15 Dinners to Cook for Your Favorite Vegetarian
Savvy cooks know a steak dinner isn't the only meal worthy of a special occasion. Plant-based mains boast bold flavors and colors for a show-stopping presentation. If you need a dazzling Valentine's dinner or simply want a memorable veggie-centric main for your next date night in, these meatless meals are dishes your significant other won't soon forget. Show you care with savory vegetable pastries, rich, plant-centric pastas, soul-warming soups, and more. So ditch the wait at that fancy restaurant and reserve your kitchen table for two.
Savory Root Vegetable Galette
This rustically elegant root vegetable tart is welcome addition to any fall or winter spread. Serve it as an eye-catching appetizer, or enjoy a slice as a light vegetarian main alongside a simple green salad.
Plan to put this easy and comforting vegetarian pozole on repeat all season long. The vibrant stew offers the smoky, delicately spicy, and bright flavors characteristic of traditional pozole, simply without the pork. Fresh spinach and red kidney beans add color and hearty texture, while also upping the iron and protein content of the pozole. So whether you or loved ones follow a meat-free diet or are simply looking to cut back a little on the animal protein, it’s a perfect (not to mention, perfectly simple) dish that’s sure to impress.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter
Broccolini, Red Pepper, and Roasted Garlic Frittata
This vegetable frittata makes a perfect meatless main for a busy weeknight. Before cooking the eggs, we combine them with cottage cheese for a luscious, creamy texture and fresh garlic for bright and spicy flavor. Plenty of fresh herbs give an extra boost of flavor—we use parsley and oregano, but you can easily use any herb you have on hand.
Greek Salad Lasagna
Greek salad and lasagna work well as individual entities, and together they meld together in a family friendly, big ol’ plate of food. Sharp flavors from olives, feta, red pepper and red wine vinegar liven up an otherwise classic dish. We used olives from the bar at Whole Foods—if you use brine jarred olives, you may want to reduce the amount so it doesn’t overpower the rest of the dish. Use bell peppers that are the same size so they’ll finish cooking at the same time. You can make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days—if you cook from cold, you’ll need to increase the cooking time. For nice clean cuts on the lasagna, let it rest for an hour before cutting it.
Instant Pot Vegan Mushroom Risotto
Looking for a vegan dish that doesn’t taste like it’s missing anything? We’ve got it right here. This Instant Pot vegan risotto is creamy and perfectly cooked with a slight “bite” to it. The lemon is subtle yet bright, and the mushrooms and stock add a great savory flavor. There’s no reason to stand over a pot to make risotto—this is the best way to cook risotto now, and one of the best ways to use an Instant Pot. We used Imagine Vegan Chicken Broth, which resembled chicken broth more than vegetable broth and is ready available at Whole Foods and other health food stores.
Creamy White Bean Fettuccine Alfredo
Pureed with flavorful aromatics, white beans shine as a dairy-free hero, delivering creamy, rich body to our vegan Alfredo sauce. Whether you follow a vegan diet, you’ve cut out dairy, or you’re simply looking for a delicious (low-fat) new pasta dish to add into your rotation, you’re going to love this flavorful white bean Alfredo. The nutritional yeast is a key ingredient of the sauce, as it provides a near-cheesy umami flavor, so it’s worth picking up even if it’s not already a staple in your pantry.
Grilled Eggplant-and-Corn Romesco Napoleons
Eggplant is an incredibly versatile vegetable and a good choice for meatless meals. In this cheesy Rollups recipe, eggplant stands in for a delicious substitute for pasta. Eggplants enjoy the same growing conditions as tomatoes, so try growing your own this year.
Grilled Eggplant and Purple Cauliflower Caponata
Purple cauliflower is becoming more widely available at farmers markets; white cauliflower would also be delicious here.
Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos
This flavorful fiesta-on-a-plate involves an unlikely main ingredient: fruit! Jackfruit is an extremely versatile ingredient because it absorbs and takes on the flavors of spices and other ingredients incredibly well, which helps lend these tacos their authentic flair. The fruit itself is pale in color and has a flaky, meaty texture, which makes it the perfect meat substitute for a vegetarian or vegan dinner option so everyone can enjoy it.
Grilled Tofu with Peanut Sauce
This grilled tofu is super tasty and would satisfy vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Grilling tofu gives the exterior a nice char without altering the taste, while the sauce boasts some seriously good flavor. Dusting on a little brown sugar gives the perfect amount of sweetness. The peanut sauce can be made ahead of time and keeps in the fridge for a week.
Instant Pot Rajma Masala
Rajma Masala is a popular dish in northern India with bright and fragrant qualities. It’s very flavorful, and the depth of flavor from pairing fresh ingredients and spices creates something that’s refreshing and comforting at the same time. Adding some yogurt at the end helps thicken the dish, but the most important ingredient you can use here is good quality vegetable broth. Serve over basmati rice with ghee, extra yogurt, herbs, pickles, and lime wedges on the side.
Greek Eggplant Skillet Dinner
Protein-rich tofu teams up with meaty eggplant in this Greek-inspired skillet supper. Pick up San Marzano tomatoes if you can find them; their sweet flavor and low acidity balance the flavors of this dish. Crush them gently with your hands before chopping to release any excess juices. Be sure to purchase extra-firm tofu so that it holds its shape. Serve with toasted whole-wheat pita bread.
Saran's eye-opening technique here is to pat the tofu dry very briefly, rather than for 20 or 30 minutes. This keeps it moist and creamy inside, and the outside still gets browned. Look for ghee--clarified, toasted butter--at Indian or Asian markets.
This simple and vibrant vegetable tart is great go-to recipe for entertaining. Encasing all of the classic flavors of ratatouille in a buttery, flakey crust (not to mention, adding a sprinkling of creamy goat cheese), is a beautiful and delicious way to enjoy a bounty of summer produce. Pre-roasting the vegetables allows them to develop nice color and keeps them from leaking liquid onto the crust while you bake the assembled tart. Serve as an appetizer or with a green salad for a light and lovely meal.