a vegetarian meal

5 Delicious Vegetarian Dinners for the Curious Carnivore

With all the hype over kale and quinoa, you probably don’t imagine vegetarian meals having more substance and flavor than a sad, cold salad. Well, I’m here to tell you that even if you’re a hardcore "meatatarian," you can still find the heartiness you need in these five delicious vegetarian dinners that you can whip up in less time than it takes to grill a batch of burgers!

Eggplant Parmigiano


  • 2 eggplants, peeled
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 cups spaghetti sauce, jarred or homemade
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped


  1. Cut eggplant into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Salt the slices and let them soak in water for about 20 minutes.

  2. Drain eggplant and rinse with cold water to remove the salt. Pat dry.

  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  4. Dip each eggplant slice in egg, then dredge in breadcrumbs. Place each slice on a lightly greased baking sheet.

  5. Bake for 5 minutes on one side, flip over, then bake for 5 more minutes on the other side.

  6. Reduce oven to 350 degrees.

  7. In a 9-by-13-inch pan, spread 1 cup of spaghetti sauce on the bottom. Layer with half of the eggplant slices, then add another cup of sauce, spreading it evenly over the eggplant. Top with 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat with a second layer of eggplant, sauce, and cheeses. Top with basil leaves.

  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese starts to turn golden brown.

  9. Let cool and serve.

Creamy Caprese Pasta


  • 1 pound bowtie pasta
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • A few fresh basil leaves


  1. Cook pasta according to the package directions and drain.

  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Sauté halved grape tomatoes until soft, then pour in tomato paste and milk and stir.

  3. Transfer pasta into the pan and stir.

  4. Add in mozzarella balls and butter and cover the pan. Let cheese melt in the pan for about 2 minutes.

  5. Toss in the basil leaves and stir to combine.

  6. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve hot or warm.

Spinach Lentil Soup


  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • Handful of fresh spinach
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add garlic cloves with their peels still on. Toast them for a few minutes on each side, until the skins are browned and fragrant, then set aside.

  2. Add the olive oil to the dutch oven and sauté onion, carrots, and celery until tender.

  3. Peel and smash garlic, then add it back to the pot, along with the lentils and cumin. Cook for a few seconds, until the lentils are lightly coated in oil.

  4. Pour broth into the pot, then add the bay leaf and sprigs of thyme.

  5. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes, then take out bay leaf and thyme.

  6. Stir in fresh spinach and serve with a slice of crusty bread.

Black Bean Burgers with Avocado Basil Cream

Ingredients (burgers):

  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 whole grain buns, toasted if desired

Ingredients (avocado cream):

  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 10 medium basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of pepper


  1. Mash beans together in a large bowl, add seasonings, and mix to combine.

  2. In a small bowl, mix eggs, panko bread crumbs, and olive oil until combined.

  3. Add egg mixture to bean mixture and stir until combined.

  4. Use your hands to form six equal-sized patties out of the mixture.

  5. Place patties in a skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook on each side for 5 minutes, or until golden.

  6. Meanwhile, add basil and avocado to a food processor and pulse until combined. When smooth, add sour cream, salt, and pepper to taste.

  7. Serve patties and avocado cream on toasted bun and serve.

Chickpea and Butternut Squash Curry


  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (stalks and leaves separated, stalks reserved)
  • 1 medium butternut squash, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons Patak’s Korma Paste or any other curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup spinach
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups basmati rice


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet and sauté onions, garlic, and cilantro stalks over low heat for 10 minutes, or until soft.

  2. Add curry paste to the skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring the whole time, then add squash, chickpeas, coconut milk, water and a pinch of salt.

  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and let simmer, covered, for 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent from burning, adding a few splashes of water if it becomes too dry.

  4. Cook rice in a rice cooker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  5. Test the butternut squash. It should be fork tender, but not falling apart. The curry should be thick, so if it's too runny, uncover and let the liquid cook down for 3-5 more minutes.

  6. When the consistency of the curry is to your preference, stir in peas, spinach and cilantro leaves, then cover with a lid and remove from the heat.

  7. Serve hot with basmati rice.

Last Updated: October 02, 2015