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Jan 18, 2010 06:46 AM

ISO Your Most Tried-and-True Healthy Vegetarian Weeknight Staples

BF and I are experts in indulgent cooking, the slow-braised lamb shanks, the risotto with several pounds of cheese. However, like many other people, we are trying to cook more, with less expensive, healthier vegetarian ingredients.

We're seeking to expand our repertoire with more healthy delicious recipes that we can make over and over again. Here is what we're trying to find:

Recipes featuring green vegetables and legumes in a starring role a plus.
Trying to avoid cheese- and carb-centric recipes (though some is OK)
Looking for recipes we'll make again and again, we already make a good chili, lasagne and pizza, so something outside of that realm.
Labor intensive is OK, as long as it makes a large amount of leftovers that can be enjoyed over the week.

Thanks for any ideas!

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  1. This veggie sandwich recipe is a weeknight staple at my house. Most of the time, and especially in the winter, I saute the veggies on my stovetop rather than using the grill. We also eat them as an open faced sandwich which is a little different than the picture.

    1. One of our dead-simple weeknight meals is "beanie-greenie" which consists of a bag of frozen collard greens sauteed in olive oil with several sliced cloves of garlic and smoked paprika, add two cans of rinsed white beans, then add a couple of cups of broth or even water to produce a stew-y consistency, and simmer until the beans are tender and the broth is infused with collard-garlic goodness. Serve with crusty bread or even rice.

      9 Replies
      1. re: the_MU

        My go-to veg meal choices tend to be pastas or Middle Eastern plates. Some faves include multi-grain pasta tossed with freshly made bruschetta, multi-grain pasta with pesto and broccoli, cauliflower or rapini, and kasha varnnishkes (toasted buckwheat groats simmered with onions, mushrooms and stock then tossed with whole wheat farfalle. A Middle Eastern plate might include tabbouleh, made with either bulgur or quinoa, hummus, baba ghanouj, grilled zucchini and/or eggplant and a minty garlic labneh (usually goat yogurt-based) sauce. This meal would only come about on a weeknight if I already have the dips around from the weekend. Other good meals are bean-based soups I find in my Italian cookbooks. I've made veg versions of those that call for pancetta with lots of success, provided a strong cheese is added at the end. A slow cooker is ideal for these soups.

        1. re: 1sweetpea

          "multi-grain pasta tossed with freshly made bruschetta" -- do you mean you toss your pasta with roasted bread topped with diced tomato, garlic, and basil? how does that work in a pasta dish?

          1. re: linguafood

            I think bruschetta meaning the tomato mixture that you'd put on top of the toasted bread.

          2. re: 1sweetpea

            Recipes please for the slow cooker soups.

            1. re: 1sweetpea

              Not dissimilar, Swiss chard and white beans on ziti. Saute a little onions then garlic in olive oil. Slice chard in narrow strips and add and stir to wilt. Add a can of white beans and a cup of beef broth. Toss onto whole wheat ziti and serve with parm cheese.

            2. re: the_MU

              Was reading this post the other day and thought that can't really taste good, so I figured I would try it, and then report back and complain. But- it was great :) DH really liked it as well, made some crostini, per your suggestion. And just had leftovers for lunch. Thanks for sharing!

              1. re: the_MU

                I finally tried this tonight and it was a huge success. Easy, cheap, healthy!!! thank you for posting!! We'll be eating this all the time!

                1. re: the_MU

                  Hadn't checked this thread in a while, but I'm very glad you liked the beanie-greenie.

                  Here's our "Chinese-style" variation: Add a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar along with the garlic. Use about half the salt you'd normally use, and add soy sauce to taste. Cook til the greens are just about done. Instead of using white beans, add about half a bag of frozen shelled edamame and cook a couple more minutes until the beans are done. I often serve this with Vietnamese broken rice, which cooks in just about the same amount of time and soaks up the broth nicely, but white rice is cool too.

                  I especially like this with a cube of Chinese fermented tofu in chili oil smushed up into it, which gives it spice & funk, but I serve that on the side because my husband & son don't like it at all.

                  1. re: the_MU

                    excellent!! I love this. I have made it twice since I posted my original review (isn't that sad? sad....) but it is so good and so healthy---most imprtantly FAST---that I just can't stay away. I'll try the asian version as well!

                2. Are meat analogues of interest to you? If so, veg philly steak sandwich with no fat American, veggie balls and spaghetti, veg burgers with baked "fries," bbq quorn "chicken," (I use smoker bags for this, and also smoke sweet potatoes), veg sausage and peppers, etc etc.

                  1. all time fav is a sauteed mix of vegies - (these in particular work really well if you make this up big and just keep it in the fridge for salads or sautes or just steam it up):
                    broccoli, white cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower and carrots (sliced thin diagonally). You can change it up but this base is nice because it last forever in the fridge without wilting or going back.

                    sautee quickly in lil oil and Braggs Liq Amino - then dump this on top of good brown rice, shave a great cheese on top, and sprinkle of Spike Seasoning. Hubby and I just love this dish, very comforting.

                    works great over quinoa too, can always add black beans as well.

                    Also love roasted vegies like red onions, peppers and eggplant with cumin - then just layer a good big healthy cracker (like wasa) with hummus and these roasted vegies.

                    I can run in the house and make up these two pretty quickly and use whatever vegies I have in teh fridge - mushrooms work great too.

                    I just got a really great black bean veggie burrito recipe that is fantastic, I'll have to find it though - made it a few times.

                    1. I really love these (you could do a taco salad to cut the carbs down if you want) - they call for chicken broth, but I'd imagine a veggie broth would be fine. We're not vegetarian in my home, in fact we're like super-carnivores, but everyone likes these, so I think that says good things.


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: shanagain

                        One of our favorites is Santa Fe Chicken (without the chicken!) - much better as a veggie dish - from It's quick and easy to make, yummy as the days go on and a nice hearty winter dish with vibrant colors. I use salsa verde instead of taco sauce and serve with warm corn tortillas and salad.


                        1. re: janeh

                          Holy crxp that looks good! I am off meat and cheese for two more weeks and I just may have to make this today!
                          Thank you for posting this, it would not have occured to me to make this as is just without the chicken.
                          and I have all the ingredients at home to boot!
                          Ok, I need to go eat some lunch and stop salivating over my computer.

                          1. re: rabaja

                            Enjoy! It's so good that I often double the recipe, though I don't double the green chilis.

                            1. re: rabaja

                              I ate a version of that dish once that had chickpeas instead of chicken

                            2. re: janeh

                              Janeh, I've made that exact epi recipe many times, especially when I had all 3 lads at home, and it is wonderful!!!! Truly, you don't even need the chicken.

                              1. re: janeh

                                Finally tried this last night--awesome! thanks for posting! I did not use chicken, and for the taco sauce I found this great Frontera simmer sauce in a pouch at whole foods. It was a really satisfying meal!