How many times have you spotted a mouthwatering meatless recipe only to flee in panic after one glance at the seemingly endless ingredient list?

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Cooking shouldn't—and doesn't have to—overwhelm you. You don't have to use every seasoning and spice in the cabinet to make a meal that's packed with flavor, even if it's vegetarian.

The 20 recipes below require five or fewer ingredients, showing that when it comes to making meals that are satisfying and healthy, less really can be more.

Vegetarian Recipes: Sweet and Sour Cucumber Noodles with Soba by Frugal Nutrition
Photo: Frugal Nutrition

The key to cooking with minimal ingredients? Choosing those that have complex and striking flavors. This buckwheat noodle dish is a great example: Antioxidant-rich honey adds sweetness, while tangy rice vinegar adds a sour flavor. Plus, sliced cucumbers provide crunch with every bite of noodles. This dish is anything but bland.

Vegetarian Recipes: Summer Pasta with Tomatoes and Peas by Give Recipe
Photo: Give Recipe

Bursting with fresh peas and juicy cherry tomatoes, this bright and beautiful pasta is as fun to look at as it is delicious. A minimal "sauce" (if we can even call it that) of olive oil, salt, and pepper lets the flavors of the vegetables shine—and trust us, produce that's fresh and in season has a lot of flavor.

Vegetarian Recipes: Egg and Avocado Spaghetti Squash Boats by iFood Real
Photo: iFood Real

Stirred with salsa and served right in the shell (so cute!), this spaghetti squash dinner won't give you the carb coma that a big bowl of pasta might. But don't worry that you'll be hungry again an hour later—the egg, along with half an avocado per serving, gives these boats plenty of vitamin-packed healthy fats to keep you full.

They weren't given this name by accident. Stuffed with black beans, oats, and whole-wheat bread, these hearty, protein- and fiber-rich patties (10 and 8 grams per serving, respectively) are filling enough to satiate even that friend who insists a meal isn't complete without meat. For an extra-filling meal, serve them on buns or on top of greens for a lighter option.

Vegetarian Recipes: Pan Seared Soy Sauce and Black Pepper Tofu by Bowl of Delicious
Photo: Bowl of Delicious

OK, so the 30-minute marinating time for the sauce in this crispy (but not fried) tofu dish does require a bit of extra planning, but it doesn't complicate the actual cooking process, and it's totally worth the wait. The best part? Even if you cook a side of brown rice with it, you're still clocking in at less than five main ingredients overall.

Vegetarian Recipes: 5-Ingredient Vegetable Fried Rice
Photo: Aggie's Kitchen

Use a bag of frozen mixed vegetables here to save on chopping time while still packing in the vitamins, fiber, and of course, color. Using brown rice and whisking in a few eggs adds extra protein to this better-for-you take on takeout.

Vegetarian Recipes: Chickpea and Rosemary Baked Frittata
Photo: The Stone Soup

Just a few sprigs of rosemary and some fresh (not canned!) Parmesan take a frittata from a casual breakfast-for-dinner option to an elegant, 5-ingredient evening meal. Meanwhile, chickpeas add even more protein to the egg dish, shutting down any lingering myths that vegetarians don't get enough of it.

Vegetarian Recipes: 5-Ingredient Black Beans and Rice by Naturally Ella
Photo: Naturally Ella

The addition of spinach upgrades this simple but popular restaurant side to a more balanced, entrée-level dish. Plus, the combination of rice and beans counts as a meat-free complete protein, meaning it's not just a delicious and quick meal to put together, but also provides all the essential amino acids you need.

Vegetarian Recipes: Portabella and Kale Pizza with Roasted Garlic Sauce
Photo: Oh My Veggies

Call it cheating or a much-needed convenience, prepared crust is your friend in this recipe. Top it with some sautéed kale, mushrooms, and an entire head of roasted garlic (one of the most delicious ways to enjoy the cancer-fighting veggie!) before baking for a simple spin on pizza night.

Vegetarian Recipes: 5-Ingredient Mexican Quinoa by Simply Quinoa
Photo: Simply Quinoa

Who says Mexican food needs to be loaded with sour cream and cheese to taste good? Cumin and a jar of salsa have more than enough spice and tang to make this vegan entrée mouthwatering, while quinoa is the protein- and calcium-rich alternative to rice.

Vegetarian Recipes: 5-Ingredient Potato Soup by Gimme Some Oven
Photo: Gimme Some Oven

While the recipe calls for either frozen hash browns or fresh Russet potatoes for the spud element of this soup, we recommend going for the latter to avoid any hidden trans fats lurking in that deep-fried, processed stuff. With cheddar cheese and Cajun seasoning going into the pot too, there'll be no lack of flavor—even if you use the plain potatoes.

Vegetarian Recipes: Avocado and Hummus Quesadillas by Neurotic Mommy
Photo: Neurotic Mommy

If you're looking for an easy and flexible recipe that can suit a variety of diets, consider this four-ingredient take on a Mexican favorite. Going gluten-free? Choose corn or brown rice tortillas. Eating vegan? Sprinkle on some soy cheese. Plus, with avocado and hummus, it's pretty much a given that anyone will enjoy these.

Vegetarian Recipes: 5-Ingredient Spicy Garlic Pasta by Scrambled Chefs
Photo: Scrambled Chefs

If you have access to even the most basic of pantries, you likely already have everything you need to make this vegan fettuccine dish. With flavorful ingredients like lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and garlic, it turns out you don't need much else to whip up this rich—and healthy—dinner.

Vegetarian Recipes: Stuffed Sweet Potato with Spinach, Hummus, and Feta by Cookin' Canuck
Photo: Cookin' Canuck

A single-serving dinner that needs just 16 minutes and a handful of ingredients? We're in. In a fun departure from regular stuffed white spuds, this sweet potato recipe provides more vitamin A, while its natural sweetness complements the saltiness of the feta and hummus. You don't have to share—dig in!

Vegetarian Recipes: 5-Ingredient Zucchini Fritters by Just a Taste
Photo: Just a Taste

These fritters are the foodie equivalent of that old saying, "Good things come in small packages." Each little pancake contains a dollop of each of your daily macronutrients, like protein from the eggs, carbohydrates from the flour, and some healthy fat thanks to the good glug of vegetable oil they're cooked in.

Vegetarian Recipes: 3-Ingredient Black Bean Soup by The Pretty Bee
Photo: The Pretty Bee

Forget hours of simmering—this soup comes together in just 20 minutes. The black beans have you covered in the protein, fiber, and disease-fighting antioxidant departments. Throw in some onion and a few dollops of salsa verde for a hefty punch of flavor.

Vegetarian Recipes: 5-Ingredient Coconut Curry by Pinch of Yum
Photo: Pinch of Yum

Yes, a fragrant and rich coconut curry can be made with just five ingredients! The coconut milk and red curry paste combo provides a mouthful of flavor, while a supporting cast of broccoli and chickpeas brings the healthy benefits of zinc, iron, and an assortment of vitamins.

Vegetarian Recipes: 5-Ingredient Cheesy Squash Quinoa by Sweet Phi
Photo: Sweet Phi

Volume eaters, rejoice! The carotenoid-rich acorn squash stirred into a pile of fluffy quinoa makes this bowlful of comfort high in vitamins and huge in serving size, so you're getting much more bang for your nutritional buck. It gets even more appealing when you add cheese. Lots of cheese.

Vegetarian Recipes: Summer Vegetable Ragu by I Heart Eating
Photo: I Heart Eating

Running low on your fiber intake for the day? Turn to this recipe—four of the five main ingredients are veggies. Sautéed in some olive oil and topped with basil, this dish is proof of how easy, satisfying, and delicious plant-based eating is. It can be ready in 15 minutes.

Vegetarian Recipes: Savory Pizza Porridge by The Oatmeal Artist
Photo: The Oatmeal Artist

We're game for trying anything if the word "pizza" is involved. In this case, it's oatmeal! While it's a whole-grain alternative to a refined-flour crust, and you're mixing in the ingredients rather than layering them, treat this bowl like you would any regular pizza, from the marinara sauce to your favorite meatless toppings.

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