When I read a book called 30 Secrets of the World's Healthiest Cuisines a few months ago, I noticed that many of the cuisines touted to promote the lowest rates of obesity, heart disease, and cancer came from countries like China, Japan, and Thailand. Not surprising, considering that traditional Asian diets include complex carbs, plenty of vegetables, and healthy monounsaturated fats, all of which are believed to promote optimal health. Another thing I noticed: The world’s healthiest diets also included very little meat.
Eating less meat—even if you just give it up one day per week—may reduce your cancer and heart disease risks, fend of obesity and diabetes, and help you live longer. Picking vegetarian meals can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. These benefits are the premise of the global Meatless Monday movement, an initiative to help people reduce their meat consumption by 15% in order to improve their personal health and the health of the planet.
If you’re a Meatless Monday regular (or a dedicated vegetarian), you’re probably on the prowl for a few new recipes to add to your repertoire. And if you’re looking to give meatfree eating one day a week a try, this is a great place to start. Enjoy the flavor-packed Asian recipes below and let us know what your go-to vegetarian dinner recipes are by leaving a note in the comments section below.
Red Curry with Butternut Squash If you’re looking for a way to mix more vegetables into your diet, simmer squash, mushrooms, and tomatoes into a tasty red curry sauce.
Cold Noodles in Soybean Broth (Kong Guksu) Soybeans have been called “beef from the vegetable field” because they are packed with protein. They’re also a good source of calcium, vitamin A and iron. This soup makes a refreshing summer dish, but try it this winter if you’re taste buds could use a twist on miso.
Seitan (Wheat Meat) If you’re tired of tofu, try seitan, which has an entirely different taste. Learn how to make it from scratch and you’ll have the foundation for plenty of great-tasting vegetarian and vegan recipes.
Zucchini with Lentils and Roasted Garlic Basic ingredients, like squash, lentils, and garlic, get a major flavor boost from Indian spices, like turmeric, cumin, and garam masala, in this easy meatfree recipe.
Saag Paneer If you’re a cheese lover, try this classic Indian dish made with fried cheese, spinach, and plenty of spices.