Jump to content


Shout out to Vegetarians? Help me Please?

Recommended Posts

I'm trying to switch a few (more) of our dinner meals to a more vegetarian flair. Most of the family is sick of spaghetti one night a week as it is and packing in more pasta dishes just doesn't see right. Can anyone help me with some vegetarian "main" dish ideas? I love to cook and am pretty good at it so whatever you throw my way I should be able to figure out.


PS- There's kids involved, a few of them young, under 6. Also, the fam is NOT stoked about tofu, seitan or any other "fake meat" though I do use soy crumbles in soups and they don't know yet....hehehe

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, the fam is NOT stoked about tofu, seitan or any other "fake meat" though I do use soy crumbles in soups and they don't know yet....hehehe


I don't like fake meat either, except for tempeh (used in its own right, not as a meat substitute).


Pastas are a good transition (just eliminate the meat!) and so are beans. Bean chili is fabulous this time of year - easy enough for a crockpot, can be done with canned OR dried beans, and cheap but filling. It also freezes well and gets better with each reheat :D Beans are also great when transformed into bean patties.


Lots of Mexican and Spanish dishes lend themselves well - beans and cheese can be done with burritos, nachos, as a dip for homemade chips (easy to do - cut tortillas and quick bake). Quesadillas with cheese, onions, salsa. Tacos with rice (really good with wild rice) and fillings.


We make "crazy rice" in batches, too - finely chopped or minced veggies onhand (peppers, carrots, celery, peas etc) thrown into a rice bowl. Mix. Veggies are small enough that even most veggie-haters will eat them because they're so colorful and not at all "veggie looking" in this dish.


Soups are another good option this time of year. Chickenless Noodle Soup. Tomato soup. Carrot or squash soups. Borscht (is that how you spell it? My kids eat it at the inlaws and love it.)


We do a lot of roasted veggies - to make it a main dish you could put them on skewers and serve them with a peanut satay sauce over noodles or rice.


Then there is the ever-popular, super-easy stirfry. Just toss veggies into the pot with a bit of oil, then flavor with a hint of sesame oil and serve over rice. Colorful and yummy.


You could also try some breakfast-as-dinner options to tide you over until you find some good recipes to add to your dinner rotation :) that's what my girlfriend did!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, since it's soup/stew season I'll give you this one:

Lentil Stew





French green lentils

lg can tomatoes.


chop onions and add to heated pot with generous amt of olive oil. Carmelize the onions. It takes time but makes the broth wonderful. Add chopped carrots and saute awhile. Add celery and ditto. add garlic, ditto. Add lentils, ditto. When everything has sauteed a while, add tomatoes and juice and add just enough water go give plenty of cooking room. Cook till tender.


When you saute the veggies, you're not going for done but rather flavor. So feel free to add the tomatoes before the veggies are soft. They have plenty of time to get soft while the lentils are cooking. They just taste better this way. Also, French green lentils are our preferred: they remain discrete, individual lentils after cooking. The don't become a mushy mess like brown and red. Also, they are a complete protein while the brown and reds are not. oh, salt and pepper.


Potato Soup






and toppings. our favorites: butter, shredded cheese, bacon bits (fake, obviously), diced tomatoes and chopped green onion.


cover chopped potato (I don't dice but leave them larger) with water. Cook till about half done and add chopped onion and broccoli. Cook till it's all soft.


Drain and add milk to cover and s/p. Don't bring to a boil but get nice and hot. Cook to desired thickness.


serve into bowls and let each top at will. My mom uses all the same ingredients (except real bacon and real milk -- we use soy -- but she puts it all in the soup after it has reached desired thickness.


Frito pie

Make your favorite chili except use morningstar farms patties instead of real meat.


Layer of fritos in the bowl, then chili, then cheese and diced tomatoes, then dollop of sour cream


also pizza is an easy sell for the converting veg.


wraps and soup.


Our favorite wrap is greek. If it's fine you can grill the mushrooms but if not, cook them on the stove or in the oven. In the wrap, put portabella mushrooms, fresh baby spinach, feta cheese, tomato slices, kalamata olives if you like them, red onion, salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil and squeeze of lemon. We like it with soup.


grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup is also a good conversion meal.


You can make chicken/rice casserole with quorn's naked chicken cutlets. My daughter makes Nancy Drew's favorite Ck Rice casserole and veggie packets (foil, center place a whole carrot, wedge of cabbage, sliced leeks, and whatever else you like, [generous] pat of butter, salt and pepper. make one per person) for supper and it's a favorite during the winter. Put the casserole and packets in together and it's easy!


hmmm . . .

baked potatoes with all the toppings. We top with butter, broccoli, cheese, bacon bits, green onion and serve with lots of tomatoes on the side. We get the big bakers and make two: one for hubby and one to split b/t my daughter and me.


it's pasta but lasagna is very popular and very easy.


My ppl like breakfast for supper, too. sometimes we even just have biscuits and gravy.:001_huh: I'm getting pretty durn good at making cream gravy so if you want to know how let me know. It's more of a technique than a recipe though. Ingredients are cream, milk, flour, butter, s/p. Don't worry, if you put in enough love it cancels all the fat.


I know that's not all we eat but somehow it's all I can think of just now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vegetarian Chili


1 onion, chopped

2 T olive oil

1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, or equivalent amt. fresh

2 14 oz cans chili beans

2 14 oz cans black beans

1 t cumin

3 T chili powder

1 T oregano

1/3 c water (may be part red wine, or red-wine-vinegar in a pinch)

1-2 C corn, depending on taste


Saute the onion in the oil till clear in your soup pot. Add the tomatoes, beans, spices, and water. Let simmer on med-low heat for about an hour so flavors can meld nicely, stirring occasionally. Add corn, and cook till heated through.


We serve this with sour cream and cheddar and Fritos, but it's of course fine without any those too. It DOES go really well with corn bread/muffins.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FYI, check your library for anything by Nava Atlas. For more frou-frou cooking you have several options, but for US Standard Issue families with kids, the best choice is Ms. Atlas. She has holiday dinners, she has Americana, she has need it fast, she has soups. Etc. Vegetariana is good place to start.


She has a web site with some recipes:



Other ideas: Spanish rice (I make with brown basmati), ratatouille (which I love over brown basmati rice....and no, I don't have rice daily), Kidgerdee, which I also make with brown bamati rice :lol:. This latter is often spelled differently, but use the ratio 1/2 cup rice, 2/3 cup lentil, 1 large onion sliced thinly and sauteed until light brown in 1/8--1/2 cup olive oil. Cook the rice and lentil separately (I just cook in water until done and drain the extra water...no need to be precise), the rice with some veggie broth powder, drain well, and stir the three ingredients together and serve. This is filling, heavy and protein-filled. I like it with a crisp lettuce only vinaigrette with fruity vinegar, like raspberry, and some herbed, steamed veggies beside. Carrots do especially well, but I have a weakness for lentil and carrots in the same tummy.


Here is a delicious topping for brown rice, or a blob on top of thick lentil soup. I know not everyone loves or has Indian spices, so I made some (suggestions):


Tomatoes Cooked with Bengali Spices from M. Jaffrey's Spice Kitchen


Skin,seed and chop two pounds of ripe toms (or used canned)





Heat 3 T mustard oil to HOT. (You can use peanut or any oil that takes heat well)

Throw in a pre-measured set-aside little bowl of

6 fenugreek seeds

1/4 teas cumin seed

1/2 teas fennel seeds (I go LIGHTLY!)

1/4 teas whole brown mustard seeds

1/8 teas kalonji AKA charnuska (You can skip this) and

1 bay leaf. When the mustard seeds pop, throw in the toms and cover.

turn the heat down to medium. When the water-in-hot-oil roar subsides in

the pot, throw in:

1/4 teas cayenne (1/8 is mild and better than none)

1 teas salt (less if used canned!)

1 1/2 teas dark brown sugar

Recover, lower to low and simmer for about 7 minutes.



This recipe triples well, and keeps. You can use frozen toms you get from your garden. It is delicious minced up a bit, cold on some cottage cheese in the middle of the night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What are your regular meals? Maybe we can tweak them to be vegetarian? We do lots of soups and stews in winter, plus stir frys, mexican etc My kids like Amy's Vegige Burgers, too, when we grill. They use organic soy in most of their burgers. (Boca Burgers aren't organic)


I agree with the idea of tweaking what you like.

If you don't like faux meat, Gardenburger's Veggie Medley's only soy is in soy sauce, and doesn't taste like rubbery fake meat at all. I'm waiting to try their California patty, when I can find it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tortilla pie:


Layer 5 corn tortillas in the bottom of a pie plate.


Put in your favorite filling. (We use potatoes or sweet potatoes, cubed and roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper. You must roast them until just tender before putting them in the pie. Sometimes I make extra potatoes for burrito night or for serving as a side at other meals.)


Top with one cup grated cheese. (We prefer pepper jack, but regular jack or cheddar are delicious too.)


Mix 1-1/2 cups milk with 3 beaten eggs, salt, pepper and diced green onion. You can also add your favorite herbs here if you're so inclined: Parsley, cilantro, oregano, depending on what is in the pie.


Bake for 40-45 minutes at 375, until the cheese is golden and the custard is set. Serve with a green salad.


Leek soup (using a vegetable broth):


Serve with a green salad and yummy bread.


~Sauteed vegetables with rice and bread.

~Black bean soup

~Tofu burritos. We bake the tofu in a light bbq-style sauce, then set out cheese, salsa, sour cream, beans, cubed and roasted potatoes left over from the tortilla pie (I often bake extra for this purpose.), and anything else in the fridge that looks like it might be good in a burrito.

~Squash soup: http://www.worldfamousrecipes.org/2007/09/29/squash-ginger-soup/

~Miso soup, served with rice and sauteed vegetables.


We are not vegetarian, but we eat many meatless meals by choice. Yum.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


ALL of her cookbooks are outstanding. (Robin Robertson)



ALL of her cookbooks are outstanding. (Nava Atlas)



ALL of this group's cookbooks are outstanding. (Moosewood Collective)

Some books include seafood recipes, so are not completely vegetarian.


The two authors and one organization which I listed, I chose as "core" sources for vegetarian cooking. I own (and use) nearly every book available from these sources. So although there are many other excellent vegetarian cookbook authors, selecting from among the many choices published by these three sources provides a fool-proof platform for starting to build a top-quality home collection.


Soy is not needed for vegetarian cooking, although once children are past adolescence, adding soy to the diet allows some delicious new avenues to explore.


Have fun with your explorations !

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had these at a festival and liked them so much we tried making them at home, with a few changes. I don't know how young kids would like them, but they are a hit with my teens.


Eggplant Mediterranean Wraps


Grill or fry eggplant until well done.


Gather together:

whole wheat tortilla

tomatoes - sliced or diced

feta cheese

olives - we've liked kalamata


roasted peppers




Put tortilla on plate, then lettuce, then pile on the rest of the ingredients including the eggplant in whatever order pleases you. Wrap it up and enjoy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would check out the Moosewood Cookbooks.


The stuffed eggplant is delicious!!


Ingredients are mushrooms, onions, eggplant, brown rice, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, soy sauce, basil, oregano and pepper.



:iagree: Lots of yummy stuff in Moosewood Cookbooks!


I also made a dish where I sprayed the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil, poured 1 can tomato sauce over the bottom, placed sliced eggplant (which I had coated with crushed breadcrumbs and sauteed) over the sauce, then added sauteed zucchini and onions, then poured a can of Italian diced tomatoes over all of that- bake at 350 for 15 mins., then sprinkle Italian shredded cheese blend on top and bake for another 15 mins. Very yummy!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love the Quorn products. As far as fake meat goes, they have everything you'd want - flavor, texture. That said, we don't usually do fake meat. The occasional Quorn cutlet or Smart Ground for taco salad is it.


My kids love Butternut Squash and Bean soup (calls for white beans, but I usually use black beans because we have them around - just omit the bacon and use veggie stock). In fact, Cooking Light has a lot of veggie main dishes that are yummy.


We eat pasta in many configurations - marinara sauce, creamy garlic sauce, stuffed pasta with cheese, butternut squash, etc. - and a lot of salad. Grilled polenta with marinara, caesar salad. Potato latkes and salad. Cream-of-anything-in-the-fridge soup over brown rice, salad. French onion soup (I use mushroom broth), salad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of our favorites are veggie pot pie, veggie pizza, taco salad, spinach lasagna, garbanzo/spinach casserole, roasted vegetables over couscous, minestrone soup with crusty bread, bean soup with warm spinach salad. We do eat the meat substitutes, so last night we had (Tofurky) beer brats made on the grill with rainbow slaw and baked beans. We sometimes make sloppy joes with the crumbles.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know fish doesn't fall under vegetarian, but if you're tweaking your week, does that sound like a fair suggestion? As far as tofu, have you tried breading it, dipping it in buttermilk with a little butter, then cooking it on the stovetop? You can dip it in a sauce after that - sort of like a chicken nugget. Use extra firm tofu, then pat it dry between paper towels. I also put spices in my breadcrumbs. Okay, now away from tofu. How about a vegetable soup. Use the large V8 cans, any flavors you like. I use reduced sodium with a smaller spicy V8 can. Throw in your frozen veggies, then flavor with italian seasonings such as oregano and basil. We have this with grill cheese sandwiches a lot. You can find nice soy sliced cheeses at your local health store. We also like to roast veggies in the oven. I put a favorite salad dressing in a ziploc, shake some veggies in it, put it in a roaster pan, then sprinkle a little of a favorite cheese on top. We use parmesan, but again you can find a soy variety if you like or skip the cheese. Good luck on your quest to eating healthier - we're doing the same thing here. The girls are loving it, except for the tofu - I'm the only one on that train. A couple of our daughters will drink the unsweetened soy milk I buy. They also like seaweed sheets - it kind of tastes like popcorn.

Weird, but true.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...