Want to try a vegetarian diet but aren’t ready to fully commit? Try making Meatless Mondays part of your weekly routine. It’s a great way to test out the waters (as well as the health benefits) of a plant-based diet on your own terms.

If you have no intention of going full vegetarian anytime soon, Meatless Mondays can still help add some much-needed variety to your usual dinner rotation and reduce your grocery bill. Here are six vegetarian staples to keep stocked in your pantry.


Black beans, lentils and chickpeas supply your body with the protein it craves while on your meat hiatus. Canned and dried varieties both come with pros and cons as far as cost and flavor go, but both are equally nutritious.

Raw Almonds

You already know that a handful of these nuts makes for an unbeatable no-prep snack, but did you also know you can use them to create milk and butter substitutes? All you need is a blender, a bowl and between six and eight hours for the nuts to soak in filtered water.

Nutritional Yeast

Full of nutrients as well as savory flavor, this plant-based ingredient may replace your favorite spice in general.

Hemp Hearts

This protein-packed seed is full of healthy fats, and it’s a wonderful way to make vegetarian dishes feel more filling.


Whether it’s sherry, balsamic, cider or white, vinegar adds zest to a variety of dishes.


Widely considered wheat’s healthier cousin, spelt is great for thickening gravies and sauces or making delicious pancakes.

Making small changes in your diet instead of trying to commit to overhauling your diet can make getting healthier much easier. If you are thinking about going vegetarian, try some of the foods above to dip your toes in the water before you dive in!

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