Vegetarian Options for Meals

One of the most difficult aspects of the vegetarian lifestyle is finding quick, nutrient-dense meals to cook daily. Many vegetarians run the risk of becoming malnourished because they compensate for the lack of meat with a diet filled with starch, processed food and refined sugar. Instead of resorting to empty foods, vegetarians can find many options for healthy, filling meals.

Quick and Basic Vegetable Breakfast

For breakfast, make vegetable hash in a skillet with leftover vegetables. This dish is especially good with leftover roasted or grilled vegetables. Potato hash is a well-known breakfast dish, however, potatoes are hardly nutrient dense vegetables. Include vegetables like onions, pepper, zucchini, green peas and corn in your hash. Heat olive oil in your skillet and cook the veggies until soft.

Quick and Basic Vegetable Lunch

Lunch is often on the go. Choose options like a fruit smoothie. Use a healthy yogurt base. Supplement your smoothie with a wrap made with long grain brown rice, beans and vegetables. Some combinations of vegetables work better together, like rice and beans. Rice has iron, vitamin B and protein. Beans are protein-rich, contain iron and other necessary minerals, and the consumption of the two in tandem provides all the essential amino acids. Top your rice with hot sauce or spices for a more flavorful lunch. Another option for lunch is fresh vegetable salsa. Combine sweet corn, black beans, onions, diced tomatos and fresh cilantro. Dip into it with homemade pita chips.

Quick and Basic Vegetable Dinner

For a basic dinner that can be adapted into leftover dishes, grill vegetables over charcoal. Use zucchini, squash, onions, peppers or mushrooms. Cover in olive oil before grilling and then drizzle with balsamic vinagrette when cooked. Another option is the Portobella fajita. Grill Portobella mushroom caps and cut into strips. Place into whole wheat tortilla wraps with grilled peppers and onions.

Moderately Difficult Vegetable Meals

For a meal that is a bit more complex and feeds a larger group, try stuffed mushrooms or stuffed peppers. Cook some long grain brown rice with diced vegetables. Stuff into mushrooms or peppers and bake.

Another option is risotto. Don’t be intimidated by the necessity to stir this dish often. Risotto is made with arborio rice which is a grain that takes on liquid well. Continue to add water or vegetable stock slowly while stirring continuously, this rice works well with many different kinds of vegetable additions. Try a pesto risotto with baby tomatoes and asparagus. There are countless combinations for this dish and it always impresses with its creamy texture.

Make Ahead Vegetable Meals

Two dishes that always taste richer if you make them ahead of time are vegetable stew and three-bean chili. These recipes do not need any meat, they are hearty, flavorful dishes that improve over time. Make them in late summer when the vegetables are fresh and freeze them all year long.

Impressing your Guests

It may be complicated but making veggie sushi or vegetable spring rolls will impress your guests for a great meal. You may use thinly sliced cucumbers to act as the outer wrap instead of seaweed if it is not available. Fill the wrapper with carrots, avocado, peppers, onions and rice. You may want to make dipping sauces using wasabi, plum sauce, sesame or even citrus. (See Resources).


  • “Living Cuisine”; Renee Loux Underkoffler; 2003
  • “Eat to Live”; Joel Fuhrman, M.D.; 2003
  • “Vegan Planet”; Robin Robertson; 2003


  • “Big Flavor Cookbook”; Steven Raichlen; 2003

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