Ending your day with vegetable-heavy meals is the tastiest way to get in the nutrients you might have missed out on during breakfast and lunch. Plus, eating vegetarian even once a week can save you some serious cash—you’ll have extra green in your life in more ways than one (get it?)! This week’s featured foodie is a pro when it comes to veg-based dishes. Shelly Westerhausen of Vegetarian ‘Ventures shares seven recipes for dinners that will make you want to observe “meatless Monday” more than once a week.
1. Garden Tart With Red Pepper and Feta Spread
Last-minute invite to a potluck stressing you out? Grab some frozen puff pastry and any veggies you have in your kitchen. Toss the veg with oil and unroll the puff pastry onto separate baking sheets. Pop both trays in the oven and bake until golden brown; while they’re baking, puree tangy feta with roasted red peppers. Smear the cheese spread over the pastry, then top with veggies. You are the champion.
2. Smoky Red Beans and Rice
While many pans of baked beans rely on bacon for their smoky flavor, this version uses chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a hefty cloud of smoked paprika. Plus the beans cook down with carrots, celery, and kale, which add a dose of sweetness to the pot. Serve by the giant scoopful with your favorite grain and a sprinkle of green onions.
3. Green Tomato Parmesan Stacks With Red Pesto
We’re craving stacks on stacks on stacks of this summery riff on eggplant parm. Layer fat slices of breaded baked green tomato (red work too) between a roasted red pepper and almond pesto and thickly sliced mozzarella. Top each stack with a Parmesan crisp, a super-simple baked treat that looks so fancy but takes less than five minutes to prep.
4. Chorizo-Spiced Chickpea Fajita Pitas
Taco night just got an upgrade. Ditch tortillas for pita rounds and swap out your go-to fillings for chorizo-spiced baked chickpeas (take that, ground beef!). Round out each bite with plenty of sweet sautéed peppers and onions, and top with fresh tomatoes and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
5. Curried Veggie Patties With Coconut Quinoa
If you’re looking for a sneaky way to eat hash browns for dinner, try these curry-spiced potato patties over a big scoop of coconut quinoa. The secret here is to add a grated carrot (and maybe some zucchini, parsnip, or sweet potato too) to the white potato and spice mixture.
6. Smoky Tortilla Soup
Tomato soup + spicy chili = this smoky soup. Cram tomatoes, jalapeño, and a chipotle chile in adobo sauce into a big saucepan. Puree the soup (cool slightly, then transfer it to an upright blender if you don’t have an immersion blender), then add meaty pinto pins and serve with avocado and tortilla chips.
7. Baked Potato Waffles With Coconut Bacon
A baked potato stuffed with bacon bits and sour cream might be tempting, but why not get a little more creative? Mash cooked potatoes and mix in a bit of cheddar and sour cream. Grab that waffle iron and get to work. (Did you just make one giant waffle fry? Yes, you did.) The accompanying recipe for DIY coconut bacon is so easy you’ll probably only need to pick up a bottle of liquid smoke, but use packaged vegan bacon bits in a pinch.
Shelly is the author and photographer behind Vegetarian ‘Ventures, a meat-free blog that focuses on the adventurous side of vegetarian cooking. She is also a freelance recipe developer, writer, and photographer and has had content featured on Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Saveur, and in Vegetarian Living. She stopped eating meat at age twelve, and, growing up in Indiana, she’s watched (and helped!) Midwestern vegetarian cuisine develop into the rich and tasty scene it is now. She now lives in Bloomington, Indiana. For more from Shelly, follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.