It’s the season of birth and new beginnings in the northern part of the world. We’re starting the time of year when daylight outlasts the night. March 20th is the first day of spring—and it’s also Great American Meatout Day. What a great time to make a few changes and a fresh start.

Going vegetarian is about being kind to animals, responsible to the earth, and eating some of the best food in the world. But it’s not just a good thing to do; it’s fun, too! Do you think of meatless dishes as boring and limited? Look at some of the best-loved dishes from across the globe for ideas about how truly gourmet vegetarian eating can be. Here are just a few of the things that vegetarians eat:

  • Crusty falafel stuffed into warm pita pockets and topped with lemon-tahini sauce
  • Chickpeas simmered in spicy tomato sauce with garlic, onions, olive oil and herbs.
  • Rice tossed with toasted pine nuts, dried fruit and fresh lemon juice
  • Soba noodles stir fried with veggies and spicy, spicy peanut sauce
  • Crisp corn tortillas stuffed with black beans, salsa and avocado
  • Pasta tossed with fresh spring veggies, toasted almonds and garlic
  • Savory stuffed samosas
  • Rich curried veggies over basmati rice
  • Quinoa tossed with corn and flavored with herbs (a gift from the Incas!)
  • Gazpacho
  • Tabouli salad with lots of fresh mint and lemon
  • Creamy mushroom risotto
  • Fava beans with garlic, lemon and parsley (the very traditional Egyptian ful medames)
  • Crepes with creamy mushroom filling
  • Pasta with sundried tomato pesto
  • Vegetarian eating isn’t just delicious—it’s easy these days, too, with lots of meat and dairy substitutes and other convenience foods on the market. It’s a great time to go vegetarian!