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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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                                                              Last Updated on October 16, 2018

                                                              The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                                                              The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                                                              It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

                                                              If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

                                                              One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

                                                              Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

                                                              In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

                                                              Why you can’t sleep through the night

                                                              The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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                                                              Stress

                                                              If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

                                                              Exposure to blue light before sleep time

                                                              We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

                                                              While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

                                                              Eating close to bedtime

                                                              Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

                                                              Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

                                                              Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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                                                              Medical conditions

                                                              In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

                                                              The vicious sleep cycle

                                                              The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

                                                              Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

                                                              You get a bad night’s sleep
                                                              –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
                                                              –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
                                                              –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

                                                                You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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                                                                How to sleep better (throughout the night)

                                                                To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

                                                                1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

                                                                What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

                                                                Here are a few suggestions:

                                                                • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
                                                                • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
                                                                • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
                                                                • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
                                                                • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                                                                2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

                                                                What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

                                                                • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
                                                                • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
                                                                • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
                                                                • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

                                                                3. Adjust your sleep temperature

                                                                Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

                                                                Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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                                                                Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

                                                                Sleep better form now on

                                                                Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

                                                                I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

                                                                As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

                                                                Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

                                                                Reference

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