Vegetarian South Beach Diet

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Caprese Salad

While the South Beach diet focuses a lot on meats, you can still follow this popular protein-rich weight loss plan if you're a vegetarian. Knowing the right meat substitutions (and having delicious vegetarian South Beach diet recipes) helps you reap the benefits of South Beach dieting without meat, poultry, or seafood.

Vegetarian Proteins

When following a vegetarian South Beach diet meal plan, substitute meat-free alternatives (that aren't high in carbs) for beef, chicken, turkey, seafood, and pork. Examples include:

  • Eggs (or egg whites)
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Soy (or other veggie) burger
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Reduced-fat cheese
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Protein-rich almond milk
  • Soymilk
  • Low-carb (non-starchy), high-fiber vegetables, such as leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, asparagus, green beans, and mushrooms.

Recipes and Foods

When choosing vegetarian recipes that work with this plan, look for those rich in meat-free protein, oils, and non-starchy vegetables. Most of these options can be eaten in all phases of the diet, but check ingredients to make sure that you're following the plan closely.

Beach Shack Chocolate Shake

The South Beach diet organization offers pre-made shake mixes in convenient powder packets. Ingredients in the beach shack chocolate shake include casein, whey, plant-based oils, cocoa, modified tapioca starch, non-fat milk, coffee, and other flavorings. A serving of this shake contains just 100 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 8 grams of carbs.

Cheddar Onion Omelet With Chard

Omelet with chard

Get your morning started off right with this mouth-watering breakfast favorite that provides 7 grams of carbs and 21 grams of protein per serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups Swiss chard
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Saute the onions and chard over medium-high heat in 2 teaspoons of oil.
  2. Cook the eggs in 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat.
  3. Top the eggs with all the other ingredients, fold the omelet, and flip it, cooking until golden brown.

Spinach Omelet With Avocado

Omelet with spinach and avocado

To change things up a bit, try a spinach omelet with avocado. This hearty breakfast is packed with nutrients including 22 grams of protein and just eight grams of carbs per serving.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs (you can substitute tofu for eggs in this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive or canola oil
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

Instructions

  1. Cook your eggs over medium heat in oil and fill your omelet with spinach and cheese.
  2. Fold omelet and flip it so both sides are golden brown; top with sliced avocados.

Cottage Cheese With Walnuts

Try this simple, but healthy, breakfast when you're in a hurry or on the go. Top cottage cheese with walnuts and cinnamon in the following measurements to reap the benefits of 30 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbs:

  • 1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Scrambled Eggs With Feta and Asparagus

Scrambled eggs with asparagus

You can scramble eggs (or tofu) for this savory low-carb breakfast recipe containing feta cheese and asparagus as added ingredients. When choosing this delicious omelet recipe to start off your morning, you'll be getting 22 grams of protein and just four grams of carbs.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 12 pieces of asparagus, cooked
  • 1 ounce feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Scramble the eggs over medium heat with asparagus and oil.
  2. Add the feta.

Lettuce-Wrapped Veggie Burgers

Vegetable burger

This delicious lunch menu item is an excellent way to follow phase 1, 2, or 3 of the South Beach diet when you're a vegetarian.

Ingredients

  • 1 veggie burger
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil
  • 1 slice of low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped onions
  • 3 butter lettuce leaves
  • 1 radish, sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook a veggie burger of your choice in olive oil with onions
  2. Add cheese, and wrap it in lettuce.

This recipe has approximately 17 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbs.

Cauliflower-Crusted Grilled Cheese

If you love grilled cheese sandwiches but need to avoid bread when following the South Beach diet, you're in luck. Grilled cheese made with cauliflower crust instead of bread tastes just as great as the real thing -- without the extra carbs. This recipe provides 23 grams of protein and just eight grams of carbs.

Caprese Salad

Try a refreshing low-carb caprese salad during the hot summer months when following South Beach diet guidelines.

Ingredients

  • 4 large fresh mozzarella balls
  • 1 cup cherry tomtoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions

  1. Combine the mozzarella balls with the cherry tomatoes.
  2. Drizzle mixture with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe provides you with about 22 grams of protein and nine grams of carbs.

Baked Tofu With Spaghetti Squash and Pesto

Try a scrumptious baked tofu with pesto spaghetti squash recipe for lunch to boost satiety without the extra carbs. Just four ingredients make up this simple recipe - tofu, pesto, spaghetti squash, and olive oil. You'll be getting about 14 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbs in each serving.

Eggplant Rollatinis

If you're missing pasta while on the South Beach plan, try delicious eggplant rollatinis instead. The recipe calls for eggplant, tomato sauce, olive oil, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, and seasonings. And, it contains 25 grams of protein and 11 grams of net carbs per serving.

Mediterranean-Style Tofu

Asparagus and Tofu

Try this mouth-watering, lower-carb Mediterranean-style tofu with asparagus recipe to get 25 grams of protein and just over seven grams of carbs in each serving.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 8 asparagus spears
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of onions, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetarian broth
  • 1 tablespoon tomato soup seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker; cook on high for 3 hours.

Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

When you're in the mood for something light and refreshing, consider tempeh lettuce wraps as your next meal idea. Providing 12 grams of carbs and 13 grams of protein, ingredients in this simple dish include crumbled tempeh, bell peppers, onions, olive oil, lettuce and spices.

Veggie Sausage Sauté

Breakfast sausage

Pick vegetarian sausage rather than regular sausage to make this flavorful, low-carb veggie sausage saute recipe -- which provides 24 grams of protein and 11 grams of carbs.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red pepper
  • 2 breakfast veggie sausage patties
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Saute the peppers and onions in oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the veggie patties (cook until brown) -- and top with cheese if desired.

Low-Carb Chocolate Mousse

Containing about 10 grams of carbs and three grams of protein per serving, this mouth-watering sweet treat is sure to be a hit when following vegetarian versions of the South Beach diet. Ingredients required to make low-carb chocolate mousse include avocadoes, coconut milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and an artificial sweetener of your choice.

Almond Greek Yogurt Smoothie

Almond Smoothie

Make this delicious snack when you're in the mood for a quick pick-me-up or need to satisfy sweet-tooth cravings. Simply blend together the following ingredients, which provide you with about 21 grams of protein and 9 grams of carbs:

  • 1 6-ounce container of non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter

Roasted Nut Mix

Mixed Nuts

This mixed nut recipe is a perfect fit when you want to curb salt cravings. You'll be getting 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of carbs in each serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all ingredients and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast in the preheated oven until toasted, five to 10 minutes.

Fudge Brownie Bar

South Beach diet's fudge brownie bar makes a perfect snack (or dessert) when you need a quick protein boost and are on-the-go. This tasty treat provides you with 11 grams of protein and 10 grams of carbs. Ingredients include milk and soy protein isolates, cocoa powder, coconut oil, and sugar-free chocolate chips.

Vegetarian Dieting

South Beach dieting means boosting protein and lowering carb intakes, which is a strategy often used for weight loss. Meatless diets are also associated with lower body weights, according to one 2014 study. So if you need to shed pounds or maintain a healthy weight, a South Beach vegetarian diet may suit you.

Vegetarian South Beach Diet