Culinary Arts

12 Easy, Healthy Vegetarian Recipes: Homemade Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

Written by MasterClass

May 24, 2019 • 2 min read

There’s never been a better time to be a vegetarian (or even a meat-eating vegetable-sympathist). It’s better for the planet, it’s better for you, and the world of vegetarian recipes is vast and brimming with new creativity.

Whether it be a fried rice stir-fry, or a Thai tofu coconut curry, vegetarian meals are incredibly simple to execute, since great produce requires next to no fiddling. Vegetables aren’t divas like meat can be. Of course, they’ve always known this. They’ve just been waiting for us to catch up.

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7 Quick, Healthy Vegetarian Favorites

  1. Spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash are thin-skinned and delicate, which means they roast up quick. Simply scrape out the cooked flesh with a fork and voila: vegetable noodles you can dress up with everything from an herb marinade to a little hot honey—though plain old salt and pepper works great, too.
  2. Superfoods like quinoa and light pastas like couscous are easy to make and become a versatile addition to weeknight dinners. Just cook a big batch on Sunday, and use them in salads, grain bowls and alongside roasted vegetables all week long.
  3. Condiments. There are two very worth roads to take in the realm of fermented fizzy cabbage: kimchi and sauerkraut. Learn how to kick your condiments up a notch with homemade versions of both.
  4. Avocado. Toast is only the beginning: creamy, protein-packed avocados lend themselves to any number of creative presentations. Whip up a batch of avocado tempura as an easy starter, or use it in salads and pastas.
  5. Chimichurri. Chimichurri might have roots in the roasted meats of Argentina, but this herbaceous, spicy mix of chopped leafy green herbs and chili pepper dresses up both raw and grilled vegetables, too. You can add it as a garnish to hummus, too!
  6. Roasted vegetables tossed in a light drizzle of olive oil, like sweet red peppers, or this recipe for summer tomatoes and zucchini from Chef Thomas Keller. Nothing pulls the natural sweetness from peak-season vegetables like a quick trip to the oven, where edges crisp up and insides begin to soften and caramelize into deeper, more complex flavors.
  7. Sweet potatoes. Once you know you way around a sweet potato (and its doppelganger, the yam), there’s no limit to what you can do with them. Hearty and filling, roasted sweet potatoes can become the base for vegetarian tacos with black beans and pickled red cabbage, or stand in for slices of bread for a build-your-own gluten-free open-faced sandwiches.

5 Vegetarian Main Dishes and Side Dishes

  1. Roasted cauliflower. Forget beef: a golden-brown roasted cauliflower steak is all the centerpiece you’ll ever need. Chef Gordon Ramsay serves his with an olive pistou and porcini mushrooms.
  2. Comfort foods like Chef Thomas Keller’s potato gnocchi with pomodoro or Wolfgang Puck’s mac and cheese are proof that vegetarian dinner recipes can absolutely feel rich and indulgent.
  3. Ratatouille. This classic French country dish of tomatoes, eggplant, onions, and butternut squash is the penultimate one-pot ode to late summer.
  4. Chana masala. Full of protein and fiber from powerhouse chickpeas, Indian chana masala is a spiced stew that carries a meal on its own (perhaps beneath a perfectly fried egg or serving of refreshing yogurt raita), or as a side dish.
  5. Frittata. Italian for “fried,” this egg-based brunch staple is good any time of day, and provides a blank canvas for all shades of vegetarian masterpiece. Pack it with leafy greens, swirls of goat cheese, or roasted seasonal vegetables.