When you live alone, it is difficult enough to answer that question, but when you have multiple dietary restrictions, it becomes even more challenging.

It is important to find recipes that can be customized to meet the needs of each individual.

Should you cook a separate meal for each individual or just leave everyone to fend for themselves?

Since I receive a lot of requests from households that have both vegetarians and omnivores, I have created this list of recipes that can feed vegetarians and meat eaters alike, thereby making dinner a little easier.

My goal is to show you how to create your own list based on whatever dietary restrictions you have.

Apronese thinks that each recipe is relative to suit different audiences and needs, so choose the most suitable dish for yourself.

Making Your Own Flexible Recipe List

While this list is geared towards vegetarians and meat eaters, many of the recipes are suitable for other dietary restrictions as well, especially those in the bowl meal category, because they are prepared to order.

Choose recipes that satisfy your most restrictive dietary style to make a list of flexible recipes, then add what you need to the finished product to satisfy your less restrictive dietary style.

For instance, list dairy-free recipes, then possible additions, like topping with cheese or sour cream, stirring cream or yogurt into a sauce, etc.

The more time you spend researching and making your list before hitting the grocery store, the less money you’ll spend later.

For reference, we has dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, and soy-free categories.
Four glass meal prep containers lined up with roasted vegetable couscous. Two with chicken and two with chickpeas

Recipes That Are Flexible

The majority of these options start with a vegetarian “base” recipe, and then I give you options if you’d like to add meat to the finished product.

I’ll list what types of meat go well with each recipe, and if there are any special instructions needed, I’ll share them with you as well.

The meat or fish will have to be cooked individually (unless you purchase a rotisserie chicken from the store), however this method is still much simpler and faster than cooking two completely different recipes at the same time.

The best thing you can do if this is a regular routine in your house is to cook your meat in batches, divide it, and freeze it, so small portions can be thawed and reheated each night.

To make it easy for you to find the recipes that are most appealing to you, I have divided the list into categories like Bowl Meals, Pasta Dishes, Soups & Stews, Salads. Stir Fries, and Other, so that you can easily find what you are looking for.

Tip for Chickens

This list contains recipes which can be used for chicken in any dish you might want to prepare.

I frequently mention “grilled chicken” in this list, but if you don’t have a grill, use my quick pan seared chicken method, or simply bake your chicken breasts in the oven such as in my Garlic Herb Baked Chicken recipe.

Let’s get started with this, shall we?
Chopped Cooked Chicken

Several Vegetarian and Meat-eater-friendly Recipes

Meals in a Bowl

Close up overhead shot of a poor man's burrito bowl with melted cheese

Burrito Bowls for the Poor

I’m loving these easy burrito bowls. They’re quick, easy, and there’s no need to spend a lot of money. They make the perfect weeknight meal when you’re short on budget.

Burrito Bowls for the Poor– Whether you are looking for a classic bowl meal that is made for customization, this is a great choice. Simply brown some beef (with or without taco seasoning) or Mexican Chorizo to top each bowl with. Shredded or grilled chicken works great too.
Mediterranean Hummus Bowl being eaten

Bowls of Mediterranean Hummus

You can easily customize these filling and tasty Mediterranean Hummus Bowls by adding any type of protein or vegetable you like to them in order to give them a unique taste and uses leftovers as well.

Bowls of Mediterranean Hummus – In the original recipe, ground beef is called for, however it is a tasty and colorful bowl of goodness that can be substituted for ground pork or chicken.

You can serve this with a soft or hard boiled egg as an ingredient for additional protein, and/or you can serve it with double veggies.

With Sriracha Mayo, Sushi Bowls

There are many fast and inexpensive ways to get your sushi fix without having to spend a fortune on sushi bars. Sushi bowls are a great alternative to your favorite sushi shops.

Sushi Bowls – There is a great protein alternative to fish in the form of edamame, or even your favorite scrambled egg, found in these delicious Sushi Bowls.

Each bowl is made to order, so you can customize the bowls to meet the needs of your individual friends or family members.
Creamy potatoes make the perfect base for a pile of colorful and flavorful toppings in these Loaded Mashed Potato Bowls. Perfect for meal prep!

Bowls of Loaded Mashed Potatoes

These loaded mashed potato bowls are the perfect way to serve up a variety of tasty, colorful, and nutritious toppings with a creamy potato base.

The perfect way to prepare your meals ahead of time.

Bowls of Loaded Mashed Potatoes – In this recipe, you can add chicken to it if you wish, because it is a vegetarian take on a dish that KFC used to make. For meat eaters, it is only natural that chicken would make this dish even more delicious.

In addition to the baked chicken nuggets I like the idea of adding on top, you could also do some shredded rotisserie chicken, or chopped or sliced grilled chicken breasts if you want to make life easier.
These rich and spicy Coconut Jerk Peas are super simple to make and pair brilliantly with a sweet and vibrant pineapple salsa.

Coconut Jerk Peas with Pineapple Salsa

Adding a sweet and vibrant pineapple salsa to these rich and spicy coconut jerk peas makes a wonderful combination. These coconut jerk peas are super simple to make and are extremely tasty.

Coconut Jerk Peas with Pineapple Salsa – As the jerk seasoning blends well with chicken, you can easily make this recipe even more delicious by simply adding some shredded rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken breast.

Dishes with Pasta

Bowties and Broccoli

It’s hard to believe what I am about to say. This ridiculously simple, yet delicious dinner cheat is ready in minutes and guaranteed to keep you full for hours. Bowties and Broccoli are my go-to lazy weeknight dinner.

Bowties and Broccoli – In times when I am lethargic or have a nearly empty refrigerator, this is my go-to emergency meal when I am too tired to prepare anything.

To make this meal even more delicious, you can brown up some Italian sausages and add them to the bowl, as well as some grilled or rotisserie chicken.
Overhead view of a bowl full of creamy tomato and spinach pasta, a black fork in the side

Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Spinach

Easily prepared in less than 20 minutes, this creamy tomato and spinach pasta is also more flavorful and delicious than most boxed meals you may find in a grocery store.

It also comes with 100 percent real ingredients.

Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Spinach – In fact, over the years we have received a lot of wonderful suggestions about how you can add meat to this recipe.

They have surpassed Italian sausage and chicken as the most popular choices. Both of which can be made separately and then added to the bowl if one so desires.
It's like having your favorite restaurant appetizer for dinner! Spinach artichoke pasta is filling, flavorful, and creamy!

Artichoke and Spinach Pasta

The spinach and artichoke pasta is a comforting, delicious, and surprisingly filling dinner! It is a dish that is reminiscent of your favorite appetizer from your favorite restaurant.

Artichoke and Spinach Pasta – There is nothing quite like a classic spinach artichoke dip appetizer turned main course, and this pasta dish is just crying out for some grilled chicken or even salmon or crab to be thrown on top.
This Tuscan White Bean Pasta is a fast and flavorful dish that is perfect for weeknight dinners. The caramelized garlic, basil, and Parmesan pack a huge flavor punch!

Pasta with Tuscan White Beans

There is nothing like a nice dinner on the table on a weeknight. That includes an easy and flavorful Tuscan white bean pasta, infused with butter and garlic, flavored with basil and Parmesan that smells like summer.

Pasta with Tuscan White Beans– The other pasta that would be great to serve with this pasta would be some sliced grilled chicken breast, however, if you are on a budget, you could also add some scallops which would be amazing with this pasta if you are clicking here for the recipe.
Creamy and rich, yet never heavy, this Lighter Spinach Alfredo Pasta is an easy and satisfying comfort food.

Spinach Alfredo Pasta

In this Spinach alfredo pasta, the creaminess and richness of the sauce adds a soothing feeling of comfort. It is also pretty easy to prepare.

Lighter Spinach Alfredo Pasta – Once again, grilling chicken breast is the answer. There’s no doubt about it, chicken and pasta go together like salt and pepper.

Additionally, if you want, you can try this creamy pasta with my garlic herb baked chicken.
When you're in a hurry, this Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta is a filling and flavorful meal. Few ingredients, BIG flavor.

Pasta with Garlic and Parmesan Kale

In a hurry? This garlic parmesan kale pasta is a filling and flavorful meal that can be made in a matter of minutes with only a few simple ingredients.

Pasta with Garlic and Parmesan Kale – In addition to enjoying grilled chicken, you may also want to check out my garlic marinated chicken meal prep method so you can do the same thing with this dish.
spicy sriracha noodles in a skillet with tongs

Spicy Sriracha Noodles

It is a simple, quick and inexpensive alternative to takeout to make these sweet, tangy, and spicy sriracha noodles that only take a few minutes to prepare.

Dragon Noodles – There is nothing quite like dragon noodles. They are such a classic and go so well with so many different proteins.

I love to serve them with shrimp or ground pork, and even though I usually cook them in the same skillet, they can quite easily be cooked separately and added to each plate at the very end.
Broccoli shells n' cheese is a classic American dish that goes well along side any meal, or as a hearty side dish. 100% real, 100% homemade.

Cheese and Broccoli Shells

This classic American comfort food is a classic American comfort dish, and it can be served as an accompaniment to dinner, or as a light main course to go with rice or steamed vegetables.

Cheese and Broccoli Shells – There are a lot of great combinations you can create with macaroni and cheese, such as chicken and bacon, however, even something like diced ham would be a good addition.

Stews and Soups

Slow Simmered Black Eyed Peas and Greens is a great cold weather comfort food that is as healthy as it is delicious!

Black Eye Peas and Greens Slow Simmered

Black eyed peas and greens are a great cold weather comfort food because they are packed with nutrients and are as delicious as they are nutritious.

Vegan comfort food at its best: slow simmered black eyed peas and greens.

Black Eye Peas and Greens Slow Simmered – As much as the stewed peas are delicious, they are just as filling and hearty that meat eaters probably won’t miss the meat significantly; however, if you do miss it, a little smoked sausage, sliced and browned, would go perfectly with these tasty stewed peas.

Lasagna Soup with Garden Vegetables

With its vegetables and lasagna flavor, this Garden vegetable lasagna soup is packed full of vegetables and lasagna flavor, as well as a dollop of melty ricotta blend blended with three cheeses.

Lasagna Soup with Garden Vegetables – It goes without saying that there are few things more enjoyable than lasagna with a side of Italian sausage.

Simply brown up some Italian sausage in a separate skillet and add a spoonful or two to each bowl for those who choose to have it. Sweet, spicy, or mild Italian sausage will all be equally delicious.
A hand scooping up a spoonful of Vegan West African Peanut Stew with Rice

Vegan Peanut Stew

There is nothing like a bowl of comfort in a bowl of this rich vegan peanut stew, made with a rich peanut and tomato sauce, sweet potatoes, collard greens, and crunchy peanuts.

West African Peanut Stew is Vegan–The other day, I had a comment from a reader who told me they regularly make this recipe to satisfy their family of mixed eaters.

It has been said that they prefer shredding rotisserie chicken as an add-in to this soup, and I must agree with them. The soup has such strong flavors on its own that you would want to use a meat that is more mild.

Vegetable and Lentil Soup with Chunks

With its hearty flavor, texture, and goodness-for-you vegetables, this chunky lentil and vegetable soup can satisfy even the most discerning palate.

Vegetable and Lentil Soup with Chunks – It is also another recipe that gets high marks from both meat eaters as well as vegetarians for its vegetarian version.

However, I have another soup that is similar to this, but I have also found that Italian sausage is a good addition to it, so I believe that it would work well here as well.

Soup with Thai Red Curry Vegetables

There is nothing better than a soup that is packed with vegetables, spicy Thai flavors, and creamy coconut milk. In less than 30 minutes, you can have it on the table.

Soup with Thai Red Curry Vegetables – Clearly, this dish needs some shrimp. You could sauté some chopped shrimp in a separate pan, or you might choose to use pre-cooked frozen shrimp (thawed of course) to scrape into individual bowls. Rotisserie chicken might also be a good option.


This classic summer Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad features smoky fire licked vegetables and a homemade creamy balsamic vinaigrette.

Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables

Grilled vegetable pasta salad features a delicious combination of smoky fire-licked vegetables in a creamy balsamic vinaigrette and smoky fire-licked vegetables in a creamy marinara.

Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables –Having established that grilled chicken goes well with just about any pasta dish previously, I think smoked sausage would be a more interesting addition to this dish.

For those who indulge in this, slice and brown some sausage in a separate skillet, and add them to the plate for those who enjoy it.
This Apple Dijon Kale Salad is tangy, sweet, and crunchy with Granny Smith apples, walnuts, raisins, and a homemade Dijon vinaigrette.

Salad with Apple Dijon and Kale

In this Apple dijon kale salad, granny smith apples, walnuts, raisins, and a homemade Dijon vinaigrette combine to create a tangy, sweet, and crunchy salad that will take your taste buds by storm.

Salad with Apple Dijon and Kale – Cold crunchy salads are a great way to consume chicken. You can choose to use shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced chicken, or diced chicken from the grill.
Peanut Lime Dressing being poured onto a bowl of Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad

It’s the perfect summer meal prep idea with this cold peanut noodle salad made with homemade peanut lime dressing. No need to reheat this salad after it’s been made.

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad – There is nothing better than chicken in any cold meal, and chicken is on the menu again here in this salad since the peanut lime dressing has some strong flavors and it would be hard to overpower it with a meat choice that would be overly intense.

This salad might be made with shredded rotisserie chicken, or with roasted chicken.
Overhead view of a bowl of

“The Kitchen Sweep” Pasta Salad

A meal like this sweep the kitchen pasta salad is one of my favorite ways to use up leftovers in the kitchen.

It’s quick, easy, and never becomes stale as long as you use fresh ingredients.

“The Kitchen Sweep” Pasta Salad– This pasta salad can be made with any meat that you have already cooked. Okay, I won’t tell you what meat you have in your fridge, but the idea behind it is that you use up your leftover portions to make a giant pasta salad or soup.

Salami and other deli meats are great on pasta salads as well.

Greek Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon Dill

Served with a creamy lemon dill Greek pasta salad, this dish is jam-packed with bold flavors and fresh vegetables, making it an ideal light lunch for any occasion.

Greek Pasta Salad with Creamy Lemon Dill –There’s nothing like grilled or rotisserie chicken for a quick meal, but what’s even better is Garlic Marinated Chicken.

Stir Fries

A bowl of Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry ready to be eaten.

Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry

The coconut vegetable stir fry presented here is rich and spicy, and because you can adapt it to whatever vegetables you have in the fridge, this makes it ideal for cleaning up the kitchen.

Spicy Coconut Vegetable Stir Fry – Once again, chicken is going to be the obvious answer here (I’d do shredded rotisserie chicken here), but shrimp can be a more enjoyable addition if you sauté them in a separate skillet and then add them on top of your bowl, or add pre-cooked frozen (thawed) shrimp to the bowl.

Sweet Chili Stir Fried Tofu Bowls

It’s easy to make a delicious vegan weeknight meal when you’re armed with sweet chili tofu bowls, filled with vibrant colors and flavors. This recipe would make an excellent meal prep option.

Sweet Chili Tofu Bowls –There is only a few minutes required to stir fry a chicken piece, so if you want to make two bowls of the same dish, then you can cook some over in a separate pan, add a little extra sweet chili sauce, and then cook the other chicken.
Eating a large plate of Salad Bar Vegetable Lo Mein

15-Minute Vegetable Lo Mein

There’s nothing better than vegetable lo mein when you’re looking for something fast, easy, and filling for dinner. It’s so simple and satisfying, you’ll be glad you made it.

Salad Bar Vegetable Lo Mein – In this meal, you can use chicken, shrimp, or a combination of both, simply sautéed in a separate skillet, and you will be good to go.
With just a few ingredients you can make these easy and delicious Mushroom Broccoli Stir Fry Noodles for a fast weeknight dinner.

Simple Mushroom Broccoli Stir Fry Noodles

There are only a few ingredients required to make these easy and tasty mushroom broccoli stir fry noodles, which will be the perfect weeknight dinner dish.

Simple Mushroom Broccoli Stir Fry Noodles – The idea of using minced ground beef with this recipe is brilliant. Double the sauce, brown the minced beef, and then add half the sauce to the browned beef once it’s cooked.

Continue to cook until that sauce thickens, then spoon the sauce over the broccoli noodles.


Four glass meal prep containers lined up with roasted vegetable couscous. Two with chicken and two with chickpeas

Roasted Vegetable Couscous Meal Prep

This Roasted vegetable couscous meal prep gives you the opportunity to prepare an incredibly filling and nutrient-dense meal that can be prepared with chicken or vegetarian using chickpeas.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous Meal Prep – I am not kidding when I say this recipe has both vegetarian and meat-eater versions built right in, that means everyone can enjoy it without sacrificing anything. If you are interested in reading the details from the recipe, which is right below, click over to it.
One Loaded Sweet Potato being eaten with a fork.

Sweet Potatoes Topped with Lime Crema

You can prepare these loaded sweet potatoes to serve for your weekly meal prepping. They taste great, reheat well, and you can customize them in order to meet your specific needs.

Sweet Potatoes Topped with Lime Crema – There are so many yummy flavors in these loaded sweet potatoes. It is like a bowl dish made out of sweet potatoes.

Everyone can customize their potato to their desire. Browned Mexican chorizo would make this dish even better.
French Bread Pizza is the perfect budget-friendly fast and easy weeknight dinner. Customize the toppings to fit your taste buds or what you have on hand!

Pizza Made with French Bread

Pizza made with French bread is a quick and easy weeknight dinner that is budget-friendly and quick to prepare.

You can customize the toppings to suit your taste buds or what you have on hand at the time of making the meal.

Pizza Made with French Bread – It’s hard to not like a “Make Your Own Pizza” night. It’s probably the easiest and most versatile dinner around. Plus, you’ll be able to grab a handful of whatever toppings you want from a salad bar, and not have leftovers.

Try adding pepperoni, sausage, chicken, ham, or any other deli meat to the toppings on your pizza.For the perfect Spicy Baked Black Bean Nachos, layer your chips and toppings for the perfect chip-to-topping ratio.

Spicy Baked Black Bean Nachos

The ultimate comfort food, Spicy baked black bean nachos are made with the perfect chip-to-topping ratio, layered for the perfect chip-to-topping ratio. They are the best thing about this dish.

Spicy Black Bean Nachos – It is important to bake the vegetarian nachos according to the recipe, then top each plate with browned ground beef or Mexican chorizo after they have finished baking.
Sheet pan full of chicken fajitas with rice and tortillas on the side

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

This easy sheet pan chicken fajita dish is a wonderful solution for those who want to enjoy the smoky, sweet flavor of traditional griddle fajitas without the hassle and long work.

Easy Oven Fajitas – It is a chicken recipe written as written, but you can separate the chicken and vegetables onto two separate baking sheets so that you can customize the fajitas so you like what you eat without having to worry about the ingredients touching each other.

It is also possible to add portobello mushrooms to the vegetable mix if you want, too. I also do a version with sliced portobello mushrooms.
Perfect for stashing in the freezer, these Make Ahead Bean and Cheese Burritos will save you on busy weeknights!

Make Ahead Bean and Cheese Burritos

This make ahead bean and cheese burrito will come in handy if you’re having a busy weeknight and need a quick meal to make a little easier.

Make Ahead Bean and Cheese Burritos – You have the option of adding ground beef, chicken, or chorizo to each burrito. Just keep in mind that you need to keep everything properly labeled so that there will be no surprises later on.

What is your favorite way of customizing recipes to meet your family’s needs without having to cook multiple recipes every evening in order to meet the needs of each member of the family?

Feel free to share your expertise in the comments below in order to let Apronese and everyone else know how good you are.