Cutting meat out of your diet may seem like a huge, burdensome change — but adopting a pescatarian diet is actually really accessible. As someone who’s been a pescatarian for several years now, I’ve found that the key is to never make yourself feel like you’re sacrificing something or restricting yourself. Instead, embrace the things you can eat, rather than focusing on the things that you can’t.
While a pescatarian diet does exclude red meat, poultry, lamb, and pork, there’s a whole lot more that’s fair game for eating. Vegetables, grains, fruits, legumes, beans, cheese, eggs, and yogurt are all encouraged, and the pescatarian diet puts an emphasis on fish and shellfish as a source of protein. If you didn’t already know, fish is one of the most weeknight-friendly ingredients you can have on hand. It cooks up incredibly quickly on either the stove or in the oven, and depending on how you cook it, doesn’t always need to thaw first.
Along the way, you’ll also likely find new sources of protein that are (potentially) even more delicious than what you had previously been eating. Below you’ll find a starting point to help you get there — a list of 15 of my favorite pescatarian-friendly meal staples that are tasty, nutritious, and easy to prepare.
1. Easy, Healthy Greek Salmon Salad
Cooking fish can sometimes be fussy, especially if you’re newer to the kitchen, but this is a great simple starter in which the oven does all the hard work. For this salad, you just need to chop up a few veggies while you’re waiting on the salmon to bake. It’s filling, refreshing, and, best of all, colorful.
Get the recipe: Easy, Healthy Greek Salmon Salad
2. Easy Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta
The best way to stick to a new diet is to make sure that you don’t ever feel deprived. This pasta recipe is filling and flavorful without being particularly heavy. Frying up crispy Panko breadcrumbs, roasting shrimp, and mixing spaghetti into a creamy yogurt-based sauce will make your mouth water.
Get the recipe: Easy Bang Bang Shrimp Pasta
3. Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans
Tofu gets a bad rap sometimes, but when it’s cooked with something as flavorful as this spicy honey-sesame sauce, it’s a total crowd-pleaser. Stick it on a pan with your favorite veggies and you’ll have dinner ready in less than 30 minutes.
Get the recipe: Sheet Pan Honey-Sesame Tofu and Green Beans
4. Mason Jar Tuna Niçoise
If you’re cooking on a tight budget, canned tuna can be your best friend. Layer it in a Mason jar with hard-boiled eggs, potatoes, olives, lettuce, and tomatoes to meal prep a lunch that will keep you satisfied all day.
Get the recipe: Mason Jar Tuna Niçoise
5. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos
Word to the wise: You should always have sweet potatoes and black beans in your pantry. Both add an incredible amount of flavor (plus fiber and protein) to any meal with very little effort. Paired together in a tortilla and sprinkled with feta and guac, they’re a team that can’t be beat.
Get the recipe: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos
6. Easy Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
Everyone needs a slow cooker favorite in their toolkit, and this one is a game-changer. Just dump lentils, carrots, onions, a can of tomatoes, veggie stock, and a bunch of spices into a pot on a lazy Sunday and you’ll have a protein-packed soup that doesn’t disappoint.
Get the recipe:Easy Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
7. Weeknight Vegetable Stir-Fry
There really is nothing better than stir-fry when you’re trying to eat more vegetables. It’s so simple to make that it’s pretty much impossible to mess up. But to make it even easier, pick up one of those pre-chopped veggie mixes from the grocery store on your way home, toss the veggies in a pan for a few minutes, smother them in the sauce, and lay them over a bed of rice.
Get the recipe: Weeknight Vegetable Stir-Fry
8. Mediterranean Chickpea Harissa Frittata
It doesn’t get much easier than this. Baking eggs, spinach, chickpeas, and sun-dried tomatoes is a beautifully simple way to have a meal fit for your favorite brunch place, and get some extra protein from the chickpeas and eggs. You can keep the frittata in the fridge for up to four days if you’re prepping for the week.
Get the recipe: Mediterranean Chickpea Harissa Frittata from Fork in the Road
9. Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad
After baking cauliflower that’s been tossed in salt and curry powder, you’ll mix it into a delightful medley of arugula, cucumbers, cabbage, golden raisins, and quinoa. After eating this refreshing salad, you’ll easily get through the rest of the day with a spring in your step.
Get the recipe: Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad from The Modern Proper
10. Healthy Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowls
Craving sushi? Just cook up a big batch of rice and plate it with some smoked salmon, a few veggies, and some spicy mayo. Delicious and cheaper than delivery.
Get the recipe: Healthy Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowls from Robust Recipes
11. Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Shrimp
Cook this one-pot soup once and you’ll be able to do it again with your eyes closed — and you’ll want to! You can pretty much keep all of the ingredients in your pantry and freezer so you can whip them together whenever you need a cozy soup to warm you up after a long day.
Get the recipe: Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Shrimp from Not Your Average College Food
12. Masala Chickpea Buddha Bowl
With chickpeas doused in puréed vegetables and soy sauce-flavored quinoa, this bowl is as beautiful as it is flavorful. Wilt some spinach to get your greens and sprinkle in some cabbage for crunch.
Get the recipe: Masala Chickpea Buddha Bowl from Full of Plants
13. Sheet-Pan Chili-Lime Tilapia with Veggies
A big bag of frozen tilapia from Trader Joe’s goes a long way. The fish is cheap and mild enough that you can pretty much cook it in any of your favorite spices or sauces. For this recipe, you’ll be brushing a sweet, tangy sauce onto the fish and cooking your veggies on the same pan, keeping your dishes to a minimum while pushing the flavor to the max.
Get the recipe: Sheet-Pan Chili-Lime Tilapia with Veggies from Eatwell101
14. Marinated White Beans with Olive Oil Toast
I see your avocado toast and I raise you this flavorful, filling bean toast. After marinating the beans with roasted red pepper, feta, honey, vinegar, and lemon juice, you’ll pour them over golden-brown bread that’s been baked to a crisp. No matter how worn out you are at the end of the day, you’ll be thrilled to munch on this quick and easy bite.
Get the recipe: Marinated White Beans with Olive Oil Toast from How Sweet Eats
15. Millet Risotto with Spring Vegetables and Seared Scallops
If you’ve never cooked scallops, you’re in for a treat. They are, dare I say, the easiest fish to cook. All you have to do is season them with salt and sear them on both sides for two minutes. Date night, anyone?
Get the recipe: Millet Risotto with Spring Vegetables and Seared Scallops from Better Happier