Our go-to main courses for healthy vegetarian and vegan weeknight meals
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Black Bean Soup with Avocado, Orange, and Cucumber
Black beans and chunks of avocado make this a filling soup, but you can always serve some cornbread or tortillas alongside it, too. Making a double batch doesn't take much longer than a single recipe. Freeze half and save it for a night when you're even more pressed for time.
Coconut milk and hazelnuts turn vegetable soup into something substantial enough to call dinner. Don't let the name or the unfamiliarity of sunchokes throw you. They're mild and nutty, not unlike the hearts of their distant relative, the artichoke.
Banish the thought of salad as diet food when you tuck into this plate loaded with eggs, cheese, and olives. (Oh, yes, and veggies.) There is more cooking involved than for the typical salad, but this one dish should be plenty for dinner.
For a healthier take on ramen, substitute sweet potato zoodles for the traditional wheat noodles.
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Baked Eggs with Leeks and Mushrooms
This versatile eggy casserole is a mealtime triple threat, good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Mushrooms provide rich umami flavor, but it's surprisingly low in calories, so go ahead and indulge in a slice of buttered ciabatta along with it.
Not even your most carnivorous dinner guest will miss meat after tasting this creamy, cheesy dish. Risotto is highly adaptable, so if asparagus is not in season, you can substitute just about any vegetable. (Tubers and tougher veggies like broccoli may need to be parboiled, however.)
Rich in flavor, with a meaty consistency, these patties nourish like a salad but satisfy like a hamburger. If you start with cooked lentils, which you can find in vacuum packs at many grocery stores, dinner will come together very quickly.
When is a sandwich dinner? When grilling is involved. Elevated ingredients like feta cheese (step aside, Monterey Jack) and arugula in place of plain old lettuce further distance this from the realm of things wolfed down at your desk. (Serving it with beer helps, too.)
File this under breakfast for dinner, with a twist. What elevates these quesadillas to the realm of extra-special is a secret ingredient—yogurt—that makes an unconventional filling—eggs—extra creamy and tasty. These are great on their own or as the centerpiece of a Mexican-themed dinner.
Tell the kids it's macaroni and cheese—because it is. They don't need to know that you replaced the cream with pureed squash. If edamame is a deal-breaker, try peas or another green veggie. Or skip it—nutritionally, you're still ahead of the boxed mac 'n' cheese game.
This salad seems light, and it is low in calories. But fennel and mustard provide a flavor kick, and the cheese and almonds boost the heartiness factor. A bonus is that this dish travels well, making it a great choice for a potluck.