20 Meatless Meal Ideas For Families

I have two really picky eaters and it makes meal planning difficult.  We've been meal planning for a little over a year now and asking my boys to pitch in and help plan the menu has cut down tremendously on the complaints at mealtime.

Lately I have been looking for ways to stretch our grocery budget and just knew that we had to start incorporating more meatless meals into our rotations.  My boys are carnivores for sure and they often suggest foods like steak, chicken, roast beef, etc.  I knew that adding more meatless meals into our week would be tricky.

While my boys have gotten more tolerant about trying new foods we have not managed to broaden their taste palettes much at all.  I'd love to say that my boys will all eat every meal that I have suggested here but that is just not the case.

In order for a meal to make it onto my meatless meals ideas list it did have to be a meal that at least two of my boys will eat-- which ruled out every single meal including any sort of fish or seafood.  

1.  Quiche/strata/ frittata with salad-- you can check out our strata recipe here.  My two older boys love these simple egg dishes and by swapping out pie crust, cubed bread, or leftover potatoes it's easy to enjoy many different varieties...  as long as I keep the vegetable fillings to vegetables they enjoy.

2.  Pizza and salad; regular, thin- crust, or french bread varieties.  We often make our our homemade, individual pizzas.  I put together a crust in the bread maker and then we top each pizza with different types of cheese and vegetables (and yes, even meat sometimes).  You can read about our easy French bread pizza recipe here. 

3.  Pesto Pasta with veggies.  Whether making my own pesto from the basil we grow in the summer (recipe found here) or throwing dinner together from a packaged mix, pesto is one dish that all of my boys enjoy.  We mix the pesto with a box of pasta and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.  Quick, easy and delicious!

4.  Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream.  We make waffles so often that my oldest son just about has his recipe memorized!  We add different fruits, chocolate chips, or sprinkles to the batter every now and then to mix it up, but our absolute favorite is when we serve the waffles with some whipped cream and fresh sliced strawberries.

5.  Egg salad sandwiches with chips and veggie platter-- So two of my boys might have peanut butter or Nutella and jelly in place of the egg salad but that's OK since they know how to make it themselves and we don't eat this sandwich meal every week.  However, I find sandwiches with chips or crackers and veggie sticks to be such an easy and light dinner.

6.  Vegetable/ tomato soup with grilled cheese-- Not all of my kids will eat grilled cheese sandwiches and not all of them will eat soup either but to combine these two simple dishes and I have a meal where everyone can find something to eat!

7.  Pasta and sauce-- When all else fails for dinner; heating up a jar of spaghetti sauce and boiling up a box of pasta can't get much easier and I never hear any complaints.  We often make our own garlic bread and serve the meal with a fresh green salad.

8.  Cheese and vegetable quesadillas--  We just recently started making quesadillas part of our menu since we found them to be so easy to personalize!  Much like pizzas we could each pick our own fillings for quesadilla; some preferring just cheese, others loading up their meal with vegetables.  We definitely had another hit on our hands.

9.  Fettuccine Alfredo-- While this could be another super easy meal where I open up a jar of sauce and boil up a box of pasta I often make my own Alfredo sauce and occasionally toss in a bag of frozen broccoli just to mix it up a bit.  Lately I have started making cauliflower Alfredo sauce and my boys just gobble it right up; it's the perfect blend between cheesy and healthy.

10. Homemade macaroni and cheese with steamed broccoli.  This is one meal that all three of my boys eat!  We've played around with many different recipes and found that we all prefer one that has a crumb topping that gets nice and crunchy in the oven.

11.  Ravioli and sauce with garlic and herb crescent rolls-- I do have one boy who won't eat ravioli but everyone else just loves when I heat up a jar of sauce and serve it with a bag of frozen ravioli. It's such an easy meal to throw together at the last minute and no one ever complains when I make a batch of garlic and herb crescent rolls to go with it.

12.  Vegetable Lasagna with garlic bread.  We often mix in whatever vegetables we have on hand-- carrots, spinach, broccoli, etc but our favorite has to be the summer squash lasagna I made last year.  Yum! (though it does have some bacon bits in it so I guess it's not totally meatless; but it is easy enough to omit that).  If I'm really pressed for time I might throw together a quick crock pot lasagna like this one.

13.  Stuffed french toast with fruit salad-- My boys love french toast and they just can not get enough when I stuff it with sweetened cream cheese (recipe here).  There are never complaints when I serve this for dinner.

14.  Corn fritters with Caesar salad-- One year we had tons of corn on the cob left over after a family party and while trying to come up with something to use them up we stumbled upon a corn fritter recipe that the boys just LOVED!  They have become a family favorite and are so filling that a few corn fritters (with sour cream to dunk them in) and a salad are all we need for nice meatless meal.

15.  Cauliflower and Broccoli Pesto Alfredo Casserole-- This casserole that I shared on the blog yesterday is chock full of vegetables even if my boys don't realize it.  I found combining two of our favorite flavors; pesto and Alfredo made for a very tasty pasta dish that all of my boys just could not get enough of and since the broccoli and cauliflower are pulsed into a paste and added to the sauce it's a great way to sneak in some extra veggies too.

16.  Vegetable stir- fry over rice-- For a quick and easy meatless meal I often toss a bag of frozen assorted vegetables in a pan with some teriyaki sauce and serve it over rice.  Admittedly my kids will only eat the stir fry if I use vegetables they like but they will eat it.

17.  Broccoli and rice casserole-- I use this chicken, broccoli and rice casserole recipe and just add extra broccoli while omitting the chicken.  They like it just as much as the original.

18. Calzones- Since pizza has always been such a huge hit with my boys we decided to give calzones a try.  We rolled out the dough, put cheese and assorted toppings on half and folded them over sealing the cheese on the inside.  Once baked we serve them with pizza sauce for dunking and a nice fresh salad.

19. Pancakes.  While my boys don't love pancakes they do enjoy them now and again.  We add all sorts of mix-ins to our pancakes too like blueberries, chocolate chips, or these special Harry Potter ones.

20.  Fruity French Toast-- I know I already had stuffed french toast on the list but my kids also enjoy plain french toast.  So much so that they often ask for it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  We made a really delicious fruity French toast a few weeks ago.  We just love topping french toast with fresh fruit and on this particular day we also added a bit of whipped cream and hot fudge sauce.

What are some of your family's favorite meatless meals?

Linking Up with: Over the Moon,

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The Lazy Gastronome



  1. All of the recipes sound so good, Going meatless at least once a week with these recipes make it a treat to look forward to.

    1. Thanks! I sure think so. If I had my way we'd have meatless meals just about every night. LOL.

  2. It all looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party - have a fabulous week!

    1. Thanks; I hope you have a fabulous week as well.

  3. Great ideas. We eat a lot of meatless meals here too.

    1. I'm trying to get my guys to eat more.. but we just bought a 1/4 cow so that might be a moot point. LOL.

  4. So many great alternatives, thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

  5. So many delish ideas! I'd love to try them all.


  6. Oh my gosh my boys love waffles so much. Pasta and pesto is always a real winner in my home X #fabfridaypost

    1. Yes, my boys adore waffles and I find anything with pasta is usually a hit too.

  7. Hi, I am always looking for alternative recipes to try. Some of these I can adapt to be dairy free and shall be giving them a try #fabfridaypost

  8. Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick at #OverTheMoon this week. Each Hostess displays their own features so be sure to visit me on Sunday evening and to see your feature! I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon. Please don’t forget to add your link numbers or post title so we can be sure to visit!

  9. This is really good idea! Sometimes I'm a little sick of having meat all the time. My crazy kids are going through a phase at the moment of not eating pea. Humm! I'm wracking my brain at the moment on how to get them eat pea. This may seem to be a way forward. :)

    Thank you very much for linking up with us on #FabFridayPost

    1. My youngest son is awful about eating any cooked vegetables!... and really only eats about three vegetables anyway. I wish I had suggestions for you but I don't. Hope some of these recipe ideas help.

  10. I'm amazed how much my grocery bill goes down when we cut out some meat! These are great ideas and many have become go-to's for me as well. I love the quesadillas with different veggies, they really are fun to personalize and switch up the flavors.

    1. It really does make a big difference and I find anything where we can personalize and switch up flavors are huge hits.

  11. This is a great collection of delicious Meatless Meal Ideas! Thanks so much for sharing your post with us for our special St. Patrick's Day Full Plate Thursday! Have a great week and come back soon.
    Miz Helen


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