Healthy meal plans for vegans and vegetarians can be challenging at times.  Sometimes getting adequate protein can be difficult for vegans and vegetarians.

Healthy Meal Plans without Meat

Healthy meal plans are completely possible without any meat. I was a vegetarian for 14 years and managed to create healthy meal plans with adequate protein by eating beans, legumes, tofu and other soy products. But, I ate my fair share of packaged vegetarian burgers and not all of them comported with my healthy meal plans.

The best way to make sure you have a healthy meal plan is to eat real food that you make yourself. You are much better off as a vegan or vegetarian making your own healthy burgers and not buying the packaged versions.

Try this recipe for lentil burgers. I’m sure it will be more satisfying than any burger patty available in the store.

Lentil-Tahini Burgers with Pickled Cabbage

Tahini acts as the savory binder in these satisfying lentil burgers, another win for vegans or others looking for an egg-free patty.

Look for steamed, vacuum-packed lentils in the grain aisle for the best texture in the burgers. You can also cook your own: just simmer 1⁄2 cup brown lentils in 4 cups water for 20 minutes or until just tender and then drain.

The pickled cabbage is a zingy, colorful, crunchy contrast to the earthy burgers. We add another tahini hit in the yogurt spread. You might want to make double the amount of spread so you can dollop it over a roasted beet salad or serve as a veggie dip.

Ingredients (makes 4 burgers)

  • 2 cups finely shredded red cabbage (about 5 1/2 oz.)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste), well stirred and divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces precooked lentils (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 small garlic clove, grated
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 4 (1 1/2-oz.) whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted


  1. Combine cabbage, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl; let stand 20 minutes. Drain; stir in sesame seeds.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium-high. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes.
  3. Place remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons tahini, cumin, pepper, and lentils in a mini food processor; pulse 4 to 5 times or until coarsely chopped.
  4. Combine cooked onion, lentil mixture, carrot, and cilantro in a bowl. Divide and shape lentil mixture into 4 patties (3 ounces each).
  5. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high.
  6. Add patties; cook 4 minutes on each side.
  7. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons tahini, yogurt, juice, and garlic in a bowl. Stir in water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until sauce reaches desired consistency. Spread yogurt mixture over cut sides of buns; top bottom halves with patties, cabbage, and top halves of buns.


Calories          349

Fat         15.5g

Protein   13g

Carbs     44g

Fiber      10g

 Click here for full recipe to add to your healthy meal plans.