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Being a vegetarian doesn't mean that you have to eat boring food. There are so many tasty vegetarian recipes that are also healthy, and they could even help you to lose weight.
A weekly menu of meatless meals could include dishes like vegetarian pasta with pesto sauce, black bean, and corn salad, or even veggie burgers. Plus, all of these foods are vegetarian-friendly.
In this article, we'll teach you how to prepare 12 easy vegetarian recipes that are quick meals to make for lunch or dinner. Besides, we explain how to eat a balanced diet as a vegetarian with some guidelines for those who don't eat meat.
Vegetarian cuisine is comprised exclusively of foods that meet vegetarian criteria. This excludes the following foods:
Excludes meat consumption (poultry included)
Does not include fish and seafood
Prohibits eating products derived from animal tissue
On top of these guidelines, there are also different types of vegetarianism such as ovolactovegetarian. With this kind of diet, you can consume egg and dairy products including milk and cheese.
Another related, yet stricter way of eating is a vegan diet. This dietary regimen excludes all animal products including dairy and honey and even certain refined sugars filtered with bone char.
Usually, the most common ingredients in vegetarian cuisine are grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, spices, lactose products, eggs, and honey.
Also, other products derived from soy like tofu, meat substitutes and textured vegetable protein (TVP) form a part of this diet.
Being vegetarian doesn't have to mean preparing fancy time-consuming meals. Below we'll show you 12 different easy vegetarian recipes that you can make in no time right at home.
These are simple meatless meals that you can add to any weekly menu since they are so easy to prepare and perfect for beginner vegetarians.
Here you'll find everything from desserts and lunches to tasty dinners for the whole family, and all of these are a great fit as a part of any healthy balanced diet for people trying to lose weight.
This vegetarian meal is perfect for any diet, and it's even heart healthy. You just need 1 zucchini, 1 onion, 3 cloves garlic, 200 g mushrooms, 600 g spinach, 8 sheets of precooked lasagna, 200 g tomato paste, 500 g crushed tomato, oregano, and 150 g low-fat cheese.
To start, chop the veggies and sautée them with oil on low, first slowly adding the zucchini for 5 minutes with a little bit of salt and pepper, and then adding the rest of the vegetables.
Meanwhile, cook the spinach in another pan and then set it aside. After, put a few tablespoons of tomato paste in a pan and a layer of lasagna noodles per person.
After, add the cooked vegetables and the crushed tomato on top. This then gets sprinkled with cheese and then add two more levels to your lasagna. On the next layer, add more tomato paste and a little bit of dried oregano plus more low-fat cheese. Finally, put this in the oven (preheated to 180 ºC) and let it cook for 20 minutes.
To prepare this vegetarian dessert you'll just need: 4 eggs, 100 g sugar, 200 g cake flour and pumpkin, yeast, ground cinnamon, vanilla, butter, oil, and salt.
First, we'll beat the eggs and add the sugar -plus a little bit of salt- mixing everything well and then add oil. After, put the flour and yeast in with a strainer and stir it well.
Keep adding all of the ingredients -vanilla, cinnamon, and pumpkin- and remix it. Pour the mix into a greased cake pan and put it into a preheated oven at 180º. Let the pumpkin bread bake for 35 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in and pull it out clean.
If you're looking for a hot vegetarian recipe, this one is for you. Chickpeas and spinach are nutritious, and this dish also contains a lot of plant-based protein as well as other essential nutrients. You'll need 400 g of chickpeas, 300 g of spinach, 2 carrots, 2 cloves of garlic, a tablespoon of sweet paprika, and tomato paste.
The night before put the chickpeas to soak with a little bit of salt. The next day strain out the water, wash them and put them in a pot with paprika, a carrot chopped up into small pieces, and diced garlic, along with a splash of olive oil and plenty of water.
Let this simmer on medium for an hour and a half to two hours, until the chickpeas are soft. Once cooked, add a tablespoon of tomato, paprika, and spinach. Mix well and let it cook for 3 more minutes until the spinach cooks down and mixes in well.
This delicious Italian meal is totally vegetarian-friendly, and even vegans can eat it if you don't add parmesan cheese. To start, you need 400 g of spaghetti, 150 g fresh basil, 300 g of parmesan cheese, 2 cloves of garlic, 100 g of pine nuts, 200ml of olive oil, and some salt.
For this vegetarian recipe, first, boil water with a little bit of salt and throw in the spaghetti to cook. Meanwhile, prepare your pesto sauce in a blender or food processor with basil, cheese, garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. Blend this mixture well until it forms a dense sauce.
When the spaghetti is al dente -after about 10 minutes- keep about 2 tablespoons of the water from the pot where it is boiling. Strain the spaghetti and mix it with the pesto and the juice that you got from the boiling water.
If you love cold veggie salads with legumes, try this vegetarian recipe. You just need 350 gr cooked black beans, 6 tablespoons of sweet corn, 2 tomatoes, 1 red pepper, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 scallion, chia seeds, lime, oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, and chives.
For the vinaigrette, you've got to mix the juice of 2 limes with a tablespoon of vinegar and 3 of olive oil. Then add the grated garlic with the salt and pepper and then mix everything with the blender.
In a separate bowl, throw in the chia seeds, chopped onion, red pepper, and chopped tomato. Add the other ingredients and a little bit of diced scallion. Mix it all together and serve it with a dash of olive oil.
For this recipe, you just need 8 eggs, 4 carrots, 4 mushrooms, 1 onion, salt, pepper, oregano, and mayonnaise.
First, when the eggs are cooked -for 10 minutes in a pot with boiling water- peel them and let them cool off. Meanwhile, in another pot put water to boil to cook the vegetables for 10 minutes.
Take the yolks out of the boiled eggs and smash them with a fork. Then, add the mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and oregano.
Finally, stir everything together with the vegetables and add the mixture to the eggs again. If you want to try a different type of filling, consider homemade guacamole.
To prepare this tasty vegetarian recipe that you could find on any weekly menu, first, you have to wash the eggplants and cut them lengthways. Then place them on a baking sheet with the skin on the bottom. Rub them with oil and season them.
Roast the eggplant for 40 minutes at 190ºC. After this, remove the fleshy part of the veggie, chop it up and put it in a food processor with the diced garlic, tahini, cumin, a little bit of salt, sesame oil, and a tablespoon of olive oil.
Once this mix is well blended, set it aside. To make the dipping sticks, you just have to peel the carrots and cut them into sticks so that they're easily dippable in the baba ganoush.
Homemade vegetarian meatballs are another great meatless meal. To make this delicious and simple meal, you just need 450 g cauliflower, 1 onion, 4 mushrooms, 2 carrots, 80 g grated cheese, 1 clove of garlic, 1 egg, flour, 150 g rice, olive oil, salt, and parsley.
For the sauce, you'll need 3 scallions, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, honey, water, salt, and olive oil. First, to prepare the sauce, chop up the ingredients and fry the scallions first. When they are golden brown, add the Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of mustard, honey, and 250 ml water.
Let this mixture reduce for 10 minutes and then put it in the food processor. After, for the vegetarian meatballs cook the rice. Then shred the cauliflower and carrots, and meanwhile chop the onion and mushrooms. After, poach the vegetables for 10 minutes and set them aside.
Now you just have to add the rice, cheese, egg, and a clove of diced garlic and mix it all together. Finally, you just need to make the meatballs, first, dip them in flour and fry them in a pan with oil and then serve them with sauce on top.
If you want to put a twist on a regular omelet, try this Spanish tortilla recipe which is perfect for any ovolactovegetarian. You'll need 6 eggs, 3 potatoes, 1 small onion, olive oil, and salt.
Once you've cut and peeled the vegetables -into fine half-moon shape pieces of about 1/2 cm- put the potatoes into the pan. Then, season everything and fry it slowly for a half an hour.
After, crack the eggs and beat them in a bowl and then pour them in with the fried potato and onion, mixing everything well. Later, when it's done on one side, flip it onto a plate or the lid of a saucepan of the same size.
You can also add other ingredients like garlic, red pepper, or any other kind of vegetable that you like to make this recipe even tastier.
Burgers don't necessarily need to be made of meat; they can also contain vegetarian ingredients. To make this vegetarian food first you need 200 g of cooked lentils, 100 g of cooked white rice, 1 leek, 1 carrot, 1 green pepper, 2 tablespoons of sweet corn, salt, pepper, and olive oil. For the chips, we'll use a half of a sweet potato.
To make this vegetarian recipe, first chop all of the vegetables and sautée them in olive oil. Then, season them and mix them with lentils and cooked rice. Add vegetables and stir, then salt and pepper the mixture again. Add the corn and meanwhile toast the seeds without oil and add them to the mix. After, let this sit in the refrigerator.
After, shape the veggie burgers with your hands and then fry them in oil.
Finally, to make the sweet potato chips, you just have to peel them and cut them into fine strips, and then fry them. Drain the oil and add salt and pepper.
If you're a fan of bechamel and you're a vegetarian, then you'll love this idea for meatless Monday. The bechamel adds a little bit of fat to the recipe, but the added flavor is totally worth it. To make this recipe, you'll need 1 large head of cauliflower, 600 g of flour, 700 ml of milk, 60 g of butter or margarine and 200 g of cheese to melt on top, and of course, salt and pepper.
The first step is to cook the cauliflower once you've washed it and removed the green leaves. Cut it into 4 pieces and cook it in a pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt for 15 minutes. In the time being, you can prepare the bechamel.
For this, you need to put the butter in a saucepan on low and then add the flour and let this cook for about 3 minutes. After, add the hot milk slowly and don't stop stirring.
Salt and pepper this and let it cook for about 10 minutes approximately. Then, place the cauliflower in a baking dish cut into smaller pieces and pour the bechamel over it, making different layers. Put cheese on top, this can also be vegan cheese if you choose. Finally, put the cauliflower in the oven for 5 minutes until it takes on a toasted texture.
This cream of vegetable is a vegetarian soup that's quick and easy to make. To prepare it you need 8 carrots, 1 zucchini, 2 leeks, 1 clove of garlic, 300 g mushrooms, salt, pepper, and olive oil. To make this recipe you just need to wash, cut and poach the vegetables.
The mushrooms get added later along with the salt and pepper so that everything has time to brown. Cover this with water and let it cook for 20 minutes.
Once it's ready, blend the mix and put the cream of vegetable soup in a pot to keep it warm. For a different twist on this recipe, sautée some mushrooms in a separate pan with a little bit of oil and put them on top of the creamy soup.
The American Dietetic Association supports a vegetarian diet and states that it believes that it can truly be healthy for people from a nutritional stand point. A vegetarian diet that's well planned is healthy and meets dietary needs. Also, they affirm that it can even benefit health and work towards the prevention and treatment of certain health conditions as long as this is done under the guidance of a professional dietitian.
However, certain deficiencies can come about if this way of eating isn't well planned or if it's done without the help of a professional dietitian. That's why you should keep certain rules in mind if you want to become a vegetarian:
It's important to reflect on your reasons for following this diet.
Be conscious of the body's nutritional requirements.
Add new foods to your diet instead of just taking away
Learn to cook and adapt different recipes
You can lose weight as a vegetarian, just like with any other diet if you follow certain basic health rules with meals. The quantity and the quality of the products that you eat is key here.
Eating 5 meals a day is vital when it comes to maintaining an active metabolism, as well as eating a healthy breakfast to give your body energy and the calories it needs to start the day.
One great example of a vegetarian breakfast could be a piece of whole grain toast with tomato and/or avocado, coffee with plant-based milk, and a piece of seasonal fruit.
Besides, lunches and dinners should contain a limited amount of fried and breaded food which can instead be grilled or steamed.
On the same note, it's important to limit your salt consumption and instead use herbs or spices to season your meals. For more information, check out the video below that explains more about low carb vegetarian recipes:
Craig, W. J., & Mangels, A. R. (2009). Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets. Journal of the American dietetic association, 109(7): 1266-1282.
Messina, V., Melina, V., & Mangels, A. R. (2003). A new food guide for North American vegetarians. Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research, 64(2): 82-86.