Like so many other things in our lives, our regular weekly meal plans are hitting pause right now. We’re not running to the grocery every time we run out of something, we’re not seeking out exotic new ingredients from far-away markets, and above all, we’re trying to be really conscientious about using what’s in our pantry before we buy any more food.

In other words, the idea of sharing 5 recipes each week —  knowing you might not have those ingredients at home right now — doesn’t seem practical. And we like practical.

So we’re resetting a bit, trading our weekly Friday meal plan for our some of our team’s best tips for making tasty meals the family will enjoy as we shift up how we meal plan during this strange time. And this week, our tip is to go meatless.

Related: Weekly meal planning tip: Cook in bulk for easier dinners later

My own grocery store is limiting us to 2 meat purchases per trip, to help eliminate hoarding.  And since I’m trying to spread my grocery trips for our family of five at least a week apart, that means we’re thinking more about meatless meals around here.

With that, here are 3 ideas to get you through this week.

(And of course, if you want to get a full meal plan or recipe recommendations of all kinds, you can always look back through our meal plan archives. There’s plenty there to browse through! Including even more meatless options under vegetarian and our vegan tags. )


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Monday: Make it pasta night.

Use whatever noodles you have in your kitchen, and doctor up some spaghetti sauce for extra flavor.

My own favorite twist: Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4-cup or so of red wine, and about 2 tbsp of Italian seasoning. It’s delicious. And you can even eyeball the measurements — as for me,  I’m really not in the mood to wash measuring cups on top of all the dishes right now.

Related: Weekly meal plan: 5 easy vegetarian comfort food meals for fall that even meat-lovers will like


Meatless meals like taco bowls are easy, and extra special with avocado cojita dressing at Chef de Home

Tuesday: Turn Taco Tuesday into meatless taco bowls

We love self-serve buffet-style dinners around here, and for a meatless taco night I sometimes set out Mexican rice (I just prepare regular rice in my rice cooker and add a package of taco seasoning), plus black beans, cheese, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, canned Mexican corn, and tortilla chips. It’s so good, no one tends to notice there’s no meat on the table.

Having a great dressing, like this avocado cojita cheese dressing from Chef de Home, makes any taco bowl really special.


Weekly meal planning tip: Find meatless meals you love to stretch your grocery runs apart, like these DIY potatoes at Platings & Pairings

Any night: Set up a fun baked potato bar

Baked potato bars are another easy meal that are cheap, super easy (just wash the potatoes then pop them in the oven to bake), and can easily be made meatless. (Or, make use of leftover meat you might have on hand.)  These build-your-own potato skins from Platings and Pairings look spectacular, and can easily be adapted for baked potatoes. Just raid the pantry for anything that you think would taste good—from broccoli and cheese, to take-out BBQ, to vegetarian chili, then top off your taters. Yum!

Top photo:  Krista Stucchio via Unsplash