Flexitarian Recipes: Improve Health Without Going Full Vegetarian

Enjoy the benefits of both a plant-based and carnivore diet!

curried sweet potato salad

Embracing a healthier lifestyle doesn’t always mean committing to a strict plant-based diet. Allow us to introduce you to the flexible world of flexitarianism! The flexitarian diet allows you to reap the benefits of a plant-centric lifestyle without eliminating meat. Below, we’ll explore the principles of flexitarianism and share a collection of delicious and nutritious flexitarian recipes. Whether you’re a seasoned flexitarian or just starting to dip your toes into this approach, these recipes will help you improve your health without the need to go full vegetarian.

Understanding Flexitarianism

Flexitarianism, a term derived from combining “flexible” and “vegetarian,” encourages a primarily plant-based diet while allowing occasional consumption of meat or other animal products. The focus is on increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins, offering a balanced approach that promotes better health without strict dietary restrictions.

The Flexitarian Pantry Staples

Pantry Essentials for flexitarians

Before diving into the flexitarian-approved recipes, let’s stock up on essential pantry staples. From a variety of grains and legumes to flavorful plant-based proteins, having these staples on hand makes it easy to whip up a nutritious and satisfying flexitarian meal at any time.

Some flexitarian staples that your pantry can’t be without include:

  • Peas and legumes
  • Brown rice
  • Hummus
  • Beans (black beans, kidney beans, edamame, adzuki, pinto, etc.)
  • Soy foods (tempeh, miso, soymilk)
  • Nuts (pecan, almonds, peanuts, etc.)
  • Nut butters
  • Seeds
  • Grains and Pasta
  • Whole grain breads
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Dairy (and dairy alternatives)
  • Eggs
  • Meat, poultry, and fish

Delicious and Nutrient-Packed Flexitarian Recipes

Cozy and Satisfying Moroccan Lentil Soup

Now that you’ve got the basics down and some flexitarian diet pantry staples ready to go, we can get to the recipes! Below you will find some of our favorite plant-based and animal-based recipes. Mix and match the recipes however you wish to live your nutritious and delicious flexitarian lifestyle!

Pictured above: Cozy and Satisfying Moroccan Lentil Soup

Plant-Based Recipes

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Southwestern Style

This is not like any sweet potato dish you’ve ever had! It’s a satisfying and nutritious dish that tastes even better when paired with a crisp green salad. Corn, black beans, and tomatoes make up the delectably seasoned filling, and the subtle sweetness of the sweet potato perfectly balances the flavors.

Try the recipe: Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Southwestern Style

Curried Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad

More sweet potatoes? Yes, please! This delicious salad has a lovely balance of sweet (and slightly spicy) flavors, complementary textures, and a hefty dose of fresh greens! Sweet and fluffy sweet potatoes team up with succulent mangos and zesty raisins, and are counterbalanced by the spicy flavor of curry. This delicious spud salad will keep you full for a while!

Try the recipe: Curried Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad (pictured above)

Linguine with Baby Arugula and Fresh Herbs

Sometimes less is more, and that’s ever so true with this fresh pasta dish! This light and flavorful linguine with baby arugula and fresh herbs is made with simple, clean ingredients you can feel good about.

Try the recipe: Linguine with Baby Arugula and Fresh Herbs

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Kale Soup

Our slow-cooked sweet potato and kale soup will provide you with warmth, comfort, and nutrients galore! This hearty soup pairs sweet potatoes with the earthy flavors of kale, creating a comforting dish that’s not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients.

Try the recipe: Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Kale Soup

Cozy and Satisfying Moroccan Lentil Soup

Transport your taste buds to Morocco with the flavors of this cozy and satisfying lentil soup. Infused with a blend of spices, this soup combines protein-rich lentils with a variety of vegetables for a wholesome and nourishing meal that will keep you satisfied.

Try the recipe: Cozy and Satisfying Moroccan Lentil Soup

Animal-Based Recipes

animal-based recipes: chimichurri shrimp - flexitarian recipes

Instant Pot Sunday Pot Roast

Enjoy the classic flavors of a Sunday pot roast made effortlessly in the Instant Pot. This recipe combines tender beef, hearty vegetables, and savory herbs for a comforting meal that’s perfect for a family dinner.

Try the recipe: Instant Pot Sunday Pot Roast (pictured below)

Fast and Flavorful Chimichurri Shrimp

We love shrimp for a number of reasons: it’s low-carb, a great source of protein, easy to make, and offers a hearty meaty texture. Our chimichurri shrimp takes a few simple ingredients and turns them into something that is incredibly satisfying and flavorful! Pair this recipe with a side of greens, brown rice, or even cauliflower rice for a well-rounded, filling meal!

Try the recipe: Fast and Flavorful Chimichurri Shrimp (pictured above)

Slow Cooker Greek Lemon Chicken

This recipe for slow cooker Greek Lemon chicken is super simple to make. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it recipe which means you just add all of the ingredients to the Crockpot and turn it on! The result is a moist, tender, zesty chicken that can be served in a variety of delicious ways.

Try the recipe: Slow Cooker Greek Lemon Chicken

Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowl

Dive into the sweet and smoky flavors of our honey chipotle chicken bowl. This well balanced meal features protein-packed grilled chicken, brown rice, and a colorful array of vegetables, providing the perfect fusion of taste and nutrients.

Try the recipe: Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowl

Parchment Baked Fish and Vegetables

We love the simplicity of this parchment-baked fish and vegetables. Enjoy the light, natural flavors of fish and a medley of vegetables, all enveloped in parchment for a highly nutritious, easy to clean up meal.

Try the recipe: Parchment Baked Fish and Vegetables

Flexitarian Lifestyle: Questions and Answers

Instant Pot Sunday Pot Roast

We’re sure you’ve got some questions about flexitarian living! Here are the most commonly asked questions and answers. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, drop your question in the comment section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

How can I transition to a flexitarian diet without feeling overwhelmed?

Start by incorporating one or two meatless meals per week. Gradually increase the frequency as you become more comfortable. Experiment with new recipes, and focus on discovering plant-based ingredients that excite your taste buds.

Can a flexitarian diet provide enough protein for an active lifestyle?

Absolutely! Plant-based sources like legumes, tofu, tempeh, and quinoa are rich in protein. Additionally, incorporating a variety of nuts and seeds into your diet ensures you get the essential amino acids needed for an active and healthy lifestyle.

What are some easy ways to add more plant-based foods to my meals?

Start by incorporating more vegetables into your meals and gradually reducing the portion of meat. Experiment with different grains like quinoa or farro, and try plant-based protein alternatives such as lentils or black beans in your favorite dishes.

How can I ensure I’m getting a balanced mix of nutrients on a flexitarian diet?

Focus on variety and color in your meals. Aim to include a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins. This ensures you receive a broad spectrum of essential nutrients. Additionally, consider consulting a registered dietitian or nutritionist to create a personalized meal plan that aligns with your health goals.

Can a flexitarian diet be family-friendly?

Absolutely! Flexitarian meals can be adapted to suit the preferences of the entire family. Involve your family in the meal planning process, explore flavors together, and introduce plant-based options gradually. Many classic recipes, like burgers or tacos, can be made flexitarian-friendly without compromising on taste.

More Recipes for Flexitarians

Our easy citrus salmon tray bake is the perfect weeknight dinner.

Flexitarianism offers a flexible and sustainable approach to improving your health without the need for drastic dietary changes. By embracing the principles of a predominantly plant-based diet while allowing occasional animal products, you can enjoy a diverse range of flavors and nutrients. The recipes provided are just a starting point – feel free to get creative, experiment with ingredients, and discover the joy of flexitarian living. Here’s to a healthier, more flexible you!

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Gale Compton

Gale co-founded SkinnyMs. with a goal to provide women with delicious recipes, fitness routines, and ways to reach their ideal weight. Gale has been featured on the Today Show in which she won a cook off for the best Lasagna. Be sure to search for her winning recipe, Skinny Lasagna Rolls.

Guided by her firm belief in healthy eating and the power of exercise, Gale has written two cookbooks and several fitness ebooks. She earned her Fitness Training Certification from, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association. Gale loves to run with her dog Maggie and has completed numerous half-marathons.

More by Gale

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