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How to Go Veg

Healthy Dinner Ideas

Here are some great dinner ideas. For more, check out the huge range of vegetarian cookbooks at libraries and bookstores, or on-line.

  • Pasta marinara: Some commercial pasta sauces are low-fat and vegan, such as Millina’s organic or Five Brothers garden vegetable or mushroom flavor. Check the label for animal-derived ingredients such as cheese and for the number of fat grams/serving (less than 2 grams per serving is best).
  • Pasta pesto with tomatoes and asparagus: Make pesto with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and a touch of salt and olive oil. Toss cooked pasta with pesto and freshly cut Roma or cherry tomatoes and lightly steamed asparagus pieces for a summer feast.
  • Veggie lasagna: Made with low-fat tofu to replace the ricotta, layered with grilled veggies.
  • Beans and rice: Try black beans with salsa, vegetarian baked beans, or fat-free refried beans paired with steamed brown rice or Spanish rice.
  • Tacos or burritos: Prepare these dishes with flour tortilla, beans, lettuce, tomato, and salsa. Add grilled or sautéed vegetables or crumbled veggie taco “meat” for an extra special touch.
  • Fajitas: Lightly sauté sliced bell peppers, onion, and eggplant in a non-stick pan, with fajita seasonings. Then pile into tortillas with black beans, lettuce, tomato, and salsa.
  • Chili: Black bean, traditional red style, cashew and vegetable chili all make a hearty and tasty meal. Pair chili with corn bread and a green salad for a colorful feast. Vegetarian boxed or canned versions are fine.
  • Rice pilaf, Spanish rice, or packaged rice dinners: Try Uncle Ben’s and other brands of rice dishes and omit the butter during preparation. Heat up some frozen mixed vegetables or steam some broccoli or carrots for a quick and easy supper.
  • Fat-free vegetarian burgers: Look for lentil burgers or commercial brands. Serve burger with the traditional fixings and some oven-roasted sweet or new potatoes for a familiar meal.
  • Veggie hot dogs and beans: Canned veggie baked beans with fat free veggie hot dogs makes a quick meal. Serve with a whole wheat bun and a chopped vegetable salad or coleslaw.
  • Curries: Try Indian curries with garbanzo beans, potatoes, and cauliflower or Thai curries with eggplant, mushrooms, and carrots—aromatic and flavorful curries are often served over rice.
  • Stir-fries: Nearly any combination of fresh vegetables and tofu or veggie chicken or veggie beef is delicious lightly stir-fried and flavored with black bean sauce, teriyaki sauce, ginger and garlic, or one of many other sauces.
  • Stews and Gumbos: Perfect in the cooler months, a myriad of stews can be made with most any combination of vegetable and legume as its base. Try curried lentil and spinach stew; an autumn vegetable mixture of squash, sweet potato, turnip, and onion, or a veggie gumbo of okra, limas, tomatoes, and spices.
  • Vegetable Plates: Nearly any combination of grain, bean, and vegetable sides can make a wholesome and welcome meal. Try sweet potato, steamed broccoli and black-eyed peas, or pinto beans, rice, portabello mushrooms, and salad, or fried green tomatoes, succotash, and a baked potato.

Dinner Recipes: grains and pastas >  legumes, tofu, and other hearty fare >

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