No meat in sight.
Creamy mushroom fans: Here is a saucy Indian gravy that uses the power of mushrooms to give you a cozy fall dish in less than an hour. It’s made with a mix of mushrooms but will be great using just one variety as well. Use green beans or snap peas for more texture and an extra helping of vegetables.
Briny, crunchy, lemony, and faintly spicy, this pasta salad of sorts hits all the high notes flawlessly. Barely blanched green beans and a handful of aromatics are “cold fried”—that is, they start in a pool of cool oil and gently sizzle and brown as the heat catches up. This is an easier splatter-free approach than dropping it all in a skillet of hot oil. Shreds of fresh mozzarella offer cool, creamy comfort and hold up well for a few hours at room temperature.
Mild, squishy paneer has a talent for drinking up all of a marinade’s bold flavors, so it excels in this vegetarian grilling recipe. The paneer cubes are skewered and grilled until soft on the inside and charred on the outside. Serve with cool, crunchy lettuce and plenty of limes.
In this richly flavored dish inspired by the cooking technique used in Indonesian rendang, large chunks of mixed mushrooms are simmered in coconut milk until the liquid evaporates and plenty of rich coconutty fat is left behind. In this version, aromatics garlic and ginger are mixed with soy sauce and curry powder to infuse it with plenty of flavor. Serve with rice.
Good broth makes great risotto, and one of the fastest homemade broths contains just one ingredient: miso. Whisked into hot water, miso creates an almost-instant broth that brings a richness, saltiness, and complexity that anchors the dish. As the mushrooms cook along with the rice, they infuse the grains and broth with their flavor. Criminis will get the job done, but if you find maitakes, snag ’em—they’ll add an incomparable savory earthiness.
Briny, puckery, buttery piccata—but with lightly dredged and browned mushrooms instead of chicken or veal. Using two types of fat—oil and butter—is essential here. Sear the mushrooms in oil over high heat so they get nicely crisped and their flavor intensifies, then finish the sauce with a couple of tablespoons of butter. It's a wonderfully luxurious vegetarian meal.
This large-format, weeknight-friendly take on falafel starts with canned chickpeas, instead of dried, and calls for baking instead of frying. Packed with herbs and a few heavy-hitting spices, the golden brown savory cake is first crisped in a skillet for optimal craggy edges, then finished in the oven until cooked through. To make it a meal, pair a wedge with a simple salad of cucumber, radishes, and quick-pickled red onion.
Roasted sweet potatoes and carrots get gussied up with a zippy green salsa in this weeknight sheet pan recipe from Ali Slagle’s cookbook I Dream of Dinner (So You Don’t Have To). The verdant carrot top salsa is the real star here, balancing tart fresh tomatillos with gently charred scallions and lots of lime juice. The result is a bright condiment that can also perk up any protein, salad, grain—or even tortilla chips. If your carrots came without greens, use cilantro in their place.
These vegetarian dinner ideas are hearty, satisfying, and flavorful. So while grilled cheese and simple roasted vegetables are great, we’re thinking bigger: larb made with umami-packed mushrooms, pasta with cauliflower bolognese, or this insanely comforting pile of sunshine-colored lentils. Meat? Who needs it! This list pretty much dictates our weeknight cooking these days—and likely yours too. These vegetarian dinner recipes prove that being green isn’t so hard and it’s definitely delicious.
Callaloo is deeply rooted in the history of the Caribbean, with origins tracing back to the 16th century, when enslaved Africans used local plant life and ready aromatics to create a masterful meal out of seemingly nothing. In Trinidad and Tobago, where Brigid Washington was raised, callaloo is so significant, it’s considered the twin Islands’ national dish—even without an official governmental designation.
Nearly any vegetable can benefit from this classic Korean treatment. The authors broadly define namul as “foods made by seasoning and mixing edible plants or leaves.” By parboiling or stir-frying the vegetables, their volume decreases considerably, making it easier to meet your recommended daily intake. One of the most common types is spinach, or sigeumchi namul. You’ll find these in everything from lunch boxes to bibimbap, and there’s a reason it’s so popular—it couldn’t be easier to prepare.
This soup packs in all the ingredients that would make your doctor happy (Lentils! Sweet potatoes! Leafy greens!) but is bolstered by fiery Thai green curry paste to keep things interesting. Store-bought Thai curry pastes can vary widely in flavor and intensity from brand to brand (we tested this recipe with Maesri), so there are also lots of aromatics like onion, ginger, and garlic to ensure there’s plenty of flavor to balance the earthy lentils.
Why boil pasta then toss it with sauce when you could cook it directly in the sauce? This is the question we’ve been asking ourselves ever since Basically editor Sarah Jampel’s genius vegetarian pasta dish entered our lives. Lentils, browned mushrooms, tomato paste, and other friends get a head start before pasta joins the party; as the noodles cook, they absorb the tomato-rich broth while releasing the starches that eventually form a creamy sauce.
Pancit is by nature a quick and easy noodle dish, and this version from Melissa Miranda, chef-owner of Seattle’s Musang, varies depending on whatever she has in the fridge. “This is a kind of a ‘refrigerator pancit,’” says Miranda. “The staples are always carrots, celery, and then whatever vegetables you want to use. We’ve been so conditioned that it has to be cabbage, it has to be carrots, it has to be this, that." But it can work with virtually every other vegetable and veggie-based broth.
These cheesy, green-y, and utterly satisfying chickpea pancakes were inspired by Healthyish contributor Aliza Abarbanel’s favorite work-from-home comfort lunch. Gluten-free and packed with protein, chickpea flour pancakes come in many variations across the world, from Indian besan chilla to French socca to Italian farinata.
Here’s a working-from-home lunch that’s quick enough to make between Zooms and will send you well on your way to meeting your daily veg quota. While there’s something satisfying about the airy crustiness of a baguette, halved ciabatta rolls or slices of sourdough or whole wheat bread would work just as well.