What’s the difference: vegan vs. vegetarian? Here’s what the difference is, and how to find healthy and delicious recipes for both diets.
Eating meat has been the norm in the American diet for quite some time. But these days more and more people are beginning to eat a primarily plant-based diet. Why? There are many studies that link eating more plants to increased health. In addition, eating more plants can be gentler on our planet. What’s the difference between vegan vs. vegetarian? And what is plant-based? Keep reading for more.
Related: Listen to why eating more plants helps our planet
What is vegan vs. vegetarian?
So, what is vegan vs. vegetarian? There are several different variations on each, but here are the most common definitions currently in the US.
- Semi-vegetarian or flexitarian. Someone who occasionally eats animal products, but not on a regular basis.
- Pescatarian. Someone who does not eat meat and poultry, but still eats fish and seafood. Basically, a vegetarian plus fish.
- Vegetarian or Lacto-ovo vegetarian. Someone who does not eat meat, poultry, fish and seafood, but still includes dairy and eggs in their diet. (A Lacto vegetarian excludes all but eats dairy; an Ovo vegetarian excludes all but eats eggs.)
- Vegan or plant-based. Someone who eats not animal products at all: no eggs, no dairy, and no honey.
The term plant-based diet is gaining popularity. There is some contention around the definition. Typically, it’s used as a synonym for vegan. However, in certain circles it is used to mean “mostly vegan” or essentially vegetarian. On this website, we use the word plant-based as a synonym for vegan.
Related: Our cookbook Pretty Simple Cooking, was named “one of the best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious
If you’re moving from a traditional diet to a vegetarian diet, it can be difficult to find recipes without meat that are still satisfying and filling. A key to eating a mostly plant-based or vegetarian diet is to load up on plant proteins, including beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. For vegetarian, cheese and dairy are included in the list of proteins as well.
Here is a list of a few vegetarian dinner recipes and resources:
- Classic Vegetarian Chili
- Loaded Quinoa Tacos
- Best Stir Fry Vegetables with Teriyaki
- Italian Vegetable Gnocchi Soup
- Veggie Burrito Bowls with Chorizo Eggs
- Chickpea Couscous Bowls with Tahini Sauce
- Margherita Pizza Recipe
- Loaded Veggie Quesadilla Recipe
- 28 Day Vegetarian Meal Plan
- All vegetarian recipes
If you’re moving from a traditional diet to a totally vegan diet, it can be difficult to find recipes without meat that are satisfying and filling. A key to eating a plant-based or vegan diet is to load up on plant proteins, including beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. If you are eating a fully vegan vs. vegetarian diet, you may want to contact your doctor about whether you should take a B-12 supplement.
Here is a list of a few vegan dinner recipes: