It's weird to think of meat as a spice. Unless you've ever eaten a pizza. Or pasta. Or thrown some bacon in with your cabbage. Or had bean chili. Or almost any vegetable dish at a Chinese restaurant. Actually, this is how the whole world eats, and has for a long, long time. So for the sake of your health, and of the planet's (the livestock industry produces a lot of greenhouse gases), join these world-class chefs in getting away from the continental idea of a meat and two sides. You don't need that much protein unless you're lifting weights three times a week. In which case, I would not try to tell you how to live your life. You do what you want.
Otherwise, try these recipes not as a side dish, but as part of a meal without a main dish. At least a few nights a week. You'll be able to afford better-quality meat when you do eat a big piece of protein. You'll enjoy it more. And you'll feel less guilty about killing animals. It's vegetarianism for the weak-willed.