Recipes That Will Make You Look Forward To Meatless Monday

Being vegetarian can be a great dietary option if you're wanting to decrease your carbon footprint, improve your health, or just protect our furry friends. But our carnivorous culture might lead you to believe that preparing vegetarian meals is a long and complicated process that often results in less-than-satisfactory dishes that'll have you enviously eyeing your dining companion's steak. If you're vegetarian, you know how hard it can be to find easy recipes that taste delicious and fill you up. Vegetarianism is great for your health and the environment, but it's not always ideal for foodies with refined palettes and an appreciation for flavor.

But it doesn't have to be this way! Whether you're a diehard vegetarian or just a weekday one, you shouldn't have to sacrifice your values for a good meal. Luckily, we've got your back! Whether you're craving Italian or Indian, there are plenty of options for vegetarians to eat well — and with minimal effort and easy cleanup thanks to a lack of raw meat, even carnivores will want to try these recipes.

Red beans and rice

Though red beans and rice might not strike you as the most exciting meal, this recipe will have you singing a different tune. Though simple, red beans and rice is a dish that's rich in iron, protein, and fiber, and it's easy to throw together on a busy weeknight.

While this recipe calls for andouille sausage, it's not an essential part of the dish and can be omitted for a vegetarian take on the meal. To cook this recipe, you'll need an Instant Pot and a few simple ingredients, such as garlic, onion, vegetable broth, dried rice, and dried kidney beans.

First, you'll have to cook the rice, which can be done in the instant pot or on the stove if you want to cook the rice and beans simultaneously. To cook the beans, you'll want to use the sauté setting on your Instant Pot and begin cooking onion, celery, garlic, and green pepper until soft and fragrant. Then it's time to add the beans, broth, and a few spices and pressure cook for 75 minutes. Throw it all together, and you've got yourself a filling vegetarian meal!

Fettuccine alfredo

If you're looking for a rich vegetarian meal you can whip up in just a few minutes, we highly suggest adding this fettuccine alfredo to your recipe repertoire. It contains just eight basic ingredients like eggs, pasta, and parmesan, and the total cook time is under 10 minutes, so there's no reason you can't have a homemade Italian feast whenever the mood strikes! 

To make this recipe is very simple — all you need to do is cook the pasta and heat the sauce ingredients until everything is melted and combined. This recipe also has a secret ingredient that might surprise you. To add acidity to the creamy sauce, Maren Epstein, the creator of the recipe and blogger at Eating Works, suggests a splash (¼ teaspoon, to be precise) of red wine vinegar. Epstein explains that though it's not used in traditional alfredo recipes, it balances out the flavors nicely.


According to the New York Times, caponata is a Sicilian dish similar to ratatouille but a little sweeter and more sour. This dish can be served in any number of ways — over meat, over greens, with a side of burrata, or alongside a baguette as it's traditionally prepared. 

Though the final meal may look complicated, it's actually pretty simple and mostly consists of a lot of sautéing and blending. You'll probably need to make a trip to the grocery store for this one, since the recipe is made up predominantly of produce — choosing fresh eggplant, tomatoes, bell pepper, and celery will make your caponata extra flavorful. Another tip for boosting the flavor is to make the caponata the day before you plan to eat it — this will give the ingredients time to combine, ensuring all that flavor gets fully infused in the eggplant.

Chickpea curry

Chickpea curry, made with nutrient-dense chickpeas, veggies, and served with rice, is an easy vegan meal that will leave you feeling satiated and healthy. What's great about this recipe is that almost all the ingredients are shelf-stable, so you can keep them in your house at all times and have curry whenever you want!

Using frozen vegetables makes the prep easy, but, of course, if you prefer fresh, it's easy to substitute. Canned chickpeas and canned coconut milk make up the base of this dish, and with the addition of garlic, onion, and spices, you've got yourself an easy curry. You can eat it with rice, naan, or both (if you're feeling ambitious, we highly suggest you try making your own naan).

Baked ziti

Baked ziti is a dish so deliciously comforting, most people don't even think of it as vegetarian. Lucky for you, not only is this recipe meatless, it's also been modified to be quick and easy to put together — while most ziti recipes take all day, this meal can be made in under an hour, thanks to store-bought (or pre-made) marinara sauce. 

But if you're a traditionalist who insists on laboring over the hot stove for some fresh tomato sauce, we salute you. Regardless of how you make it, this recipe requires three cups of marinara sauce, which gets mixed into ziti noodles (penne works too) and topped with dollops of a ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan mixture. Carnivores can add meatballs or substitute a bologna sauce for the marinara, but to keep it vegetarian, all it takes is a 30-minute bake and voila!

Eggplant parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is a great dish for vegetarians who want to prepare an elegant meal for themselves. This recipe is both healthy and decadent, and the best part is, it's great for leftovers — it can last in your fridge for up to five days, according to Maren Epstein of the food blog, Eating Works

For this recipe, it's important to choose fresh eggplants (the recipe calls for two) that aren't too soft. You'll need mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce to top off the eggplant slices, and breading supplies like breadcrumbs, flour, and eggs.

This is a straightforward recipe, but one unexpected step you won't want to skip is salting the eggplant before cooking it. "Eggplants are traditionally bitter" Epstein explains. "Salting them and letting them sit out helps combat bitterness." After the salt has drawn out some of the moisture in the eggplant, you can get started breading it and then covering it gloriously in cheese!

Vegetarian chili

"It's warm and comforting, and perfect for warming up after being outdoors," says Kate Shungu of her3-bean chili recipe from her blog, Gift of Hospitality. This recipe is one of the simplest out there — the most onerous step in the process is cooking the onions, and cooking the onions takes five minutes. To make matters even easier, most of the ingredients are staples you probably already have in your cupboard. 

After sautéing the onions in oil, you'll want to mix in the chili seasoning and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds. Then all it takes is a little salsa for spice, tomato sauce, and three cans of beans — kidney, black, and pinto — and before you know it, you've got yourself a hearty vegetarian chili.

Vegan risotto

People are often intimidated by risotto — cooking lore suggests it's a difficult dish to get right — but Mara Epstein's recipe proves it doesn't have to be complicated to be delicious. With just five ingredients and some stirring, you'll feel like a professional Italian chef in no time.

Like most risotto recipes, this one relies on arborio rice for the creamy texture risotto is famous for. Shallots, garlic, and olive oil add flavor, and once those are sautéed to perfection, you can start stirring in the rice — and you'll pretty much keep stirring until you're ready to eat. "You almost always have to have a hand on the whisk!" Epstein says.

For a successful risotto, you'll want to add vegetable broth to the rice just one cup at a time, waiting until the rice has almost completely absorbed the liquid before adding any more. The hardest part of this recipe is the patience required for this essential step — as long as you can resist rushing the process, you'll have an incredible meal to enjoy — and the pride of a job well done.

Asparagus and gruyere tart

This gorgeous vegetarian dish is deceptively simple to make and sure to impress your friends. Full of cheese and buttery puff pastry, this tart is filling enough to be the main course or a side dish, and with the asparagus on top, you could even call it healthy!

To make this asparagus and gruyere tart, you'll need to gather your ingredients. You'll need gruyere cheese, puff pastry, and asparagus, along with a few other basic pantry items. Before piling everything on the puff pastry, you need to give it a quick initial bake in the oven — all it takes is about 15 minutes, and then you can add the toppings. The glaze that gets drizzled over the tart is incredibly easy to make — just two ingredients — and adds a ton of flavor. All it takes is balsamic vinegar and brown sugar that gets reduced on the stove and makes for a sweet and acidic burst atop the rich tart.