These are perfect meals for meat-eaters who want to include more plants in their weekly menus, as well as diligent vegetarians who are feeling uninspired with what they’ve been eating lately. If either of those descriptions fit you, you’ve come to the right place!
Now, without further ado, let’s dive in and take a look at some of the tastiest vegetarian dinners out there.
First Off: What Makes a Meal Vegetarian?
If you’re not familiar with the vegetarian diet, here’s what you need to know.
- Vegetarians abstain from eating meat. That means no poultry, fish, beef, pork, or any other animals.
- However, the vegetarian diet traditionally still includes eggs and dairy. Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products, and Lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat both dairy products and eggs. Thus, you’ll find some animal products in the recipes listed below.
- The goal of eating vegetarian varies from person to person. Everyone has their own reasons for the way they eat.
So, What Do Vegetarians Eat?
If you’re used to eating every meal with meat as the main event, you might be wondering what vegetarians use to fill the meat-shaped hole on their plates. The answer? Everything else!
Vegetarians eat plates full of veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits, as well as servings of eggs and dairy products. These foods are packed with nutrients, and they’re all the ingredients you need to create a delicious vegetarian menu.
You’ll find plenty of wholesome, healthy, and vegetarian-friendly ingredients in the recipes listed below. We’ll help you get your hands on these ingredients with our service—all you have to do is choose your menu, and we’ll create an optimized grocery list for you. After you add anything else that you need, we’ll arrange for your groceries to be delivered or prepped for you to pick them up. That’s it!
Vegetarian vs. Vegan – What’s the Difference?
You’ve probably heard the terms vegetarian and vegan before, but you might not know what distinguishes them from each other. Here are the key factors that make vegetarian eating different from veganism.
- While vegetarians eat eggs and dairy, vegans don’t eat any animal products at all. Most vegetarians are comfortable with eating eggs or dairy from time to time. However, these foods aren’t compatible with a vegan diet, which doesn’t include any animal products. Vegans also abstain from eating honey, gelatin, and other animal-derived ingredients.
- Some vegetarian meals are also vegan, but not all of them. If you’re an aspiring vegan, more power to you. There are plenty of fantastic vegan-friendly meals on our recipe page, so make sure to head over and check them out.
However, not all of the recipes you’ll find listed below are fully compatible with a vegan diet. Some of our favorite vegetarian recipes are also vegan, but many of the meals we’re covering in this post contain dairy products. Just keep an eye on the ingredient lists to know which ones work for you.
1. Vegetarian Zucchini Lasagna
We’re huge fans of this recipe. It’s the perfect introduction to vegetarian eating for meat lovers, and you definitely won’t be missing the meat in this delicious lasagna.
Lasagna is traditionally prepared with a mix of mozzarella and ricotta cheese – and you can still use these in a vegetarian version of the dish. You don’t need to skip dairy when you eat vegetarian, and this recipe gets plenty of its flavor from the cheese and heavy cream.
While many lasagna recipes call for sausage, ground beef, or another meat, we’ve swapped out those animal-derived ingredients for something a bit more green – zucchini! The flavors of this veggie blend perfectly with the mozzarella and ricotta, absorbing the rich creaminess of the cheeses and adding extra texture to each bite.
This lasagna is the perfect vegetarian dinner – it’s simple, colorful, and perfect for meat lovers and veggie enthusiasts alike.
2. Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry
If you’re looking for a vegetarian dish that’s perfect for the colder months of the year, this is it. Curry definitely needs to be on your weekly menu this winter – it’ll warm you up and give you a little taste of Indian cuisine.
While curry is often prepared with lamb, chicken, or beef, this recipe gets its protein from red lentils. These legumes are packed with nutrients, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals—plus, they taste great.
Legumes like lentils are staples in vegetarian diets, and with this delicious recipe, it’s easy to see why. If you’re starting to dive into the world of vegetarian cooking, this recipe will help you get acquainted with some ingredients that are staples in many veggie-based recipes. In addition to lentils and other legumes, you’re likely to find yourself cooking with more potatoes and sweet potatoes as you make more vegetarian meals.
3. Cauliflower Steak and String Beans
Are you craving steak but avoiding meat? This mouthwatering cauliflower steak is just what you need.
If you just did a double-take, we assure you, you read that right. Cauliflower is a fantastic substitute for steak that is 100% compatible with a vegetarian diet. When roasted in the oven, this cruciferous veggie takes on a mouth-watering texture no one can resist. Add in a juicy marinade, and you won’t believe how good this cauliflower steak tastes.
Meat-free cooking is bound to introduce you to creative alternatives to animal-derived ingredients – like cooking with cauliflower instead of beef. Vegetarians are famous for finding ways to swap out meat for veggies, and this recipe is a perfect example.
In addition to being 100% vegetarian, this recipe is perfect for low-carb eaters. The cauliflower steak is paired with two delicious sides – string beans and mashed cauliflower – both of which contain minimal carbohydrates. The mashed cauliflower looks and tastes similar to mashed potatoes, but it’s an excellent alternative with less starch.
4. White Beans With Pesto
If you’re craving some Mediterranean cuisine, this steaming bowl of deliciousness will get you your fix. It’s full of staples of Mediterranean cooking, including feta cheese and pesto. These ingredients provide your bowl with extra richness and creaminess, making this a dish you’ll come back to over and over again.
Bowls of mixed veggies, beans, and grains – just like this one – are staples in vegetarian cooking. These recipes are incredibly simple and take just a few minutes to prepare, so they’re perfect for busy nights when you want an easy dinner after a long day of work.
In addition to being an excellent dinner for hectic weeknights, this white bean bowl with pesto is a fantastic recipe to add to your meal prep menu. It’ll stay fresh for several days in the fridge, so make it in a big batch and eat it throughout the week.
5. Veggie Nuggets With Mashed Broccoli
Need a kid-friendly vegetarian meal? We’ve got you.
If your kids are on the picky side, they might need a dinner that is familiar, tasty, and simple. This pairing of veggie nuggets with mashed broccoli is perfect for kids and adults alike – it’s got plenty of nutritional value, but it’s also the definition of comfort food.
You can use pre-made veggie nuggets to make this meal, which you can find in the frozen foods aisle at your local grocery store. However, we definitely recommend using fresh broccoli to make your mash. Frozen broccoli tends to have a distinct texture that doesn’t lend itself as well to boiling or mashing.
Grab a fresh head of broccoli in the produce aisle, pick up butter, and pop the veggie nuggets in the oven. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a yummy meat-free dinner on the table.
6. Vegetable Tian
Tian makes a delicious main course or side for any occasion. It’s a beautiful combination of layered and roasted veggies paired with the savory flavors of fresh herbs. The veggies that serve as the foundation for this recipe are tomatoes, eggplant, and zucchini, three staples in Italian cooking that are great at absorbing the flavors from other ingredients.
This is a fantastic recipe to try if you’re already comfortable with meat-free cooking. As an added bonus, our vegetable tian is also completely vegan – it doesn’t contain any animal products at all.
7. Winter Grain and Veggie Bowl
If you’re not crazy about cold weather, one of the best ways to warm yourself up and stay cozy is to enjoy hot, comforting food. This winter grain and veggie bowl, topped with melted goat cheese, is the perfect recipe to whip up when the weather starts getting chilly.
You can make this soothing bowl with any of your favorite grains. We recommend using any of the following:
- Brown Rice: This vegetarian staple is filling, simple, and easy to cook. It absorbs the flavor from vegetable stock, which makes it a perfect fit for this bowl. Brown rice is also a great source of complex carbohydrates, which keep you fuller longer and provide sustained energy.
- Barley: This is an underrated grain that often gets overlooked in wintertime cooking. We love barley because of its light, mild flavor and pleasant texture, as well as how good it tastes when paired with cooked veggies. However, barley, unlike brown rice, isn’t gluten-free.
- Quinoa: This whole grain is packed with fiber and protein, making it a favorite for many vegetarian cooks.
- Couscous: If you’ve never cooked with couscous before, you’re in for a treat. This pearl-shaped grain tastes excellent when paired with just about anything, and it serves as the perfect base for a wintertime dinner.
8. Gnocchi With Mushrooms and Feta
We’re big fans of cooking with a little bit of booze here at JOW. With this Greek-Italian fusion recipe, you’ll get to pull out a little bit of your favorite white wine to add extra flavor.
If you’ve never added a little alcohol to your recipes before, now is the time to start. You don’t have to worry about getting buzzed at dinnertime when you cook with wine – you’re only using a little bit, and the majority of the alcohol cooks down. What you’re left with is a distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with pasta dishes like this one.
9. Homemade 3-Cheese Pizza
Want to feel like the best chef in the world? Try whipping up your own homemade pizza!
Pulling a piping-hot pizza – one you crafted yourself – out of the oven is a way to make any at-home cook a little more confident. Pizza has a reputation for being difficult to make at home, but don’t let that scare you away – it doesn’t have to be hard.
Here at JOW, we are huge fans of pizza. We wanted to make it as simple as possible for you to make your own at home. All you need is three great kinds of cheese – Roquefort, mozzarella, and goat – as well as dough and tomato paste.
You don’t need a fancy pizza oven to make your own pie, either – just use your standard oven and a baking tray, and you’re good to go.
10. Veggie Cheeseburger
If you’ve gone vegetarian recently and miss the taste of meat, this delicious burger is bound to satisfy your cravings. Made with all of the fixings you’d find on a typical cheeseburger, the only difference is the use of a veggie-based patty instead of your standard beef.
While you can always stop by the grocery store and pick up pre-made veggie patties, we recommend making your own out of black beans at home.
Want More Tips, Recipes, and Inspiration?
If you’re an aspiring at-home chef, we’ve got everything you need to get started. Make sure to head over to our cooking page, where you’ll have unlimited access to our massive database of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. If you’re a vegetarian cook, you’ll be happy to find tons more meat-free recipes to try.