Looking to lower your intake of meat but aren’t too familiar with cooking plant based dishes? Don’t worry, there are plenty of easy and delicious options to choose from. Here are 20 of my favorite vegetarian recipes. They are so tasty and satisfying, I promise you won’t be missing the meat!
OK… How common is this scenario?
You finish up a beast of a day at work – and your grumbling belly reminds you that you’re probably going to need to crank the burners on and make dinner before you can truly feel like a human being again.
You’re tempted to just order delivery. BUT you’re trying to up your vegetable intake and watch the calories in the process.
Hey, I’ve been there. Trust me, I feel your pain!
Well, this is the antidote 🙂
I’ve put together 20 vegetarian dinner ideas that will come in handy when you’re looking for a healthy recipe that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
And to keep it super easy and confusion-free, these vegetarian recipes are actually 100% plant based.
That’s right, 20 vegan recipes to keep it easy on the home-chef AND delicious for you and your family.
Tips and tricks for making delicious vegetarian meals
- Mushrooms and lentils make great substitutes for ground meats. Chopped and cooked mushrooms are loaded with great texture and umami flavor (umami is the savory flavor meats like beef and roast chicken have in spades). Legumes like lentils can be used to round out the texture of a dish like chili or bolognese sauce. Bonus: mushrooms and lentils are super healthy!
- Roast your veggies. It may seem rather simple, but roasting a cauliflower head until it’s caramelized on the outside is delicious and hearty. Same idea with these pan sauteed carrot steaks. Veggies can go a long way even when using the simplest of cooking methods.
- Use meat substitutes… sometimes. Craving a burger, but doing the whole #MeatlessMonday thing? Pick up some plant based burger patties (Beyond Burger makes the best patties. They are so good in fact you won’t be able to tell the difference between real vs fake meat!) and grill them up with all the fixings. We live in a golden age of meat-like products that appeal to vegetarians, vegans and omnivores alike. But, hey… not all the time! Like all processed foods, it’s best to consume these in moderation 🙂
- Keep it in-season. Yummy vegetarian recipes and fresh produce go hand in hand 😊. When shopping at the grocery store, you’re likely to get better peas in the springtime. And pomegranates are typically freshest in the fall and winter. But aside from getting the best produce if you shop in season, you’re also going to save a few bucks in the process.
Who are these vegetarian dinner recipes for?
Now, you may be super familiar with whipping up vegan meals at home.
Or you may have frantically typed WHAT CAN I FEED A VEGAN into your browser’s search bar after finding out you’ll be cooking for a plant based eater tomorrow night.
No matter your familiarity or skill-level, these vegetarian recipes are no-fuss ideas anyone can prepare and enjoy!
In short, these vegan dinner ideas are for YOU 🙂
So without further ado, let’s cook!
This is one of my absolute favorite vegan recipes because it showcases just how effective mushrooms can be when used in place of ground meat. Even in the most iconic of pasta recipes, chopped mushrooms do the heavy lifting in this hearty tomato sauce. And I have a simple secret for nailing the perfect texture of a meat sauce. Sound impossible? Read the post and find out what it is! Get the recipe
Farro is an ancient grain with some major substance. It’s the perfect choice for this lighter take on the most indulgent of rice dishes. Seriously, this vegetarian farro risotto is prime comfort food – minus the fat! Get the recipe
Sweet, tangy, savory and a little spicy – with eggplant so tender it basically melts in your mouth. Ready in 15 minutes from start to finish. Yep – this is the perfect takeout fakeout. Grab the rice and dig in! Get the recipe
This vegan take on the classic shepherd’s pie is so hearty that my mother refused to believe that it was 100% plant based until I made it a second time with her in the kitchen. Loaded with lentils, savory gravy and topped with pillowy mashed potatoes, this is a full flavored homage to the original. Hey we could call this vegan version a shepherdless pie, ha! Get the recipe
File this one under: you gotta try this to believe how good it actually is! Who would think young jackfruit smothered in BBQ sauce could ever taste like a pulled pork sandwich. Smokey, savory, sweet and tangy – this is real deal cookout perfection! Get the recipe
Mmmm… This sauce packs a punch and is oh so creamy. Pan caramelized mushrooms do a wonderful job standing in for the porky elements normally used in spaghetti carbonara. This is another recipe that is absolutely full of crafty tricks to approximate the taste and texture of an indulgent carbonara sauce. So read the post to uncover the truth. Oh, and be sure to set aside some of that pasta cooking water! Get the recipe
With all the flavors of an iconic vegetable fried rice, you’ll have a tough time believing it’s completely vegan. Seriously, vegetarians and omnivores alike will dig in with abandon! Use brown rice to make it healthy and super substantial. Get the recipe
The bold flavors of a chili con carne are totally evident in this plant based comfort food powerhouse. Most of the spices you’ll need are likely on your spice rack already. And if you’re following a vegan diet, this is the perfect time to try out vegan shredded cheese. It makes a great chili topper! This is the perfect example of a vegetarian recipe tasting better than a meat based one. Get the recipe
This traditional Korean noodle dish gets a ton of flavor from a savory fermented black bean paste. Instead of the usual pork, veggies like cabbage, zucchini, mushrooms and celery make it garden fresh. A great introduction to Korean food and vegan eating! Get the recipe
Of all the delicious food out there, this mapo tofu is firmly in my top 3 favorite recipes of all time. Again, mushrooms step in for the usual ground pork you find in traditional mapo tofu recipes. And again, they crank the flavor into the stratosphere. Umami: level 11. Seriously, try this! Get the recipe
Not only can vegetarian recipes taste better than meat based dishes, they can also look really stunning. Look at this colorful bowl of kung pao cauliflower! Just as the name would have you believe, this is a meat free nod to a classic kung pao chicken recipe. And in the spirit of delicious Chinese takeout, it’s got ALL the flavors. Spicy, smokey, savory… oh, and vegan! Get the recipe
It’s pretty common for people to equate vegetarianism with tofu. Well, this isn’t the bland, soft bean curd you may have tried before. Nope! The tofu cubes are dusted with cornstarch and pan fried to crispy perfection. Then they’re coated with a sweet and sour sauce that might give your favorite Chinese restaurant a run for their money! Get the recipe
I’m a BIG fan of chewy glass noodles. And while they don’t look like it, they’re actually made from sweet potatoes! If those lovely clear noodles are coated with a savory, sweet and nutty sauce, I’m a happy girl. Toss in a few stir fried veggies and I’m in heaven. YUM! What about you? Get the recipe
This healthy burrito bowl is LOADED with delicious toppings. Mashed avocado, beans and jalapenos all sit atop a bed of black rice. This easy vegan recipe will come in handy when you absolutely need some south-of-the-border-flavor in your life! Get the recipe
Sure, these Sichuan noodles are spicy… But not in that melt your entire face off way 🙂 Plus, with an minimal ingredients list and short cooking time you’ll wonder how the heck these yummy noodles have so much dang assertive flavor! You’ll be coming back for seconds for sure. Get the recipe
Sometimes you get an itch for Southeast Asian food that only a good Thai curry can scratch! This vegan potato curry is packed with warming spices and has the subtle sweetness of coconut milk coursing through it. Each spoonful is like a trip to Bangkok (no air miles needed)! Get the recipe
Goodness abounds in this hearty bean curd recipe. I use cumin, paprika and chili powder (among others) in my Southwestern spice blend. And since these tofu steaks are baked instead of fried, they not only taste great – but are on the lighter side. Layer quinoa, corn, black beans and jalapenos underneath and make it into a delicious and healthy baked tofu bowl! Get the recipe
While a traditional Japanese tantanmen calls for things like chicken broth and ground pork, it’s SUPER easy to use alternative ingredients to whip up a vegan dinner for the family with just as much flavor. Mushrooms and red bell peppers are sauteed with gochujang and loaded atop ramen noodles. The star of this vegetarian powerhouse is the soy and sesame flavored broth! Get the recipe
It’s not too often that you get to dig into a rich stew a mere 25 minutes after you start cooking. Well, a soybean paste called doenjang (된장) does most of the heavy lifting in the flavor department. All you have to do to complete this savory stew is chop a few veggies and add tofu. Easy AND delicious! Get the recipe
I always tell my friends and readers that if they’re on the fence about tofu, eating it in this recipe is a great start. Because what’s not to love about Cantonese pan fried noodles!? Making this easy vegetarian recipe will fulfill both your desire to eat delicious Chinese food on the couch while watching TV – and your resolutions to eat healthy home cooked meals. Win/win! Get the recipe
More Vegetarian Recipes
- Slow cooker pinto beans
- Whole roasted cauliflower head
- Chinese lotus root salad
- Smoky avocado toast with miso
- Mashed potato cakes
- Mexican style tofu scramble
- Baked breaded tofu chicken