12 Easy Vegetarian Meals

Updated: a day ago

In this article you will discover 12 easy vegetarian meals for every occasion: breakfast, lunch, dinner and soup.

A woman washing vegetables as she prepares a healthy vegetarian meal.


“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”

Albert Einstein


How food impacts on our health is now no longer a mystery. It’s common knowledge that the excessive consumption of certain nutrients – namely sugar, protein and saturated fat – increases our risk of illness and disease. The same can be said of refined and/or processed foods.


Over thirty years ago the relationship between health and diet was well understood. Yes! Even then in that intellectually impoverished bygone age scientists showed that ‘nutritional factors account for 60 per cent of all cancer in woman and 40 per cent of all cancer in men,’ (Curtis (2000) citing studies conducted in the 80s).


Things have moved on considerably in thirty years. The link between diet and disease is so strong that we can confidently say that ‘our diet is the number-one cause of premature death and the number-one cause of disability,’ (Greger 2017). And some nutritional scientists suggest that upwards of 90% of all disease and illness is the result of poor dietary choices.


So what active steps can we take to reform our diet so that it promotes and not degenerates our health? Dr Greger, author of How Not to Die (see link below), maintains that the single most important step we can take to improving our diet is to make plants our primary food source.


The health benefits associated with a vegetarian diet are many and varied. According to some of the leading nutritional scientists, by transitioning from an omnivorous diet to one that is all but plant based you can expect to decrease your susceptibility to many diseases. Studies abound supporting the contention that vegetarians suffer fewer incidences of:


- Cancer
- Heart disease
- Stroke
- Hypertension
- Type 2 diabetes
- Obesity


However, to enjoy the health benefits associated with vegetarianism it is important that we not only cut animal protein from our diet but also strive to reduce our consumption of processed foods and refined carbohydrate. That means little to no take-a-ways, no pre-packed consumables – such as sandwiches, crisps, chocolate, etc., etc. – and no microwaveable ready meals!


To help get you on your way to introducing more plants into your diet below I have included 10 super healthy vegetarian recipes. The recipes will provide you with a healthy, nutritious meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, you will discover a range of healthy snack ideas so that you never again need to visit the work’s vending machine.



(Please note: the meals that feature in this article were prepared and cooked in a normal, run-of-the-mill kitchen. Also, the pictures of the meals were shot by the 'chef' and promptly uploaded. Thus the images have not in anyway been beautified. Basically, what you will see below are snapshots of culinary reality. Enjoy!)



1: 3 Berry Porridge – aka: the full works

A healthy vegetarian breakfast: porridge with fruit and nuts.

The only breakfast you’ll ever need!



Ingredients (serves 4)

1 Cup of porridge oats (120g)
50g Strawberries
50g Black berries
50g Raspberry
20g Milled linseed
20g Milled hempseed
50g Assorted nuts (crushed)
2 Medulla dates
Natural honey


Method


Berry prep: so as to make life easier for yourself and to prevent eating all the berries before the end of the week, it is wise to spend a bit of time preparing them. On a Saturday, after shopping at the local market, I separate the berries across six containers so that, each morning when it comes to making breakfast, I have but to grab a pot, rinse and dry the fruit and serve. (A word of wisdom: don’t try and be too efficient by washing the berries at the start of the week. I can assure you that by Wednesday you’ll be throwing away mouldy fruit.)

Bowls or berries as part of health vegetarian cooking.


Step 1: Pre-cook preparation: firstly thoroughly rinse the fruit; drain and dry. Hand-mill the linseed and hempseed in a pestle and mortar (or buy a packet or mixed milled seed and save yourself time and an arm ache). Chop and crush the nuts. Slice the dates.



Step 2: Add to a pan one cup of oats and two cups of water. Place on a high heat and continue to stir until the porridge is vigorously bubbling. Stir throughout. (Never microwave your porridge – that is sacrilegious!)



Step 3: Once the porridge has taken on your desired consistency remove from the heat and leave to rest for five minutes. Stir intermittently.



Step 4: To serve: spoon the porridge into bowls. Drizzle over natural honey then add the seeds, nuts, dates and fruit.


As far as breakfast foods go porridge is arguable the healthiest – made even healthier with nuts, seeds and fruit! Because of its high-fibre / low fat content porridge has been shown to contain all manner of health promoting properties. Recently published studies have demonstrated that people who regularly consume porridge are less likely to develop serious conditions such as coronary heart disease and bowel cancer. It is for these reasons and many more besides why I recommend starting every day with a bowl of porridge.



2: Slow Roast Mediterranean Pasta Salad

an assortment of fresh vegetables to make a health vegetarian meal

A simple yet beautiful dish full of flavour, colour and – most importantly – health



Ingredients

Assortment of tomatoes – cherry/beef
Half a courgette, pepper and carrot
1 Red onion & 2 garlic cloves
Small pot of olives (green or black)
1 Avocado
Feta cheese (50g)
Basil, herbs, seasoning and olive oil
100gs whole wheat pasta


Method


Step 1: Preheat oven to 150°C.



Step 2: Thoroughly rinse the vegetables. After draining and drying cut, slice and dice then place into a large bowl. Give them a generous drizzle of olive oil including a couple of turns of salt, pepper and a dash of Italian mix herbs. Gently fold the vegetables so as to evenly distribute the oil and seasoning.



Step 3: Once the oven has reached temperature introduce the vegetables into a baking pot – they should sizzle a little. Place back into the oven.



Step 4: Bring a pan of water to the boil then add the pasta. Stir immediately to prevent the pasta from clumping together. Reduce temperature to a steady boil. When cooked drain, oil and season then place to one side.



Step 5: After 25 minutes check the vegetables – they should be softening and browning. Move them around the pot to prevent burning.



Step 6: Now introduce into the pot the pasta, olives and feta. Mix together. Pop the pot back in the oven for five minutes. (A word of caution: if left in the over for more than the suggested time the pasta will go dry and crispy which will mar the splendour of this dish.)



Step 7: Remove the pot from the oven and spoon the pasta salad into bowls. I like to include an avocado half, a slice of rustic bread (or focaccia) and a decadent drizzle of olive oil.

a home made vegetarian past salad which includes fresh vegetables, whole meal pasta and avocado

3: Slow Roasted Aubergine and Chickpea Curry


a super healthy vegetarian curry comprised of aubergine, courgettes, chick peas and brown basmati rice

Healthy, simple and delicious



Ingredients (serves 4)

1 Large aubergine
2 Beef tomatoes
8 Cherry tomatoes
1 Red onion
2 Cloves of garlic
1 Nub of ginger
400g of Chickpeas
1 Tin of tomatoes
Spices: half a teaspoon of turmeric, cumin, garam masala
50 grams of skin-on almonds
150 grams of brown rice


Method


Step 1: Preheat oven to 150°C.



Step 2: Chop the aubergine into chunks or strips then oil and season. Place in the oven for 35 minutes. Check occasionally and ensure to shake the baking tray to prevent sticking.



Step 3: In a pan add olive oil and soften onions and garlic. Once softened add ginger and spices.



Step 4: Wash, slice and dice the beef and cherry tomatoes. Add to the pan along with the tin of tomatoes. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer for ten minutes before introducing the chickpeas. (At this stage you may want to add a bunch of fresh coriander.)



Step 5: Once the aubergine has softened introduce to the pan of tomatoes and chickpeas. Gently mix the vegetables together, cover and leave.



Step 6: Prepare the rice. Thoroughly rinse the rice in cold water. Add to a pan ensuring to stick to a ratio of 1 part rice to 2 parts water. (Optional: Pop into the pan two cracked cardamom pods and 1 star anise.) Cover, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.



Step 7: Chop the almonds lengthways and roast under a grill until brown. (Note of caution: stand vigil or you’ll be throwing away burnt almonds all day.)



Step 8: Once the rice has cooked remove cardamom pods and star anise then drain and fluff.



Step 9: To serve: place the rice in bowls ensuring to create a well in the centre. Spoon the aubergine and chickpea curry into the well. Sprinkle over almonds and add a light dusting of smoked paprika.

4: Roasted Butternut Squash (or sweet potato!), Avocado and Butterbean Salad

a super healthy roasted butternut squash salad with avocado and fetta cheese

A light and tasty meal that’ll leave you feeling health from the inside out



Ingredients (serves 4)

2 Butternut squashes
2 Avocados
10 Cherry tomatoes
1 Sweet red pepper
50 grams of queen green olives
100 grams of feta cheese
230 grams of butter beans
A handful of spinach
Almonds and pine seeds


Method


Step 1: Preheat oven to 150°C.



Step 2: Slice the squashes in half (or as near as possible) and boil for ten minutes. After ten minutes drain then oil and season the flesh (suggested seasonings: turmeric; mixed herbs; garam masala). Now place squashes in the over skin-side down and leave for 45 minutes.



Step 3: Once the squashes have cooked (they should be soft and buttery) remove from the oven and allow to rest.



Step 4: Whilst the squashes are resting prepare the salad. Begin by creating a leafy base then layer on the tomatoes, peppers and olives. At this stage you can drain and rinse the butter beans.



Step 5: To prepare the guacamole scrape the avocado into a bowl followed by a couple of finely diced tomatoes, seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil (you can also add diced coriander). Proceed to mash the ingredients together until pulped.



Step 6: To serve: place the squashes on the plates and spoon into the hollows the guacamole. Spoon over the butter beans. Garnish with feta and crushed nuts – almonds and pine seeds. And also a drizzle of olive oil!



5: Sweet Potato, Carrot and Chickpea Curry

a super healthy sweet potato curry with roasted almonds and brown basmati rice

A dish full of flavour and health



Ingredients (serves 4)

2 Sweet potatoes
2 Large carrots
4 Big beef tomatoes
8 Cherry tomatoes
1 Large red onion
2 Cloves of garlic
A nub of ginger
400gs Chickpeas
200gs Brown rice
Spices: garam masala (or curry powder), turmeric, cumin
Handful of almonds
A generous bunch of coriander


Method


Step 1: To make the curry sauce firstly slice and dice the onions and garlic then soften in a large pan – use olive oil. Once softened add the ginger (finely diced) and spices; a level teaspoon of each – and perhaps a pinch of salt.



Step 2: Whilst the spices are infusing begin to prepare the tomatoes; wash, dry, chop and add to the pan. Cover and leave on a medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.



Step 3: Meanwhile, wash the sweet potatoes and carrots (peeling is optional) and cut into thumb nail-sized cubes. Once cut to size introduce into a pan of boiling water. After 5 minutes drain and air.



Step 4: The final stage in preparing the curry sauce: ladle the mix into a large glass jug and blend until the consistency is smooth.



Step 5: Re-oil the pan previously used for the sauce and place on a medium to high heat. Transfer the sweet potatoes and carrots. Fry for five minutes before spooning in the sauce. When mixed add the chickpeas and a generous bunch of finely diced coriander. Reduce the heat and cover ensuring to leave a gap.



Step 6: Prepare the rice. Thoroughly rinse the rice in cold water. Add to a pan ensuring to stick to a ratio of 1 part rice to 2 parts water. (Optional: Pop into the pan two cracked cardamom pods and 1 star anise.) Cover, bring to the boil then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.



Step 7: Once the rice has cooked remove cardamom pods and star anise then drain and fluff.



Step 8: To serve: place the rice in bowls ensuring to create a well in the centre. Spoon the curry into the well. Garnish with roasted almonds and a sprig of coriander.


6: Vegetarian SpagBol

A chopping board with fress vegetables chopped up in readiness for a plant based diet.

Too cliché to say a taste of Italy but, what the hell, this dish is exactly that!



Ingredients (serves 4)

1 Large courgette
1 Sweet red pepper
2 Large portabella mushrooms
4 Big beef tomatoes
10 Cherry tomato's
1 Large red onion
4 Cloves of garlic
400g Tin of tomatoes
200g Whole wheat pasta
Fresh Basil


Method


Step 1: Because the ingredients are introduce in stages it is advisable to spend time preparing before cooking. Firstly rinse the courgette, pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes. Cut, dice and slice and separate into individual bowls.



Step 2: Finely slice the onion and garlic. Soften in a pan ensuring to season well.



Step 3: Once softened introduce at five minute intervals the vegetables as follows: courgette, red pepper, tomatoes, mushrooms. With the mushrooms you can also include the tin tomatoes. Mix together, cover and leave on a medium heat for 20 minutes.



Step 4: After 20 minutes check that the sauce has reduced to a rich, thick consistency. If the consistency pleases remove pan from the heat and set to one side. At this stage you could add a generous drizzle of olive oil, a ruddy good seasoning and a handful of fresh basil.



Step 5: To prepare the pasta: firstly bring a pan of water to a rolling boil, add a pinch of salt and then the pasta. With a fork immediately move the pasta around the pan to prevent clumping. Quality fussily pasta should take between 8 to 10 minutes to cook. The pasta should not be soft to the bite. If it is you have over-cooked it. There should be ‘bite’ to the past. Having satisfied this particular requirement thoroughly drain then add olive oil, seasoning – preferably an Italian herb mix – and a grate of parmesan cheese (optional).



Step 6: To serve: Option one: pasta in the bowl followed by the source. Option two: introduce the pasta into the sauce prior to serving, mix and serve together as one.


A thick cut of rustic bread or focaccia slice is the perfect accompaniment to this dish.

A vegetarian spaghetti bolognaise. As part of the vegetarian, pant-based recipes.