Quick and Easy Vegetarian Recipes to Make Earth Day an Any-Day Habit
This Earth Day and beyond, help save the planet just by eating! Behold, our favorite vegetarian recipes to make in 45 minutes or less.
Most of us could stand to be a little bit greener, and Earth Day is our annual reminder to save the planet. You’ve likely heard of the Meatless Monday campaign, which since 2003 has encouraged people around the world to give up meat one day a week for personal health and the health of the planet. The latest trend is plant-based cooking, which involves eating less dairy and eggs overall, as well as less meat. But whatever you’re giving up, and whether you're going meatless for a single day a year, a day each week, or much more often, it’s never been easier to love vegetarian cooking. This collection of 33 inventive, quick and easy vegetarian recipes is delicious proof.
9 weeknight vegetarian recipes with cheese
Cooking with luscious, melty cheese is one of the easiest ways to go vegetarian. Think classic pasta, pizza, enchilada casserole, and low-carb choices, too.
Italian Ravioli with Spinach, Artichokes, Capers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Starting with store-bought cheese ravioli means this dish comes together in under 30 minutes, but the color and flavor combinations are still impressive. Sun-dried tomatoes lend sweetness and a little meatiness that’s balanced out by the brininess of the capers. The spinach and artichokes are the veggie elements that add both earthiness and richness, making this a very satisfying dish.
5-Ingredient Spinach Parmesan Zucchini Noodles
We'd be remiss if we didn't include an ultra-green recipe for Earth Day — and this super simple zoodle recipe fits the bill. The zucchini noodles are sauteed with the spinach and then tossed with Parmesan cheese and sprinkled with salt and pepper. It only takes about 20 minutes to put this together, making it both an Earth saver and a time saver.
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Panini
For all intents and purposes, this is a grilled cheese sandwich. But there's so much that goes into it, it’s dinner-worthy. Of course, the centerpiece of the sandwich is the fresh mozzarella. Mozzarella's mild flavor makes it the perfect partner for pesto — sundried tomato pesto, to be precise. The additional fresh tomatoes break up the richness of the cheese and pesto, and the pine nuts give it crunch. If you're not already a vegetarian, this may be the recipe that converts you.
We're not tricksters at Yummly, but this pasta dish could fool a carnivore into thinking it’s a meat dish. There are so many colors and textures that you could get lost in every forkful. All the artichoke hearts, olives, and grape tomatoes make up for anything you think you're missing without the addition of meat. If you want to make it gluten-free, you can substitute the pasta with gluten-free soba noodles.
Keto Zucchini Pizza Boats with Goat Cheese
Including salt and pepper, this recipe only calls for eight ingredients and takes a little more than a half-hour to make: spinach is sauteed with garlic, piled into hollowed-out zucchini, and topped with goat cheese before being baked. Not only is it great for Earth Day and any Meatless Monday, it's also kind of the unicorn dish for vegetarians who follow a keto diet, which can be pretty meaty.
If you're craving lasagna, this recipe is kind of like lasagna without the meat ... or work. Here, zucchini slices are grilled and slathered with ricotta cheese and fresh basil, rolled up, topped with sauce, and baked. It's a delicious, low-carb, meatless version of the Italian classic.
Cauli and Peas Mac n’ Cheese
Roasted cauliflower replaces the usual mac here, but you still get a dangerously addictive cheese sauce made with 2 cups of cheese, plus frozen peas for a little color. If you’re going for gluten-free, just skip the final bread crumbs on top.
5-Ingredient Cheese Naan Pizzas
No pizza crusts on hand? You can whip up these personal-size pups in about 15 minutes, starting with naan bread as the base. Beyond that, the recipe calls only for store-bought pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, oregano, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Cheesy Enchilada Rice and Beans Casserole
Beans and rice meets cheese enchiladas in this 15-minute, 6-ingredient casserole dish. It starts with cooked rice, but even if you’re cooking it from scratch, the recipe is fast enough for a busy weeknight.
6 vegetarian main dishes featuring eggs
Eggs aren't just for breakfast, especially when you're cooking vegetarian meals. If only quiche comes to mind as an egg dish for dinner, it's actually common in a lot of cultures to eat eggs for lunch and dinner in a variety of ways.
Shakshuka is a Mediterranean dish that calls for poaching eggs in a tomato sauce along with a few vegetables and a lot of spices. Served with crumbled feta and pita bread, it's an excellent way to punctuate your day without meat.
Bibimbap is a Korean one-dish meal served with a base of rice, tasty toppings (which sometimes include meat), and an egg to be stirred together as it's being eaten. If you're looking for a light Asian meal that isn't stir-fry, this rice bowl is an excellent vegetarian option. The egg provides protein, while the spinach and carrots in particular give you plenty of vitamins.
Red Chilaquiles with Fried Eggs
While it’s traditional for breakfast, the Mexican dish known as chilaquiles provides a fine excuse for eating richly flavorful dried chili and tomato sauce, tortillas chips, and fried eggs for dinner.
Whatever vegetables you’re in the mood for — broccoli, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, potatoes, and even sweet potatoes all work great in a frittata, according to this blogger. She sautes them until mostly tender, then adds beaten eggs, and pops the pan into the oven for a one-dish meal.
Raid your spice cabinet and grab a can of tomatoes to make a heavenly curry meal with hard-boiled eggs. Some steamed basmati rice will seal the deal.
Kale & Eggs
You’ll have three pans going to pull off this healthy meal in 30 minutes: a pot of water for the potatoes, a skillet to saute the kale and mushrooms, and a saucepan to poach the eggs. Combine it all in the skillet and add a squeeze of sriracha if you want to spice things up.
8 vegetarian dishes made with nuts and seeds
High in protein, fat, and fiber, nuts and seeds keep you satisfied while tasting indulgent. Add them by the handful to your vegetarian dishes, or puree them to make sauces.
Creamy Cashew Lemon Pasta with Spring Vegetables
You’ll need to soak the cashews overnight, but with that done, this fresh and tangy vegan pasta dish made with a lemon-cashew cream sauce comes together in about 30 minutes.
Vegan Pasta Alfredo With Broccoli
Similar to the previous recipe, you'll start soaking the cashews the night before to create the vegan alfredo sauce made with almond milk, but if you have a high-powered blender, a 30-minute soak will do it.
Mushroom & Walnut Spicy "Bolognese"
Walnuts replace the usual meat in this red sauce that’s rich with tomatoes and mushrooms.
Stir-fried onion, celery, carrots, and cabbage become a main-dish when you add a generous amount of cashews; soy sauce and toasted sesame oil give everything lots of flavor.
30-Minute Vegetarian Meatballs
While it’s botanically a seed, quinoa is also called a pseudo-cereal, since it’s used in similar ways to a grain — though this high-protein food is gluten-free. Combine it with cauliflower, eggs, oat flour, and spices, and you have the makings for some filling and satisfying vegetarian meatballs. Serve them with a favorite store-bought sauce over rice.
If you have leftover cooked quinoa and red sauce (homemade or store-bought), you can create a quick and protein-rich version of risotto in only 10 minutes. No cooked quinoa? You can still pull off the dish in half an hour. Be sure to choose vegetable stock to keep things vegetarian.
One Pan Mexican Quinoa
Think of the slightly spicy flavors you love in Mexican rice and beans, but with quinoa for extra nourishment, plus tomatoes, corn, and avocado to make it a meal.
Vegetable Ramen Pad Thai
If your broader pantry includes ramen noodles, frozen vegetables, peanut butter, teriyaki sauce, and sriracha, you can make this weeknight crowd-pleaser just about anytime.
6 vegetarian recipes starring canned beans
With a can or two of beans on hand, quick and healthy vegetarian meals are just a few minutes away.
Crispy Black Bean + Feta Tacos
Mashing black beans with a potato masher before filling the tortillas not only blends in the seasonings of chili powder, cumin, cilantro, and lime, it helps the beans stay put better inside the tacos. Still, as you brown them in oil until golden, turn them by the spines to help keep the beans and salty cheese from escaping.
Best Black Bean Burgers
Veggie burgers can be crumbly and mushy, but these have structural integrity as well as good flavor. You’ll bake the black beans briefly to dry them out, and then mash them with plenty of seasonings plus bread crumbs and eggs to hold them together.
Black Bean-Quinoa Buddha Bowl
Canned black beans and leftover cooked quinoa get a multi-cultural treatment with salsa, avocado, and a hummus dressing.
Mediterranean Bean Salad
When you’re craving a big bowl of salad for dinner, toss cannellini beans and chickpeas with crunchy cucumbers, bell peppers, and red onion; juicy tomatoes; tangy marinated artichokes; and salty olives and feta cheese.
5 Ingredient Coconut Curry
A can of coconut milk and a generous dollop of the curry paste you’ve got hanging out in the fridge are the starting point for a curry made healthy and filling with broccoli and a can of chickpeas. As a bonus, it comes together in only 15 minutes.
Vegan Spanish Chickpeas with Spinach
Tomatoes and chickpeas from the pantry simmer briefly with sauteed onion and smoked paprika before you add a couple of generous handfuls of baby spinach.
5 quick vegetarian tofu recipes
Tofu sometimes gets a bum rap as a vegetarian meat substitute, but omnivores all over the world have been enjoying it for its own merits for centuries. Tofu can take on many flavors, has great texture, and is very filling, making it a very versatile protein.
Vegetarian Dirty Thai Fried Quinoa
For this recipe, fried tofu is added to quinoa to create something similar to fried rice, only a little tastier and a lot healthier. Fresh green beans and peppers are the veggie components and red curry paste with soy sauce bring the dish to life. If you’re tofu-hesitant, this is a great place to start.
Asian BBQ Tofu Bowl
While there’s more than one way to cook tofu until crispy, baking it in the oven leaves your hands free to steam rice on the stovetop (adding broccolini at the end) and to whisk up a quick sauce of hoisin, rice vinegar, and maple syrup with a touch of Chinese five-spice.
Carrot and Tofu Toss
Stir-fried carrots and crumbled tofu get a big flavor boost from soy sauce, plenty of crunchy sesame seeds, and some cilantro. If you have 10 minutes to press the tofu before cooking, it will have a denser texture.
Peanut Tofu Buddha Bowl
Three kinds of vegetables (spinach, broccoli, and carrots), plus tofu, chickpeas, and brown rice make this recipe a nutrition powerhouse. A spicy peanut butter sauce makes it good down to the last bite.
Sesame Crusted Tofu
To make crusted tofu extra beautiful you can roll it in both black and white sesame seeds before toasting it in sesame oil and soy sauce, but if you only have one color of seeds, it will still be delicious.
Want to make Earth Day a habit?
If you want to make Earth Day a habit, we have thousands more quick and easy vegetarian recipes to explore on Yummly.
Recipes for quarantine cooking
Another reason to eat vegetarian right now may be that you have less access to meat. During the coronavirus, we're with you at Yummly to make home cooking as easy and flexible as possible. You'll find lots more ideas in our quarantine cooking collection.