As soon as I can see summer on the horizon, I begin collecting recipes that could easily be whipped up and served to my favorite people come the various barbecues, picnics, and al fresco evenings I'll agree to attend. Who doesn’t love a good potluck? These days, it’s hard to keep track of everyone’s dietary preferences, and instead, I choose to play it safe with the help of some of my favorite food bloggers and conscious chefs.
If you’re coming up short on what to serve your veggie-based crew, bookmark these 16 delicious vegetarian recipes that remix mom’s classics. In here, you’ll find dishes you only thought could exist in carnivorous-form, but the innovators of the food world have proved not even a good bowl of chili needs more than a few vegetables to get the party started.
The Recipe: Cauliflower Pizza with Greek Yogurt Pesto and Grilled Veggies
The Hero Ingredient: Cauliflower pizza crust is the perfect veggie-based alternative to the gluten-heavy classic. It tastes great, holds the integrity of the crust when baked, and pairs well with all your favorite veggie toppings.
Pro Tip: To get your perfect crust, Taylor Kiser of Food Faith Fitness directs you to squeeze the moisture out of your cauliflower, “Then squeeze it more.” This will ensure just the right amount of crunch.
Why We Love It: Homemade pizza night is my go-to group dinner with those I love. The process is fun, and everyone can get creative with their toppings. This veggie version allows everyone to participate regardless of their dietary preferences.
The Recipe: Easy Healthy Vegetarian Stir Fry with Cashew Cream Sauce
The Hero Ingredient: This cashew cream is made extra rich and delicious with the use of the coconut milk. It replaces heavy creams with ease and a blast of extra flavor and makes it vegan-friendly.
Pro Tip: The most time-consuming element of this recipe is that your cashews must first be baked, then soaked for a lofty 8-hours. Do this in the morning and place to the side to soak as you go about your regular daily activities.
Why We Love It: This is the perfect recipe to put into play towards the end of the week when you need to use your produce before it turns.
Chop it all up and toss it in—you can do no wrong with flavor in this one.
The Recipe: Vegetarian Crock Pot Lasagna Soup
The Hero Ingredient: This recipe is brimming with healthy vegetables that make a delicious melange once baked together, but what will truly win you over is the first bite of ricotta cheese topping.
Pro Tip: Heidi Larsen of Foodie Crush assures us that using the crock pot makes this soup “Super easy to pull together.” Simply prep the evening before and toss everything in to cook for about 8 hours during the day.
Why We Love It: Lasagna was a recipe on rotation in my household growing up, but I love this healthier comforting take on it, this way you’ll never get bored with moms cooking—just upgrade it.
The Recipe: Vegetarian Pumpkin Brown Rice Balls with Hummus or Tamari
The Hero Ingredient: The brown rice in this recipe is like the glue that holds all the flavors together. Pumpkin, cumin, and honey create a diverse earthy palate to enjoy as a snack or main.
Pro Tip: If your lunch hour is more like a lunch minute, Sarah Tuck of Stuck in the Kitchen says these are “Great for lunch boxes or on the run.” You can enjoy them cold or heated depending on your preference.
Why We Love It: I am guilty of under-prioritizing midday meals, especially when I’m busy.
I love the idea of preparing these at the beginning of the week and keeping them on hand for when moments of hunger strike.
The Recipe: One Pan Broccoli Cheese Wild Rice Casserole
The Hero Ingredient: Casserole is often associated with mom's recipe book (a place where heavy cream is a food group), but this dish is a slightly healthier, vegetable-based take on this baked choice. The bold cream flavor comes from the shredded gruyere—in this case, a smoky, slightly sharp cheese.
Pro Tip: You want the wild rice in this recipe to achieve a certain level of “fluffy” for optimum satisfaction. “This takes a little bit of time,” says Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest, but it’s worth the extra few minutes.
Why We Love It: Sometimes you just need a warm home-cooked meal like mom used to make. It’s a huge plus that it can all be created in a single pan. The less clean-up, the better.
The Recipe: Butternut Squash and Sun-Dried Tomato White Lasagna
The Hero Ingredient: The base of this lasagna is made up of butternut squash and ricotta cheese. Gerard says the "delicious, sweet flavor” is due to the sun-dried tomatoes. Toss on the pine nuts for an extra richly taste.
Pro Tip: This is a great dish for dinner parties as both vegetarians and carnivores can enjoy so you don’t have to edit your menu too much.
Why We Love It: I love how diverse the aromas of the recipe are. Between the pine nuts and the creamy cheeses, it’s a comfort dish that’s not to be overlooked for its success rate.
The Recipe: Ginger Scallion Noodle Bowls
The Hero Ingredient: This bowl is brimming with ginger-heavy goodness in every bite. The shitake mushrooms add a deeper flavor to the vegetable-based broth.
Pro Tip: Prep this meal ahead of time so that it’s super quick to throw together when hunger hits. Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats knows best: “Keep them in the fridge packaged separately.”
Why We Love It: Any kind of simple soup is easily adapted into my every day, especially when it’s a healthier take on my most frequent Postmastes order: ramen.
The Recipe: Slow Cooker Lemon Rosemary Lentil Soup
The Hero Ingredient: The lemon and rosemary here is “Swirled throughout to create one of the easiest soups to ever” claims Melanie Bauer of her recipe. These elements really make this flavorful bowl what it is, and dress up the hearty lentils.
Pro Tip: This soup is filling and delicious, a great choice for meatless Mondays or any time you’re promoting more veggies and less meat within your household.
Why We Love It: Bauer promotes this recipe for its minimal effort.
You don’t have to tell me twice: I love any recipe that I can easily recreate over-and-over on busy weeknights—this one’s only a 15-minute prep time.
The Recipe: Poblano and Portobello Fajitas
The Hero Ingredient: These vegan tacos are an undeniably yummy version of Mexican classics. Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker credits the “Bell and poblano peppers and juicy and satisfying portobello mushrooms.”
Pro Tip: You can make edits to this recipe depending on your preferences. Not a mushroom fan? “Omit them,” suggests Shultz, or for vegetarian options, add a scrambled egg into the mix.
Why We Love It: There’s something about building your own fajita dinner that’s just too much fun to pass up.
Whether it’s with a gathering of friends, or just your usual suspects, this is a great way to get everyone together to enjoy a clean-ingredient meal.
The Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Pasta
The Hero Ingredient: The use of pumpkin in this home-spun recipe is the ultimate addition of flavor and gluten-free resourcefulness. You may never go back to regular pasta ever again.
Pro Tip: If homemade pasta sounds daunting to you, Shultz promises that you don’t need a pasta maker or crank. She goes on to explain that a rolling pin and knife can do the job just as well.
Why We Love It: I’ve always wanted to learn how to make fresh pasta, and love the way Shultz makes it so approachable in this recipe.
The Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
The Hero Ingredient: The ingredients in this casserole make it dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian, a trifecta for those with restrictions that are still seeking an exciting meal. The raw organic pecans that this recipe calls for add some sweet, satisfying crunch.
Pro Tip: This casserole serves 12 people—Root and Revel’s Kate Kordsmeier encourages you to gather your favorite people around the dinner table for this plant-based, family-style dish.
Why We Love It: Sweet potato with pecans always makes me feel warm and cozy, like a flashback to a Thanksgiving favorite you can make year-round.
The Recipe: Vegan Lentil Soup with Spinach Topped with Garlicky Almond Cream
The Hero Ingredient: Yet another stellar use of legumes in a soup, the lentils here are transformed to satisfaction with the garlic and sweet almonds.
Pro Tip: For an even heavier dose of iron play around with your greens. Spoon Fork Bacon prompts you to “Add some kale into the mix.”
Why We Love It: I love any recipe that calls for a heavy hand of garlic. Lentils have a great way of taking on those heavy flavors so you can enjoy all the ingredients thoroughly.
The Recipe: Vegan Sloppy Janes
The Hero Ingredient: As an alternative to meat, the carrots in these sloppy joes have really taken on the heartiness and density that make these so enjoyable. Aromas of cinnamon, cumin, and oregano seep into the veggies to infuse them with flavor.
Pro Tip: Sloppy Janes are the vegan take on the American classic Sloppy Joe. Laura Wright of The First Mess promises it will “take you back to the first day of camp.” Just a tad healthier.
Why We Love It: I love all these whole-food twists on my childhood favorites. These are the perfect weekend lunch for an outdoor patio situation.
The Recipe: Buffalo Chickpea Chili
The Hero Ingredient: You won’t even notice the lack of meat in this chili as the chickpeas, carrots, and mushrooms are substantial on their own.
Pro Tip: This chili is even better with a dollop of cashew cream on top. (Wright has a quick easy recipe you’re going to want to follow.)
Why We Love It: Chili is known to be a super easy stew to throw together on the fly, but this one is even more favorable as it will be the perfect healthy leftovers you can reap the benefit of all week long.
The Recipe: Green Bean Tempura with Curry Mayonnaise
The Hero Ingredient: A masterfully tempura-d vegetable is one of life’s greatest delights, and green beans take the process well while keeping the integrity of their crunch and taste.
Pro Tip: Green Bean tempura is great on its own but Natalie Mortimer of The Modern Proper ensures the curry mayonnaise is not to be skipped. The use of red curry paste is truly something to be praised.
Why We Love It: As Mortimer says “Fried vegetables are still vegetables.” So eat your greens, and enjoy them.
The Recipe: Vegetarian Harissa Mushroom Bolognese with Creamy Coconut Polenta
The Hero Ingredient: The three types of mushrooms and coconut cream polenta in this sauce make for an insanely tasty melange that doesn’t compromise flavor that will have you helping yourself to seconds and thirds.
Pro Tip: This sauce can also easily be used over a gluten-free pasta suggests Phoebe Lapin of Feed Me Phoebe.
Why We Love It: Bolognese is on heavy rotation in my kitchen, just like grandma used to make. However, I’m not opposed to an updated version that prioritizes all my favorite veggies.