These easy vegetarian recipes for beginners are delicious ways to eat vegetarian meals, from plant based dinner ideas to breakfast essentials.
Looking for ways to eat more vegetables? Your quest is exactly why we started this website. Years ago, Alex and I got married and wanted to start eating healthier foods. Back then, we read a book that talked about how eating more veggies is good for the planet and good for your health. Today, the story is no different!
Whether you’re looking to be gentler on the planet or eat healthier, here’s a list of our favorite easy vegetarian recipes for beginners. Some are easy dinner ideas, some are breakfast essentials, and some are cookies because: why not? Keep reading for our easy vegetarian recipes for beginners. Most of these are vegetarian dinner recipes, but we’ve got some sides and breakfast recipes thrown in too!
Our top easy vegetarian recipes for beginners!
First up in our easy vegetarian recipes for beginners: tortilla soup! Instead of simmering for hours, you can get big flavor in just over 30 minutes. The secret here is adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chilis: it brings in a smoky flavor without adding too much heat! Topped with homemade crunchy tortilla strips, you won’t be able to stop eating it.
Dinner in 15 minutes? Oh yes. This Easy Creamy Gnocchi is one of our very favorite easy weeknight meals. It takes just minutes to make the sauce, and the gnocchi boil up in 3 minutes. It's modeled after the famous Italian recipe, Cacio e Pepe pasta (literally “cheese and pepper pasta” in Italian). Our version uses chewy gnocchi dumpling-style pasta and it tastes like fancy mac and cheese: in minutes!
Another fast and easy dinner recipe for your arsenal: 5 minute tacos! Yes, it's possible to make tacos in about 5 minutes. You'll love the chorizo egg filling, made of scramble eggs that taste meaty and satisfying. Top with salsa and hot sauce, it's seriously simple. It’s one of our go to’s for quick weeknights, and one of our favorite easy vegetarian recipes for beginners.
If we’re talking easy vegetarian recipes for beginners, this one is probably the easiest breakfast you’ll ever make. Promise. Yes, it’s instant oatmeal that’s homemade, so you don’t have to buy those store bought packets that have additives and sugar! The instant oatmeal mixes up in just 5 minutes, and makes enough for breakfasts throughout the week. It’s a genius life hack that makes for simple mornings.
With all of our vegetarian recipes for beginners, we try to make them so delicious that you feel totally satisfied without meat. This is the case with our chickpea curry! It's seriously flavorful, filled with ginger, garlic, cumin and curry powder, with a little coconut milk swirled in to make it creamy. It’s one of our top vegetarian dinner recipes that we recommend for getting your feet wet in plant based cooking.
This 5 minute pesto arugula breakfast sandwich is a fitting vegetarian recipe for beginners because it shows how thoughtfully flavored food doesn’t have to take hours to make. Pesto is one of our tricks to adding big flavor in no time. Slather pesto on an English muffin, quick wilt some arugula, top with an egg and you’re in business! (And you can eat it for dinner, too.)
Here's another one of our top vegetarian recipes for beginners. Why? In just 25 minutes, you have a fresh bowl of delicious vegetables that’s smothered in a tangy lemon tahini sauce. It's a truly tasty way to eat your veggies. Pro tip: we used couscous in this bowl because it’s so quick to cook: bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat for 5 minutes! It’s the perfect side dish for fast vegetarian meals.
This one’s a treasure: a silky smooth tomato basil soup floating with doughy gnocchi pasta! It requires only a bit of chopping to get big flavor, and the vibe is extra cozy. Here, the tangy flavor comes from both the tomatoes and deglazing the pan with a bit of white wine vinegar before simmering the soup. Deglazing? Yes, our vegetarian recipes for beginners can teach age old cooking techniques at the same time.
If a no bake cookie and a peanut butter cup had a baby, it would be these bliss bites! Chocolate peanut butter heaven, right here. This one is a vegetarian recipe we recommend to everyone: not just beginners. Also gluten free, vegan and plant based, it’s our most popular recipe to date!
Quesadillas are top on our list of vegetarian recipes for beginners because they’re so simple to whip up, and this recipe is our most delicious quesadilla to date. Adding mashed sweet potato brings in a gooey, creamy texture to a quesadilla that’s also full of nutrients. This quesadilla also features cumin-scented black beans and spinach, so it’s full of colorful veggies and full of flavor.
Here’s another of our vegetarian recipes for beginners that’s so flavorful, you don’t miss the meat. This one features Moroccan spices: cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, and it’s finished off with a squeeze of lemon. With the contrasting sweetness of the sweet potatoes, it’s complex and cozy all at the same time. It's vegan and plant based as is, or add a dollop of Greek yogurt for a creamy sauce to bring it all together.
A good simple pasta is a must for vegetarian recipes for beginners, and this homemade pasta marinara does not disappoint! The tomato based sauce is so, so simple: it involves no chopping at all and is full of flavor. It has all the cozy feelings that a big pot of spaghetti brings.
These Thai style baked sweet potatoes are one of our favorite easy vegetarian dinner recipes, because of the big flavor in this simple concept. If you have an Instant Pot, you can use it here to get perfectly cooked, moist sweet potatoes. Or, use our Quick Baked Sweet Potato to roast it in the oven. Accessorize with a fresh, crunchy Thai-style pepper and cabbage slaw and a creamy peanut sauce. We’ve heard from many readers and followers that this one is a family favorite!
While we’ve been focusing on main dishes, we wanted to throw this side dish idea out there! This easy three bean salad is a great way to add plant based protein to a vegetarian meal. When you’re eating primarily vegetarian recipes, it’s important to make sure the meal is satisfying and filling by including beans, legumes, nuts, and cheeses for protein. This one takes just 15 minutes to whip up, and you can eat off of it for a few days.
Who says fried rice needs…rice? This vegetable packed quinoa fried rice is big on flavor and vegetables: we’ve packed in all sorts of veggies to help you get your greens in the most delicious way. Garlic and ginger make this one taste just like takeout! It’s one of our favorite vegetarian recipes for beginners since it’s so flavorful and a great way to use up leftovers.
Pretty Simple Cooking: a cookbook of easy vegetarian recipes!
Love books? Or looking for gifts for vegetarians? We have the perfect cookbook for you! (In fact, we wrote it.) Pretty Simple Cooking is a beautiful healthy cookbook that provides the secrets to cooking tasty meals on the regular! It features a full-color photograph for each of the 100 vegetarian recipes, with 75% of those vegan and 90% gluten-free. All the recipes are like the ones you’ll find on this website: delicious and doable. Click to learn more!Print
This easy black bean tortilla soup is so flavorful and quick! It’s an easy vegetarian soup recipe that’s a hit with everyone around the table.
For the tortilla strips
- 6 6-inch corn tortillas
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
For the vegetarian tortilla soup
- 1 yellow onion
- 1 green bell pepper
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- 2 15-ounce cans black beans
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1½ cups frozen corn ( fire roasted, if possible)
- 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from 1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
- 1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
- 4 radishes, for garnish
- 1 lime, for garnish
- 1 handful cilantro, for garnish
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Make the tortilla strips: Brush the tortillas lightly with olive oil on each side. Using a pizza cutter, slice them in half, then into thin strips. Place the strips on a baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until crispy and lightly browned.
- Prep the veggies: Peel and dice the onion. Dice the green pepper. Peel and mince the garlic. Drain and rinse the beans.
- Make the soup: In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the green pepper and the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the oregano and the cumin for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, beans, corn, adobo sauce, broth, and kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and add additional adobo sauce or kosher salt if desired.
- Prep the garnishes: Slice the radishes. Slice the lime into wedges.
- Serve: To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and allow to cool to warm. Garnish with the tortilla strips, radishes, torn cilantro leaves, hot sauce, and plenty of lime juice.
Excerpted from A Couple Cooks | Pretty Simple Cooking: 100 Delicious Vegetarian Recipes to Make You Fall in Love with Real Food by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser. Copyright © 2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: Vegetarian Recipes, Easy Vegetarian Recipes for Beginners, Tortilla Soup, Black Bean Tortilla Soup
Looking for more easy recipes?
Outside of these vegetarian recipes, here are a few more collections of dinner recipes:
- 10 Filling Plant Based Dinner Recipes
- 10 Romantic Dinner Recipes
- Easy Dinner Recipes for Busy Lives
- Easy Healthy Dinner Recipes
- Best Vegan Dinner Recipes
- Best Healthy Dinner Recipes
- Easy Dinner Recipes for Family
- Gluten Free Dinner Recipes
- Easy Dinner Recipes for Two
- 10 Filling Plant Based Recipes Perfect for Dinner
- What Should I Make for Dinner?
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog 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 is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe 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.