Mini Mozzarella-and-Kale Pita Pizzas
We split the pitas in half before toasting so the crusts can get extra crisp.
Pasta with Chickpea Sauce
Onions, carrots, and garlic cook in olive oil until buttery soft, then get blended with chickpeas and water to form a deeply savory puree that coats pasta beautifully. It’s a satisfying dish that just happens to be vegan. Try to let the blender run for a minute or two when pureeing the ingredients; the smoother the sauce, the better the dish. A flourish of fresh herbs at the end brightens and freshens the dish; you can use all parsley or all basil if you don’t have both on hand.
Spinach, Hummus, and Bell Pepper Wraps
Make this super-simple wrap the night before, wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and store in the fridge—just grab it in the morning on your way out the door. Use Flatout Light whole-grain flatbreads to keep calories in check; you can find them at most supermarkets, usually in the bakery section.
Smashed Chickpea Salad Toasts
A little reminiscent of both tuna salad and egg salad, this combo of coarsely mashed chickpeas, mayo, pickles, celery, and onion is all at once creamy, crunchy, and toothsome. We like serving it as an open-faced tartine or toast, but you can also sandwich it between two bread slices or serve it with whole-grain crackers. For a vegan version, choose a vegan mayo, and you’ll be good to go.
Greek Spaghetti Squash Toss
Spaghetti squash is a great lower-calorie, lower-carb alternative to pasta. It’s a neutral tasting veggie that absorbs all the flavors of this simple skillet, so be sure to toss well to coat every strand. The end result is a veggie-based meal in a bowl that you can quickly throw together—a nice alternative to salads when you want to fill up on vegetables.
Nutty Fried Rice
This hearty vegetarian dish is a fun twist on the usual takeout version of fried rice, incorporating lots of nutty flavor from toasted sesame oil, roasted cashews, peanut butter, and sesame seeds. The rice is drizzled with a savory, creamy peanut sauce that takes the whole thing right into indulgence territory. If you have a peanut allergy, opt for cashew, almond, or sunflower butter instead of peanut butter. Look for toasted sesame seeds on the spice aisle of your supermarket; it’s a great ingredient to keep on hand for busy nights because it saves a step.
Hummus-Zucchini English Muffin
Instead of the usual bagel with cream cheese and jam, we're adding protein and cutting sugar with creamy hummus and vegetables. Start with a whole-grain English muffin, and pile on shaved carrot, zucchini, and roasted salted sunflower seeds for a savings of 30g added sugar.
Sweet Potato Medallions with Almond Sauce and Chickpea Salad
It may seem too good to be true, but it's not: This impressive plate requires only 5 ingredients (water, oil, salt, and pepper are freebies). Microwaved sweet potatoes are sliced into medallions, brushed with oil, and lightly seared so they become satisfyingly steak-like. The creamy, nutty sauce adds richness, and the lemon-dressed arugula-chickpea salad bulks up the plate beautifully. In place of almond butter, you can use any nut butter you like—try peanut, cashew, or sunflower butter. And if canned chickpeas aren't in your pantry, try cannellini or navy beans.
Spanish “Tortilla” Omelet
Say hello to next-level breakfast for dinner. Inspired by a traditional crispy, potato-studded Spanish tortilla, our quick-fix fluffy omelet is topped with potato chips for a touch of crunch.
Butternut Squash, Kale, and Black Bean Quesadillas
Mashing half of the beans provides creamy texture and helps to seal the quesadillas.
Tempeh with Charred Peppers and Kale
Ever tried tempeh? This soybean-based veggie protein is a great option for vegetarian or vegan sandwiches and wraps because of its firm texture and incredible flavor adaptability. We love it here with a quick soy sauce hit, layered over earthy kale. Got leftovers? Pile this tempeh and veggie combo into a whole-wheat wrap for a perfect to-go lunch.
Tofu Banh Mi Wraps with Quick-Pickled Carrots and Radishes
Drain the pickles well before adding to each wrap. This is a saucy sandwich, so extra liquid can make it a bit messy once you bite in.
Brown Rice Bowl with Miso, Poached Egg, and Kale-Radish Slaw
Nutrient-rich kale has a mild flavor and becomes tender very quickly, making it a snap to add to speedy meals like this one. Mix and match those greens and grains! Sub farro or quinoa for brown rice, and spinach, chard, or cabbage for kale.
Veggie Lettuce Wraps
Because of their strength and malleability, Bibb lettuce leaves are some of the best for loaded lettuce wraps. It's worth picking up a couple of heads if you only have iceberg or romaine in your crisper.
Smoky Potato Cakes with Kale and Creamy Ricotta
Perk up your spuds with kale, creamy ricotta, and a hit of smoky goodness. These hearty cakes pack twice the potassium of a banana. Fill out the plate with a simple, crisp green salad.
Fresh Thai Noodle Bowl
Our simple, speedy trick for creating deep and full-bodied favor: infusing store-bought vegetable stock with sautéed fresh garlic and ginger.
Fried Egg and Avocado Toasts
Sunny-side-up eggs, fresh sprouts, and salsa amp up avocado toast for a fast, no-fuss meal.
Butternut Squash Pizza with White Sauce, Spinach, and Goat Cheese
Try swapping out the goat cheese for feta or Gorgonzola to switch up the flavor profile.
Black Bean Burgers with Mango Salsa
Black beans, cilantro, and spices enhance the flavors in these veggie burgers, but it’s the avocado-mango salsa that makes this recipe shine.
Jane's Vegetarian Chili
This chili is heavy on the sweet and tangy flavor of tomatoes, with both diced and paste, but it also boasts four different kinds of beans. The unusual addition of Worcestershire sauce (if you're a strict vegetarian or vegan, make sure to use a vegetarian version) brings great meaty flavor to the chili. Serve with jalapeño cornbread or over cooked spaghetti, Cincinnati-style.
Seared Tofu with Gingered Vegetables
Browning tofu cubes over high heat gives them a nice firm texture and caramelized flavor that goes well with the simple stir-fried veggies. The flavors of sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce, along with ample ginger and garlic, stand up to the bell pepper, and a topping of sprouts adds a fresh, spicy crunch that makes this dish different. If you can't find pungent radish sprouts, substitute broccoli, alfalfa, or bean sprouts.
Macadamia Nut-Pesto Fettuccine
Your family will never guess what's in this pesto, but the macadamias give a creamier texture than other types of nuts. Add half-and-half to that for a wonderfully rich, indulgent sauce with familiar flavor but a hint of something new. The pesto comes together in the time the pasta cooks, so it takes just a few minutes to create a creamy, comforting dish with less than 400 calories per serving.
Vegetarian Chipotle Nachos
Convert carnivores into vegetarians (if only temporarily) with this recipe: The meatless crumbles are nearly indistinguishable from ground beef. Add to that the fiery heat of chipotles, creamy avocado and sour cream, and plenty of cheese, and you've got a great plate of nachos. Best of all, this version has only 408 calories per serving and provides nearly half a day's fiber and more than a third of a day's calcium.
Arugula Pizza with Poached Eggs
You can also try using fresh dough. Look to your local pizzeria for homemade dough, as many will sell theirs for only a few dollars.
Rotini with White Beans and Escarole
This light pasta doesn't sacrifice flavor. With earthy beans, bitter greens, and sharp Parmesan cheese, this dish needs a dose of fruit to bring it to life. Try a pinot grigio with lively melon and citrus flavors, such as Lungarotti Torre di Giano 2010 ($15).
Blue Cheese Polenta with Vegetables
Savory blue cheese polenta topped with delicious veggies makes for a comforting and satisfying meal.
Grilled Gruyère and Olive Tapenade Sandwiches
You can easily shave thin slices of cheese in a snap using an inexpensive kitchen tool: a vegetable peeler. This is a perfect technique for many hard cheeses like Gruyère.
Fontal Polenta with Mushroom Sauté
This hearty recipe is a rich and comforting dish that will satisfy any savory cravings. Fresh herbs and creamy fontina cheese up the flavor quota and add even more dimension to the mushrooms.
Falafel Pitas with Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing
Seasoned with mustard, cumin, and paprika, these classic chickpea patties have a great crunchy exterior and zesty flavor. Paired with bitter arugula and a creamy-tangy dressing on pita, they create an easy 10-minute dinner. Toss together lettuce, tomato, some feta cheese, and extra dressing for a nice side salad.
The flavors in this dish may be exotic for a weeknight dinner, but it's fast (about 15 minutes) and calls for common pantry ingredients. Pineapple and red bell pepper provide a balance of sweet and savory while coconut milk and curry powder combine for a creamy, spicy sauce. This doesn't have to be a vegetarian dish, either; chicken or pork can replace the tofu with almost no change in cooking.
Poblano, Mango, and Black Bean Quesadillas
The ingredients might sound like they'd clash when combined, but this recipe proves that spicy, sweet, and savory go great together. The tangy mango moderates the hot pepper while perking up the beans, and avocado adds creamy texture and healthy fats. Add another layer of flavor by serving with sour cream or your favorite salsa or guacamole for dipping.
Grilled Portobello-Goat Cheese Pitas
Each element of this dish contributes unique elements. Crispy and chewy texture come from the grilled pita; tanginess and cooling creaminess from the goat cheese; sweet, juicy freshness from the tomato; and earthy smoky flavors and meaty texture from the portobellos. It's a great summer combination with a simple fruit salad made from whatever you have on hand.
Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto and Feta Cheese
Pesto is a wonderfully diverse recipe component because there are so many possible variations. Here, almonds and sun-dried tomatoes make for a sweet-and-savory flavor with extra richness from the oil in the tomatoes. Mixed into a bit of reserved pasta cooking water, the pesto makes a great thick sauce that sticks to the noodles, and a last-minute topping of tangy feta brightens all the flavors. It tastes indulgent, but this dish has only 300 calories and less than 10 grams of fat per serving.
Packaged greens are ultra-easy to use, and you just have to add a few extra ingredients to put a unique stamp on a salad. Basil and kalamata olives build a Mediterranean salad with a sweet cider vinaigrette that's served over an easy pita pizza for a complete meal.
Warm Tortellini and Cherry Tomato Salad
Prepared filled pastas from the refrigerated section of the supermarket are a great boon to get dinner on the table fast. They add multilayered flavor and cook even more quickly than dried pasta. Here, cheese tortellini is paired with fresh, crisp asparagus, bitter arugula, sweet and juicy tomatoes, pungent onion, and tart canned artichoke hearts in a simple two-vinegar vinaigrette for a meal that takes no longer than cooking the pasta.
Vegetarian chilis are so hearty and full of flavor that you'll never miss meat. Canned beans shorten the total cooking time to 13 minutes, plus they add lots of fiber. Corn bread―store-bought or homemade―is a natural side, but you could serve the chili over rice instead for a different twist.
Falafel with Avocado Spread
This very nontraditional falafel, made with pinto beans, cheese, and a zesty avocado spread, was named our all-time best vegetarian entrée. It also works as an appetizer: Make about 12 small patties instead of four large ones and serve the spread as a dipping sauce.
Chili-Glazed Tofu over Asparagus and Rice
One advantage of tofu is that it's a blank slate―it can absorb almost any flavor and take on many different identities. Here, the tofu gets a dip in a sauce with sweet, sour, and salty tastes and a big wallop of heat. The rice with vegetables in this recipe provides an excellent base for tofu, but you can use the tofu as a main-course protein with other sides, too. Try soba or rice noodles and steamed broccoli, or pair with baked sweet potatoes.
Italian Eggs over Spinach and Polenta
Talk about quick and easy: This recipe takes 10 minutes and five ingredients. But it's still delicious, satisfying, and contains just 264 calories per serving. The eggs take on lots of flavor from poaching in pasta sauce, and polenta adds body and unique texture. Other kinds of greens can also work here, though they might need to cook a bit longer―try Swiss chard or kale.
Corn and Summer Vegetable Sauté
All your favorites are here―okra, bell pepper, corn, black beans―cooked through but still crisp and tender for lots of fresh flavor and a shockingly low 90 calories per serving. Feel free to have seconds―or thirds! Serve like a salad with your favorite bread, or fill tortillas for vegetable tacos.
Burritos like these are a great option to feed picky eaters, since you can customize the filling of each one. On a zesty base of rice and beans combined with salsa, you can add whatever other fillings you like (and leave out those you don’t) to fill up a tasty burrito. The recipe calls for cheese, avocado, and cilantro, but try just about any vegetable―corn's a delicious option, and cooked zucchini is great in addition to or in place of the black beans.
Smoked Mozzarella, Spinach, and Pepper Omelet Sandwiches
Breakfast for dinner is a fun way to shake up your menu, and breakfast foods are almost always quick and easy. This 10-minute dish is no exception. We combine whole eggs and egg whites to give great flavor but keep fat in check, and use deeply flavored smoked mozzarella to add more depth. Switch up the bread and cheese for easy variations like pepper jack on a tortilla or pecorino on a bagel.
Corn and Potato Chowder
Most chowders only contain a small amount of meat in comparison to vegetables, so making this dish vegetarian was easy. It's warm and filling with lots of hearty potato and sweet corn in a creamy base. Seafood seasoning adds that classic New England flavor without meat, and a sprinkling of green onions and cheese on top punches up both color and taste. Not bad for 15 minutes' work and only 343 calories a serving.
Roasted Red Pepper on Mini-Bagel Sandwiches
For the very busiest of times, this recipe requires zero cooking and can be made ahead. A garlic- and onion-infused cream cheese spread matches with flavorful roasted bell peppers in an extremely easy recipe to put together. If you cut the mini bagels in half, this recipe yields 24 hors d'oeuvre servings, but two whole sandwiches make a meal with only 248 calories and 8 grams of fat.
Black Bean Cakes
Here's an entire meal, ready in less than 20 minutes. For firmer yolks, cook eggs 5 minutes.
Chickpea Curry with Basmati Rice
Look for garam masala—an Indian blend—in the spice aisle; Spice Islands and McCormick make it.
Fettuccine with Pistachio-Mint Pesto and Tomatoes
We love this dish with pistachios, but for a less expensive alternative, try walnuts. Save the smallest mint leaves for a pretty, delicate garnish.
Tomato and Feta Toasts with Mixed Greens Salad
Utilize summer's bounty in this superfast, super healthy open-face tomato sandwich.
White Bean and Spinach Tacos
To quickly warm tortillas, stack and wrap them in damp paper towels; microwave at HIGH for 25 seconds. Serve immediately.
Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine
The hot pasta will melt the Parmesan cheese and help the sauce cling to the noodles.
Warm Brown Rice and Chickpea Salad with Cherries and Goat Cheese
Fresh cherries add a meaty bite and tart-sweet flavor. If you can't find fresh cherries, add 2 tablespoons boiling water to 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries. Let stand 10 minutes; drain and chop.
Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine
This simple stew, boldly flavored with exotic spices and packed with vegetables, is endlessly adaptable. You can try it any time of year with seasonal vegetables, adjusting the liquid and cooking time accordingly.