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Jan 20, 2012 12:46 PM

Hit me with your best (not too complicated) vegetarian recipes (that can be made in bulk)

Our new sitter is a vegetarian. She often sweetly texts me asking if the food I have made our kids is vegatarian so she can eat it as well. Being as we probably eat way more meat than we should (I fall back on the great cooking maxim: when all else fails, add bacon) more often than not I have sheepishly texted back that it is not. I now buy her tofu and rice and beans, but being Italian means I feel a certain amount of shame if I haven't actively fed a guest in my house. So I've been trying to make a vegetarian dish every weekend so she has something to eat.

My problem with vegetarian cooking is that I find it's a lot of work if you want to get a decent taste out of the dish. I subscribed to Vegetarian Times a year or so ago and found the recipes to be so multi-layered and complicated and at the end the results were generally not worth the amount of effort I put into it. I've had better results with Moosewood recipes, but again the pain in the ass factor is pretty high on those as well.

So if you have any great vegetarian recipes that don't require a ridiculous amount of time or super wonky components, I'd love to hear about it. I am thinking something that one can make in a vat so she can eat it throughout the week. I looked up a lot of vegetarian chili recipes but felt uninspired. Just wondering what people have done with proven results to yummy.

I made this one this week and it was really tasty, but the PITA factor was on the high side (I'd never peeled and chopped a butternut squash before. I was exhausted.) and the volume was enough for maybe two meals. I share it here because it's worth trying and I'm hoping you will return the favor!

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  1. You could try stocking your freezer with Amy's frozen vegetarian meals. I buy them all of the time. They can be a bit pricey, but if you get them on sale or at a place like Target they will be considerably less expensive. Another thing I love to make is Quinoa salads. You prepare the Quinoa the same way as rice (follow the directions). You can also substitute vegetable broth for the water. When completely cool, add some olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice to taste, chopped tomatoes, green onions, feta cheese, cucumber, kalamata olives, eggs (assuming she is not vegan) and salt and pepper. You can really get creative with something like this and you might enjoy it yourself. Another thing you can do is make veggie sandwiches. Whole wheat bread, avocado, lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumber, pickles, sliced cheese, mustard and some smoked tofu. If you have access to a good market it will probably have a nice selection of tofu, or you can just omit it. I like to smash up the avocado and use that in place of mayo. I also like to use spicy mustard, pepper jack cheese and pepperoncini for a kick. These are things I make myself and I find them easy and delicious.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Saluti

      I second the quinoa! I frequently have quinoa and beans, with various spices (aleppo pepper, smoked paprika, kosher sat, garlic powder, just tonight actually). Beans were chickpeas, also added tofu and some thawed frozen corn.

    2. You can get some super-simple ideas from Mark Bittman at

      1. Another thing......How old is your sitter? Can she cook for herself. If you buy pasta and some marinara sauce or pesto she can prepare it herself and I'm sure your children would love it as well.

        1. You simply MUST buy a copy of Jack Bishop's "The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook." I've given away many copies of this book over the years, to vegetarians and omnivores alike. Everyone loves it. The recipes are not complicated, and yield deliciious results.

          1. Mujadarra - It's lentils, rice, and caramelized onion with a Middle Eastern spice profile. I make it in the pressure cooker. First I sautee onions, removing some when golden and translucent, and continuing with the rest until caramelized. Remove and reserve the caramelized onions. Return the golden onions to the pot, with a little additional oil, saute the spices, add the lentils and rice, plus water/broth, and pressure-cook. When finished, garnish with the caramelized onion(chopped tomato, chopped cucumber optional). It is great as a main dish or side, good hot, warm, or room temp.