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Vegetarian meals (less pasta, more beans)


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I need ideas. We’ve been mostly vegetarian for years but I’m getting bored with my meals. Not only bored, but realizing that because I’m trying to cut back on my carbs, I need some dinner meals that are heavier on proteins. Too many of our favorite vegetarian meals contain pasta. I have a few bean dishes but I’d be interested in more. And I’d even be willing to try other protein sources. (Mushrooms don’t agree with me, so those are an absolute no-no.) Some cheese is ok, but I am trying to watch my calories so nothing with lots of cheese. TIA for any suggestions. 

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When we weren't nut free, we really like egg roll bowls with edamame and cashews, side of peanut noodles, or fried cauliflower (like fried rice, I do 50/50 but all cauliflower would probably be good) with eggs if you want more protein.

Chilaquiles with black beans and fried egg is another food my kids like 

Smitten Kitchen has a bunch of recipes we like:

Pizza beans

chickpea shakshuka

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I'm sorry to ask - but do you do dairy and eggs?  I once took a meal to a woman who couldn't eat meat while she was pregnant, but she LOVED the spanakopita I made her.  (I asked her first about the dairy/eggs thing.)  LOTS of spinach, but also lots of dairy and eggs.

otherwise - internet searches.  I found a great recipe for sweet potato cakes that way. (like crab cakes, only sweet potatoes.  It's hard to find sweet potato recipes that don't involved tons of sugar - but they're out there.)

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39 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

We went on a lentil kick last year. We have always been black bean heavy, but lentils have been fun. We also have been doing more egg based meals like shakshuka. Maybe change up the flavor profile?

Can I ask what you do with your lentils? I actually like lentils a lot better than other bean options. My husband grew up just eating plain cooked lentils with lots of bread. So we’ve done that too, but now I’m trying to reduce the bread. I also occasionally do lentil tacos. So I’d love to hear if you add anything exciting to your lentils

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21 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

I'm sorry to ask - but do you do dairy and eggs?  I once took a meal to a woman who couldn't eat meat while she was pregnant, but she LOVED the spanakopita I made her.  (I asked her first about the dairy/eggs thing.)  LOTS of spinach, but also lots of dairy and eggs.

otherwise - internet searches.  I found a great recipe for sweet potato cakes that way. (like crab cakes, only sweet potatoes.  It's hard to find sweet potato recipes that don't involved tons of sugar - but they're out there.)

Yes, we do both dairy and eggs. I LOVE spanakopita, but it’s lots of cheese and takes quite a while to prepare so it’s more of a special occasion meal

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13 minutes ago, Amethyst said:

Can I ask what you do with your lentils? I actually like lentils a lot better than other bean options. My husband grew up just eating plain cooked lentils with lots of bread. So we’ve done that too, but now I’m trying to reduce the bread. I also occasionally do lentil tacos. So I’d love to hear if you add anything exciting to your lentils

I cook them and use them in salads or as the basis of a veggie bowl with interesting dressings (lemon tahini, peanut sauce). In also put them in soups and curries. Red lentils are genius because they cook in just minutes

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Taco soup 

1 can each pinto beans, black beans, diced tomatoes (any flavor/style), 1 can corn.   Do not drain just open and dump in a pan with a packet (or 2) of taco seasoning mix.  Add some broth if you like it runnier.

Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or whatever you want.

Goes together in about 5 minutes.

 

 

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59 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

When we weren't nut free, we really like egg roll bowls with edamame and cashews, side of peanut noodles, or fried cauliflower 

Egg roll bowls sound interesting. We like edamame and cashews. I’ve never head if peanut noodles but I’ll try. Do you have a specific recipe for this, or more specific directions. Thanks!! 😋 

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https://reciperunner.com/one-pot-cheesy-mexican-lentils-black-beans-and-rice/

https://kalynskitchen.com/recipe-for-mujadarra-middle-eastern/---I don't use converted rice. I just use regular basmati, in the instant pot. We generally have leftover rice around anyway.

https://pipingpotcurry.com/red-lentil-masoor-dal-instant-pot/

https://cookieandkate.com/roasted-cauliflower-and-lentil-tacos/===this recipe combo over all is delicious and interesting, but I'm not 100% in love with how long they cook the lentils. They come out a bit crunchy when I follow their directions, which I don't like. I pressure cook my lentils instead.  Don't forget to add the cilantro; it adds the brightness that you need to cut through the lentils and cauliflower and to balance the delicious chipotle sauce. If you don't like cilantro, do a squeeze of lime or some fresh onion.

 

 

 

mung beans:

https://thewanderlustkitchen.com/madras-lentils/

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3 minutes ago, Amethyst said:

Egg roll bowls sound interesting. We like edamame and cashews. I’ve never head if peanut noodles but I’ll try. Do you have a specific recipe for this, or more specific directions. Thanks!! 😋 

So, both are things I kind of wing, but here are some recipes that look like what i make.  I use rice vinegar and not apple cider vinegar on the noodles.  
https://marisamoore.com/vegan-egg-roll-bowl/

https://www.crunchycreamysweet.com/thai-peanut-noodles/

 

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15 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Then you could do omelets and frittata.

I already do a frittata that we all love. I know I could expand to variations of frittatas but I think everyone would just prefer I stick with he recipe I have. 

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Do you like tofu? I love to fry it up crisp in stir fry, make vegetarian taco filling with it as well as vegan meatballs. Quinoa is high in carbs, but it is also is a whole grain and a complete protein. Zucchini noodles with a cashew or cheese alfredo sauce is good, too.

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2 minutes ago, Amethyst said:

I already do a frittata that we all love. I know I could expand to variations of frittatas but I think everyone would just prefer I stick with he recipe I have. 

that's the great thing about frittata - you can put in anything that you have on hand. Leftover potatoes are great. Leftover cooked or raw veggies. I have never made the same frittata twice, because for me it's the catch-all-leftovers meal. 

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14 minutes ago, JumpyTheFrog said:

Switch to lentil or bean pastas. They are lower carb and higher protein than regular pasta.

This is a good idea. My older daughter lived in her own apartment for much of this year but she’s back now and she now eats chickpea pasta. I’d be willing to try but hubby…I can’t imagine.  He’s the more vegetarian one, but growing up in his Italian home, pasta is pasta, kwim?

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16 minutes ago, Ottakee said:

Taco soup 

1 can each pinto beans, black beans, diced tomatoes (any flavor/style), 1 can corn.   Do not drain just open and dump in a pan with a packet (or 2) of taco seasoning mix.  Add some broth if you like it runnier.

Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, or whatever you want.

Goes together in about 5 minutes.

 

 

This sounds so nice and easy and yummy. I LOVE soup. I would have soup at least once a week most of the year if it was just me. I hate to blame this all on dh but… he refuses to eat soup. 😞 

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6 minutes ago, Kela said:

Do you like tofu? I love to fry it up crisp in stir fry, make vegetarian taco filling with it as well as vegan meatballs. Quinoa is high in carbs, but it is also is a whole grain and a complete protein. Zucchini noodles with a cashew or cheese alfredo sauce is good, too.

I definitely eat tofu, but for a vegetarian you’d think I would have more recipes using tofu. Dh makes an awesome tofu stir fry, but that’s really the only meal we have using tofu, so I’m very open to other tofu suggestions. 
 

We are having quinoa and beans tonight for dinner! Quinoa is another ingredient I wish I used more. We only have this one meal. 
 

I can’t convince dh to try zucchini noodles (see note about his Italian heritage above). But I like the sound of cashew alfredo sauce. I’m going to look up a recipe for that. 

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11 minutes ago, Kela said:

Do you like tofu? I love to fry it up crisp in stir fry, make vegetarian taco filling with it as well as vegan meatballs. Quinoa is high in carbs, but it is also is a whole grain and a complete protein. Zucchini noodles with a cashew or cheese alfredo sauce is good, too.

Oh, I was just saying to dh yesterday that I miss meatballs with my pasta. Do u make your own meatballs or do you have a brand recommendation?

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Posted (edited)

I love and my family likes this Quinoa Enchilada casserole from Damn Delicious:  https://damndelicious.net/2014/07/07/quinoa-enchilada-casserole/

This is carby 'cause of the rice, but I'm including it in case it gives you other ideas (maybe quinoa instead of rice?) - my family loved this, though I used chickpeas instead of the called-for white beans because one of my kids doesn't like white beans:  https://food52.com/recipes/70422-baked-rice-recipe-with-herbs-beans-peas

Speaking of lentils, which I have not loved but am trying to eat more of; it is meant as a side but stuff could be added:  https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/lemon-lentil-parsley-salad/

Edited by marbel
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10 minutes ago, regentrude said:

that's the great thing about frittata - you can put in anything that you have on hand. Leftover potatoes are great. Leftover cooked or raw veggies. I have never made the same frittata twice, because for me it's the catch-all-leftovers meal. 

Interestingly, both dh and I are very much recipe people. Even when I improvise, I write down what I’m using in case we like it but needs more or less of something. That way, I keep perfecting it until we have a keeper. I envy people who can “wing it” and have things come out consistently good, but I’ve had too many meals by people who wing it and it’s a disaster. 

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Rice bowls!  Here's an example of our favorite 2:

https://asimplepalate.com/blog/nourishing-black-bean-sweet-potato-bowl/

https://www.budgetbytes.com/roasted-cauliflower-taco-bowls/

Once you get the idea you basically just build with rice, we usually have a roasted veg, beans and other stuff: avocado, cilantro, another steamed veg or parched corn--whatever you have or want.  Then you have a sauce like cilantro ranch or a curry sauce or a pesto. Everyone builds their own.

We like curries, pesto and Mexican flavors but you can also google rice bowl sauce. 

Last summer I followed recipe a lot.  This year I do a lot of riffing.  You can't go wrong.

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Salade nicoise (no tuna--use cannellini beans) https://app.plantoeat.com/recipes/15552120

Pineapple-black bean bowls https://app.plantoeat.com/recipes/20605544

Smoky sweet potato boats https://app.plantoeat.com/recipes/19550322

Buffalo or barbecue chickpeas with sweet potatoes https://app.plantoeat.com/recipes/25680871

Creamy vegan bean casserole (you won't taste the eggplant) https://app.plantoeat.com/recipes/16355992

Chickpea flatbread (socca) as a breadish kind of side without grains https://app.plantoeat.com/recipes/22489371

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2 hours ago, Amethyst said:

Oh, I was just saying to dh yesterday that I miss meatballs with my pasta. Do u make your own meatballs or do you have a brand recommendation?

We make “meatballs” with shredded zucchini, egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning

chickpea salad (slightly mashed chickpeas, Mayo, relish, celery, onion etc like tuna salad)

chickpea burritos (chickpeas, taco seasoning, cream cheese)

sloppy joes made of lentils

pot pie substitute lentils for meat

“Chicken fried rice “ substitute chick peas for chicken

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6 hours ago, Amethyst said:

This sounds so nice and easy and yummy. I LOVE soup. I would have soup at least once a week most of the year if it was just me. I hate to blame this all on dh but… he refuses to eat soup. 😞 

Then drain everything and serve over chips, a bed of lettuce, wrapped in a soft tortilla or ????   This is my ultimate versatile meal.

I add in any left over rice, ground beef or cooked chicken (which i know you don't eat), etc.

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7 hours ago, BaseballandHockey said:

Those look delicious.  What do you serve them with?

Usually they are part of a bigger meal which includes chicken shawarma, pita, tahini sauce... this is an addition for the family vegetarian but the rest of us also like them. So they can go in a pita or not; I usually just drizzle them with a little yogurt sauce and/or tahini sauce and eat them on top of some romaine. They are good reheated the next day as well. 

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Quinoa: I put it with a mixture of tomato sauce, onion, kale and a bit of melted cheese (optional). Yum!

vegetable soup with whatever I have on hand and add beans, rice, tofu, cheese for protein

vegetarian chili

egg and avocado salad/ toast

do you eat fish?

 

 

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Has anyone suggested mjeddrah (also spelled mujadara and other variations)? It’s very simple, just lentils (I prefer French lentils), rice, and onions, but absolutely delicious in its simplicity.

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I made a bean salad recently with navy beans, feta cheese, lemon zest, oregano, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, toasted almonds, and cooked broccoli.  Olive oil and I think balsamic vinegar.  
 

It was originally a pasta dish, I am trying some pasta dishes with the pasta replaced by beans.  
 

Edit:  it kept well for 3 days, served cold. 

Edited by Lecka
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Family recipe for really good meatless meatballs:

1 c pecans, 1 c celery, 3/4 c diced onion, 2 cloves garlic - chop all fine or pulse in food processor until fine (but can still identify different ingredients so not a paste).

Add 1/2 c dry bread crumbs, 1 c wheat germ, 1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese, 1 t salt, 1/8 t pepper, 1/4c veg oil, 2-3 eggs beaten. Mix well.

Form into small balls, place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, brush with veg oil and bake 350 degrees until browned. Place in ovenproof dish and cover with tomato juice. Bake, covered, until bubbling.

There are ways to alter like you can fry instead of bake the balls, and you can use tomato sauce (but I think the juice works better - the sauce gets too thick). I freeze the balls after the first bake (before putting them in the tomato juice) and they do well.

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By substituting chick peas and/or sweet potatoes for the meat/fish, you can transform almost any long-simmering curry or tangine to vegetarian.

And there are loads of veg directions if you look Mediterranean, particularly if you do eggs - shakshouka, felafel, Spanish-style "tortilla", a thousand versions of eggplant...

My brother is an absolute wizard at taking really any leftover veg *at all,*  mixing it up with a bit of ground beans *of any type* into a dough-y ball, dumping a bunch of garam masala in, and frying it into delicious yumminess. Dunno that this approach is any healthier than loading up with pasta, LOL, but it mixes up the flavors.

 

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On 7/7/2021 at 3:44 PM, Amethyst said:

Can I ask what you do with your lentils? I actually like lentils a lot better than other bean options. My husband grew up just eating plain cooked lentils with lots of bread. So we’ve done that too, but now I’m trying to reduce the bread. I also occasionally do lentil tacos. So I’d love to hear if you add anything exciting to your lentils

I'm not vegetarian, but I make Meera Sodha's Daily Dal frequently. It is delicious! I eat it with a big scoop of plain greek yogurt, and often some diced avocado.

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So tonight I kicked off my adventures in new recipes that you all have so generously suggested. 
 

I made Crispy Bang Bang Tofu. Mixed reviews sort of. I think we all started off with “wow! This is so good! How did you get it so crispy! Wow the flavors!” but then about half way through our bowls, enthusiasm started to wane. Perhaps the servings were just too big. But dh and dd suggested that it needed something else to balance the textures. The suggestion was made that next time I should make it with broccoli mixed in. I think that’s a good idea. It will be a while before I make it again because I still have so many other recipes from this thread still to try! But I will try it again! 

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Maybe make your own hummus! You can start by cooking up the chickpeas or buying canned chickpeas in water. Also, a tomato base with roasted vegetables (almost like ratatouille) is delicious. You can even start with a tomato base (like a marinara sauce), crack some eggs into, cover with a lid and let them cook for about 10 minutes. You'll have a fragrant tomato sauce with soft hard-boiled eggs in it. Might sound a bit strange but it's a wonderful way to combine eggs and veggies!

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