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5 ways to upgrade your vegetarian dinner

Meat off the menu? Here’s how to boost the nutrition of your go-to vego dinner.

A simple stir-fry is a quick and easy midweek meal.

Boost the plant power of your evening meal with these simple, dietitian-approved, meat-free tweaks.

more flavour


Store-bought sauces, marinades and condiments are convenient, but many are high in sodium, which can be bad news for heart health. Aromatics, herbs and spices are healthy choices to boost flavour without the salt.

  • Swap: One tablespoon of soy sauce for half a tablespoon of reduced-salt soy sauce and add ginger, garlic and chilli.
more vegies


Vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals, disease-fighting antioxidants and gut-loving fibre. Frozen veg are just as healthy as fresh because they’re often snap frozen at their nutritional peak (and far more economical).

  • Add: An extra half cup of frozen mixed vegies. Look for a variety with as many different vegies in the mix as possible.
more whole grains


Whole grains are less processed and therefore contain more nutrition than refined grains. Research has linked eating plenty of whole grains with reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

  • Swap: White rice for brown rice.
more legumes


Beans, chickpeas and lentils are chock-full of plant-based protein, hunger-busting fibre and long-lasting energy. They also provide energising iron and zinc for wound healing, making them an essential staple in a vegetarian eating pattern.

  • Swap: Half the rice in your stir-fry with drained and rinsed chickpeas. This will add 7g of gut-friendly fibre to your meal.
more healthy fats


Although they’re technically a legume, peanuts are rich in good-for-you unsaturated fats and plant-based protein, just like tree nuts. Your goal is a healthy handful (30g) of nuts each day.

  • Add: A tablespoon of crushed peanuts atop your stir-fry.

Classic vegetarian dinner

Stir-fry made of 1½ cups of cooked white rice, one cup of frozen mixed vegetables, 100g tofu and 1 tbsp soy sauce, cooked in a drizzle of olive oil

  • Per serve: 3145kJ (752cal), 26.1g protein, 17.7g fat, 2.6g sat fat, 115.1g carbs, 5.4g sugar, 10.6g fibre, 1455mg sodium, 3.9mg iron


Upgraded vegetarian dinner

upgraded vegetarian dinner

Stir-fry made of ¾ cup each of cooked brown rice and canned chickpeas,
1½ cups of frozen mixed veg, 100g tofu, 1 tbs chopped peanuts, ½ tbs reduced-salt soy sauce, plus ginger, garlic and chilli to taste, cooked in olive oil

  • Per serve: 3145kJ (752cal), 35.2g protein, 26.9g fat, 4.1g sat fat, 79.2g carbs, 9.5g sugar, 22.5g fibre, 802mg sodium, 7.7mg iron

Date modified: 10 July 2023
First published: August 2023


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