Meat Free Monday One day a week can make a world of difference

28 tips and tricks to champion your Meat Free Monday and beyond

If you’re looking for some extra meat free inspiration, try some of our top tips to get you in the mood for veggie food!

Posted : 1 November 2022

It can be easy to fall into the habit of cooking the same meals on rotation or ordering what others are having when dining out. For some, knowing where to start with meat free eating can sometimes be a bit of a puzzle at first. But if you’re reading this, it probably means you’ve decided to increase the plants in your diet.

Whether you’re contemplating your very first meat free day, have been doing Meat Free Monday for a while or are going ‘all in’ vegan, a few ideas and a little inspiration can be helpful. Paul McCartney once said: “I persuade people that it is a really exciting point in your life to say, ‘I’ve done X for all of my life up until now, and now I am going to do Y. I am going to make a change, and let’s see how it goes.’”

We’ve put together 28 tips and tricks to help inspire fun, healthy and delicious meat free eating – check them out below.

#1 Replace mince with veggie mince in your Spag Bol

Lower in saturated fat and calories compared to beef mince, veggie mince works perfectly in shepherd’s pie, lasagne, tacos, enchiladas, spaghetti bologense or anything else requiring something ‘meaty’. There are products by brands such as Linda McCartney Foods and Quorn, and many supermarkets now offer own brand versions.

#2 Have a Meat Free Monday potluck with friends or colleagues

Invite each person to make (or buy) just one item and you’ll end up with a plant-based feast – including dishes or cuisines you may not have tried before.

#3 Stock up on pulses and grains

Add lentils, couscous, chickpeas and quinoa to your shopping basket to help increase zinc, protein and fibre levels and boost your energy. Perfect eaten hot in cottage pies, soups and veggie chillies or cold to jazz up salads.

#4 Get acquainted with tofu

From silken to firm, tofu is a great alternative to meat in any recipe. Grilled, fried, baked or even scrambled, tofu is an easy way to consume protein whilst skipping meat. Get started with our very own Tomato Tofu Curry!

#5 Eat a rainbow

Fresh tomatoes, bright orange carrots, yellow peppers, green curly kale, juicy blueberries, crunchy red cabbage and purple beetroot will add a variety of vitamins and minerals to your diet!

#6 Don’t mock it

Check out the wide variety of ‘mock’ meat alternatives available including veggie ‘mince’, ‘chicken’ nuggets, ‘ham’ and ‘turkey’ slices, roast ‘beef’, vegan ‘steaks’, veggie ‘haggis’, fishless fingers and much more!

#7 Power up your day with a smoothie

Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kale, spinach, avocado, flax seed, maca powder and more – there loads of ingredients and combos for a perfect plant-based way to start your day! Why not try one of these seven plant-powered smoothies?

#8 Make seasonal veg the star of meat free meals

There are so many vegetables at their best right now so why not make good use of them on Meat Free Mondays? From cauliflower to cabbage, pumpkins to parsnips – these ingredients can be used to make tasty and satisfying meals. Shopping seasonally will also increase the flavour and nutritional value of the fruit and vegetables as they are able to ripen in the field rather than in supermarkets or at home.

#9 Sample some sushi

Japanese cuisine features plenty of meat- and fish-free dishes, ranging from vegetable tempura and tofu steaks to edamame (salted soya beans) and veggie sushi. Cook up these yummy Sushi Rolls and Balls by Cook School to get started!

#10 Refresh your recipe repertoire

Challenge yourself to try at least one new meat free recipe each week. Ask friends for their favourites or look through veggie cookbooks, magazines and our very own Meat Free Monday recipe collection for one that catches your eye.

#11 Swap in a plant milk in your morning cuppa

Using oat, rice, almond, coconut, soya and other plant milks is a great way to have a lighter footprint on the planet. Easy to find in supermarkets these days, and with creamy ‘barista’ versions available as well as budget varieties, brands include Plenish, Alpro, Califia Farms, Oatly, Mylk, Rude Health and Koko.

#12 Sample some spelt

Cut down on food miles by eating more crops that are grown in your home country. For UK residents, spelt is a “green” grain! Spelt salad, spelt bread, spelt porridge, spelt risotto, even spelt crumble … spelt is versatile!

#13 Fuel up on healthy snacks

Nuts, dried fruit, peanut butter on apple, roasted chickpeas, hummus and crudités – all of these will help beat those afternoon slumps!

#14 Take the Simple Vegetable Challenge

The vast majority of us have fewer than ten recipes in circulation, cooking them over and over again. If you want to bring some variation into your kitchen, take the Simple Vegetable Challenge: 1. Buy a vegetable you haven’t eaten before (or at least not in the last five years); 2. Find a meat free recipe which incorporates that vegetable; 3. Cook it and (hopefully) enjoy!

#15 Experience a sea flavour

Packed with vitamins and minerals, seaweed is a staple in Asian cuisine, and popular varieties include nori, kelp and hijiki. You can buy seaweed dried, fresh and frozen – delicious, nutritious and marine! This Seaweed Paella by Rose Glover is a lovely recipe to try.

#16 Use the wealth of resources available

Check out and, or download their apps, for up-to-date lists of restaurants worldwide which have meat free options.

#17 Enjoy an English breakfast, meat free style

Hash browns, baked beans, veggie sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, tofu scramble, veggie ‘bacon’, rounds of toast and your favourite brew – what a way to start the day!

#18 Be prepared

Keep your kitchen stocked up with store cupboard staples (e.g. pasta, rice, couscous, lentils, tinned beans), herbs and spices (e.g. crushed chillies, cumin powder, paprika) and oils and sauces (olive oil, rapeseed oil, soy sauce).

#19 Cook up some cauliflower

This lovely vegetable is nutritious, versatile and low in fat, so why not incorporate some cauliflower into your cuisine? Try this simple recipe for Cauliflower 3 Ways by Miguel Barclay – a vegetable so nice, you can cook it thrice!

#20 Fry up a quick snack

For a quick and tasty spicy protein snack, mix 1-2 teaspoons of chilli powder, 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt and 100 g polenta in a bowl. Cut some plain, firm tofu (400-500 g) into large cubes and dip them in the polenta mix to coat. Fry in olive oil until golden.

#20 Try soya chunks

Packed with protein and cheap, soya chunks (aka ‘textured vegetable protein’) are a great alternative to meat in dishes such as curries, casseroles, stews and stir fries. Before the recent upsurge in plant-based products, they were a staple for many vegetarians and vegans. Health food stores often stock them, as do some supermarkets in their Asian aisles. Soak soya chunks in hot water for 10-15 minutes and you’re away! Give them a go with these super simple Spicy Fajitas.

#22 Get to know seitan

There are plenty of great meat free roasts on the market and it’s also easy to make your own. Seitan (a soft ‘meaty’ food made from vital wheat gluten) soaks up the flavours of accompanying seasoning and gravy so it’s perfect for the job! So get yourself a bag of this vegan staple (easy to find online) and get cooking – you’ll be amazed at the results!

#23 Enjoy the 'steak' of veggie burgers

Place a large Portobello mushroom in a dish and cut off the stem. Brush generously with olive oil and add crushed garlic, salt, pepper and basil. Leave to marinate for 10 minutes then grill each side for about 6 minutes until tender. Place in a burger bap topped with brown fried onions, shredded lettuce and slices of avocado and tomato.

#24 Have a game plan

Check out restaurant menus before you go. If there’s not a lot that looks meat free, phone ahead and ask. With advance notice, most establishments will be able to offer you something really tasty.

#25 Make friends with the freezer

Freeze sauces and soups for those busy days when you don’t have time to cook.

#26 Keep it healthy

For anyone out there who made a resolution to ditch or reduce the meat, be advised: A meat free diet may improve your health, but you’ve got to do it right! Beware of swapping meat for nutritionally empty, calorie-dense foods. A healthy plate should look something like this: ½ plate – non-starchy, colourful vegetables, ¼ plate – lean plant-based sources of protein (e.g. beans or tofu), ¼ plate – whole grains. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of the many plant-based fast food products available, but make sure you get a nice balance in your diet.

50% non-starchy, colourful vegetables
25% lean plant-based sources of protein (e.g. beans or tofu)
25% whole grains

#27 Choose chickpeas

Probably the most widely-used ingredient on a Meat Free Monday, chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are high in fibre, full of protein, a good source of iron – and they won’t break the bank! Use them to make hummus, falafel, curries and even meringue (whisk up the discarded liquid from a can of chickpeas – aquafaba – to make this). Enjoy these Roasted Chickpeas as a tasty snack for under a quid!

#28 Have fun

There’s never been a better time to start experimenting in the kitchen – and out and about – for Meat Free Monday and beyond. Share your ideas (and your plant-based food) with friends, family and colleagues and enjoy the meat free ride!

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