Unless they're designed for vegetarians, most major cookbooks don't include a lot of meatless meal recipes. Those that do often encourage vegetarians to simply substitute plant-based ingredients for the meat in the recipes, which doesn't always work well. The most successful vegetarian and vegan recipes are often those designed to use specific meatless ingredients that can be combined for excellent flavor, color, and texture.
Meatless Meal Recipes
Stuffed Bell Peppers
This recipe makes two large stuffed peppers.
- • 2 large bell peppers (any color), halved lengthwise and seeded
- • Cooking spray
- • 1 T. olive oil
- • 1 small onion, chopped
- • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
- • 1 1/2 T. pine nuts
- • 1 1/2 T. raisins
- • 1 c. vegetable broth
- • 1/2 c. couscous
- • 2 T. Parmesan or asiago cheese
- • 2 T. fresh basil or fresh parsley (optional)
- • Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil a large pot of water over high heat, and plunge in the bell pepper pieces. Let them boil for two to three minutes before removing them. Drain the peppers and let them cool.
- Prepare a baking sheet by coating it with aluminum foil and spraying it lightly with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pour the olive oil into a small frying pan, and heat the pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion to the pan. Sauté for five to seven minutes or until the onion is beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic, raisins, and pine nuts to the pan. Sauté for one to two more minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant.
- In a small pot over high heat, boil the vegetable broth. When it reaches a boil, pour in the couscous, and immediately cover the pan and remove it from the heat. Let it sit for five minutes.
- Remove the cover from the couscous pot. Fluff the couscous with a fork, and mix in the onion mixture as well as the cheese, basil, and salt and pepper.
- Place the bell pepper halves onto the baking sheet, and mound the stuffing into the peppers. If you have any extra cheese, sprinkle it on top of the peppers.
- Bake the peppers at 425 for 25 to 35 minutes or until the peppers are tender and cheese is browned.
This curry, along with rice, will serve two.
- 1 c. paneer (Indian cheese, available at Indian supermarkets, or make your own), cubed
- 1 c. frozen green peas
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-inch cinnamon stick
- 4 whole cloves
- 4 whole green cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 3 T. tomato paste
- 1 T. heavy cream
- 2 T. unsalted butter
- 2 tsp. kasuri methi (fenugreek leaves, available at Indian supermarkets)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste (available at Indian supermarkets), or 1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger and 1 tsp. chopped fresh garlic
- 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan. When it melts, add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, and cardamom pods. Fry them for about 30 seconds, and then add the onions and ginger-garlic paste (or fresh garlic and ginger). Fry until the onions are lightly browned and the mixture becomes slightly paste-like.
- Add the tomato paste and all of the spices (the chili powder, turmeric, coriander powder, salt, and garam masala). Fry the mixture for one minute on medium heat.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of water, turn the heat to medium-low, stir the mixture thoroughly, and let it simmer for eight to 10 minutes.
- Stir in the paneer, peas, heavy cream, kasuri methi, and the remaining tablespoon of butter before serving.
This recipe makes enough salad for four.
- 4 small to medium fresh tomatoes, sliced
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 3/4 c. fresh basil leaves, torn
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
ProcessCombine all ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to mix thoroughly. If you'd like, you can serve this salad with fresh greens included or with an alternate dressing.
Modifying the Recipes
One of the best things about meatless meal recipes is that they can be easily modified to feature different flavors and components. Instead of filling the stuffed peppers with couscous, for example, try brown rice or bulgur. Add a different mix of spices to the paneer curry, or use a Thai curry base instead. A variety of fresh vegetables can be added to the calabrese salad, and vegan cheese can be substituted for the mozzarella. Enjoy experimenting with these recipes!