If you’re looking for vegetarian recipe ideas without tofu, you’ve come to the right place. This list is a collection of my favorite vegetarian dinners. And who am I to have a curated list of vegetarian menu items? Well, I was a vegetarian for 15 years so I know a thing or two about meatless Mondays.
Try telling someone, “I’m a vegetarian” and just watch their reaction. The majority of people look at me with an expression of shock and horror and say, “Don’t you miss steak?!” Well, no, not in the slightest. Or, “Do you just eat tofu? Yuck!”
These reactions are understandable, but unfortunate. To the first type of people, I disagree, I think steak is overrated. Even now that I’m not a strict vegetarian, I have no desire to eat steak. But, to the second group — the “tofu = yuck” camp, yeah,.. I’m actually right there with you. Tofu is gross.
Yes? Well, you might be wondering what in the world a tofu-hating vegetarian eats?
Actually, a lot more than you might think!
A vegetarian diet isn’t as limiting as people make it out to be, and there are more options out there than you might imagine. The key is to be creative and eat a wide variety of fruits, veggies, grains, proteins and healthy fats. Admittedly, this is easier said than done. Planning ahead and being intentional to make sure you are getting all of your necessary nutrients is an important part of being a healthy vegetarian.
And to help you with your planning — here’s a list of my favorite vegetarian recipes. I hope you enjoy trying some new meatless meals!
One Pan Dinners
One Pan Mexican Quinoa. I’ll just come out and say it: quinoa can have a bad rap. And, to be perfectly honest, plain quinoa isn’t something I’d be excited to eat either. Set those reservations aside, however, because you won’t even taste the quinoa. Even my kids eat it, and it’s. so. easy. I’m able to get the food from my pantry/fridge to our plates in about 35 minutes tops. I also feel great about eating it because 1) it has a ton of Dietary Fiber, and 2) you’ll be getting 30% of your recommended daily amount of protein in one serving!
For even more protein, toss in an extra can of black beans. Also unless you’re feeding a crowd and won’t have leftovers, top your quinoa with the avocado, rather than mixing it into the dish. I also appreciate that this could be a vegan recipe without tofu, if you serve without a topping of cheese.
One Pot Tandoori Quinoa: This is a bit of a spicy one, but can be adjusted if you don’t quite like the kick.I love that this is a one pot dinner so it’s super easy clean up!
Curried Chickpea Salad: This would probably be more appropriately called a one-bowl-dinner as there’s nothing to cook and a pan isn’t required. Yes, you read that right, there’s no cooking involved which also makes this a perfect summer recipe. Make this in place of the typical chicken salad or tuna salad.
This recipe is intended to be made vegan but I prefer adding real mayonnaise and usually make it that way.
Crispy Black Bean and Rice Burritos: This straightforward recipe is a weeknight classic at my house. We like to eat them topped with slices of avocado and hot sauce, so grab your favorite variety and enjoy!
Sweet Corn and Black Bean Tacos: As far as tacos go, I’ve never met a (meatless) taco I didn’t like… Does that make me a good judge of tacos or a poor one? I think the former. Anyhow, these tacos are at the top of my (long) list. Corn, jalapeno, black beans and a splash of fresh lime juice = win!
Obviously, fresh corn is ideal, but when fresh isn’t in season I use canned corn instead.
Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls: Here I go again, recommending another quinoa dish. But, hear me out: the cilantro lime crema is the star of the show and you’ll be thanking me for the rec’. Honestly, I mix it up with this dinner a lot – In my opinion, as long as you have some kind of roasted veggies, an avocado, and the cilantro lime crema you’re good to go.
Refrigerate any leftover cilantro lime crema, and use it as a salad dressing the next day!
Spaghetti squash alfredo: Real talk: pasta is one of my favorite foods…I’d eat it everyday if it wasn’t so high in carbs. Enter spaghetti squash. It is a low(er) carb alternative that also has 2 grams of fiber per cup. I love how the mildly sweet and nutty flavor tastes with alfredo sauce.
The time required to make this dinner will depend on your chosen cooking method for the spaghetti squash. I personally like to roast it in the oven so that the edges get a little bit caramelized, but cooking it in a microwave or instapot will work just as well and will shorten the cooking time significantly.
If your s/o is anything like my husband and would still like to eat meat, this is a great dinner to cook meat on the side. My husband grills Italian sausage to pair with this dinner, and although I’ve never tried it myself, he tells me it’s pretty tasty.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna: I love this recipe because the homemade sauce is made with red wine — which means, you have a perfectly legitimate excuse to open a bottle and start drinking while you’re prepping dinner. WIN WIN!
Personally, I dread mushrooms. This recipe calls for them but I just omit them, if you’re not a mushroom hater then by all means, enjoy them.
Garden Vegetable Lasagna: Did I mention that pasta is my favorite food? Here’s one of my favorite recipes for my favorite foods. It has to be good right?! I like to make this for dinners when we have company over because I can make it before people arrive, and then have it ready to pull out of the oven when we’re ready to eat.
Chickpea Tomato Minestrone: My favorite soup recipe that’s simple yet hearty. Easy enough for a weeknight but also fancy enough for company. This soup is full of veggies which helps make up for the pasta.
My favorite kind of pasta to add to this soup is orecchiette and I turn off the soup while the pasta is still a little al dente because it will continue to cook a bit while the soup cools down.
No-Chicken Noodle Soup: There’s nothing quite like chicken noodle soup when you’re sick. And as a vegetarian, I really missed this simple comfort food. I searched for a vegetarian friendly version of chicken noodle soup and this one is my favorite!
I like to dice up a few potatoes and add to the recipe. Reames Homestyle Egg Noodles are my personal favorite, but don’t take my word for it, try them out for yourself!
Easy Tuscan Bean Soup: I don’t make this as often as most of the other recipes on this list, but it is a tasty soup, nonetheless.
Three Bean Chili: Chili is another one of those foods that’s hard to fake. Is it even chili without meat? The jury is still out on that one. But, “chili” or not, this is good eating for the omnivore and herbivore alike.
Vegetarian Crock Pot Taco Soup: Crock pot dinners for vegetarian meals seem to be few and far between. Is that just my perception or do you feel that way too? I appreciate that this dinner is the exception to that!
I hope you’ll give some of these recipes a try and let me know in the comments if you like them! And, if you’re considering making the switch to a vegetarian diet, I would suggest finding a registered nutritionist, and reading some of these vegetarian resources. Enjoy!