When I started regularly planning dinners, I thought it best to keep most meals meat-free since it was healthier and cheaper. Initially, it was a little difficult to come up with wholesome dinners that would satisfy me and my meat-and-potatoes boyfriend. But as I’d experimented with more vegetarian options, the meal-planning process became easier, more tasty options were added to our weekly rotation and have since become staples.
Sweet Potato Bourbon Soup
When I need to fix something quick, cheap and with ingredients I usually have on hand, this soup is usually the answer. It’s velvety, sweet, spicy and goes great with a crusty loaf of buttered bread. I’ve made this more times than I can count. And it’s Bob’s favorite.
Black Bean Enchiladas
Don’t even think about making it without the spicy cocoa sauce! It is the perfect complement to the big flavors of the seasoned veggies and black beans stuffed in those cute little rolled tortillas. With all its spices and ingredients, you won’t even miss the meat.
Warm Mushroom Salad
For the days when you’ve had a heavy carb-loaded lunch, this scrumptious salad could be the ideal dinner fix. That and a glass of wine and you’re all set.
Peasant Soup (sans the chicken)
Fitting for a wintry night or when you have a case of the sniffles. With the addition of white wine, it’s not your average peasant soup, but it’s no less delicious. You can edit the recipe to make it more your own, e.g. sub the kale for spinach. I love the Parmesan in this. It’s what takes this from good to great. Again, with a side of crusty bread and call it a meal.
French Bread Pizza
Comparable to Stouffer’s frozen French bread pizza, but better. I like to stick to the classic marinara and mozzarella combo, but I’ve also been known to add some garlic or sub the sauce for kale pesto instead. Add veggies, meat or whatever pizza toppings you love most. If you have ready-made tomato sauce, then it takes all of two seconds to make.
Creamy Avocado Pasta
Sounds crazy! It did to me too, until I tried it. It’s a creamy, dreamy wonder. Also, it’s an absolute must to eat this fresh. Otherwise, you might find yourself with an unsavory-looking greenish brown pasta. Think: the color of avocados sitting out for too long.
Crockpot Sweet Potato Lentils
This is the dish that makes me love lentils, which I can probably thank the sweet potatoes for. Serve it over rice and you have yourself wholesome meal with a good kick of Indian flavor. I make my own garam masala, since I can never find it at the store (it’s a variation of this recipe).
Forget Asian takeout. This colorful, veggie-filled dish is low on effort and high on flavor. I don’t follow a recipe, but I use sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic powder, chili powder and ginger to get the flavor I like. I haven’t been able to find an exact recipe using those ingredients (maybe I’ll just make my own and post it here someday?), but this one looks pretty close. Serve over rice or quinoa.
Mushroom and Kale Gratin
It sounds so bogus, but I love kale. I really do. Anytime I can incorporate it into dinner is a small victory for me and this dish, in particular, calls for a good lot of it. Along with mushrooms, it’s also held together quite deliciously by eggs, garlic, rosemary and Gruyère. All yummy things!