No meat in sight.
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This loaded ricotta and mushroom toast becomes full-blown comfort food thanks to a ladle-full of umami-forward broth on the bottom of the bowl. Want an extra hit of protein? We wouldn’t be opposed to balancing a poached egg on top. Serve with a glass of white wine for an elegant, easy meal.
This recipe is proof that stews don’t always need to be simmered for hours on end to be complex, rich, and satisfying. In this delicious and easy vegetarian stew, eggplants and potatoes are cooked in a deeply savory miso sauce with a funky, salty-sweet richness. Both vegetables act like sponges, with the eggplant becoming tender and creamy and potatoes turning soft and toothsome, while soaking in all the umami flavor of the base.
Here a quick cilantro and jalapeño blender sauce makes its way into the recipe at three points: first, flavoring the aromatic base at the start of rice cooking; next, carefully mixed into the rice at the end of cooking to amp up the verdant hue; and finally, stirred into the creamy drizzle sauce to be served alongside. Inspired by irresistible pollo a la brasa, Peruvian rotisserie chicken, this dish uses oyster mushrooms spiced with cumin and paprika as a meaty vegetarian swap.
Inspired by the beloved street snack from the Mexican state of Sinaloa, these vegetarian vampiro tacos swap out the classic carne asada for thin caramelized pieces of kabocha squash seasoned with smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and cayenne pepper. The tacos are served with a bright cucumber pico de gallo made even zippier by a hearty dose of lime zest. This recipe works great with winter squash of all kinds, from delicata to honeynut.
Creamy mushroom fans: Here is a saucy Indian gravy that uses the power of mushrooms to give you a cozy fall dish in less than an hour. It’s made with a mix of mushrooms but will be great using just one variety as well. Use green beans or snap peas for more texture and an extra helping of vegetables.
Briny, crunchy, lemony, and faintly spicy, this pasta salad of sorts hits all the high notes flawlessly. Barely blanched green beans and a handful of aromatics are “cold fried”—that is, they start in a pool of cool oil and gently sizzle and brown as the heat catches up. This is an easier splatter-free approach than dropping it all in a skillet of hot oil. Shreds of fresh mozzarella offer cool, creamy comfort and hold up well for a few hours at room temperature.
Mild, squishy paneer has a talent for drinking up all of a marinade’s bold flavors, so it excels in this vegetarian grilling recipe. The paneer cubes are skewered and grilled until soft on the inside and charred on the outside. Serve with cool, crunchy lettuce and plenty of limes.
In this richly flavored dish inspired by the cooking technique used in Indonesian rendang, large chunks of mixed mushrooms are simmered in coconut milk until the liquid evaporates and plenty of rich coconutty fat is left behind. In this version, aromatics garlic and ginger are mixed with soy sauce and curry powder to infuse it with plenty of flavor. Serve with rice.
Good broth makes great risotto, and one of the fastest homemade broths contains just one ingredient: miso. Whisked into hot water, miso creates an almost-instant broth that brings a richness, saltiness, and complexity that anchors the dish. As the mushrooms cook along with the rice, they infuse the grains and broth with their flavor. Criminis will get the job done, but if you find maitakes, snag ’em—they’ll add an incomparable savory earthiness.
Briny, puckery, buttery piccata—but with lightly dredged and browned mushrooms instead of chicken or veal. Using two types of fat—oil and butter—is essential here. Sear the mushrooms in oil over high heat so they get nicely crisped and their flavor intensifies, then finish the sauce with a couple of tablespoons of butter. It's a wonderfully luxurious vegetarian meal.
This large-format, weeknight-friendly take on falafel starts with canned chickpeas, instead of dried, and calls for baking instead of frying. Packed with herbs and a few heavy-hitting spices, the golden brown savory cake is first crisped in a skillet for optimal craggy edges, then finished in the oven until cooked through. To make it a meal, pair a wedge with a simple salad of cucumber, radishes, and quick-pickled red onion.
Roasted sweet potatoes and carrots get gussied up with a zippy green salsa in this weeknight sheet pan recipe from Ali Slagle’s cookbook I Dream of Dinner (So You Don’t Have To). The verdant carrot top salsa is the real star here, balancing tart fresh tomatillos with gently charred scallions and lots of lime juice. The result is a bright condiment that can also perk up any protein, salad, grain—or even tortilla chips. If your carrots came without greens, use cilantro in their place.
These vegetarian dinner ideas are hearty, satisfying, and flavorful. So while grilled cheese and simple roasted vegetables are great, we’re thinking bigger: larb made with umami-packed mushrooms, pasta with cauliflower bolognese, or this insanely comforting pile of sunshine-colored lentils. Meat? Who needs it! This list pretty much dictates our weeknight cooking these days—and likely yours too. These vegetarian dinner recipes prove that being green isn’t so hard and it’s definitely delicious.
Callaloo is deeply rooted in the history of the Caribbean, with origins tracing back to the 16th century, when enslaved Africans used local plant life and ready aromatics to create a masterful meal out of seemingly nothing. In Trinidad and Tobago, where Brigid Washington was raised, callaloo is so significant, it’s considered the twin Islands’ national dish—even without an official governmental designation.