Easy meat-free meals

If you’re thinking about cutting down on your meat consumption but need some inspiration for easy meat-free meals with no unusual ingredients, you’re in the right place. We’ve taken some classic family favourites and rounded up some ideas for alternatives that are sure to be crowd-pleasers, whoever you’re aiming to please.


5 minutes to read

A lot of people think that the types of meals they eat need to drastically change when they take out the meat. But in reality, pretty much anything can be made vegetarian or vegan these days. Here are a few examples of some simple meat-free meals that don’t compromise on taste.

Easy meat-free meal idea #1: the classic roast dinner

This one is REALLY easy. Apart from the actual meat, a roast dinner is pretty much entirely plant-based already, so making it meat-free is very simple. But here are a few tips to create the ultimate meat-free roast dinner:

The main event

It is fun to mix it up a bit when it comes to the meat “replacement” in a roast. For ease, I’ll stick some meat-free sausages or a vegetarian pie in the oven. If I want something a bit more involved I LOVE the Bosh! Wellington. Alternatively, just forget the idea of the “meat”, pile on more veggies and gravy and get stuck into 10 of your 5 a day.

Meat-free gravy recipe

If you’re looking to make your roast dinner entirely plant-based it’s worth noting that the bog-standard Bisto gravy in the red tub is accidentally vegan so therefore free of meat extracts. I generally have some to hand in case a quick, impromptu roast is in order.

Recipe-wise, I like this really simple veggie gravy recipe

Yorkshire puddings

The good news is that Yorkshire puddings are already vegetarian. But if you need them to be egg-free too, we’ve heard good things about this vegan Yorkshire puddings recipe from A Virtual Vegan. There are also a couple of ready-made versions on the market, if you need a quick, convenient addition to your roast dinner.

Easy meat-free recipe #2: spaghetti bolognese

This was the big one for me when I first stopped eating meat. If I was going to stay meat-free in the early days I NEEDED a satisfying, simple and tasty veggie spaghetti bolognese recipe. Then, my friend Lucy sent me an AMAZING lentil ragu recipe from BBC Food and I knew I was going to be OK.

easy meat-free lentil bolognese


I know this one’s a winner with current meat-eaters too because I’ve sent it to loads of my friends and it’s become a regular in almost every one of their repertoires. Please give it a try and let us know what you think!

Easy meat-free recipe #3: shepherd’s pie 

Another British classic, traditionally made with lamb but these meat-free versions taste so much better, honest!

For a vegetarian option, this veggie shepherd’s pie from Pinch of Yum is delicious. For a fully vegan option, I usually use Veganuary’s vegan shepherd’s pie recipe and it always goes down a storm, with vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters alike. It’s really easy and uses lentils as the replacement for lamb. 

meat-free shepherd's pie with a fork resting on the side of a white dish

Easy meat free meal #3: chilli “non” carne & nachos

Now, you could opt for a meat-free mince to make a delicious chilli, in which case just take your usual recipe and switch the meat for a mince alternative of your choice. However, I much prefer this veggie chilli recipe from Jamie Oliver which is packed with veg, spices, beans and general goodness. I promise you won’t miss the meat.

Delicious meat-free “chicken” nachos

While you’re on a Mexican vibe, why not have some meat-free nachos as a starter too? I love nachos and this loaded vegan fajita “chicken” nachos recipe from Bethany’s Vegan Kitchen is AWESOME. 

Easy meat-free meal #4: Sausage and mash

Easy peasy, this one! Just find some amazing meat-free sausages – it’s worth trying a few to see what taste and texture you prefer. Then make mashed potato as you usually would, or for dairy-free, use non-dairy milk & butter. Add a generous glug of gravy (see recommendations in roast dinner section above) and hey presto, meat-free sausage and mash!

Anything else?

If you liked this article, you might also like to check out our previous round-up of flexitarian recipes, or if you’re a lover of cuisines from across the world, this list of 59 vegetarian recipes from around the world could be for you.

Is there anything else you’d like an alternative recipe for? Or any simple but delicious meat-free meals you currently make that you would love others to try too?

Post your ideas in the comments below or tag #HabitsWithImpact on social media and we’ll share any suggestions we receive.