Vegetarian recipes are energizing, original and often less expensive than their carnivorous cousin, and that is the reason why a lot of people eat vegetarian or vegan today.
But you know, even if you’re not vegan, you can still enjoy a lot of vegetarian recipes as they help you eat and live healthy.
We have provided a list of 7 easy vegetarian recipes for dinner you and your family will love.
Why Vegetarian Recipes are Good for You
Our bodies benefit from vegetables a lot more than from meat. They contain lots of vitamins and minerals that can repair our body’s functions and eliminate the feeling of being “stressed” and “tired” from doing daily activities.
A high-meat diet might not be able to provide you with everything your body needs and that is why it is best to keep a balanced diet. We hope that our easy vegetarian recipes would be helpful for your future menus.
Vegetables in Peanut Butter Stew
This is a vegetarian recipe stew of pure vegetables in heavenly peanut butter sauce. It’s very fulfilling too. The vegetables work together to flavor the stew and the peanut butter makes a slightly sweet and creamy sauce.
1 block of tofu, cut in medium-sized dices
1 whole Banana bud – the banana blossoms sliced
1 cup string beans cut into equal lengths (about 1/2 inch to 1 inch)
1/2 cup ground peanuts
1 cup eggplants, sliced
1 cup squash diced
1 stalk of chinese white cabbage, sliced lengthwise (root-end removed)
1/2 cup onions, sliced or minced
2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/2 cups of organic peanut butter
3 tbsp fish sauce
2-3 cups of Water
Preparing the Banana Bud:
- Peel the tiny buds and red leaves until you reach the white center part. You may choose to not include the open buds as some of them are no longer edible.
- Cut off the stem and cut in thin slices.
- Immerse in water with fresh lemon juice and set aside.
Cooking the Stew
- In a skillet, spread a thin layer of oil and stir fry the diced tofu until golden brown and set aside.
- In a large pot or saucepan, add 2 tbsp of olive oil or cooking oil and put the crushed garlic and the sliced onions. Once they are browned, add the string beans and sliced banana bud then pour 2-3 cups of water. Let it simmer for 3 minutes then add the diced squash and sliced eggplants. Give a quick stir. Let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the fish sauce and the peanut butter. Stir well to make sure the peanut butter is evenly distributed and for the stew to thicken.
- Bring to a boil and add the stir fried tofu. While it is boiling, turn off the heat and blanch the Chinese white cabbage using the steam by placing it on top and covering the pot with the lid.
- Let it sit for 3 minutes after you turn off the heat.
TIP: When you serve this vegetarian recipe in a plate, you can sprinkle the ground peanuts as toppings.
Seitan (Wheat Gluten) Steaks
Gluten is one of the most protein rich vegetarian and vegan foods you can eat. Most people buy seitan or wheat gluten, but it’s easy to make them if you know how.
Seitan is a great vegetarian and vegan meat substitute. It has the consistency of meat, and with the right flavorings or sauces, people are often fooled and unaware they are eating gluten and not real meat.
I’ll provide a simple instruction on how to make it or you can buy gluten from an Asian grocery near you.
If you don’t have the time or desire to make them, you can buy seitan in many forms at your local grocery store or health food store, in the refrigerator section.
See recipe below on how to make seitan (wheat gluten).
1 pack of gluten(seitan) – cut in small slices or 1/2 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
5 cups water
1 stalk chopped celery
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 cup gravy
- In a large saucepan, braise the onion in olive oil then add celery, soy sauce and tomato juice. Add 3-4 cups of water and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil and add the gluten. Cover and let it boil slowly under medium high heat for 1 hour, or until the gluten has absorbed all the flavors.
- Drain the excess liquid and roll it in cracker or bread crumbs and fry with 1 -2 tbsp of olive oil until browned.
- Serve with gravy and enjoy!
TIP: If you don’t have any gravy, you can dip it in tomato catsup
Water Spinach and Lady Fingers in Oyster Sauce
Water spinach is a very healthy green vegetable and lady finger is a sweet and crisp vegetable. When they are put together in vegetarian recipes, it is a lovely treat especially for those who love to eat less meat. I hope you will enjoy making this recipe.
2 regular bundles of water spinach (washed and sorted)
6 to 8 pcs of lady fingers
3 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sugar and pepper
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice (cane vinegar can also be used)
1 clove of garlic
1/4 cup of water
- In a saucepan, put 2 tbsp of cooking oil and saute the garlic. When brown, add the water spinach with the oyster sauce and sugar and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup of water then add the lemon juice or vinegar and bring to a boil. Stir to let the leaves absorb the flavors.
- Add the lady fingers on top and let it simmer until they are half-cooked and remove and set aside in a plate.
- Serve with rice or bread and enjoy!
TIP: When you serve it on a plate, you can add dried sesame seeds or peanuts. And for the lady fingers, you can put a little of the sauce into it and add some red peppers if you love spicy flavors.
Mashed Carrots Drumsticks
Chicken drumsticks are good but vegetable drumsticks are even better! The crispy sound when crunching lovely vegetables would be nice every once in a while.
Since dinner is not supposed to be too heavy or too light, this can be a perfect new way to enjoy your evening meals without the guilt.
1 1/2 cups of cooked carrots, mashed
3 tbsp melted butter
3 cups soft bread crumbs
1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
Salt to taste
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/2 tbsp onions, minced
1 1/2 tbsp pimiento (red sweet peppers), chopped
- Preheat the oven at 350℉.
- Once the egg is well beaten, mix it with the margarine, mashed carrots, soft crumbs, onion, pimiento and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well together
- Using a wooden skewer (barbecue stick), mold it in the shape of drumsticks and dip in the dry, fine bread crumbs.
- Put a thin layer of olive oil on the baking sheet or pizza pan and place the drumsticks and then bake at 350℉ for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve with barbecue sauce (either homemade or bought) and enjoy your meal!
TIP: You can use hot sauce or ketchup if you don’t have barbecue sauce. You can also use popsicle sticks or young corn if you don’t have the usual skewer sticks.
Tofu Pot Pie
Who does not enjoy a delicious pot pie? – No one. Even a vegetarian or vegan version of it still tastes so yummy that you would want to come back for more.
It’s another recipe that is quick and easy to do. You just need small cups and enough dough for the crust and all those frozen mixed vegetables taste rich and creamy in a way.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter or vegan butter
1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water
1 Block of tofu, diced into bite sizes
1/2 cup breading mix
2 onions, finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste
Pie crust dough
1/2 cup milk
4-5 cups of frozen mixed vegetables
1 can mushrooms
4 tbsp flour
Pie Crust Dough:
- In a large bowl, mix the all purpose flour, wheat pastry flour, salt and butter. You can use a wooden spoon to mix everything together initially then start mixing and kneading with your hands for a bit.
- Once ready, refrigerate the dough mix for about 30 minutes to an hour.
- Set aside and prepare the vegetables.
- Dip and toss the tofu with the breading mix and then saute in a skillet or saucepan with the 4 tbsp of olive oil until golden brown.
- Add the onions, and frozen vegetables. Mix the milk with the flour before pouring into the mix and season with salt. Bring to a boil under medium-low heat for about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Retrieve the pie crust dough from the fridge. Get a piece (depends if your container is large or small) and flatten using a rolling pin. Place your oven safe container upside down and cut the dough for about 1/2 to 1 inch from the edges.
- Preheat the oven for about 375℉ to 400℉ and then put the cooked vegetables inside the container and cover with the pie crust dough.
- Use a fork to seal the container using the crust by pressing it along the edges. Make a hole or two on top of the crust and then bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
TIP: You can eat with the crusty bread or serve it with toasted bread.
Deep Fried Sweet and Sour Tofu Balls
This is a classic sweet and sour recipe with a meatless twist!
The sweet and sour tofu balls are not only vegetarian, they are great tasting and are packed with healthy ingredients that your family will want from time to time.
With the improvements in food science, ingredients like tofu and seitan are giving red meat a run for it’s money, by often having the same taste and texture as their red meat cousin, and without the calories and fat that meat has.
2 cups of tofu, mashed/ 1 brick of mashed tofu
1 tsp garlic, crushed
2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp green onion, finely cut
2 tbsp celery, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp salt
4 tbsp flour
2 cups of cooking oil
2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes (you can skip this if you’re not fond of spicy flavors)
1/3 cups rice vinegar or regular vinegar
1/2 cups water
1/2 cups maple syrup or brown sugar
2 tbsp tomato catsup (you can use tomato paste for a thicker sauce)
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup club soda water
Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- On a saucepan under medium-low heat, put in the olive oil, garlic, and chili flakes and once they are turning brown in about 25 to 30 seconds, add water, vinegar, brown sugar or maple syrup, soy sauce, tomato sauce or catsup, and salt. Stir well to mix everything together.
- Once the sauce is bubbling, or about to boil, add the cornstarch mixed with water and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens.
- Turn off the heat once ready and let it cool down.
- In a large bowl, mix together the mashed tofu, crushed garlic, onion, green onions, celery, soy sauce, salt and flour. Mix everything well and form small balls and set aside.
- In a saucepan or deep skillet, preheat the 2 cups of cooking oil under medium-low heat then quickly create the coating before you start cooking.
- In a large enough bowl, put the rice flour, garlic powder, ground pepper, cornstarch, salt and mix the dry ingredients together.
- Add the club soda water and mix until it becomes a pancake-like mix.
- Dip the tofu balls in coating and deep fry under medium-high heat.
- Serve with the sweet and sour sauce and enjoy!
TIP: Do not make the coating unless everything is well prepared for deep-frying.
Stir Fried Butter Mushrooms
Mushrooms are also a good substitute for meat and they are also easy to cook.
Any type of mushroom can be cooked in vegetarian recipes by sauteing or stir frying with cooking oil and some spices for added flavor.
I prefer cooking with olive oil, for a healthy option.
1/2 kg fresh mushrooms (any type but preferably button mushrooms)
2 tbsp butter or margarine – you can use a low fat version
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chopped green onion
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 – 2 tbsp sliced sweet pepper
Salt to taste
- Wash and wipe the mushrooms and slice them in bite sizes
- In a saucepan, melt the butter under medium-low heat and add olive oil and when it begins to foam, add the mushrooms, salt and stir occasionally to keep them from sticking to the pan.
- After 2-3 minutes, add the sweet pepper and soy sauce. You can add additional butter if you like.
- Cook for another 1 minute until the mushroom juices begin to come out.
- Serve and enjoy!
TIP: You may use oyster sauce instead of soy sauce to make the sauce a little thicker.
Additional: How to Make Gluten (Seitan)
It’s easy to make gluten, it just takes time if you do. That is why a lot of people buy it from the grocery instead of making it at home, but it’s sometimes better to prepare it yourself so you could make sure that it has no chemical additives or extra preservatives.
Here are the ingredients and the instructions on how you can make it at home.
7 – 8 cups of wheat flour or bread flour
2 tbsp of yeast
2 1/2 cups of water (for the dough)
4 cups of water (for the soup stock)
1 cup of soy sauce or tamari (1/2 for the dough and 1/2 for the soup stock)
1 – 2 cubes of soup stock
- Mix the flour with the water to make a stiff dough.
- Knead well until you form it into a ball and once it looks like bread dough then put it into a bowl and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is being aired, prepare the soup stock. In a stock pot, put 1-2 tbsp of olive oil then add onions and garlic. Fry them until translucent then add the cubes of soup stock and 1/2 cup of soy sauce. Pour the 4 cups of water and let it simmer under low heat for 15 – 20 minutes. Stir to mix ingredients well.
- Once the dough has risen, wash out the starch by kneading with the hand in the water and make sure to keep the dough together.
- Pour off the starchy water and replace with new water. Repeat step 4 until water is almost clear then you will have a lump of gluten.
- Boil the lump of gluten in the soup stock. Let it simmer and absorb the flavors within 45 minutes to 1 hour. Afterwards, turn off the heat and drain.
- You can mold it into different shapes or cut it into pieces and refrigerate or set aside until needed.
EL Mehdi Zefzoufi is the founder of Desired Cuisine, a community geared towards sharing insights and interests regarding kitchen and dining ideas around the world.
Our goal is to make the world a better place through sharing our ideas on how to start and maintain a healthy vegetarian or vegan lifestyle by offering helpful tips and recipes and also by giving a list of products that are safe and are of good quality.