- Food and Cooking
Quick & easy meat-free recipes using ready-made dough
Meat free recipes using ready made doughs - quick and easy
If you've looked through my growing list of recipes, I'm sure that you've noticed what my favorite convenience food happens to be. Today there are so many ideas for bakes, biscuits and pies and that means that I don't have to start from scratch, making pizza bases, for example.
When I was a keen new housewife, a million years ago, everything was from scratch but today, I don't have the time or patience to start mixing, kneading and rolling. (OK, I'm lazy!) But it's easy to make great meat-free meals that are so tasty, using this convenience food, so I can't resist.
A word about my recipe ideas - we don't eat meat or fish but we're not what I would call strictly vegetarian either.
We still enjoy dairy produce and occasionally eggs too. So these recipes aren't suitable for vegans or for people who follow a strict vegetarian diet.
But if you're looking for meatless meals, that are tasty, good and filling - and reasonably healthy - some of these recipes could be just what you're looking for. I'll be adding to this page quite often too - when I ask him 'what shall we have for dinner' he often points out that there's a packet of dough in the freezer or a tube of ready-to-cook biscuits in the fridge that, in his words, 'needs eating up'.
Do you have a recipe to include on this page? Let me know!
All photographs and recipes © BritFlorida.
Most of the recipes you'll find here have step-by-step photographs. The reason I do this is because when I'm following someone else's recipe, illustrations and pictures make it so much easier. I hope that they help you, too. Every meal has been tried and tested in my own tiny kitchen and most have a preparation time of ten minutes or less. I do need to rustle up dinner quickly on most evenings.
You'll see in the image above that I use a clean wine bottle for rolling - there's no room for a rolling pin in my tiny kitchen. So you can also be sure that just the basic utensils are needed.
Let me tell you what I love about this. Of course, it sticks to my usual criteria of being quick, easy and tasty.
But in addition, it's a lovely recipe to serve for the family at any time, or for entertaining. It's quite luxurious - I add a little wine to flavor the mushrooms (optional of course) - and I have served this as a vegetarian option at celebration meals. These can also make a delicious appetizer.
In addition to the other ingredients, I use a sun-dried tomato pesto that adds a lot of lovely flavor but it's also another factor that make this so quick and easy to prepare. I like to serve all my pastry meals with a simple salad, especially those with cheese.
That's just me being calorie-conscious but it does save time and help to get dinner on the table fast.
Easy cheese, tomato and olive pizzas
You've read the phrase 'so easy a child could do it'?
Well, that's exactly what this recipe is. I've made this meal with young children and they have a lot of fun. The great thing is that you can vary the toppings to suit what the child likes.
Of course, adult supervision is needed because a hot oven is involved and a little fine slicing needed.
Please don't think that this is a kids' recipe though. These 'mini' pizzas are good for a vegetarian dinner or lunch. They are good cold too and make ideal nibbles with drinks. Sometimes, at family meals, I've been in charge of making the appetizers and have used this recipe and everyone enjoys them, including people who are devoted meat eaters.
Somehow, a meatless appetizer is acceptable to almost everyone.
Easy garlic and cheese breadsticks
This is a very quick and easy treat to make and they are great for kids to cook, with adult supervision.
The breadsticks emerge from the oven in a 'boat' shape and although they are delicious as they are, kids like to fill the 'boat' with other goodies after baking to make a lovely self-contained snack or lunch.
But they are also great in place of regular garlic bread for family meals with an Italian bias - or even for entertaining. I like to make these when we are having guests. When our friends arrive, I pop them into the oven and the house is filled with that lovely aroma of freshly baked bread - so very tempting!
Then I serve them with pre-dinner drinks or with the meal itself. If you're hosting a help-yourself buffet these are a great addition too.
Over the years my vegetarian recipes have been very much appreciated by three distinct groups.
The first is the people who have just decided to follow a meat-free diet. The second group is made up of the parents of newly-vegetarian children or teens and they just don't know how to cope with this new dietary way of life.
Finally, there are those who are happy to eat meat but who regularly entertain and find that more and more of their friends are doing away with meat.
They don't want to serve predictable meat-free meals to their friends so what can they cook? This book answers a lot of questions.
This started out as a piece of fun but soon became a regular menu item in our household. Do you remember when the 'cronut' became popular?
If you didn't come across that snippet of news, what happened is this - a bakery in New York started to create and sell a sweet dessert that was a cross between a doughnut and a croissant. Croissant dough was used but it was formed into a doughnut shape - complete will hole - and then deep fried.
Deep frying is very rarely allowed in this house! But I liked the idea and adapted it to make a savory version. It uses two different types of cheese (blue and goat) and is incredibly easy to make. It was an instant hit. As I often do, I use salad to accompany this somewhat unusual dish because we like our meals to be relatively light.
Gourmet pizza with blue cheese, pear and leek
This is a HUGE favorite.
I was thinking about it and I can't think of anyone I know who doesn't like pizza. We certainly do but the 'regular' versions can get a little repetitive. Plus of course, they are often loaded with a lot of fattening cheese. (But I still love it).
However, I wanted to create a version that I could easily make at home but that would satisfy the pizza craving without demanding a ten mile run afterwards to work off the calories.
This recipe was the result and has always been very successful indeed. It's just as good served cold and because it has a small 'gourmet' element and due to it being so attractive, it's perfect to serve at dinner parties too.
A salad of fresh, sliced tomatoes goes will with this dish.
A ploughman's lunch - with a twist
If you're English, or have spent time in the UK, then the ploughman's lunch needs no introduction.
It's one of the simplest and easiest lunchtime meals that is almost always served in pubs. It's very simple and - this is important - very inexpensive.
Typically, it consists of a good chunk of cheese, nice fresh bread, pickles onions and salad. What would be better?
The flavors and ingredients and simple, wholesome and good but they can't really be classed as 'finger food'. You need a knife to cut the bread and cheese, a spoon to add the pickle and this can get very messy and inconvenient if you're planning a serve-yourself buffet for guests. The answer is ... the ploughman's slice.
Elegant cheese & onion pie with mushrooms
This is another lovely dish to make if you're entertaining but the good thing is that it's quick and simple enough to make for family meals too.
There are some meat eaters who are pretty put off by the thought of dining in a vegetarian household. They think they are gong to be served up with 'weird' meat substitute ingredients or even 'weirder' foods such as tofu, quinoa or other 'oddities'.
Sometimes they think that they'll probably be served a bean casserole which will give them gas or that they'll have to go hungry because all they'll get is a plate of cooked vegetables.
This recipe will change their minds, for sure. It's filling, tasty and used familiar ingredients that won't deter the most unadventurous eater. So much of this recipe can be made in advance too so that you can sit and have a pre-dinner drink with your guests.
Easy and delicious for brunch
I think that you've realized by now what my favorite convenience food ingredients is! And here's another recipe.
We often have these for dinner, along with a side salad - they are an excellent meat free meal. But I've shared this recipe with several people and they say (and they are absolutely correct) that this is a great dish to make for brunch or breakfast.
It features rich and creamy scrambled eggs that are loaded into biscuit 'cases, along with tomatoes and a little cheese. If you do eat meat, then I imagine some crumbled bacon would be an absolutely tremendous addition.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can make the cases in advance if you want to and then heat them in the oven, make the filling and the dish is ready to go. It uses items that you probably have in your fridge already and is very adaptable depending on what you have in stock.
Beautiful potato tart with carrot lime salad
This is a gorgeous recipe that we have regularly but it's also a great dish to make if you're entertaining guests.
The potatoes are lightly spiced using a ready-made Indian sauce so it's very quick and easy to made. Once the other ingredients are added, this filling (or topping, to be more accurate) is then placed on a lovely cloud of light and fluffy pastry.
Don't imagine that the combo of potatoes and pastry will be heavy and filling though. Because the pastry is almost as light as air and because this is served with a crunchy salad with a hint of citrus, it's a light and delicious meal that still manages to remain healthy.
And of course, it's completely meat-free. It also uses inexpensive ingredients so makes it a good choice if you want to feed a lot of people without spending too much money - half a dozen of these will feed a couple of dozen people!
Pasties - cheese and onion flavor
One of Britain's favorite flavors in the combination of cheese and onion. In the UK, the most popular crisps (potato chips in America) are the ones that feature this lovey combination.
Have you ever wondered what vegetarians eat at fish and chip shops in Britain? Well, most serve delicious cheese and onion pasties. For the not-so-strict vegetarian who eats dairy, they are ideal. But so far, I haven't been able to find anything similar in the supermarkets here in Florida.
There was only one answer - I had to develop a recipe and make my own. But as always, it has to comply to my quick and easy rule.
This recipe does the trick perfectly. These are also tasty when served cold so if you're planning a buffet, make sure to bookmark this lovely recipe.
Pizza-style dinner with Brie, mango and almonds
This dish started as an attempt to elevate the simple pizza recipe to something just a little more elegant.
Not that there's anything wrong with regular pizza but especially if you have guests, this recipe tells them that you're created something really special for them. (I promise you that non-meat eaters really appreciate that).
Another reason this was developed is because here in Florida, when it's mango season, anyone lucky enough to have a fruit-bearing tree can't give them away. Yes, I'm very lucky...
We like to incorporate fruit into our meatless meals. It adds interesting flavor combinations and is a good way to make sure that you're getting your daily allowance of fresh fruit. The almonds give it an interesting crunch and it's quick to make because the topping needs no cooking just add the ingredients and bake.
Mini mushroom and zucchini pies
Can you tell that mushrooms are one of our favorite ingredients?
That's because they are so tasty but another good reason is that they cook so quickly and it's my goal to make good, flavorsome diners as quickly as possible. This recipe combines them with zucchini and cheese to make delicious little individual pies.
They are great for dinner parties - try them as an appetizer for a change - but are also good served cold. If ever you want to make a treat for a lunchbox, this is the perfect recipe.
I recently heard from a young teenager who had just decided to adopt a meat-free diet. His parents were supportive but at a bit of loss. Would they need to buy and cook special foods? The boy was determined to show his parents just how delicious vegetarian meals can be without any special ingredients or equipment ... and quick too. I gave him this recipe. His parents loved them and now the whole family eats meat-free several times a week.
A dish we both remember fondly from our meat-eating days - and there aren't many - is steak and Guinness pie.
This lovely Irish stout makes the most delicious gravy. But, I thought one day, why should that mean that we can't have Guinness gravy in a meat-free pie?
When I had my health food store back in the UK. many times I'd be asked by mothers of new vegetarians exactly what we weird non-meat eaters actually do eat.
Pies was one of the answers. Back then, it was a long time ago, mums were regularly making home-made pies for their families and so it was a good idea to reassure them that having a vegetarian in the family didn't mean that they had to learn complicated new recipes or buy and weird, unknown ingredients.
I think in many cases the kids too were pleased about this! This pie is delicious at any time of year but St Patrick's Day is also a great excuse to make it.
Tomato, olive and cheese pinwheels
This recipe looks as though you've been slaving over a hot stove all day but is really easy to make, using our good friend, ready made dough.
Like many of my recipes, they are good enough to serve to guests, even on a formal occasion, but are also great for the family.
I have a vegetarian friend who is bringing up both her children, now aged 3 and 6, to enjoy a meat free diet and she often makes a double quantity of these and stores them in the fridge.
If they are stored in a sealed container, they will keep well for quite a while - if they the chance. She says that her kids have usually eaten them up within three days. As she says, it's not always possible to persuade a 6 year old to have a piece of fruit for a snack and her kids see these as being a real treat. And they see them as 'mommy's home-cooking', Win win!
Meat and potato meat-free pie
Yes, that is a bit confusing, isn't it?
Let me tell you how this recipe came about. At the health food store one day, a lady came in who I'd never met before. She was quite nervous and told me that her daughter, who I think was about seventeen, had suddenly declared that she was no longer going to eat meat or fish.
The poor lady was quite horrified (parents often were in those days) but she had a reason I hadn't heard before. Her daughter was a cancer survivor and so mum couldn't see how her daughter would get enough nutrients. We worked together to devise great recipes and meal plans.
This is a variation of one of those recipes. I'm not saying that it's perfect nutritionally, but it's certainly a good additional to a balanced meat-free diet. I'm pleased to say that the teenager thrived on her vegetarian diet. The last time I saw her was when she came into the store (looking very fit and healthy by the way) to ask me to sponsor her for an event she was doing to raise money for a cancer awareness charity. What was she doing? Skydiving. If I'd been her mother, that would have scared me much more than a vegetarian diet!
Cheddar and leek pie with a pear salad
This is made in a very similar way to the cheese, mushroom and onion pie and shows the versatility of pastry cases.
If you've absolutely no time you can buy these ready made but they only take a short time in the oven if you use frozen flaky or puff pastry.
The pastry expands in the oven and creates a lovely, crisp but light shell that can be filled with various ingredients. I try not to make too many desserts these days (middle age spread and all that) but I've used pastry shells to contain fresh berries and fruits and they are always popular.
In this recipe though, I use regular ingredients that can be bought in any supermarket or grocery store quite cheaply. In fact, they are ingredients that I normally have in stock so this is a meal I can rustle up quickly without any special shopping. This means that I often make it if I just have a half hour notice that friends are coming to dinner. The pie itself is very good indeed and a fruit salad adds to the nutrients and flavor.
Onion tart with tomatillo
Many of my recipes come about because of our slightly unusual household system.
In many homes, the person who does the grocery shopping is the person who also does the cooking. In others, the cook gives a shopping list to the designated shopper.
In both instances, the cook knows more or less what ingredients they have to cook with and can properly plan meals. We have a different system. I hate shopping and he can't cook.
So what happens is that he goes to do the grocery shopping without any input from me. We tried the list system and nine times out of ten it didn't work. We even tried various phone apps but 'coincidentally' his phone tended to run out of power just as he got to the supermarket. So now I tell him to buy what he wants to eat. This means that I suddenly realize that we're hungry and I've no idea what's in the fridge. That's how this recipe first came about.
Savory mango / almond pies with cheese
Once upon a time, we lived in a rented house with a mango tree in the garden.
It was wonderful. I had a constant battle though with the squirrels and the blue jays who were determined to get to 'my' mangoes before I did.
I was happy for them to have the ones that had split when they'd fallen to the ground from the tree but I did want to make the most of the free food. We uses to eat them as is, or have them in salads a lot. (The mangoes. not the squirrels and blue jays - we don't eat meat!)
But when we can't get fresh mangoes we love to eat mango pickle. We eat a lot of Indian-inspired meals and mango chutney is a perfect accompaniment so we always have it in stock. That's what's used in this recipe. Today, we don't have a mango tree but we have a good friend, Luisa, who brings us mangoes from her tree during the season. That's the problem - it's a short season - but these individual pies satisfy our mango cravings all year round.
If you need further inspiration - and who doesn't - these are some great books for you to try. But do keep calling back to this page - new recipes will be added often. That is, for as long as he's in charge of the grocery shopping!
© 2013 Jackie Jackson