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vegetarian weekday meals....

i feel the need to expand my repetoire of meals...I make a variety of things and often try new things, but the basics that I keep coming back to are:

Risotto (mushroom /asparagus, cauliflower/saffron/raisin)
Tunisian spaghetti- (harissa, tomato paste lots of garlic, mushrooms, green onions)
Sweet potato burritos
Veggie Chili
Veggie Stir fry
California Pasta (bok choy, sesame, cannelli beans, hoisin sauce, ginger on pasta)
Tofu, mashed potato, asparagus

We're not huge eggplant people, and we tend to stay away from anything oily/creamy -Other than that, no real restrictions,apart from the vegetarianism(cheese is fine, prefer to stay away from eggs)

I'd really like to expand my list of things that I keep coming back to- not too many ingredients, not too long prep....

does anyone have suggestions for additions?


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  1. My hubbie & I are 'test-driving' vegetarianism this month.... how about stuffed peppers/tomatoes/zucchini/etc?

    I made a Moroccan chickpea stew type thing that was excellent.

    This week planning on taco 'bar' with various fixings, felafel (gotta use up all the leftover chickpeas!!!), lasagna roulades.

    1. This is just a side dish or starter that I enjoy. Its from the Vegan Italiano cookbook.

      6 med tomatoes (~6 oz)
      table salt
      2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
      2 tbsp finely chopped onion
      1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
      2 large cloves garlic (though i always add more)
      1 cup lightly toasted white bread crumbs
      3 tbsp capers, drained
      1 tsp coarse salt
      1/2 tsp dried oregano
      pepper to taste

      - preheat oven to 350* and lightly oil a baking dish
      - cut tops off of tomatoes, squeeze out seeds but leave pulp, salt the insides and place upside down to drain for abt 20 mins
      - nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat oil, add onion and cook until softened
      - add parsley and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 min
      - remove from heat and add bread crumbs, capers, coarse salt, oregano and pepper and toss well
      - fill tomatoes with mixture, place in pan and drizzle with olive oil
      - bake about 30 mins until the tomatoes are soft and the tops are slightly browned, serve warm or at room temp

      I love this recipe b/c it never dissapoints, its vegan and its easy to experiment with.

      Hope this helps!

      1. great timing! my husband just showed me this website: http://www.veggiemealplans.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: odkaty

          Pure Karma, Katy, bless you for the meal plans. I cook & it's fine but then the rest of my family are making things like veggy sausages & potatoes, spagetti with faux meat meatballs & a salad. They just keep forgetting the vegetables!

        2. There is a really good three bean taco recipe at www.cookinglight.com that we have in the regular rotation, as well as burritos w/home made refried beans and cuban black beans, which has got to be the easiest recipe in the world - saute garlic and green pepper, add red wine vinegar, oregano and black beans. Those and moroccan chickpea stew are our standards. We're making various lentil salads a lot in the summer.
          Cooking Light also has a recipe for a sloppy joe made with tempeh that we make with veggie ground beed instead and it's excellent.

          1. Cooking Light used to have a vegetarian column in every issue. I've stopped my subscription, so I don't know if it's still there, but I've gotten a lot of great recipes from there. Also, Whole Foods website recipe section can be searched by vegetarian. My family really likes the baked eggplant parm (not a very quick recipe, but quite good), the lentils nicoise and the baby spinach with honey-mustard tofu.

            Also, being fake meat lovers (or at least likers) I often switch some meat recipes (particularly gumbos, stews and soups) from meaty to veggie.

            Good luck!

            1 Reply
            1. re: GrillNextDoor

              One of my favorite veg recipes came from CL--a west African stew that consists of veg broth, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, cumin and peanut butter. Even non veg's will eat it.

              I'd also recommend Pad Thai, either using a kit/mix or homemade. Not difficult and very easy to do vegetarian.

              You could also add corn dumplings to your veg chili for a bit of a change. Make a cornbread mix (I like to add fresh or frozen corn to that) and plop it on top of the chili.

              Quinoa is a great alternative to the usual starches--high protein, nutty taste.

              Whole wheat couscous with a veg stew is fast and tasty too.

              Gnocchi with just butter and fresh sage, add a salad and it's dinner!

            2. Here are some ideas my kids like:

              -- Enchiladas with a calabacitas (squash-beans-corn) type filling.
              -- Baked Potato Bar with all sorts of toppings; chili, brocolli-cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc..
              -- Stir Fry Veggies, and Noodles with Peanut Sauce. Maybe some Thai summer rolls (the kind with the rice paper wrappers)
              -- Some type of Hearty Pasta Salads with loads of veggies, feta cheese or cubes of smoked tofu, beans, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, etc.
              -- Layered Tortilla/Nacho Bake type thing (I don't use a recipe, just corn tortilla chips, cheese, beans, salsa, etc)
              -- Soups, soups, soups. Curried Pumpkin, potato leek, lentil chili, "Chik'n Noodle" with vegetarian chicken broth, veggies and noodles. Add a green salad and some hearty bread and you're good.
              -- Tamales! (Way easier to make than you'd think)
              -- Stuffed Kabocha Squash (filled with rice pilaf)
              -- Grilled portabello mushrooms on buns
              -- Eggplant Parmesan (or use zucchini if you aren't eggplant fans)

              1. Have you tried using quinoa? It's very versatile. It soaks up the flavor of whatever you are cooking with.
                I would make a curry flavored vegetable broth & cook it in there & then use it for stuffed green peppers

                1. Some ideas:

                  Carmelized onions and polenta

                  Chilled honeydew melon soup with a quinoa roasted vegetable salad

                  Cold noodles tossed with sesame sauce (mix sesame paste and soy sauce) or for a twist peanut sauce (peanut butter and soy sauce) and top with julienned cucumbers and carrots, bean sprouts, and green onions.

                  1. Spaghetti Squash baked then mixed with butter, garlic and parm, topped w/ blackened tofu

                    Artichokes Stuffed w/ Spinach and Ricotta

                    Tofu filled Enchiladas or Canneloni

                    Grilled veggies stirfried w/ shirataki noodles and tofu... love to use garlic salt on the veggies, along with balsamic vinegar and bragg's amino acids, lemon juice, and mustard in the stir fry

                    Miso Soup w/ garlic, greens (all varieties), wild mushrooms, asparagus, and tofu

                    Polenta... soft one night, then the next night or for lunch the next day, refrigerate leftovers, slice, and fry or broil topped with parmesan or pesto or tomato puree or tapenade

                    Breakfast for Dinner... crepes filled with sauteed mushrooms and onions; waffles, pancakes, etc.


                    Lentil Stew over Brown Rice

                    1/2 Cup(s) chopped onions
                    2 cloves garlic, minced
                    1 Tablespoon(s) canola oil
                    5 Cup(s) water
                    1 Cup(s) lentils, rinsed
                    4 Teaspoon(s) vegetable or chicken bouillon granules
                    3 Teaspoon(s) worcestershire sauce
                    1/2 Teaspoon(s) salt
                    1/2 Teaspoon(s) dried thyme
                    1/4 Teaspoon(s) dried pepper
                    1 bay leaf
                    1 Cup(s) chopped carrots
                    1 Can(s) diced tomatoes (14-1/2 oz), undrained
                    1 Package(s) (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
                    1 Tablespoon(s) red wine vinegar or cider vinegar

                    In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the water, lentils, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, thyme, pepper and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add carrots, tomatoes and spinach; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes longer or until lentils are tender. Stir in vinegar. Discard bay leaf.

                    1. When it finally cools a bit, we'll be back to doing lots of bean stews. Lately we've been doing a lot of entree salads, with beans (black, cannelini, chickpeas, lentils) serving as our main protein in the salads. We also have been doing more with grains lately, particularly quinoa.

                      Some of the gratin and casserole dishes in Deborah Madison's Veg Cooking for Everyone are not heavy on cream and cheese (and some are).

                      Here's what our most recent meals have been:
                      Tortilla/chile pepper/roasted veggie casserole
                      Soft polenta with sauteed spinach and mushrooms, egg on top
                      Mixed baby greens with cannelini beans and lime yogurt dressing, with some other fresh veggies
                      Poblanos stuffed with a corn quinoa salad with a spicy tomato sauce
                      Roasted red peppers stuffed with a bulgher salad (ok, so we're not original)
                      whole wheat pasta with greens and goat cheese, served with a mixed greens salad
                      Quesadillas filled with CSA bounty
                      Grilled sandwiches with CSA bounty

                      I'm trying to do a better job of making things like sauces and stocks on weekends so that weekday meals can be made more quickly. And when we get in a rut I spend a few hours on the weekend with my cookbooks. I probably need to pull out a few "new" ones (those I haven't looked at lately). Maybe Peter Berley's Fresh Food Fast or Jack Bishops Year in the Veg Kitchen.

                      1. Lorna Sass' "Short-cut Vegetarian" and Debra Wasserman's "Simply Vegan" might interest you. One of our favorite quick, easy meals is potatoes with masamba. Masamba is an east African dish of thinly chopped steamed greens (we generally use kale or collard greens) with a sauce of peanut butter mixed with salsa. We also eat brown rice and broccoli with hummus. There are some good quinoa recipes. Israeli salad (this has a variety of other names, someone else called it Shepherd's salad) is quick and requires no heat. Brown rice with sweet potato, hazelnuts, and currents with broccoli or greens is quick with a pressure cooker. Lentil soup with dried apricots and and spinach. Tonight I'm making quinoa with adzuki beans and butternut squash w/tamari, again in the pressure cooker.

                        1. Any chance you would share your recipe for sweet potato burritos?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Smokey

                            There's a recipe for yam and black bean burritos in "The Gluten-Free Vegan" by Susan O'Brien, p. 91. If that sounds good, p. 107 in the same cookbook is the recipe for "Yam Enchiladas with Pomegranate Sauce".

                            1. re: Smokey

                              I make sweet potato burritos by combining roasted sweet potato with black or pinto beans cooked with aromatics and chiles. I puree that and serve the burritos with some cheese salsa and ideally some cooked greens. These freeze great.

                            2. We're "virtually" vegetarian, and rely on soups for hearty, satisfying meals. There are a million varieties, using beans, vegetables, potatoes, etc. Last night we had tortilla soup! Generally, I round out the meal with an interesting salad and good bread, and we're good to go.

                              1. Here is my latest super quick veggie dinner:
                                heat about 2 T olive oil in pan
                                add 1/2 a white onion, chopped
                                add about 1T chopped garlic
                                add about half a pack of soyrizo (I like the Freida's brand)
                                add 1 large can chickpeas
                                add about 1/2 cup veggie broth (water if you don't have the broth)
                                simmer about 5 minutes
                                add salt, pepper, cayenne, cilantro to taste

                                YUM! Hubby and I are both meat eaters but love this dish. We often eat it with a warm tortilla covered in butter. So good.

                                1. Some great ideas here! A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger that is quick and easy and could fit the bill. I also sometimes cook a sweet potatoe and top it with chili (canned if I'm in a hurry) and greek yogurt. Soups are always good and Syrian Red Lentil soup with bread is a satisfying meal.

                                  Syrian Red Lentil Soup

                                  1-2 Tbsp olive oil
                                  2 cloves garlic, minced
                                  1-1/2 cups split red lentils
                                  6 cups water
                                  1 tsp ground cumin
                                  2 tsp salt
                                  2 Tbsp flour
                                  1/4 cup cold water

                                  Heat oil in saucepan, then add garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add lentils, cumin, salt and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Mix flour and cold water together until smooth. Add to soup. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with bread or pita.

                                  1. This fruit curry is a consistent go-to recipe for me, and it's popular with vegans and meat-lovers alike: http://www.simple-vegetarian-recipes....

                                    1. lentils and onions...one of my favorites...
                                      # 3 tablespoons olive oil
                                      # 3 medium onions, sliced(not diced)
                                      # 3 1/2 cups water
                                      # 1 cup lentils
                                      # 1 cup rice
                                      # 1 teaspoon salt
                                      2 teaspoons cumin
                                      I usually add some cayenne as well, but that's me!
                                      Heat olive oil in skillet, saute the onions with 1 tsp cumin until lightly browned (can add some garlic too, if desired).
                                      Remove 1/3 of the onions and set aside.
                                      Continue cooking the rest of the onions until dark brown and black in places.
                                      In the meantime, bring water to a boil in a saucepan, add the lentils, reduce heat, and cover, simmering for 15 minutes.
                                      To the lentils, add the 1/3 lightly browned onions, rice, salt, and remaining 1 tsp cumin.
                                      Cover and simmer 15 min.or until rice is tender.
                                      Remove from heat and stir in the well-browned onions.
                                      Cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
                                      Especially good with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and a dollop of yogurt or sour cream on top.
                                      Also good with cooked spinach.

                                      1. If you make a nice spanish rice you can use it to stuff peppers or summer squash.
                                        Trader Joe's has several good fresh ravioli that aren't all that creamy - we like the artichoke and the fire roasted veg. Or you might like to make your own..

                                        1. Depends on the season, too... eh?

                                          In the abundance of summer, our favorite is an eggplant "lasagna". Layers of veggies in a casserole dish with tomato sauce and herbs.

                                          We really like "mac and cheese": chopped kale or spinach, shaped pasta, melted cheese (mixed with milk)

                                          Spaghetti squash in the fall: microwave just long enough to get soft so you don't whack your fingers off trying to open it. Place halves face down on a baking pan with a few inches of water in it. Bake until soft. Pour sauce directly into it and eat out of the shell.

                                          Rice and beans... sometimes with fried plaintains

                                          If you have a griddle or electric pan, stick it on the table with a selection of sliced vegetables, grilled to taste and eaten immediately.

                                          1. I try to make sure we have at *least* one vegetarian dinner each week. Some recent favorites that don't seem to have been offered already: potato and chick pea curry (really easy and really good), a polenta-cheese pie (recipe on epicurious), and roasted portobella mushrooms with spinach and goat cheese.

                                            There are some great ideas on this thread.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              What do you do for the mushrooms?

                                              I'm trying to put together a menu for Sunday for my s.o and I (both flexitarians, you coul say) and the mushrooms sound like a good side dish for the risotto I'm thinking of making (lemon risotto with some porcini mushrooms for added texture)

                                              Also - has anyone made a sundried tomato risotto? I have some dried sundried tomatoes, and thought that aside from the mushrooms, I could choose to do a lemon/sundried tomato risotto.

                                              (I'm going to probably make some roasted asparagus, maybe brussel sprouts, etc)

                                              1. re: Jeserf

                                                I think that asparagus would be lovely in the lemon risotto - not sure about the mushrooms - have you tried that before?

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  I'm going to serve asparagus as a I side because I love roasted asparagus more so than any other prep.

                                                  I am thinking a lemon sundried tomato risotto, with a good choice of veggie sides. That's why I hope Lulusmom shares her roasted mushroom recipe with me :)

                                                  1. re: Jeserf

                                                    Sorry if I misunderstood! I love roast aspargus too - had some on Sunday night! Actually - grilled on the grill pan ...

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      Grilled is good, too - but in my apartment, stuff can get smoky.

                                                      I'm actually thinking that I could grill the portabellas, then add them to the oven with some sauteed spinach/cheese on top to melt the cheese. Question is - what kind of cheese! Maybe some smoked mozz?

                                                      Wow this menu is Sunday and I'm already stoked to cook for him :)

                                                      1. re: Jeserf

                                                        Smoked mozzarella is wonderful - one of my favorite foods, and I particularly like making a tomato basil risotto with nice chunks of it melted in!

                                                        1. re: MMRuth

                                                          hm...I could do that.

                                                          Top the mushroom with a wee bit of pesto, then blast it to melt the cheese...

                                                          I think he'd like that.

                                                          1. re: Jeserf

                                                            I like the pesto w/ the cheese better than the spinach - but that may just be me!

                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                              my only thought with the spinach (which I would flavor, of course) is that there is a lot more nutrients in it when quickly cooked.

                                                2. re: Jeserf

                                                  Here you go!

                                                  Portobellos with leeks, spinach and goat cheese:

                                                  4 large portobello caps
                                                  olive oil
                                                  3 tablespoons (I usually use a little less) balsamic
                                                  2 leeks thinly sliced
                                                  2 cups chopped fresh spinach
                                                  1 cup crumbled goat cheese

                                                  Heat the oven to about 450, drizzle mushrooms with olive oil, s&p and roast gill side up for about 15 minutes (or until tender). Top with sliced leeks, spinach and cheese, add a little more s&p and continue baking until spinach wilts and cheese browns.

                                                  I hope you like it. I'm a huge fan of roasted asparagus too - lots of olive oil and a bit of lemon ... mmmm.

                                              2. Hearty miso soup. I make the Korean version (daen jang jigae) but you can also use Japanese miso, dashi (made with kombu and shitake mushrooms) and add potatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, tofu, carrots, onions, jalepenos, etc. Really easy, healthy and filling.

                                                1. Lots of great ideas already listed here. My husband and I are both vegetarian and we have a small child. We try to cook at home as much as possible and, with the help of a deep freezer, we've gotten pretty good keeping our home stocked with healthy food most days.

                                                  Some of our staples include:
                                                  1. Indian food - We try to cook two types of dal and two vegetable side dishes weekly. Dal comes together FAST with a pressure cooker. We always have rotis/chapattis in the freezer, yogurt in the fridge and rice to make a complete meal. The dals I make on a regular basis include
                                                  moong dal with ginger and garlic
                                                  mixed "grab bag" dal (5-6 kinds of dal)
                                                  dal with spinach and shallots
                                                  dal with cucumbers (actually a classic South Indian recipe)
                                                  The vegetable side dishes are often quick stir-fries using things like frozen peas, grated beets, frozen green beans, etc. I highly recommend "Indian Home Cooking" by Suvir Saran if you're looking for lots of quick vegetarian recipes along these lines.

                                                  2. Pasta - Once a week. Sauces include Marcella Hazan's tomato butter sauce (http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2005/01...) and various vegetable-based sauces (especially from Faith Willinger's Red White and Greens).

                                                  3. Beans - We make a big pot of beans once a week (from dried, using our pressure cooker). These are eaten as is (as a side dish), with tortillas or rice or incorporated into soup. These include black beans with smoked paprika, white beans in a tomato herb sauce (really delicious), fava beans with mint -- basically anything.

                                                  Hope this helps!