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These 30 Vegetarian Recipes Are So Good, You Might Rethink Meat

These 30 Vegetarian Recipes Are So Good, You Might Rethink Meat

Vegetarians just like everyone else, can have problems coming up with a variety of meals to eat. Whether you’re meat-free or just looking to eat less meat, these vegetarian recipes are healthy, quick, and easy to fit into your rotation. They’re so good you’ll definitely want to make them again. And if you’re considering the switch to full-on meatless living, these vegetarian recipes just might put you over the edge!

1. Omelets
alton brown omelet food network

    If you eat eggs, omelets are a great way to get a meal on the table any time of day. Start with this basic recipe from Alton Brown, but add in cheese, pre-cooked vegetables, greens, yesterday’s leftover beans and rice, whatever you like.

    2. A really good pot of beans
    cooked beans the kitchn

      Sure, canned beans are fine most of the time, but there’s something entirely different about cooking beans from scratch. It takes time but almost no effort on your part, and you can change the flavor based on what vegetables and spices you use (just remember, no salt until the end, because salt slows the cooking process). Try this tutorial from The Kitchn, which is full of great tips for how to cook and use beans.

      3. Chili
      bean chili serious eats

        Now that you know how to cook great beans, it’s time to use them in some awesome veggie chili. The aptly named Best Vegetarian Bean Chili from Serious Eats is a great place to start (and even though it calls for canned beans, you can do better). This one is full of chile flavor and there’s no fake meat in sight.

        4. Grilled Cheese

        birchwood grilled cheese academy

          The grilled cheese sandwich is a staple of many people’s diets, but they’re great for vegetarians because they’re quick, easy, warm and you can add just about anything to them you like. One of my favorites is pesto, mozzarella and tomatoes. The Grilled Cheese Academy has a ton of great recipe ideas (filter for vegetarian options) but I’d start with the Birchwood, which includes cheddar, mushrooms and an egg.

          5. Quinoa Salad

          quinoa salad with style and grace

            Quinoa is a beloved food item (considered a grain but technically a seed) among vegetarians and other health-conscious people, and with good reason. It’s rich in nutrients, high in protein and full of healthy fats. It’s also easy to cook. Try this Greek Quinoa Salad from With Style and Grace, and you’re sure to come up with your own vegetable and flavor variations.

            6. Hummus

            hummus mark bittman

              Hummus and other bean dips aren’t just for snacking. They’re great as spreads added to sandwiches and quesadillas or just spread on a tortilla or pita with some vegetables for a quick lunch. Mark Bittman’s version is quick, easy and delicious, and ripe for the addition of other flavors like roasted garlic, roasted red peppers or olives.

              7. Vegetable Soup

              pasta fagioli little ferraro kitchen

                My favorite go-to all-winter-long vegetable soup is pasta fagioli, an Italian soup full of veggies, beans and pasta. (Like the stuff they serve at Olive Garden, only way tastier.) This version from Little Ferraro Kitchen is pretty close to what I do (though I don’t usually have Parmesan rind to put in mine) and it’s a great base for a lot of different kinds of soups. Or don’t make it so thin and just eat it like pasta. Either way.

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                8. Bean Salad

                black bean salad once upon a chef

                  Here come the beans again. There’s a reason they’re such a staple of vegetarian diets, because you can do so many things with them and they’re super healthy. While the term “bean salad” might make you think of picnic potluck productions made with tons of canned beans, why not go beyond the basics with something like the Black Bean Salad from Once Upon a Chef, which includes fresh corn, bell peppers, cilantro and avocado. Add brown rice for an even heartier salad that can double as a burrito filling.

                  9. Baked Tofu

                  asian baked tofu fresh takes

                    Baked tofu is a simple addition to a lot of meals, and you can flavor it up a million different ways depending on the style of food you feel like. I’m partial to Asian-style marinades like this one from Fresh Takes, because adding a lot of flavor can make tofu into something even meat lovers will eat.

                    10. Tofu Stir Fry

                    tofu stir fry minimalist baker

                      And once you have baked tofu you can use it in other recipes, like a stir fry. You don’t really need a recipe for stir fry; just cook together vegetables you like with some tofu and serve on rice or noodles. But the Veggie Tofu Stir Fry recipe from the Minimalist Baker will give you some idea of how to get started if you need more to go on.

                      11. Curry

                      curry sauce delicious magazine

                        There are so many variations on curry that it’s hard to pick just one to start with. But Delicious magazine has a great overview of 10 curries you might want to try. Or find one that you like at a restaurant and learn how to make it at home. Curries are impressive and even non-vegetarians will enjoy a spicy curry filled with vegetables. Start with a basic curry sauce and you’ll be on your way quickly.

                        12. Ramen

                        rame a side of sweet

                          Ramen is another great dish for vegetarians because these soupy noodles are perfect for introducing lots of flavor in a little package. The Vegetarian Homemade Ramen from A Side of Sweet is a great recipe that’s pretty involved but gives a delicious result. And though there are a lot of ingredients and steps, none of it should take too long, especially if you do all your chopping in advance.

                          13. Soba Noodle Salad

                          soba noodle vegetarian times

                            And while we’re on the subject of Asian noodle dishes, a cold soba noodle salad is a great simple meal for summer. Just cook the noodles, chop some veggies and mix up a quick dressing full of peanut butter and soy, and you’ll have a great dinner or cook-ahead lunch in half an hour or less. This recipe from Vegetarian Times is a must-make.

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                            14. Stuffed Peppers or Tomatoes

                            stuffed peppers taste of home

                              Using a pepper or tomato as a cooking vessel and serving dish is kind of retro, but you can stuff all sorts of tasty stuff into these beauties and then eat the bowl. Taste of Home has a nice basic vegetarian stuffed pepper recipe, or you could easily use some leftover bean and rice salad or quinoa salad for a really quick leftover dish.

                              15. Roasted Vegetables

                              roasted vegetables pioneer woman

                                Knowing how to roast vegetables well is an essential skill of being a vegetarian. Roasted veg is great as a side dish but can also be the basis for a great pasta sauce or even a soup or vegetable stock. Pioneer Woman has a wonderful primer on how to roast vegetables and includes some vegetables you might not have thought of. This picture makes me want to jump through the screen.

                                16. Macaroni and Cheese

                                macaroni and cheese southern living

                                  It might seem silly to have good old mac and cheese on this list, but a lot of times people lose their favorite comfort foods when they become vegetarian. The good news is this is one guilty pleasure you can keep even if you don’t eat meat. The Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Southern Living is a great go-to, and way better than the stuff out of the box.

                                  17. Fried Rice

                                  vegetable fried rice real simple

                                    My family is not vegetarian, but we do try to eat less meat than a lot of families do, and one of our go-to meals is vegetable fried rice. This is a super easy meal to put together if you happen to have leftover rice and/or vegetables on hand, and it doesn’t take that much longer even if you have to cook the rice for it. Start with this super fresh and simple recipe from Real Simple, then branch out and use whatever vegetables you have on hand. (You certainly don’t have to use as many eggs as this recipe calls for, either, if you don’t eat a lot of eggs.)

                                    18. Falafel

                                    falafel tori avery

                                      I am a huge fan of chickpeas and would probably eat falafel once a week if the rest of my family would put up with it. But even if you only eat it occasionally, these little fried bean fritters are a great protein-packed meal with the spices of the Mediterranean. They’re super simple to jazz up with tomatoes, lettuce, olives and feta. Or take a little longer and make a simple yogurt sauce to go with them. Delicious! This recipe from Tori Avery is both classic and delicious.

                                      19. Veggie Burgers

                                      black bean burger cooking light

                                        The vegetarian burger is kind of a cliche of vegetarian cooking. But there are times when you’re just going to want to eat a burger, so you might as well have a good one. This roundup of best veggie burger recipes from Cooking Light includes burgers made out of lentils, beans, hominy, even a falafel burger. Pictured is the Homemade Quick Black Bean Burger, which interestingly uses hamburger bun as part of the recipe.

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                                        20. Tomato Sauce

                                        tomato sauce mario batali

                                          There’s no reason to use jarred tomato sauce when beautiful tomatoes are available, and this basic sauce can be fortified with vegetables, used alone on pasta, or even as pizza sauce. Why not go straight to an Italian when learning how to make good tomato sauce and consult Mario Batali’s recipe, which only has seven ingredients and takes less than an hour from start to finish?

                                          21. Vegetable Stock

                                          vegetable stock mark bittman

                                            Once you start cooking with a lot of vegetables, you will soon amass some vegetable bits you don’t necessarily want to use in your regular cooking, like the inside of the celery stalk or veg that’s a little past its prime. This is the perfect time to make vegetable stock, which is perfect to use in soups or when making risotto or polenta (we’re getting to those). I have made Mark Bittman’s One Hour Vegetable Stock before, as well as some slightly more involved versions and they’re all good and require little in-front-of-thes-tove time for a great reward.

                                            22. Risotto

                                            risotto new york times

                                              Risotto is a great recipe to have in your back pocket because it looks really impressive even though it’s not really all that hard, it just requires regular attention. And it is certainly worth the effort. Put some of your good homemade vegetable broth into this Tomato and Basil Risotto from the New York Times and it will be even better.

                                              23. Polenta

                                              polenta food network

                                                Polenta is really a fancy word for grits, but no matter what you call it, savory (usually cheesy if you ask me) polenta is a great comfort food, perfect by itself for breakfast or with some of that yummy tomato sauce or roasted vegetables (or both!) on top for dinner. This recipe from Giada de Laurentiis shows you just how easy it is: four ingredients and 30 minutes to a kitchen staple you’ll use a ton of different ways.

                                                24. A Really Good Salad

                                                greens prevention magazine

                                                  Even vegetarians don’t always get the amounts of fruit and vegetables in their diets that they ought to each day, and one easy way to boost your intake of the good stuff is to serve a salad with dinner or have one for lunch. Making your own is much healthier and probably cheaper than buying one out somewhere, and you can fancy it up with special ingredients you love. You don’t really need a recipe for a great salad, but this slideshow on how to build the healthiest salad from Prevention magazine hits a lot of good points (dark, leafy greens, shredded carrots, tomatoes and beans, for example, though we’ll skip the fish).

                                                  25. Lasagna
                                                  vegetable lasagnz inspired table

                                                    I am one of those semi-vegetarians who uses my limited meat eating as an excuse for eating more cheese. This is not an every-day indulgence, but lasagna is another great comfort food, and when you pile it high with both vegetables and cheese, it has to balance out a little, right? This Fresh Vegetable Lasagna from Inspired Taste is perfection, with roasted red peppers in the sauce and zucchini and yellow squash taking the place of meat.

                                                    26. Lentils

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                                                    lentils epicurious

                                                      Another staple of vegetarian cooking is the lentil. These little legumes are full of fiber and don’t pack a lot of calories. They also don’t have a lot of flavor on their own, so they’re perfect for using in flavorful soups (and stand up in broth better than noodles). They can be eaten in a rice salad-like side dish, as part of a soup, made into a burger or “meat” loaf, and on and on. Try the Canal House Lentils recipe from Epicurious to get you started.

                                                      27. Burrito Bowl

                                                      burrito bowl damn delicious

                                                        There’s nothing better than a healthy meal you can dump in a bowl and eat in front of the TV on a lazy night. The Burrito Bowl from Damn Delicious is one of those things, combining rice, lettuce, beans, tomatoes, avocados, salsa and cilantro in a throw-it-all-together meal that doesn’t taste all that healthy but really is.

                                                        28. Pizza

                                                        pizza london bakes

                                                          Pizza is not one of those things that vegetarians have to make at home in order to get something that suits their needs, but it’s a really wonderful thing to make great pizza at home. Even if you do something as simple as use a tortilla for a base, your homemade tomato sauce from above and some of your favorite toppings baked in your own oven, you’ll get the appeal of DIY pizza. When you’re ready to explore a little more, check out the roundup of 50 Vegetarian Pizza Recipes at Oh My Veggies; the Leek, Potato and Rosemary Pizza from London Bakes is pictured.

                                                          29. Pot Pie

                                                          pot pie vegetarian times

                                                            I love a good pot pie. Brimming with vegetables and warm dough, it’s the perfect thing for a cold winter day and definitely one of those dishes that ensures you get all your vegetables for one day. You can use store-bought dough, a simple cheese sauce and whatever vegetables you have on hand for a basic pie, or try this vegan version from Vegetarian Times for a super healthy but still totally satisfying option.

                                                            30. Granola

                                                            granola CHOW

                                                              Most of these recipes have focused on lunch and dinner, but what about breakfast or snack time? Homemade granola is a great thing to have around to mix into yogurt at breakfast or to snack on through the day. Making granola is a pretty personal thing, depending on the ingredients you like (confession: I hate raisins) so I love this Basic Granola Recipe from CHOW, to which you can add whatever dried fruits and nuts you like.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Damn Delicious, Minimalis Baker, Pioneer Woman, Mario Batali via damndelicious.net

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                                                              Sarah White

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                                                              Last Updated on August 15, 2018

                                                              7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                                              7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

                                                              Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

                                                              Video Summary

                                                              Why is it important to train up our core strength?

                                                              There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

                                                              This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

                                                              Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

                                                              In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

                                                              One Exercise, multiple benefits

                                                              There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

                                                              By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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                                                              When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

                                                              Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

                                                              In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

                                                              What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

                                                              What will happen when you start doing planks every day

                                                                1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

                                                                Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

                                                                • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
                                                                • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
                                                                • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
                                                                • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

                                                                2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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                                                                  Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

                                                                  Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

                                                                  3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

                                                                    Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

                                                                    4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

                                                                      Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

                                                                      A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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                                                                      A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

                                                                      On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

                                                                      5. You’ll improve overall balance

                                                                        Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

                                                                        6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                                                                          Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                                                                          7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                                                                            Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                                                                            How to hold a plank position

                                                                            1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                                                                            2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                                                                            3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                                                                            4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                                                                            5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                                                                            6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                                                                            7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                                                                            Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                                                                            Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                                                                              How to improve your plank time gradually

                                                                              1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                                                                              2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                                                                              3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                                                                              Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                                                                              Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                                                                              You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                                                                              • Prolapse
                                                                              • After prolapse surgery
                                                                              • Pelvic pain conditions
                                                                              • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                                                                              • Previous childbirth
                                                                              • Overweight

                                                                              Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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