4 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for When You Don’t Know What to Make


We hear it all the time: “I just don’t know what to make for dinner.” Or, “It’s too hard to eat healthy on a weeknight, so I end up with takeout.”

This post was created in partnership with ALDI. All opinions are our own.

Don’t we know it. Believe it or not, 8 years ago we were the people who ate breakfast cereal or microwave dinners. Seriously. It makes me laugh when people tell me that’s not possible, because I was absolutely the girl who had no clue about cooking or food. Even making pasta seemed mysterious (where to start without the blue easy mac box instructions?).

After 8 years of “research,” we’ve figured out a few things about how to eat whole foods, ditch our processed options, and actually enjoy it. It’s not perfect or glamorous, and we don’t have an Instagram-perfect plate every time. However, we make it work with simple concepts that we change up using the ingredients we have on hand. Our diet is about 80% vegetarian, so we’ve become accustomed to meals featuring eggs, beans, and whole grains to keep things filling. We’ve got a few ideas for you that aren’t groundbreaking, just simple concepts for a meatless plate beyond the standard meat-plus-2-veg formula.

These vegetarian dinner recipes are also part of a 7-day dinner meal plan we created for ALDI’s new Hello, Healthy blog, which features healthy living resources including recipes, tips, meal plans, videos, and eating guides. We know many of you are ALDI fans too (hi there!), and we’re excited that ALDI is committed to carrying better-for-you ingredients and expanding their affordable organic product offerings. We’re happy to join in this effort and hope you’ll check out the new online resource, which includes a new dinner meal plan from us!

Now, what’s for dinner:

4 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for When You Don’t Know What to Make | A Couple Cooks

1.  Brinner

It’s simple, but we sometimes forget about it: what’s more fun than breakfast for dinner? Both Alex and I loved this growing up, so it’s a sure hit with kids as well. (We’d love to hear, is brinner a hit in your house?) This concept features our favorite 15-minute black beans method using canned beans and a little canning liquid. You can use these beans on anything: tacos, quesadillas, or on a salad. Here, we’ve paired them with our other favorite method for soft, fluffy eggs that are quite unlike the typical rubbery mess. Adding an avocado and some other fresh veg makes it visually appealing—or try a side of avocado toast.

Recipe: Simple Black Beans and Eggs

4 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for When You Don’t Know What to Make | A Couple Cooks

2. Big Salad

A great way to use up vegetables in the refrigerator at the end of the week is a big old salad. We like to jazz it up by using a loose theme, like the Mexican flavors we’ve used here. A top notch dressing makes it special, if you have the time. This healthier Green Goddess dressing is made with Greek yogurt and is one of the most popular recipes on our website. It’s easily made in advance for salads throughout the week. Top it off with a fun presentation: these tortilla bowls are simple to make, a great way to use the tortillas we assume you have in your refrigerator (we always have some on hand for quick meals).

Recipe: Tortilla Bowl Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

4 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for When You Don’t Know What to Make | A Couple Cooks

3. Simple Pasta

Pasta can be considered a cop-out, but it can be one of the most elegant, simple meals. And according to recent research, pasta can actually be good for you. Load up on the good stuff by making pasta with lots of nutrient-dense greens. Here we’ve upped the filling quotient by adding white beans, and topped it off with some fresh lemon zest.

Recipe: Lemon and Arugula Rigatoni

4 Vegetarian Dinner Recipes for When You Don’t Know What to Make | A Couple Cooks

4. Nourish Bowl

Yes, nourish bowls are all the rage (we can’t get enough), but they’re so simple and healthy, it’s a trend we can get behind. This one features quinoa, white beans, seasonal veg, and a tart balsamic drizzle. Don’t be fooled by the photo—you can use veggies in any season. In winter, roasted winter vegetables are fitting, like sweet potato and cauliflower.

Recipe: Farmer’s Market Grain Bowls

Did you make these recipes?

If you make any of these vegetarian dinner recipes, we’d love to hear how they turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and mention @acouplecooks.

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    Kelli @ Hungry Hobby
    February 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

    These are perfect for lent coming up! I always get asked what meatless recipes to make!

    • Reply
      March 30, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Oh good point! I hope you enjoy these!

  • Reply
    Melissa Novotny
    February 25, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    I will often make salads in the summertime with garden produce, my favorite is spinach, grape tomatoes, cottage cheese 2%, sunflower seeds and no dressing. Obviously the cottage cheese wouldn’t be considered a healthy oil but is it really that bad especially since I’m not using any salad dressing. Feedback is fine.

    • Reply
      March 30, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      I LOVE this idea! I think cottage cheese is a genius dressing — great idea!

  • Reply
    Erika Jayne
    May 10, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Interesting collection of recipes. I found several I’d be interested in making, but I’m not sure my husband would like them. Poor guy, I’m always experimenting on him, and he generally takes it pretty well. The Honey-Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes has been in my regular rotation for quite a while, and I love it. I actually do it as a casserole instead of stuffing the sweet potatoes. Definitely, recommend that recipe to everyone.

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