Simple Vegetarian Meal Ideas
Here are some suggestions for preparing a delicious and satisfying vegetarian meal.
Hearty soup. Start with water or a soup base made from vegetable bouillon cubes, vegetable juice, tomato juice or packaged soup mixes. Add potatoes, split peas, lentils, carrots, spinach or any leftover vegetables. Season with bay leaves, salt, herbs or miso. For additional flavour add fried leeks, onion or celery.
Pasta. Cook up your favourite noodles, then add a sauce such as tomato, pesto, béchamel, mushroom, or herbs and olive oil. Sauces can be purchased ready-made or create you own. For a heartier meal add in some tofu cubes, chickpeas, lentils or nuts. Toss in some steamed veggies or serve on the side.
Stir Fry. Fry any combination of fresh vegetables, onions, tofu, tempeh, nuts or seeds. For flavour use soy sauce, ginger, garlic, or toasted sesame oil. To create a sauce, add about one cup of water when the vegetables are half cooked, and simmer. The liquid can be thickened by adding 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Serve on rice, couscous, bulgur or pasta. Tip: add in any greens near the end as they don’t take very long to cook.
Substantial salads. Potato salads, bean salads, rice salads. There are dozens of fresh veggies to choose from. Try adding fresh herbs, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, croutons, avocado, artichoke, olives, sunflower sprouts, etc.
Pizza. Build a pizza with your favourite toppings such as: green and red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, basil, olives, Yves Veggie pepperoni, etc. For vegan cheeseless pizza drizzle with olive oil and top with olives for extra richness.
Oven-roasted veggies. In a baking dish, place large slices of potato (with the skins), squash, turnips, parsnips, carrots, onions, whole garlic cloves, etc. Drizzle with olive oil and rosemary, then roast until tender. Shish kebabs. Thread mushrooms, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and green pepper onto a skewer. Add tempeh, seitan or firm tofu. Baste with BBQ sauce, then grill.
Couscous. African speciality of zucchini, carrot, turnip, chick peas and onion, cooked in tomato sauce spiced with Harissa hot sauce. Served on couscous pasta with currents.
Indian curry. Cook lentils or chickpeas with some store-bought curry paste (follow the directions on the jar), then add veggies. Delicious served on rice.
Thai curry. Combine Asian veggies with coconut milk and green curry paste (store bought). Cook until done. Serve with rice or noodles.
Tacos. Enjoy with refried beans and all the fixings. Chili. Beans, tomatoes and spice.
Split pea soup. Serve with crusty bread.
Spinach lasagna. Try making vegan lasagna by layering spinach, tomato sauce, crumbled tofu, light miso, and noodles.
Ratatouille. Hearty stew made from eggplant, zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic and seasonings.
Savoury pies. Hearty potato, tofu, or millet with veggies and meat-less gravy. Best to use a recipe for these or buy ready-made.
Falafel. Middle eastern speciality served with pita bread, tomato and tahini sauce. Crepes. Savoury or sweet.
Natural food stores stock many different quick-cooking vegetarian foods. Try tofu hot dogs, veggie burgers that you can pop in the toaster, pizzas, chili mixes, canned foods, savoury pies, pasta sauces, pancake mixes, tofu scrambler (instead of scrambled eggs), etc.
Vegan sandwich suggestions
Be creative! There is life beyond ham and cheese. Nut Butters – Peanut butter goes well with raisins, dates, banana slices, or sprouts. Try almond butter with peach for an exotic treat. Avocado – Sliced avocado makes a nice quick sandwich. Try adding tomatoes, sprouts, and mustard. Hummus – A middle eastern spread made from chickpeas and tahini. Others – Veggie pâté, fried tofu slices, Yves veggie pepperoni or back “bacon”, cucumber and tomato, etc.