If you’re first starting out on a vegetarian lifestyle, it can be a little challenging to build up a good list of go-to dinners that don’t contain any meat. After many years as a vegetarian who cooks most meals at home, I’ve got a good list of dinners that I can turn to at any time that I know will be delicious and easy.
Here are some of my favorite go-to vegetarian dinners!
Sauteed Veggies with Quinoa
When I’m looking for a super healthy option for dinner, I’ll turn to this recipe. It’s simple, tasty and has a nice dose of protein thanks to the quinoa. It’s really very simple: sautee a large pepper and onion with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder.
If I have any on hand, I’ll sometimes throw in a tablespoon of enchilada sauce to give the dish a nice Mexican flavor (my favorite!). Meanwhile, cook up a cup of quinoa according to the package directions. Then combine in a bowl! This is a very filling option, and I always feel like I made a healthy decision when I have this for dinner.
Vegetarian Burrito Bowl
This has been a staple dinner option for me for years, being a Mexican food lover. Also, when I make a burrito bowl for myself, I can easily make one for D, substituting in turkey meat for the non-vegetarian in my life. I usually saute up a few veggies and/or soy chorizo, make some guacamole from scratch and top with lettuce, salsa, cheese and sour cream. Delicious!
Spaghetti Squash and Pasta Sauce
My family is Italian, and I grew up eating pasta 2-3 times per week for my entire childhood. I still love pasta very much, and one of my favorite dinners will always be rigatoni or penne with red sauce and plenty of parm or mozzarella on top. However, when I’m looking to be more healthy, spaghetti squash (or sometimes zucchini noodles) is the way to go.
I’ve come a long way since I first attempted to make spaghetti squash, and now I just go straight to the microwave to cook it up. Some squash “noodles” topped with sauce and some cheese hits all the notes of the traditional pasta dish, since the sauce is where all the flavor is anyway. Occasionally, I’ll pair this with a tofurkey sausage.
Macaroni and Cheese with Brussel Sprouts
This option is lower on the healthy scale, but when in need of a nice, hot, comfort-style meal, I turn to homemade mac and cheese with a side of brussel sprouts. The mac and cheese is gooey and filling and instantly brings me back to my childhood. The brussel sprouts are roasted and add that much needed side of greens to this rich meal. This is great to serve for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Who doesn’t love mac and cheese?
The possibilities are endless with a nice pan of roasted vegetables. You can throw in any veggie you have hanging around the house. My usual options include peppers, onions, garlic, potatoes (or sweet potatoes depending on what I have), squash, brussel sprouts, and carrots coated in olive oil, salt, pepper, and onion and garlic powder.
Homemade Vegetable Soup
This recipe is adapted from a family recipe that dates back to my grandmother. Her version was chicken-based, and was what I ate growing up as my mother cooked it all the time as well. In the past few years, I’ve been able to adapt it to be vegetarian by making two simple changes: remove the chicken (obviously), and substitute the chicken broth with veggie broth. I also add in a few more spices and some garlic to up the flavors. A nice veggie soup is a perfect comfort food on cold days, and is very simple to make. You just throw everything into a pot and cook for 2 hours. I will be posting my full recipe soon!
What’s your favorite comfort food to make at home?
Do you cook at home more often or eat out?