It's easy to dig into cold veggies and grain salads in the spring and summer, but is it possible to make cozy vegetarian dishes when the weather gets chilly? Um, duh. We called in an expert to prove it: This week's featured foodie is Alexandra Stafford of Alexandra's Kitchen. Her seven plant-based meals will please the pasta lover, the soup fiend, and even the eggs-for-dinner person. Which one are you?
“Basic cheese or chicken quesadillas are fine,” is something you’ll never say again after tasting this smoky sweet potato version. Sauté grated taters with spices, garlic, and onion. A squeeze of lime and a handful of cheese over a flour tortilla is all they need before a quick trip in the oven. Serve with fresh salsa or pico de gallo if you like when good food tastes better.
We dare you to find a soup better suited for cold weather than this butternut and cider bisque. It's just so good we have to tell you how all special dieters can slurp on it: Vegetarians can use vegetable stock instead of chicken, and vegans can omit the sour cream or use coconut yogurt. Serve with lots of warm bread—it’s mandatory.
Also known as “leblebi,” this Moroccan stew is the comfort food you should be eating. So warm and rich yet tomato-based (can we get an amen for no post-dairy-eating stomach troubles?!), the chickpea stew is best with a smear of spicy harissa and warm flatbreads.
If zoodles and eggplant Parm had a baby, it would be a bouncing bowl of zucchini Parmesan. Layer roasted zucchini between Parmesan cheese, then top with a crunchy bread crumb mixture. Serve the casserole as a cozy, filling dinner for two (with leftovers galore) or a crowd-pleasing main.
Stop everything: This quiche crust is made entirely from potatoes, which means it’s roasted potatoes on the bottom and potato chips around the crust. Can you hear us crying with joy? Just as tasty a brunch as it is dinner, this is the one-pan meal of our dreams.
Half pasta, half leafy greens (with a creamy, cheesy sauce to hold it all together), this baked pasta will help you kick your mac and cheese dependency. It's also a great clean-out-the-fridge-meal, as any veg and most firm cheeses make great fillings.
Dal newbies: You’ve got to try this stew. Essentially spiced, stewed lentils, dal is about to be your go-to chilly weather meal. While ground spices will taste great, try grinding the whole seeds some time; it’ll be well worth the extra effort. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and warm naan, pita, or a pile of brown rice.
In 2003 Alexandra Stafford graduated from college and moved to Philadelphia to attend cooking school and work in professional kitchens. In 2006 she started her blog, Alexandra's Kitchen, and today lives in upstate New York with her husband and four children. Her cookbook Bread. Toast. Crumbs. will be published in spring 2017. For more from Alexandra, follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.