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What's your favorite veggie dinner (for when you don't feel like meat!)

I'm not a vegetarian but I don't like to eat meat/chicken/fish every night. Bored of the pasta primavera and veggie stirfry and the veggie chili. So please, give me some new ideas!

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  1. Look at some Indian recipes. Hindus have been vegetarians for centuries and have developed some of the most exquisite vegetarian dishes I've ever tasted. You can find lots online if you search for vegetarian Indian recipes.

    Dinner tonight will be a vegetable curry based on potatoes and peas, mildly hot, with a very hot mint-coriander-yogurt chutney. We had dal makani a few days ago, a mix of lentils, chickpeas and beans cooked with some other vegetables. Another favorite is chana masala, chickpeas in spices. The secret to the cuisine is in the use of spices and herbs which make everything wonderfully tasty. We don't miss meat or fish at all. If you want to look up specific cookbooks, search for books by Julie Sahni or Madhur Jaffrey, both excellent resources.

    Another cuisine which is light on meats is Middle Eastern. Again they use lot of spices to flavor their grains and legumes. Look for books written by Claudia Roden and Paula Wolfert.

    Of course there are lots of good vegetarian cookbooks which are Western too - Deborah Madison, Anna Thomas and Mollie Katzen have written many.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cheryl_h

      Yeah, definitely agree with you about the vegetarian Indian Cuisine...love it! Chana Masala, curried potatoes and califlower, and the stuffed naan is fantastic.

      Also try Vietnamese, Thai , and Indonesian vegeterian.

      1. re: cheryl_h

        Yes! I can't recommend Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone enough! It's veggie night every night at our home and this book is well thumbed.
        I am also Indian and so very often it is store bought chapatis (unleavened whole wheat Indian flat bread) with a curry and daal. Sometimes I don't bother with two separate sides and just add cooked lentils or chickpeas to the vegetable curry. Khichuri is a one dish meal that combines mung dal (split mung beans) with rice and is very satisfying with a teaspoon of warm ghee on it.
        Often times it is pasta with beans. In winter it's veggie soups with lentils or beans in them or bean/lentil soups with veggies in them.
        These days been experimenting with quinoa. See the following thread for specific ideas and recipes:

      2. I've grown fond of a modified English breakfast of Heinz Baked Beans on toast with fried tomato and mushroom halves. You can hold the fried egg, rashers, and black/white puddings if you want to keep it vegetarian. It's filling enough as it is.

        There's always falafel in a pita with tomato, onion, lettuce, and tzaziki sauce.

        4 Replies
        1. re: monkeyrotica

          You can keep the egg unless you're vegan. Try it poached, on top of the beans (make sure they're the pork-free kind).

          1. re: piccola

            That's why I opt for the Heinz Beans with the teal label made in the UK. Even though I'm not vegan, and they're vegan friendly, they just taste better than the American Heinz beans for some reason.

              1. re: TexasToast

                Yup, that's the one. Heinz UK is pushing lots of ad money to get people to eat their beans.


        2. Do you like cheese?

          Raclette without a raclette oven is simple enough if you cook up a pan of leeks or onion, mushrooms, cooked potatoes, whatever else you like and then pour melted cheese over all. Give it a good grind of black pepper and put some sour pickles on your plate. tasty.

          cheese souffle and salad. just posted a link to an easy Jacques Pepin recipe on another post. Here you go:


          omelets with feta, tomato, spinach, garlic and kalamata olives, or whatever you like in an omelet.
          quick and good.

          cheeses and tomato on good bread put under the broiler. love that. put some fresh herbs on there if you like.

          Poached eggs on sauteed greens and toast.

          standard french salad of good greens etc topped with rounds of goat cheese and herbes de provence on toasted baguette slices and warmed up under the broiler.

          It appears I'm on a cheese bender.

          1. Whole roasted garlic bulbs and sweet Vidalia onion relish topped over white rice cooked with sweet potato chunks.

            1. how about a spanish omelette---a tortilla espanol. so simple and quick, but filling and deelish...

              1. My favorite is probably macaroni and cheese, with a side salad, and some garlic bread. Lots of soups too... tomato soup and grilled cheese is another favorite; I love homemade tomato soup. This is one of my favorite tomato soups, and it's so easy: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                5 Replies
                1. re: Katie Nell

                  That sounds fantastic! Know what we're having for dinner tonight! Thanks!

                    1. re: Katie Nell

                      Katie, you weren't kidding! It was an outstanding soup! The only thing I'd change would be the serving approximation...it did not serve 4 (my honey and I polished off the whole thing)...will definitely double the recipe next time, so we have leftovers for lunch! :)

                      1. re: AmandaEd

                        Yes, I'm sorry, I should have mentioned that! My husband doesn't really like tomato soup, so it's always enough for me plus probably one leftover. I'm glad you liked it though... it is SO easy, isn't?!

                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          Totally awesome - and SO easy. Also simple to "lighten up" - I know that Chiarello really loves his EVOO, but I used probably only about 2 tsps of EVOO and it was outstanding. Thanks for sharing!

                2. I love some homemade split pea soup, and some fresh arugula slightly wilted by hot carmelized fennel and garlic, and topped with a piece of humboldt fog goats cheese and some balsamic vinegar. mmm

                  1. Or a hearty onion soup gratinee, using plenty of Comte or Gruyere melted on top of the croustade, and a mixed salad of mache, beets, blue cheese and walnuts.

                    1. i just made a combo of sauteed cauliflower, onions, chickpeas, chopped plum tomatoes, celery, slivered almonds, and cooked brown rice, seasoned with salt, pepper, garam masala then sprinkled with grated cheddar cheese and baked at 375 for 30 minutes...yummy

                      1. another nice one is eggplant parmesan

                        1. Eggplant parmesan or pasta primavera.

                          1. I just thought of another which I might have tonite.

                            Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Best dinner EVER. Have you ever tried ATK's tomato soup? Perfection!

                            2. One of my favorites is a "Moroccan-style Vegetable Stew" - tomatoes, carrots, red peppers, onions, chickpeas, raisins and/or dried apricots, cumin, a little cinnamon, whatever else you feel like adding - served with couscous.

                              1. My mom made a great eggplant and tomato casserole for meatless dinners when I was growing up (I believe it was from a book called The Vegitarian Epicure, or something like that). It was kind of like a strata with layers of bread, eggplant, tomato slices, parmasean and an egg mixture to bind it all. Sigh... I think I'll be calling her for that recipe soon!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: abbeyraish

                                  I cut my cooking teeth (so to speak) on Vegetarian Epicure and Moosewood Cookbook! that was me in college though, not my mom :)

                                2. Felafel. Although I've had limited success making it at home.

                                  1. Layered Peppers Napoli-style

                                    Layer roasted red peppers, cut in wide strips in a baking pan. Sprinkle with seasoned breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, pine nuts, raisins, crumbled goat cheese and drizzle with olive oil and a little butter. Repeat for the 2nd layer. Sprinkle top with parmesan or romano. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes. Mmmm...
                                    P.S. A little chopped roast beef is also a nice addition.

                                    1. Ratatouille. With loads of green and yellow zukes. Chopped plum tomatoes and carrots. And maybe red kidney beans.

                                      Spicy szechuan-inspired asian eggplant, extrafirm tofu, and green peas. With garlic, oyster sauce and tiny fresh chilis. A solid hearty dish. With jasmine rice.

                                      California rolls filled with omelette strips (and crabsticks).

                                      1. Greens and beans

                                        Saute onion (5 min), add garlic and red pepper flakes for a minute. Then add a pound or two of roughly chopped greens (kale or collard greens), a cup or two of veggie broth, a can of diced tomatoes, and salt. Cover and cook 20-30 min till greens are tender. Add a can of white beans (drained/rinsed) and some sliced good olives. Heat through. Top generously with parmesan (and garlic chips are really good too - sliced garlic fried up till golden then drained on paper towels and salted).

                                        1. Brown lentils with lots of sage and garlic, potato gnocchi with a creamy(vegan) pesto sauce and some sauteed peppers, tomatoes and onions with basil! yum!

                                          1. Soft tacos using refried or whole beans, veggies and whatever toppings you like.

                                            Lettuce wraps. For the filling, sautée garlic, chili paste and crumbled firm tofu, then splash with coconut milk and cook until dry-ish. Top with cilantro and peanut, then roll up in lettuce leave.

                                            Veggies shedpherd's pie (using lentils or chickpeas instead of the meat). You can also sub cornbread batter for the mashed potatoes.

                                            1. All the above ideas sound delicious!
                                              Soup is a great option. I've been hooked on Lorna's Sass's Vegetarian cooking under pressure recently, and in it there's a wonderful soup recipe with pinto beans. It's basically pinto beans with garlic, onion, cumin seeds, chipotle and after it's cooked add some tomato paste, cilantro, lime, and avocado. It's a great, fast dish.
                                              Other favorites include mushroom risotto (or other veg), strata, and a vegetable quiche/tart with roasted veggies. Also a lot of Chinese food is quite suitable beyond the americanized stir-fry. Candied walnuts with sesame, spicy Sichuan noodles, tofu fried in egg batter are all some of my regular meals. Weichuan publish a series of books that are great for this.
                                              By the way, Lorna's has lots of really nice ideas...in fact, I've adapted other recipes after getting this book. It makes weekday night meals fresh and tasty, and easy.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: zorgclyde

                                                Can you expand on the tofu fried in egg batter? Haven't tried that before. Thanks! Also, by any chance, do you have a method of cooking broccoli so that it turns out like it does at Chinese restaurants. I've always hated broccoli, but had it with beef and broccoli a while back and loved it. I now realize I only like broccoli at Chinese and Thai restaurants - not overcooked, but not too crunchy. Weird I know. Thanks again.

                                              2. A simple pizza margarita, with fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil;

                                                Linguine, tossed in truffle oil with shavings of parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper;

                                                Garlic & thyme-marinated, stuffed portobello mushrooms, with blue cheese and balsamic dressing, served on salad greens.


                                                1. Quesadillas. Or "Mexican lasagna" -- casserole with corn tortillas, tomatoes, beans, corn, peppers, salsa verde and cheese.

                                                  1. homemade mac & cheese
                                                    ricotta pie- a repeatable favorite, and I add flavored hot sauce for a different kick!
                                                    don't forget breakfast for dinner- flavored pancakes, challah french toast, etc...
                                                    spaghetti squash- can be made so yummy
                                                    egg or shrimp salad on pita- or your favorite bread
                                                    homemade pizza with whatever!

                                                    I'm not a vegetarian, but the list could go on...and my meat lover husband is always pleased

                                                    1. Masala dosa. You can get dosa batter mix in any Indian grocery store. The stuffing is potatos, peas, nuts, turmeric, pepper... but honestly I never make it, I get take-out! Comes with my all time favorite condiment, coconut chutney.

                                                      My stove/oven died and I'm waiting for delivery of the new one this weekend. In the meantime all my cooking is being done on an electric griddle. Eggplants from the CSA farm are stacking up, so here's something I've had alot of recently: Slice eggplants into thick rounds, salt one side and leave them for a while (I did it for 20-30 minutes). Rinse, flip, and repeat... then rinse again. Marinate overnight in oil and your favorite herb/spice combo. Grill em up on the electric griddle and serve on a hamburger bun (I like whole wheat). Mmm yummy.

                                                      1. I have lots of faves--but try Ken Hom's Red Cooked Tofu. I use more garlic, and a more chix broth at the end. I buy pre-fried tofu cubes at an asian food store, and slice them before adding them to the pan. Best tofu dish ever.

                                                        1. I love making home made sesame noodles -- tehina, soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, sesame and olive oil blended together over rice noodles or linguni with matchstick cucumber & carrots.
                                                          There are also some pretty good veggie meatballs out there these days. I cook them with other veg plus tomatoes and Indian spices and serve over rice.
                                                          Oh, and try quinoa.

                                                          1. Homemade tofu burgers. After a week in Shanghai, I was craving veggies and tofu. I mixed soft tofu with bread crumbs and seasoning and love it!!!!!!!!

                                                            1. can't believe I forgot one of my favorites...grilled marinated portobello mushroom sandwich!

                                                              the portobellos are also good in quesadillas with spinach

                                                              1. * Mushroom or leek risotto finished with a bit of truffle oil
                                                                * grilled cheese and tomato (marinated in a bit of EVOO, garlic, chili and balsamic) sandwiches
                                                                * portobello mushrooms with garlic, thyme, spinach and taleggio
                                                                * roasted yam frites with sauteed spinach, button mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinegar and goat cheese (the Grizz Salad, after a great restaurant called The Grizzly Grill we frequented for this dish in university)
                                                                * Thai or Indian (as aforementioned)

                                                                1. Frittatas. Favorite one lately is with fresh corn, scallions and potatoes. Yum!

                                                                  1. I am in awe with all of these responses. I am humbled.

                                                                    I make mac and cheese when I'm wanting a veggie meal. Okay, mac and cheese has no veggies, but you get the idea :-)

                                                                    1. I've enjoyed some combination of lentils, with a side of butternut squash, with a side of steamed kale, with a side of roasted tomatoes, with a poached or overeasy egg on top and some parmesan and cracked black pepper. You could go without the egg and have some nice bread and cheese or something, but the yolk tastes really good over all.

                                                                      I stole this combination from a magazine but I can't remember which.

                                                                      1. A favorite veggie/comfort food meal for me is creamy polenta with blue cheese, sauteed swiss chard, and sweet potato with browned butter. Great combination, filling without being heavy, and very comforting.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ScarletB

                                                                          Sounds delicious! Would you post a recipe please? Thanks a bunch!

                                                                          1. re: sweetTooth

                                                                            Hi sweetTooth,
                                                                            I don't really have a recipe. The creamy polenta I usually make with half milk, half water and stir in some crumbled blue cheese at the end. The sweet potatoes I cut into chunks and then bake single-layer at 375 until soft, and I like the outside to be a bit "crunchy" so I turn the oven off and let them sit in there while I brown the butter, which doesn't take much butter. Then I toss the sweet potatoes with the butter, add salt and grated nutmeg. Hope that helps. Sorry!

                                                                            1. re: ScarletB

                                                                              That's descriptive enough. Thanks!

                                                                        2. I stir fry diced veggies with pre-cooked orzo. Lots of fresh garlic and ginger and top with toasted cashews...MAN....its time to make some!

                                                                          1. Vietnamese summer rolls! Its practically fatfree. dampen the rice paper. Fill it with traditional usual vermicelli noodles, carrots, cucumbers, mint and cilantro. Then get creative and top it with cooked mushrooms, grilled tofu, peanuts etc.. The possiblilities are endless. You can dip it in peanut sauce, hoisin sauce, or fish sauce. If you like spice, dont forget the sriracha hot sauce!

                                                                            You can prepare the flling components ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. Just soak the rice paper when you want to make some.

                                                                            1. Ribollita - Tuscan vegetable stew with cannellini beans and fresh olive oil, thickened with bread. There's a boatload of chopping involved but the finished product gets better the longer it sits -- even a day or two later.

                                                                              Samfaina - a Spanish version of ratatouille with roasted red bell peppers and lots of eggplant and onions, somewhat less zucchini.

                                                                              Caccio e pepe - Classic Roman dish of lots of grated romano cheese heaped over fresh spaghetti and doused with lots of ground pepper. I usually add braised arrugula.

                                                                              Pasta with eggplant and fresh mozzarella in a tomato sauce. Butterfly pasta or penne is good for this.

                                                                              1. Hot Summer night-Tomatoes, fresh Mozz, lotsa basil, olive oil Balsamic with baguette. Or, homemade hummus (very lemony, very garlicky) with tomatoes and flat bread/lavosh (syrian can fill you up before your done with tomatoes).

                                                                                Cooler night when I will use stovetop? cook pasta and while its cooking:

                                                                                cook whole cloves whole in chicken broth till soft-then add broccoli, tomato--any other veg you like/have on had--onion maybe?

                                                                                Drain pasta, add to pan with peas and pine nuts--sprinkle lots of in Romano and you have tasty, soothing dinner that took only as long as the pasta. Campenelle shape is dear and holds the peas and pignoli, too!

                                                                                1. There are almost a limitless number of soups that come to mind when I feel like leaving meat out of the meal.

                                                                                  I have learned how to replace almost any sort of meat in stir-fries with firm tofu.

                                                                                  I love curry of all variations, but my daughter doesn't like that much spice and DH is a dedicated meat lover, so I don't get a chance to eat Indian much, unless they have prior plans.

                                                                                  I love falafel and my daughter has developed a taste for them as well, but the mess of making falafel for 2 is more than I usually want to clean up.

                                                                                  If you are willing to look at vegetables as a main course instead of a side dish and flavoring for meat you will be amazed at the flavor combinations that are possible.

                                                                                  My family has a tendency for a high HDL cholesterol level so I tend to meat much less meat and fats than I used to.

                                                                                  1. I had some vegan friends over for dinner and made sweet potatoes topped with vegan black bean chili. It was incredibly tasty. That remains my favorite veggie meal.

                                                                                    1. I really like the Toasted Angel Hair Pasta with Shiitake by Diane Forley in Anatomy of a Dish. It is unusual but also very simple and elegant.

                                                                                      TOASTED ANGEL HAIR PASTA IN SHIITAKE BROTH
                                                                                      Serves 4

                                                                                      1⁄2 lb angel hair pasta (capellini)
                                                                                      3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
                                                                                      1⁄2 lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed caps sliced
                                                                                      1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, stems reserved
                                                                                      3 cloves garlic, halved
                                                                                      3 sprigs thyme
                                                                                      1 tsp black peppercorns
                                                                                      4 large shallots, peeled and sliced
                                                                                      kosher salt
                                                                                      2 cups stock (vegetable, or I've used chicken)
                                                                                      1⁄4 cup chives, cut in 1⁄2-inch lengths

                                                                                      TOASTING PASTA
                                                                                      Preheat oven to 350F. Put pasta on a baking sheet, coat it with one tablespoon olive oil and then spread it out in a single layer. You can rub the pasta between your palms to coat. Bake until the pasta is golden, about 10 minutes according to the recipe or 15 minutes according to a demo where Forley toasted it until russet. I do, but be careful not to scorch it or you will have to toss. Let cool.

                                                                                      MAKING THE BROTH
                                                                                      1. Wrap up the mushroom stems, parsley stems, garlic, thyme, and peppercorns in a square of cheesecloth.

                                                                                      2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the sliced shiitakes and cook until they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt, then transfer them to a large saucepan.

                                                                                      3. Add the sachet, the stock, and 2 cups of water to the mushrooms. Bring to a simmer and cook until the broth has a nice flavor, about 15 minutes. Discard the sachet.

                                                                                      COOKING THE PASTA
                                                                                      Break the pasta in half and add it to the simmering broth. Cook just until the pasta is done, about 5 minutes.
                                                                                      Ladle the broth and pasta into bowls. Serve garnished with parsley leaves and chives.

                                                                                      My notes:
                                                                                      Feel free to use any mushroom, or a combination.

                                                                                      You can prep this recipe in advance, preparing the broth and toasting your pasta earlier in the day.

                                                                                      Toasting the pasta give it a slight nutty flavor and a silky texture.

                                                                                      Forley finishes the dish with some spinach leaves. I like a good handful, or some braised baby bok choy set on top.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: coconutz

                                                                                        I'd never heard of toasted pasta before.


                                                                                      2. An answer to several comments:Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian Cuisine is indespensible.

                                                                                        One of my favorite weekday meals is lentil dal with carmelized onions and nan. Cook 1 cup red lentils in two cups vegetable broth, a couple of washed, unpeeled garlic cloves and salt to taste. It should take about 45 min. Serve with onions and a bit of olive oil on top, nan and salad on the side, and you're done.

                                                                                        Lastly, about the Heinz baked beans. Lood for the "OU" kosher symbol on it to guarantee there is no meat in the can.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: Maxinella

                                                                                          Oh good, I just bought this for a meat-centric guy who is about to marry a vegetarian. Love Madhur!

                                                                                        2. Half of Mexico... are forced vegetarians most of the time. Here are my favorite Mexican vegetarian entrees as served in Mexico year round:

                                                                                          Roasted Musrooms with Fresco Cheese & Red Mole Sauce

                                                                                          Sauteed Zucchini Strips & Carmelized Onions in Tomato-Chipotle sauce with Fresco Cheese

                                                                                          Oaxacan Chile Relleno (Roasted Poblano stuffed with Melting Cheese in a Tomato-Epazote suace)

                                                                                          Mushroom Pozole (Hominy & Diced Mushrooms in Guajillo/Dried Mushroom Broth... topped with dry orgegano, shredded cabbage, lettuce, radishes)

                                                                                          Egg "Enchiladas"... an ultra thin "omelete"... that is rolled like an Enchilada instead of folded... stuff with melting cheese, then cover with your favority Enchilada sauce (I like Tomato-Guajillo, or Tomatillo-Serrano)...and bake for 5 minutes

                                                                                          Greens Fritter... battered & fried greens in a cooked salsa with a side of crispy beans (highly drained beans that are seared over high heat with a little bit of lard)

                                                                                          Black Bean - Epazote Soup

                                                                                          Simmered Beans with Fresco & Cotija Cheesees served with a hearty Cactus-Avocado Salad

                                                                                          Papadzules - Room temperature "Enchiladas" with Pumpkin Seed Sauce (Pipian) stuffed with chopped hard boiled eggs.

                                                                                          1. There are lots of chinese and buddist vegetarian dishes.

                                                                                            My favorite veggie dish is a tofu/veggie hotpot. I like soft tofu with shitaki mushrooms, shanghai greens, eggplant, green onions all braised together with a little wine and oyster sauce (vegan available), topped with cilantro.

                                                                                            I also like stir fried mung bean vermicelli with celery, onion, wood ear mushrooms.

                                                                                            1. I love love love fresh asparagus soup with a warm baguette.
                                                                                              love mediterranean chickpea stew.
                                                                                              rice and beans never fails me. i change it up but it's a staple.
                                                                                              mexican lasagna.
                                                                                              homemade pasta with red-white sauce.