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When it comes to nutrients, folks are quick to talk about fiber and protein; we get it, those are very important things. But what’s equally important (and spoken of much less) is iron — especially when on a plant-based diet. But if we know vegetarians, we know they always find a way. Non-heme iron is absorbed much more easily when cooked with vitamin C-rich foods and — it’s no myth — cooking in cast iron will also boost your intake. These 16 mouth-watering recipes serve up the perfect blends for #MeatlessMonday and beyond to keep your iron levels happy and healthy.


1. One-Pot Cheesy Mexican Lentils, Black Beans and Rice: This dish is #MeatlessMonday perfection. Not only is it wholesome and packed with iron from the lentils and black bean medley, but the whole thing is made in one pot; make it a cast iron pot for extra absorption. (via Recipe Runner)


2. Creamy Mushroom Pasta With Fresh Peas and Ricotta: This delicious pasta is amazing for more than just its elegant appearance. With brown rice pasta and a generous serving of fresh peas, this veg dish offers you a healthy dose of iron, in addition to other wholesome nutrients. (via Foolproof Living)


3. Homemade Vegetarian Baked Beans: Thick, rich and sweet baked beans are the epitome of comfort food. In this cozy dish, you’ll find warmth with a nice bulk of iron thanks to the beans and the yummy, sticky molasses. (via The Pretend Baker)

4. Crispy Satay Tofu With Coconut Rice and Cucumber, Avocado Salad: Tofu has a bad rap and is often criticized for being flavorless, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. When done right, like with this crispy satay, it’s downright irresistible. It also packs a generous amount of iron, so get in on the tofu love. (via The Healthy Hunter)


5. Sweet Potato and Kale Brown Rice Casserole: This cheesy and veggie-packed pick-me-up casserole is just the thing you need at the end of a hectic Monday. Along with the comfort in this dish, you’ll find a healthy helping of iron thanks to the brown rice and kale. (via Cook Nourish Bliss)


6. Maple Tahini Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Bowl: Bowl meals have been rising in popularity and, due to their versatility, there is no reason to wonder why. Packed with wholesome ingredients, this bowl brings extra to the table with iron-packed Brussels sprouts and tahini. (via Nourish Every Day)


7. Creamy Coconut Lentil Chickpea Spinach Soup: For ease and convenience, you can throw several iron-boosting ingredients into a soup to give yourself a hearty dose several times a week. This delectable blend delivers with its healthy helping of spinach and lentils. (via Stacey Homemaker)


8. Tofu Saag Paneer: With a blend of tofu and spinach, this spin on saag paneer will give you the shot of iron your body is looking for. It’s super tasty, healthy and simple enough for a manic Monday. (via Pineapple! Pineapple!)


9. Springtime Buttered Peas and Limas: Peas and lima beans are both known to be sustainable sources of iron, so this medley is kind of a big deal. Buttery and flavorful, this healthy side guarantees that you won’t have to be asked twice to finish your peas. (via Natural Comfort Kitchen)


10. Autumn Vegetable Paella: Nothing beats a solid flavor-packed paella. Though a traditional paella is adorned with shellfish and sausage, this meatless version is a vegetarian’s dream come true. It’s also loaded with iron, thanks to the brown rice and pepitas. (via Pumpkin and Peanut Butter)


11. Kale Pasta With Walnuts and Parmesan: Both kale and wheat pasta are fab sources of iron. So tossing them together in a luscious pasta dish with white wine and tangy Parm is as wise as it is delicious. (via Well Plated)


12. One-Pot Broccoli and Three Cheese Pasta: When you think of broccoli being smothered in cheesy goodness, you’re likely taken back to your childhood. As an adult, you can still totally indulge, and this delectable pasta dish proves it with its iron-boosting combo of “trees” and peas. (via My Kitchen Love)


13. Maple Walnut Glazed Black-Eyed Peas With Collard Greens: This yummy plant-based dish is creamy, rich and oh-so smart with its nourishing kick. Collard greens and black-eyed peas are super rich in iron, so one serving of this should have you covered. (via Veggie Primer)


14. Little Green Goddess Soup: This here is the Popeye of all soups. Not only do we have a blend of nutritious broccoli, kale and spinach happening, but to add to that, it’s all topped off with iron-rich tahini and pumpkin seeds. (via The Little Green Spoon)


15. Harissa Tofu Over Sesame Sweet Potato Noodles and Kale: Kale and tofu come together in this dish to bring you a nice shot of iron and a forkful of flavor. It’s super light, healthy and easy to throw together on a lazy weeknight. (via Kale Me Maybe)


16. 20-Minute Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta With Spinach: It’s not often spoken of, but sun-dried tomatoes are extremely high in iron, which makes them a smart addition to any salad or pasta dish. Tossed with spinach, this pasta only takes 20 minutes to make. This weeknight meal is strong on *so* many levels. (via Little Broken)

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