Three Easy Vegetarian Dishes

Eating Less Meat

In my quest to eat healthier I tried to become a vegetarian, I failed. I am an omnivore and will most likely always will be. However I did commit to trying to reduce the amount of meat that I eat and that I serve to my family. This was a hard sell to my husband who is a bonafide meat and potatoes kind of guy. So we compromised and decided that we would attempt to eat at least two meals that were completely meat free. Now, there are times that those meatless meals simply consist of spaghetti and marinara sauce, but there are a lot of other dishes that we eat that are tasty and even satisfy that meat eating guy!

Photo Guide to Making the Lasagna

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Sauce layered with noodles, cheese mixture, zucchini, spinach, and mozarella cheese.Adding the sauce for the next layer.Top the final layer with noodles, sauce and cheese.The finished product, fresh out of the oven!A satisfied family!
Sauce layered with noodles, cheese mixture, zucchini, spinach, and mozarella cheese.
Sauce layered with noodles, cheese mixture, zucchini, spinach, and mozarella cheese. | Source
Adding the sauce for the next layer.
Adding the sauce for the next layer. | Source
Top the final layer with noodles, sauce and cheese.
Top the final layer with noodles, sauce and cheese. | Source
The finished product, fresh out of the oven!
The finished product, fresh out of the oven! | Source
A satisfied family!
A satisfied family! | Source

Easy Vegetarian Lasagna

I created this dish when I was looking for a lasagna that did not feel so very heavy as one filled with layers of meat and cheese.  After some tweaking, it has become a family favorite and leaves very little leftovers for the next day!

Ingredients:

box of lasagna noodles of your choice prepared according to package directions

1 jar of marinara sauce

1 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

3 cups of mozzarella cheese

1 box of thawed frozen chopped spinach (squeeze out the extra water from the spinach before using in the lasagna).

1 small zucchini sliced into 1/4 inch rounds

salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the ricotta cheese with the egg, then stir in 1/2 of the Parmesan cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese and a little salt and pepper. In the 9 x 13 inch pan, spread 1/3 of the spaghetti sauce in the bottom of the pan. Then place the noodles so that the bottom is covered completely. Next evenly spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the noodles, sprinkle half of the spinach over the cheese and then place half of the zucchini rounds over the spinach, followed by a generous sprinkle of mozarella. Repeat the same process starting with the sauce and then noodles. For the final layer, Place the noodles over the sauce then cover with the final third of the sauce. Add the remaining cheese over the sauce and sprinkle with last of the Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes.

**Variation: Note that the lasagna can be made with whatever vegetables that you and your family enjoy.**

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Stuffed Acorn SquashYummy Mom, make this every night!
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffed Acorn Squash | Source
Yummy Mom, make this every night!
Yummy Mom, make this every night! | Source

Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

If you've ever watched or tried any of Emeril Lagasse's recipes, you know that they are typically high in fat, fried, and oh so good. Well Emeril has made a transformation and has a show on planet green tv that teaches people how to "fix" their cooking problems. For example, if you are struggling with finding heart healthy recipes that taste good or low sugar treats because you are a diabetic, Emeril is there to help. So as I continued me quest for vegetarian options, I stumbled across this show and fell in love with many of the recipes that he has shared. The stuffed acorn squash was a huge hit in my house. Although it took a little time to chop everything up, the flavors were out of this world. My husband didn't even notice that there was no meat.

Ingredients:
2 acorn squash, split in half, seeds removed
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 orange pepper, finely chopped
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch Swiss or rainbow chard, ribs removed and diced, leaves chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:
Place the squash, cut side down, onto a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for 12 minutes or until then flesh is soft. Set aside. (Alternatively, you can roast the squash in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add the grapeseed oil. After a minute, add the orange pepper and onion and season with salt and pepper. Once the vegetables begin to soften, add the Swiss chard ribs. Continue to cook another 2 minutes or so, and add the garlic. Stir to combine and cook only until the garlic becomes fragrant. Turn off the heat and stir in the brown rice, chopped Swiss chard leaves and parsley.

Place the acorn squash halves in a baking dish and fill each with 3/4 cup of the mixture. Sprinkle each stuffed squash with about 1/4 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt.

Serve warm with red pepper hummus or a side salad.

Yield: 4 servings

Vegetarian Times
Vegetarian Times

I subscribe to this magazine and find many of their recipes easy to cook and tasty too!

 

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

Yet another Emeril favorite of our is the Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas. This recipe is sure to tantalize every bit of your taste buds and leaving you asking, can I have more, not where's the meat?

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for cooking quesadillas
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 lime, juiced
10 7-inch flour tortillas
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup grated queso blanco cheese or Monterey jack cheese
Salsa for serving
Light Sour Cream for serving

Directions:
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. Add red peppers, corn, and black beans. Season with cumin, salt and pepper, cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the lime juice, stir to combine, and remove from heat.

To assemble: Lay one tortilla in a hot skillet. Add 1/4 cup filling and then top with 2 tablespoon grated cheese. Top with another tortilla and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly browned on the bottom tortilla. Flip and cook on the other side until slightly browned and the cheese has melted.

Cut each quesadilla into six triangles and serve warm with Salsa and light sour cream.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

More by this Author


Comments 21 comments

annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England

amazing recipes - I've been a veggie for 30 years and never regretted it. thanks for the recipes - thumbs up


Sarah Webster 5 years ago

I was seduced by the lasagna picture! I am going to try all three of these recipes. They look fantastic, and do not seem difficult to fix. Thank you for sharing these recipes.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Annmackiemiller for the thumbs up. Good for you for your vegetarianism, maybe I'll get there one day. Hope you try and like the recipes. You'll have to come back and let me know!

Sarah, I heard you were easily seduced!!! :) They are really great recipes and good tasting. The most involved is the squash but so worth it. In fact I'm making it to take to Christa's for Easter.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Great article and delicious looking food. LOVED the ending remarks...BAM! LOL Can't wait to try the acorn squash next w/e. Yummy.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

My younger son is vegetarian. Don't think I can be one but we have never been big meat eaters anyway. Thankfully, my husband is learning to love salads (suddenly has discovered them after 60 years!). Now if I could just get him to eat fruit, that will be another step in the right direction.

voted up and useful


fucsia profile image

fucsia 5 years ago

I am a veggie for only one year, but I am very happy to this choise and my relation with food is improved. I do not think that everyone should to become vegetarian, but I think that everyone should to find the proper diet according to their needs, preference, lifestyle, ideologies. In other words it is important to be conscious of the food that we eat, like you wrote.

Thanks for sharing these recipe!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Yes Mom, you've finally gotten the recipe and will have it made for you soon! I'm sure not everyone got the "BAM" at the end but I couldn't resist.

Aunt Danette, I didn't know Sam was a vegetarian. What can I say, change is sometimes SLOW!!!

Thanks Fucsia for sharing your thoughts. I hope you can use and enjoy the recipes.


justasksusan 5 years ago

Okay I am now hungry and just have to try those Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas. I have bookmarked this page so that I can return and try all of these recipes. I like meat but hubby likes meat more. I have always tried to make one meatless meal a week but....all I ever get is "Is that all we are having"...I will keep trying though.

Up, useful and awesome!


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Your recipes look and sound delicious. We try to make at least one meatless meal a week. I will definately be trying these recipes.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks KoffeeKlatch Gals. They are very tasty, I hope you enjoy them.


mareezy13 profile image

mareezy13 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

I became a vegetarian recently, within the last few months. People looked at me strangely at first and thought I only ate salads and fruit. There is an art to cooking a vegetarian meal, it is a creative process. These recipes look great and simple enough, can't wait to try them.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Sometimes I wish that I could be a vegetarian. I try to cut back on the amount of meat that I eat but I still like to have some chicken or a steak sometimes. I really like the recipes that are on Emeril's site. They are very flavorful! Thanks for reading and commenting.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Wow although I am not a vegetarian all of these recipes look delicious. I will be trying them. I especially want to try the acorn squash recipe. Thanks for sharing.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

Like you, we aren't vegetarians, but still try to have 2 or 3 meatless meals each week. Your recipes sound great, and I'm definitely going to try the stuffed acorn squash and the bean filled quesadillas soon! Thanks for sharing!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 years ago from The Caribbean

Will try both the squash and quesadillas recipes. Bookmarked this page. Thanks!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Great recipes and I like the fact that when you weren't able to cut out meat completely you still made an ongoing effort to decrease the amount of meat that you eat and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Changes like that practiced on a daily basis can make a big difference in the long run.


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Susan, the acorn squash recipe is one of my favorites, enjoy!

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do Stephanie. Let me know how they turn out.

Great Ms Dora, glad that you will be referring back to them! Thanks for reading and commenting.

We try HBN, especially with my husbands heart condition. They really do make a big difference and I hope that my kids have those habits just naturally built into their lives.


AspiringNewMoms profile image

AspiringNewMoms 5 years ago

Great ideas! We try to go meatless a few nights a week. The acorn squash looks delicious!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks ApiringNewMoms. We try to do the same. It's the perfect season for the squash, enjoy!


Cloverleaf profile image

Cloverleaf 5 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

Great suggestions for hearty vegetarian meals! I especially like the sound of your vegetarian lasagne. I think I would enjoy this just as much as a meat lasagne! Bookmarked for future use. I am also writing a hub about my favourite vegetarian recipe hubs, and will be including a link to this one, I think it's FAB!

Voted up!


cardelean profile image

cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks Cloverleaf! Not only am I thrilled that you enjoyed the recipes but I am grateful for the link. Please let me know when you have it done so that I can check out your great recipes!

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