Whether you’re looking to start a full-blown commitment to a vegetarian diet, or you’re just wanting to swap out a meal or two a night to cut down on your meat intake, the truth is out there that eating more veggie based meals has not only health benefits but environmental ones too. Even with that incentive, you’re bound to come across some diehard carnivores that simply won’t believe there’s a vegetarian meal that can satisfy them. It’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is because we’re serving up 5 vegetarian meals that won’t have you missing the meat at all.
1. Creamy Rosé Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes
Okay, even before we even get into the ingredients, the name of this recipe along has got our attention. A creamy pasta sauce, wine, garlic, parmesan, need we say more? You can’t go wrong with this one! The recipe yields 4-6 servings and takes a total of 45 minutes.
- 2 pints roasted tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil,
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups dry rosé wine
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 3 handfuls baby spinach
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare your pasta as the box or bag directs, making sure to use well-salted water. Drain once it has fully cooked and set aside.
- Heat your olive oil in a large saute pan. Add shallots and cook for 3-4 minutes until they are tender and translucent, making sure to stir once in a while.
- Add the garlic, sauteing for 1 additional minute.
- Gradually add the flour and tomato paste until it is evenly mixed and saute for another minute, stirring occasionally.
- Slowly add in the rosé wine and the milk, and whisk together until combined.
- Continue to cook this sauce until it reaches a simmer and begins to thicken. Once it has, reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for roughly 10 minutes until it partially reduces.
- Stir in Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.
- Combine your cooked pasta, roasted tomatoes, sauce, baby spinach, and basil together in a large pot.
- Toss for 1-2 minutes, allowing for the spinach to slightly wilt and the pasta to be fully coated. Serve immediately.
2. Brown Rice Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Oregano
Who can say no to a risotto? This decadent dish is typically viewed as being on the fancier or more difficult side, but the following recipe makes it easy and simple! Not only that, but once again meat isn’t even missed here. This makes enough for 4-6 servings and takes roughly an hour and a half to prepare. It’s well worth the effort!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 5 cups of vegetable broth, divided
- 1½ cups brown arborio/short-grain brown rice
- 12 -14 ounces sliced Cremini (baby portobello) mushrooms, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup dry white wine, optional
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- Sea salt to desired taste
- Ground black pepper to desired taste
- 4 sprigs worth of fresh oregano leaves, torn into small pieces
- Place your oven rack in the middle most position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes.
- Add the minced garlic. Cook for another 2 to 4 minutes until the onions are well browned.
- Add 4 cups broth and cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Once boil is reached, remove from heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and place in the oven.
- Bake until rice is tender and cooked through, about 65 to 70 minutes.
- During the last 20 minutes of baking time, get your mushrooms ready. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering.
- Add mushrooms to the pot with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are darker in color, fragrant and have soaked up most of their own juice, about 13 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the oven. Pour in the remaining cup of broth, the Parmesan, wine, butter, tamari, salt, and a generous amount of pepper.
- Stir for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy.
- Stir in the mushroom mixture and any remaining juices.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve topped with fresh oregano leaves.
3. Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili with Avocado
An excellent seasonal dish or just a great chili to warm you up on rainy days. This smoky chili gets a nice sweetness for the butternut squash, but it has a nice spicy bite to it that will keep you coming back for seconds and thirds. This recipe makes 6 servings and takes just over an hour. Give it a try, and you’ll agree it holds its own even against meaty counterparts!
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 (14-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, including liquid
- 2 (14-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 avocados, diced
- Chopped cilantro, for garnish
- Hot sauce, for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.
- Add onion, bell pepper, squash, and garlic, saute until the onions soften and turn translucent about 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until veggies are evenly coated.
- Add bay leaf, tomatoes, beans, and vegetable broth. Cover and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.
- Taste to see if you’d like to add any additional spices, add as desired.
- Remove bay leaf before serving. Ladle into bowls and top with avocado and cilantro. Add hot sauce if you’d like.
4. Thai Curry Hot Pot
There are quite a few more exotic vegetarian recipes out there. Thai and Indian cuisines, in particular, are packed so full of flavor that they really lend themselves nicely to vegetable-starred dishes. This dish even happens to be vegan, but that doesn’t stop it from being seriously satisfying. The recipe makes enough for 8-10 servings, and can be put together in just 35 minutes!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch of fresh ginger, cut into thick slices
- 8 cup vegetable stock
- 3 (15-ounce) cans coconut milk
- 4-6 tablespoons red curry paste, to taste
- Various add-ins that suit your fancy: cooked rice, rice noodles, veggies such as scallions or bell peppers to throw on top, even some crispy pan-fried tofu if you’re feeling up to it!
- Heat olive oil in a large stockpot. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add in the vegetable stock and coconut milk, and stir to combine.
- Continue cooking until the broth nearly reaches a simmer. Then add in 3-4 tablespoons of the curry paste, and whisk until it has dissolved.
- Taste, and add more curry paste if you’d like.
- Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove the ginger slices.
- Serve immediately, garnished with your desired toppings and with any rice or noodles you choose.
5. Spinach Artichoke Enchiladas
Who said vegetarian had to be boring? The flavor offered by mixing spinach and artichokes has been the star of many dips, and it only makes sense to harness that into a meal. These crispy, cheesy enchiladas are packed with enough goodness to throw off even the most stout carnivore. This recipe creates 6 enchiladas and takes a total of 55 minutes.
Homemade red enchilada sauce (makes 2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons whole wheat or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion (about 1 small red onion)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 heaping cup drained artichokes, quartered
- 1 (4-ounce) can green chilis, drained
- 12 ounces baby spinach
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
- ¼ cup sour cream
- Ground black pepper to taste
- 6 (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- Handful chopped cilantro for garnish
- Warm oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat, pour in the flour and spice mixture.
- While stirring constantly with a whisk, cook until fragrant and slightly deepened in color, about 1 minute.
- Whisk the tomato paste into the mixture, then slowly pour in the broth while whisking constantly to remove any lumps.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer, whisking often, for about five minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit.
- Remove from heat, then whisk in the vinegar and season to taste with ground black pepper. Set aside.
- To make enchiladas, preheat the oven to 400 degrees with racks in the middle position and upper third.
- Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch pan.
- In a large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and ¼ teaspoon salt.
- Cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender and translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds.
- Add the drained artichokes and green chilis to the skillet, then add a few large handfuls of spinach.
- Cook, stirring frequently until the spinach has wilted. Repeat with remaining spinach.
- Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the pan is no longer wet. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a bowl.
- Stir in the drained black beans and sour cream. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour ½ cup enchilada sauce into your prepared pan and slide it from side to side until the bottom of the pan is evenly coated.
- To assemble enchiladas, spread ½ cup spinach artichoke mix down the middle of a tortilla, then snugly wrap the left side over followed by the right, making a wrap.
- Place enchiladas seam side down against your pan.
- Drizzle the remaining enchilada sauce evenly over the enchiladas, leaving the very ends of the enchiladas bare.
- Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over the enchiladas.
- Bake, uncovered, on the middle rack for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let the enchiladas cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve.