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Even if you don't follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you can't deny the benefits of eating less meat. According to the journal Food Research International, meat consumption contributes to greenhouse gases, which are harmful to the environment. What's more, a high intake of red and processed meat is linked to chronic conditions, like heart disease and cancer.
But this doesn't mean you need to completely avoid meat. Simply eating less meat — and more plants — can make a major difference. From black bean nachos to eggplant pasta, here are eleven plant-based recipes to help minimize your meat consumption.
1. Food52 Vibrant Spring Socca
Socca is essentially a thin pancake made from chickpea flour. On this version, you'll find a zesty pesto topped with spring veggies and Pecorino cheese.
2. Jessica in the Kitchen BBQ Cauliflower Wings
For a plant-based twist on a classic finger food, try this BBQ cauliflower "wings" recipe. It calls for just nine ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand.
3. The Hungry Hutch Pasta with Eggplant, Tomato, and Olive Sauce
Make a hearty plant-based pasta dish with this easy recipe. Pair it with your favorite side salad and, of course, garlic bread.
4. Food52 Purnima Garg's Eggplant and Tomato Curry
This beautiful curry features Japanese eggplants, diced tomatoes, and warm spices that make for a comforting, plant-based meal.
5. Cook With Manali Cauliflower, Corn, and Poblano Tacos With Cashew Chipotle Sauce
Celebrate Taco Tuesday (or any day, really) with these zesty cauliflower tacos. Between the sweet corn and smoky cashew chipotle sauce, this dish sounds like pure heaven.
6. Red House Spice Sichuan-Style Braised Tofu
This Sichuan-style tofu dish is bursting with flavor. The recipe even explains how to pan-fry and air-fry the tofu, so you can make it according to your preference.
7. Cook with Manali Veg Cutlet
If you're looking for a healthier alternative for meat-based patties, make these vegetable cutlets. They're jam-packed with veggies, including peas, carrots, and green beans.
8. Sweet Potato Soul Marinated Tempeh Tacos
Tempeh is an excellent meat alternative, and these mouthwatering tacos are proof. The recipe also explains how to make homemade guacamole, which is a must for this recipe.
9. Healthy Nibbles Red Curry Wonton Soup With Zucchini Noodles
Try your hand at homemade wontons with this easy recipe. The wontons are filled with tofu, then served with red curry broth and spiralized zucchini noodles. Yum.
10. The Curious Chickpea Vegan Creamy Asparagus and Leek Pasta
This plant-based recipe, which takes just 25 minutes to make, boasts a deliciously creamy, almond-based sauce. Top it off with lemon zest and pine nuts, and dig in.
11. Orchids and Sweet Tea Black Bean Quinoa Skillet Nachos
These skillet nachos are so tasty that you won't even miss the meat. The tutorial also explains how to make taco seasoning and vegan white queso, making it a three-in-one recipe.
Kirsten Nunez is a journalist and author focusing on food, health, and DIY. In May 2014, she published a craft book, "Studs & Pearls: 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion." Her work has appeared on eHow, PopSugar, Shape, VegNews, and more. She lives in Beacon, New York.