Easy, Healthy Vegetarian Dinner Recipes
Written By: Betsy Wallace
You know what I love? A great vegetarian dinner recipe that leaves everyone happy and full. But this is easier said than done! I can't even count the number of times I've made a vegetarian dinner recipe that ended leaving everyone just sort of...unsatisfied. Kate and I have now cooked over a hundred recipes for our podcast reviews and I've seen some winners, and a few that were so bad that we decided not to even air them (we want to keep the show positive and celebrate home cooking....and it's really hard to do that when you've had a total dinner fail). Here is my collection of favorite vegetarian dinner recipes that we've tested for the Dinner Sisters podcast, all of which have been a hit in my very own kitchen. Enjoy!
Vegetarian Pasta Dishes
This Pasta al Limone recipe from Serious Eats couldn't be simpler. All you need is pasta, lemon, butter and some good Parmesan cheese for a light and delicious weeknight meal. I served this with an arugula salad and more lemon and parm at the table for extra flavor. Love, love, love this for pasta night. (Episode 2)
Another classic is Marcella Hazan's famous tomato sauce. Tomatoes, onion, butter and salt are the only ingredients in this much-written-about, food snob beloved sauce. Hosting a dinner party but you can't REALLY cook (or don't want to)? This sauce, with some good pasta and a nice salad, might be your golden ticket. (Episode 4)
I didn't particularly care for the Cacio e Pepe because I thought the whole thing was WAY too fussy...but Kate loved it so maybe I'll try it again! In any case, it's a cozy, on-trend pasta recipe that is vegetarian and could also be served to friends and family alike. It is an all around winner if you are in the mood for a decadent, cheesy, pasta-y dinner (and who's going to turn that down!). (Ep 9)
Vegetarian Easy Weeknight Meals
First off, we all know Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen is everyone's favorite home cook. Her recipes are always great - she will never steer you wrong. We've reviewed quite a few of her dinner recipes on the podcast, but two in particular are worth calling out for their weeknight meal potential.
This sweet potato taco recipe deserves a spot in your rotation. Delicious roasted sweet potatoes topped with pickled onions, avocado...just about anything you want. It's easy, healthy and family-friendly.
In that same line, we also loved her weeknight nachos recipe. Same basic idea - just load your nachos up with cheese and healthy toppings like black beans, corn, avocado, etc. Both are winners and you should try at least one of these recipes this week! You won't be sorry.
Building on the east weeknight meal theme, this chickpea shawarma recipe was so flavorful! We both loved it and you really can't ask for any easier weeknight dinner, especially if you're using canned chickpeas and store-bought pitas.
Vegetarian Soups and Salads
To round out the list, I've got a few vegetarian soups and salads that we loved. I think the key to serving soup for dinner is to make sure you are also serving a salad, bread...maybe a dessert. Just soup = hangry masses. A delightful soup with some sides = happy campers (at least that's how it goes in my house, I feel like we're not alone in this).
I thought this broccoli cheddar soup made a nice light winter dinner, served with some rolls and maybe a heavier dessert. I like to do an apple crisp or a fruit cobbler...it feels like my kids are eating more fruit even though I AM FULLY AWARE of the 2 cups of sugar accompanying the apples. The lighter soup dinner balances out the cobbler and ice cream on a weeknight (at least to me)! This kind of meal is a cold-weather favorite of mine.
We have had so many people tell us that they love this kale, apple and cheddar salad from the New York Times cooking section. In our podcast, we made it as a side with chicken breast but it is hearty enough to stand on its own as a lighter dinner. Or with a soup course (and then heck...throw in a cobbler at the end!).
On our tomato episode that aired in August, we made a tomato and stone fruit salad that was absolutely amazing, but only, ONLY, if you make it with peak season fruit. if you are in possession of the season's best tomatoes and peaches, treat yourself and make it.
There are so many delicious, filling, vegetarian dinner recipes out there! It just takes awhile to find them. And I'm also learning that a vegetarian dinner is sometimes most successful when there are a few dishes (soup, salad, side, dessert). That keeps people full, happy and healthy...exactly what you want! Do you have a favorite vegetarian dinner recipe? Let us know!