegetarian version, made with dried porcinis and sautéed creminis for a lavishly meaty flavor. Get our Kale and Mushroom Stroganoff recipe.

Susannah Chen is a San Francisco–based freelance writer. When she’s not cooking or writing, she’s on the hunt to find the world’s best chilaquiles. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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