17 Fancy-Seeming Vegetarian Dishes That Come Together in 30 Minutes (or Less)

Malay coconut rice, Swiss chard tacos, and more creative meatless meals.

By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on January 12, 2022

The bonus to whipping up a vegetarian dish is not only the health and environmental benefits—many meatless meals come together in mere minutes, too. No idea what to make on a weeknight? There’s more to quick-fix vegetarian nosh than salads and pastas (though we can’t argue with a classic primavera). Look to your pantry as a starting point: Accompany your protein-rich lentils with winter root veg for the perfect comfort food combo, or put that can of coconut milk to good use in Malaysian-style rice. Open the fridge crisper drawer and you can turn mushrooms into meaty mains and swiss chard into easy-to-serve tacos without much effort beyond a simple sauté.

So whether you just recently gave up meat or are considering eating green a couple times a week, these easy vegetarian recipes make the prepwork easy.

The weeknight pasta staple of vegetables with spaghetti and cream comes together in no time (and with fewer dishes to do as well). Get the recipe >

Packed full of glowing winter produce—sweet roasted beets, tart pomegranate seeds—this lentil salad makes a colorful addition to the winter table. Pair it with chicken, beef, lamb, or fish, or serve it as a vegetarian main; it's hearty enough to stand on its own. Get the recipe >

This rich Malay coconut rice is a breakfast favorite in Malaysia. Get the recipe >

These saucy, vegetarian tortillas are stuffed to the ends with different cheeses and covered in a spicy chile sauce. Get the recipe >

Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao loves to use adobo sauce on anything, and kangkong is one of her favorite vegetables. Combine to two for a nutty, spicy-sweet side dish. Get the recipe >

Onions, mushrooms, sweet corn, and chiles in adobo add hearty, smoky flavor to these vegetarian tacos. Get the recipe >

This light quinoa salad from New York City food writer Anna Watson Carl makes a perfect summer side dish for picnics and barbecues. The fluffy whole grain provides a nice textural balance to the snappy, summer vegetables. Get the recipe >

Sweet golden raisins, red pepper flakes, and toasted pine nuts balance the bitterness of broccoli rabe in a side dish adapted from Anna Watson Carl’s cookbook The Yellow Table. It makes an excellent accompaniment to grilled salmon, pork tenderloin, or meatballs with tomato sauce. Get the recipe >

dapting her mother’s Shanghai-style mushroom stir-fry—fragrant with star anise, chiles de árbol, and cilantro—Cara Stadler of Tao Yuan in Brunswick uses meaty maitake mushrooms, which are abundant in Maine in the fall. Keep the mushrooms in large chunks so they can brown to a crisp on the outside while remaining tender inside. Get the recipe >

Peppery watercress, nutty sesame seeds, and earthy Korean chile flakes are brought together by an easy lemon vinaigrette in this simple cold-weather salad. Get the recipe >

The man's name was Ignacio Anaya. His nickname was Nacho. When asked what he called the dish he'd just wiped up, Ignacio replied, "Nacho's especiales." A balance of pickly, salty, cheesy, and crisp, this recipe—inspired by the Anaya's—shows that simple can be preferable when it comes to nachos. Get the recipe >

In Okinawa, mozuku seaweed is eaten simply dressed with vinegar and soy sauce in this small appetizer. Get the Recipe >

cilantro peanut salad Vegetarian recipes

This refreshing salad is a perfect to accompaniment to fatty grilled meats. Use the most delicate cilantro you can find, so the stems can be eaten along with the leaves. Get the recipe >

Chef Chris Fischer likes to lay out these charred mushrooms at the start of a meal for snacking—they put cheese plates and crudités to shame. Tossing them with the marinade infuses them with deep flavor. Get the recipe >

In this simple Japan-meets-California salad, Author Nancy Singleton Hachisu tosses radishes with cilantro and a fragrant rice vinegar and soy sauce vinaigrette before topping them with goat cheese. Get the recipe >

This refreshing noodle-based salad comes from Sonoko Sakai, a Japanese American Hollywood movie producer turned cooking teacher and food writer. Whether using fresh soba noodles or dried, take care to cook very gently—don’t walk away from the pot!—as they go from perfectly cooked to overdone in a matter of moments. Get the recipe >

This light and quick vegetarian salad recipe from chef Dan Kluger makes wonderful use of winter produce. Crisp, raw celery root (a.k.a. celeriac) mingles with tart, julienned apples, crunchy croutons, and a tarragon-infused, mayonnaise-based dressing. Get the recipe >

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