Q: I eat vegetarian most of the week (out of convenience and laziness) but I often find recipes centering around pasta. What are some vegetarian meals that don't rely so heavily on pasta?
Sent by Danielle
Editor: Readers, what would you suggest? What are your favorite convenient vegetarian meals that don't depend on pasta?
Related: Recipe: Vegetarian Bánh Xèo (Vietnamese Crêpes) (pictured above)
(Image: Emily Ho)
My wife and I aren't vegetarians, but sometimes like to switch up dinner so it's not so meat or carb centric. We use Spaghetti Squash as a great alternative to rice or pasta. The buttery flavor adds to anything we are cooking
Polenta, rice, salads (as a medium for whatever I feel like cooking)... and unhealthier options like flatbreads, sandwiches, and tacos, I suppose.
This is one of my favorite vegetarian dinners: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Red-Lentil-Soup-with-Garam-Masala-14125I cut back on the liquid and don't puree, then serve over basmati rice.
My absolute favorite meal: Jamaican Jerk Tofu with Coconut Bean Riceand a huge list of vegetarian mains that don't depend on pasta on my blog
I like to put grilled veggies over quinoa or a mixture of yellow and green lentils. Curry or moroccan sauce adds some nice flavor too.
I recently became a vegetarian and have been converting my favorite recipes that traditionally are made with meat or poultry into a vegetarian dishes. for example, I made a chickpea byriani with cumin & coriander kebabs. Here's the recipe: http://www.onetribegourmet.com/2012/03/a-vegetarian-mughlai-feast-chickpea-byriani-with-cumin-corriander-potato-kebabs-indianfoodpalooza/
My boyfriend is a vegetarian and I am not (and I also try to eat pretty healthy), so we make tons of non-pasta veg meals. Our go-to meals are tofu stir fries or curries with brown rice and lots of veggies, bean soups, risottos, and potato and egg hashes, to name a few.
Most of our meals are vegetarian and not pasta-centric. For entertaining, I like to serve leek fritters from Ottolenghi's Plenty with some vegetable dishes (steamed green beans with fresh lemon zest/olive oil; roasted root vegetables; etc.) on the side. Also, many Mediterranean dishes/sides pair well together (falafel, hummus, muhammara, olives). I also love making tarts (La Tartine Gourmande and Cannelle et Vanille both have some lovely vegetable tarts). Also, check out Heidi Swanson's 101 Cookbooks for ideas. She has some great one dish meals (all vegetarian).
Tortillas are fast and easy and use whatever you have. They're called tortillas in Spanish but you might know them as frittatas. You just saute whatever veggies you have on hand, add five or six beaten eggs, and then bake for like 10 minutes. My husband and I eat this like once a week. Makes great sandwiches for the next day's lunch as well.
I almost never eat pasta, and I mostly eat rice, quinoa, and homemade veggie burgers on weeknights.Rice and beans is a combo that never fails to please, and bibimbap-like rice bowls (such as The Kitchn's Brown Rice Bowl with Tofu and Lemongrass, or this jumping-off point for bibimbap) are super easy and never boring.There's a recipe for quinoa-based Summer Veggie Burritos with Goat Cheese in Marie Simmons' wonderful Fresh, Fast, and Vegetarian that's a year-round favorite.And for veggie burgers, there're a wealth of recipes out there, but these are a few favorites: Loaded Quinoa Veggie Burgers from Can You Stay for Dinner (though I like to throw in more veggies -- one carrot doesn't count as "loaded" in my mind!), 101 Cookbooks' Ultimate Veggie Burgers (bun optional!), and The Kitchn's restaurant reproduction of Northstar Cafe's aptly named Best-Ever Veggie Burgers.Other favorites include Isa Chandra Moskowitz (author of Vegan With a Vengeance, among others)'s Post Punk Kitchen's ancho lentil tacos, Bittman's Barley with Cucumber and Yogurt Dill Dressing, chickpea tacos, crustless quiche lorraine (I make it up as I go along each time -- no crust and milk instead of cream, plus lots of (sweated) veggies = way healthier), and soup (1, 2).I also heartily recommend Isa Chandra Moskowitz's book Appetite for Reduction -- the recipes are all weeknight-friendly, unbelievably delicious (seriously), and healthy. It's my go-to place for inspiration these days.Also, take Bittman's and Kenji of Serious Eats' advice -- why not switch around the ratios of sauce/veggies and pasta, and have a healthier meal?Hope that helps! There're so, so many ways to eat vegetarian without tons of pasta. Each of these recipes are my slam-dunk faves, so I hope you get a chance to try some!
Rice and beans, barley or quinoa bowls, roasted tomatoes, artichokes and onions with white beans poured over slices of toast, omelets....
Made these last night:http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/portobello-black-bean-quesadillas-10000001895993/Super-yummy!
I like a nice spinach salad with slightly warmed brown rice and beans and tomatoes and cheese and whatever's in the fridge.
Well, I'm a vegetarian, and a busy mom. I have a whole slew of recipes - soups, stews, savory pies, sides. They're all here atOut of the Ordinary. It's called Out of the Ordinary because I'm a normal person with an ordinary kitchen and normal ingredients, but I like to think of fun stuff to do with them! I love sharing recipes that encourage people to be vegetarian!!
The vegetarians I know rely on eggs a lot to get protein, and my favorite is always a veggie-filled quiche like this one with leeks and mushrooms. Edamame are also a great source of protein, I make a salad with mushrooms and tomatoes.
Butternut and lentil bobotiePreparation time: 15 minsCooking time: 40 minsIngredients500 ml brown lentils 1 medium butternut2 medium onions2 tins chopped tomatoes400 ml milk2 eggs2 bay leaves1 tsp curry powder1 tsp dhania (ground coriander)1 tsp jeera (ground cumin)1 small handful sultanas3 garlic cloves1 thumb of gingerMethodSoak the lentils overnight in water, and drain.Preheat the oven to 180 C.Peel the butternut and chop into small blocks.Chop the onion finely and sauté in some vegetable/canola oil until soft.Add the garlic, ginger, dhania, jeera, one bay leaf and curry powder and cook until fragrant (about 5 minutes), stirring all the time.Add the butternut, lentils, sugar and tinned tomatoes.Cook for a further 5-10 minutes.Add to a large dish.Beat the two eggs into the milk until smooth and season.Pour the milk mixture over the lentil mixture, place the other bay leaf on top and place in the oven to bake for 35 mins.Serve with fluffy yellow rice and sambals.Servings: 8
I'm crazy about black bean and sweet potato! So, I love these black bean and sweet potato quesadillas: http://www.takeamegabite.com/roasted-sweet-potato-black-bean-quesadillas/This lemon lentil soup has tons of flavor and is so pretty: http://www.takeamegabite.com/lemon-lentil-soup/This mushroom pizza has me seriously craving it still: http://www.takeamegabite.com/mushroom-fontina-pizza/
soup, omelets, baked potato+toppings, stir fried veggies with rice
I haven't eaten regular pasta in months..dinner, pan seared cod coated with tumeric, pepper, cumin, with bulgur wheat cooked with garlic, cumin, tumetic, capers lemon and brocoli and cauliflower and cilantro..awesome. In place of rice pasta, I cook Quinoa, red lentils or bulgur wheat if do want pasta I will eat whole wheat pasta. Its more filing, healthier and delicious.
soupy beans seasoned to liking with stuff added in it: greens are good, tomatoes and onions, thinly sliced radishes with lime, a spoonful of cream (sour, fraiche or of the hispanic variety), roasted veggies . . . you can make a meal out of anything!
Whole grain salads are my weeknight go-to. Right now I have some chewy whole barley, radishes, shredded carrots, and calamata olives marinating in a light lemon dressing.
I try to put the focus on the vegetables, nuts, and sauce rather than on the starch, per se. That said, I like puy lentils for their earthiness, wild rice, and long grain brown basmati rice. Risottos and pizzas are also a favorite in the household.
A vegetarian favorite is Risotto Primavera, but if you prefer to avoid rice as well, a healthy option always is a tasty and filling soup such as Cannellini Bean & Kale. Or, for Friday nights, a really quick and delicious Naan Pizza with Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, & Arugula :-) (This is also my personal favorite!) Here's how it looks: http://pinterest.com/pin/218917231856765835/
I riff endlessly on the combination of a tofu or tempeh-based stir fry or a dal, bok choy, and rice. Also lots of soups and stews. Sandwiches or tortillas filled with roasted veggies. Lots of quinoa bowls (try tossing quinoa, roasted brussels sprouts, and kabocha squash, it's a great winter combination!). I've been using barley in risottos more, when I really want to be carb-centric.
I'm sorry to post again! It's just that I'm a vegetarian and I never eat pasta, so this question really resonates with me. I've been thinking about it, and my quickest meal is what I call a "Can of beans, can of tomatoes meal." If properly seasoned, this can be very satisfying and tasty! Sometimes I'll make rice or corn muffins (or something my boys will definitely eat!) with it. Like vegetarian chili. or red beans and hominy stew or something with chickpeas, always easy and delicious, like in chickpea, sweet potato and kale stew with cumin, smoked paprika and lime.I'll second quiches, as well! Tasty, satisfying and ready in an hour. If you do something quick and interesting with them, like add roasted mushrooms and smoked gouda, they can be both easy and special.I'm sorry, it's silly, but I feel really excited about answering this question!
stuffed baked potatoes...you can put anything in there from fresh salad to roasted veggies, add different cheeses (or faux cheeses) and you still get that filling element because of the potatoes.I bake a batch of potatoes over the weekend so we can have one leftover night of stuffed baked potatoes (usually with leftover chili or burrito fillings as we're not vegetarian), and stuff salads into them at work for lunch.
Rather than point out specific recipes, allow me to share my basic (vegetarian) system for organizing recipes that should shine some light on other things to think about. My main courses are organized into five categories, and only one of them contains pasta (conveniently enough, the pasta category). The other four categories are bread based (sandwiches, quesadillas, panzanella, etc.), salads and/or grains, soups/stews, and protein and/or veggie based (this is all of the meat substitutes, as well as beans, lentils, eggs, and vegetables outside of the context of the other categories).Hopefully that gives you an idea of where to start thinking.
Hi,I'm the one who sent in the question although my name is not Danielle. (Maybe it was combined with someone else's question?) Thank you for all the ideas!Just to clarify, I'm not trying to cut out carbs/pasta, it's just I feel like I'm at a lost when I'm trying to makesomething NOT with pasta. I LOVE pasta and it's my admitted crutch--throw anything with pasta and it's a meal.I just don't want to replace my lack of meat with an overabundance of pasta.I don't have that much experience with lentils so I might try that next but I do like quinoa and recently discovered the wonder that is quinoa bowls.-K
We eat a lot of frittata, heavy on the vegetables with just a few eggs to bind everything together. Sometimes I add cheese, often I don't. I do usually top the almost-cooked frittata with nuts or sesame seeds and put it under the broiler until it's browned and lovely. Some favorite combinations in our house: spinach and mushroom, asparagus and scallion, potato and olive, caramelized onion and anything at all. Frittatas allow me to make dinner from whatever we have in the house.I'm also a big fan of savory pastries, whether they're in flaky pastry crust or a bready dough (think 'calzone dough'). Tonight I'm making black bean empanadas: just sauced black beans, cooked until the juiciness reduces, wrapped up in pie crust (made with a sprinkle of cornmeal and a pinch of chili powder mixed into the flour) and baked until they're crispy and golden. Bonus: I make the pastry with shortening and oil so these are vegan; bonus #2: they freeze perfectly unbaked for a short-notice dinner later on. All kinds of fillings take nicely to a pastry crust: beans, roasted squash, spinach or broccoli and onion bound with a bit of egg and maybe some cheese, sauteed mushrooms with cream.I also love gratins and sort-of-souffles, which gets you away from the problem of bread-based dishes or a steady stream of egg-and-cheese based dishes. A pretty typical dinner for us might be, for example, spinach gratin (spinach in bechamel with an egg beaten in, then baked in a shallow casserole until it's puffed and crispy on top), roasted sweet potatoes or carrots, and a salad, maybe a wedge of cornbread.
Soups, stir fries, hearty salads, and egg-based dishes (like fritatas and omelets) are all great low-carb vehicles for vegetables. If you're ok with carbs you could also incorporate rice, tortillas, beans, or lentils into the meal. One recipe that I love is slices of eggplant baked with chickpeas in a cinnamon-tomato sauce.
When I went Veg I gained some weight because I was eating so many pasta and rice dishes. I went gluten-free and it really took the weight off. Now I just prefer to eat mostly vegetables/beans/salad/eggs etc. and no flour/rice. I do eat quinoa but I try not to use it more than 1x week. Lots and lots of gluten-free recipes on the web, and if you cook for a family then it's pretty easy to just eat a bowl of stir-fry while they eat rice, or eat veggie Bolognese sauce over sautéed zucchini, or chili over a sweet potato etc.
I post daily recipes on my website, mostly vegetarian (this started as a--successfu!l--attempt to get myself to cook more). I make a lot of black beans/Mexican food, lentil and other soups, and frittatas. This was a recent recipe I loved: http://emmycooks.com/2012/03/16/quinoa-cakes-with-cheese-garlic-and-herbs/My favorite vegetarian cookbooks are by Deborah Madison, and Heidi Swanson's books are close runner-ups.
Any indian meal with Bean or lentil curries, dry veggie stir fry sides and flat bread make for a balanced meal. A lot of things can be prepped before hand too!checkout some curries, dry sides and other options in a picture collection here Indian curries and sides album from HobbyAndMore !
the one week i tried to be a vegetarian (i like meat too much to go longer than that!) i made sure i wasn't relying on pasta to fill the gaps, so i went for things like vegetarian chili, eggplant parm, and quiche (if you are still eating eggs and cheese).
I make a lot of quiche and tarts for dinners because my boyfriend (non-vegetarian) loves them and they also make great breakfasts the next day. My favorite is a swiss chard tart like this one: http://smittenkitchen.com/2008/01/leek-and-swiss-chard-tart/but using a frozen whole wheat pie crust, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 cup of parmesean cheese and no cream or milk (which makes it more dense and less like a quiche).
Heidi Swanson's site, http://www.101cookbooks.com is my go to location for great veg recipes.
I would say head to your local library and get Mark Bittman's veg cookbook. It's awesome and really opens the doors past just chickpeas and curry dishes- I will not cook curry at home and chickpeas are my least favorite, and many veg recipes seem to rely on them.I also love to peruse foodgawker for inspiration!!
I am Indian and vegeterian. Indian food has lot of options - check any Indian food blog or recipe center.
I love making vegetarian tacos for dinner - sauteed potatoes (or sweet potato) and sometimes a scrambled egg with some simple additions like salsa and greens. Super easy and always hits the spot.
Nourishing soups are great because you can make a big pot and then freeze the rest! Lentil or bean soups are very nourishing or soups with potatos. Or vegetables soups with some rice. Quinoa, Bulgur, rice, polenta are all good alternatives to pasta. Or potatos in all variations! If you're bored by those things too, Vegetable dishes can also become full meals by adding one or two fried or poached eggs.
Oh, Frittatas, omelettes, crèpes ect. are good too. Especially fritattas are practical, easily adaptable & make nourishing and satisfying meals.
I do a really, really simple veggie dinner: sauteed vegetables and roasted potatoes. Simple as that. I tend to sautee leafy greens like collards or kale, but any veggies will do. Roast some potatoes with olive oil and herbs and throw together. Much more filling than you'd think!
Bean tacos are the bomb. Ditto roasted veggies. You can have "pasta" like dishes like julienned zucchini or spaghetti squash that are just lovely. And a lot of your favorite pasta dishes can probably be substituted for whole grains like the aforementioned quinoa, spelt or wheat berries, barley, etc.Chickpeas are another excellent pasta replacer, in my opinion, because they go so deliciously with tomatoes and other Mediterranean vegetables, plus they are filling, so you don't need much to make a meal.Having decent bread on hand always makes a special treat. With a brothy vegetable soup or even just with butter or herbed olive oil and some raw veggies, good bread can be the basis of a fabulous meal.
I'd just like to say seconds to Elsa Macbebekin on the savory pastries - my absolute favorite thing to cook, and so much simpler than it might seem.And seconds to Emmycooks on the Deborah Madison cookbooks. She's wonderful because she'll tell you why you do things at a certain stage, which gives you the confidence to improvise with your own ingredients. Feels like a very generous way to share recipes!
I could have these almost every night and never get tired of them. Delicious!Vegetarian "Meatballs"
I rock my Curried Lentil Poutine on a almost daily basis. It has lots of protein and generally a good mix for a solid vegetarian meal. I go easy on the cheese and fries though to keep it on the healthy side!If you like the recipe vote for it in the Recipe Revelations contest! by "liking" it on their Facebook page!
How come no one mentioned couscous? You can put all kinds of veggies and cooked proteins in it (I personally like roasted peanuts, tiny bits of stir-fried tofu or paneer). Makes a delicious pilaf. Also, coarse ground semolina can be used in a similar way (just make sure to dry roast it a little before cooking with the other ingredients and stock/water).
with all the talk about rice i have to say that a healthier way is to go with brown rice..which has a great texture & taste.. I love sauteing any/ all kinds of vegetables with a bit of cooked rice for a quick dish..as for veggie options..stuffed vegetables..and even savory pancakes with finely chopped vegetables made using different kind of flours..and how bout some veggie burgers!
You can make a great vegetarian chili, even using your favourite recipe. While I don't normally recommend "fake meat" products, the fake ground beef is actually unnoticible in chili, or you can replace the meat with mushrooms, qinoa and beans.@Manjari - Couscous is a type of pasta.
Beans! We make a lot of great vegetarian dishes using beans, such as black bean and sweet potato burritos and soups and stews. There are a lot of great recipes for blended vegetable soups out there as well. Egg bakes and vegetable casseroles are also a good option.
@OPENDESTINY: Oops, I didn't know couscous was considered to be a pasta. Always thought it to be a kind of semolina product. But I guess that's what a lot of pastas are too. Thanks for the info.But nevertheless, using just coarse ground semolina to make a polenta or a pilaf as a side works great.
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