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 lunch ideas and breakfast recipes too! Here we go.
There’s no such thing as too many easy vegetarian dinner ideas, so here's another favorite: these incredible sheet pan fajitas! Everyone loves this meal, even meat eaters. It’s a great way to make a fun healthy dinner where no one notices there’s no meat! Roast up lots of veggies on a sheet pan with spices, and serve with refried beans and “guac-ish,” a fast and easy homemade guacamole.
Bowl meals are so popular these days, and they're one of our top vegetarian recipes for beginners because they're so simple to put together! But here’s the thing: you can’t just throw anything into a bowl. A good grain bowl has to be well-seasoned, and play up contrasts in color, texture and flavor. This one is Greek-inspired and stars our easy canned chickpeas with seasoned quinoa, colorful veggies and tahini sauce.
Next 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.
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.
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.
So here’s one to file under easy vegetarian dinnertime basics: this easy rice bowl! This 30 minute vegetarian dinner features these easy black beans, a trick to make a bland can of beans taste amazing in 5 minutes. Pair it with rice and colorful veggies. The kicker? A zingy cilantro lime ranch that you’ll want to bathe in. These were so tasty and easy, we knew we had to share (we simply inhaled them).
Dinnertime just got easier. This vegan fettuccine alfredo is a winner with everyone from kids to meat lovers: it’s just that good! The impossibly creamy sauce is a healthy spin on the traditionally rich pasta. It’s made with nutrient-dense cauliflower and protein-packed cashews instead of dairy. Make it with any type of noodle you choose (legume noodles, zoodles, etc) and it’s an easy 30-minute plant based dinner.
No one’s going to complain about more quick and easy vegetarian recipes, right? This one the ultimate quick weeknight meal, a filling vegetarian dinner that comes together in 20 minutes flat. Meet this soba noodle bowl! It’s filled with stir fried broccoli, red pepper and onion, mix with a savory sauce with creamy peanut butter. Even better: eggs are scrambled right into the mix (like fried rice, but with noodles!).
One of our fan favorite vegetarian recipe is this mushroom pasta with goat cheese! This might actually convert mushroom haters to a new way of life! It's become a fan favorite recipe because of the big flavor that's possible in under 30 minutes. Imagine: creamy goat cheese, savory mushrooms, fresh thyme and oregano and a bright squeeze of lemon. An absolute showstopper!
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.
Did you know tofu is mega delicious? Right out of the container it's a colorless, flavorless goo. But cook it up right and it’s one of the tastiest easy vegetarian dinner recipes you can have. This healthy vegan protein is great for incorporating into your meal prep repertoire. Want to fall in love with it? Come taste this tofu stir fry. It’s got the most flavor-packed stir fry sauce that works with any veggie, and the tofu is crisped on the outside and perfectly seasoned.
Quesadillas are top on our list of easy vegetarian recipes 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.
These Thai style baked sweet potatoes are one of our favorite easy vegetarian 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!
What’s your favorite vegetarian comfort food recipe? Mac and cheese and pizza can do the trick, but here’s our ultimate: fried rice! There’s something about the chewy clumps of eggs and the savory ginger and soy-infused bites that feels positively life giving. Usually we make fried rice on the fly without a recipe. But after years of tinkering, we wanted to share our master method. Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: it tastes just like takeout from your favorite restaurant!
Welcome to…your new favorite healthy vegetarian recipe. Well, at least it’s ours! Something about all those tasty fillings snuggled cozily into a tortilla makes a burrito irresistible. This burrito is packed with flavor from Spanish rice (aka Mexican rice), seasoned black beans, peppers and onions, and mashed avocado. Even better, step it up with a zingy vegan sauce.
WOW is all we can say about this vegetarian enchiladas recipe! It tops the charts as one of our most crowd-pleasing plant based recipes…ever. Tortillas are wrapped around a veggie filling oozing with flavor, and it’s all doused in a zesty homemade enchilada sauce. With the crunchy veggie topping, this dish looks simply incredible. And it tastes even better than it looks!
Of all our vegetarian recipes, one people consistently comment about is this wild rice soup! It's creamy by way of cashews that are blended right along with the soup to make a creamy base. Then there's tender wild rice, cozy carrots and onions, and white beans that round it out to add more plant-based protein. This one is vegan and gluten-free too, and we've heard from multitudes of people who say that meat-eaters love it too.
Looking for deliciously easy vegetarian recipes? This vegan chili is for you. Yep, this one is our best chili recipe yet and it’s totally plant based! It’s hard to find someone who will turn it down. It’s full of savory flavor starring beans, quinoa, and a hint of adobo sauce for complexity. Top it with our vegan sour cream and some pickled jalapenos and well: it’s out of this world good.
Roasting your dinner on a baking sheet makes for an easy vegetarian recipe! This easy sheet pan dinner is full of colorful vegetables and loaded with flavor. It's a plant-based dinner that roasts up everything on a sheet pan at once: lots of good-for-you veggies and chickpeas for plant based protein. Throw it all in the oven while you cook rice or quinoa. Dinnertime win!
Are you on the lentil train? Lentils are low in calories, high in nutrition, and budget friendly. And, they make 40 times less greenhouse gases than a burger. Impressive, right? So here’s our favorite new way to eat them: our Best Damn Lentil Soup. Yes, we're pulling out the expletives because this one is so delicious, you’ll feel like you’re wrapped in a cozy hug. This vegetarian lentil soup is ready to amaze you.
Hold onto your hats! Here’s a creamy broccoli potato soup that will blow your mind. (We hope.) It’s impossibly creamy, whole food plant based (WFPB), and it tastes like the coziest bowl of comfort. And it’s 100% made of veggies! How’s that for amazing? This easy and healthy vegetarian recipe is also vegan and gluten-free, so it works for a variety of diets. But it tastes like an elevated version of broccoli cheese soup from a can (you know the one).
Why is finding healthy and easy vegetarian lunch recipes so hard? Over here we like to eat extremely simple at breakfast and lunch, so that we can spend our time and energy on dinner recipes. So here’s one of our favorite easy lunch tricks ever: is this chickpea salad sandwich! It’s basically a vegetarian chicken salad sandwich, but uses chickpeas instead of chicken. It’s so tasty, it’s become one of our most popular chickpea recipes.
Everyone needs solid basic vegetarian recipes for kitchen standards. And here’s one we think will become part of your repertoire: the perfect Egg Salad Sandwich! It’s the best kind of basic. This is a sandwich you can sink your teeth into, that tastes like an elevated version of what you’re used to. It’s fresh and healthy, not the mayo-laden kind you can find at the store. Another secret? It’s stuffed with fresh herbs, to give you a beautiful pop of flavor.
Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese sandwich? Here’s one with a glamorous twist: the avocado grilled cheese. Simply adding an avocado and tomato to a standard grilled cheese makes it fit for serving to company! Although it’s a simple dish, grilled cheese can be gussied up as much or as little as you like. Serve this avocado grilled cheese with tomato alongside a bowl of homemade tomato soup or a green salad, and you’ve got instant dinner.
Looking for healthy vegetarian lunch ideas? Here’s a salad that’s beautifully fresh and saves well for meals throughout the week: kale quinoa salad! It’s full of healthy ingredients: quinoa, kale, peppers, carrots: and then covered in a delicious, ultra tangy dressing. It’s so flavorful and keeps that flavor 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Our lunches just got way more exciting! It also works as a side salad for healthy dinners.
Here's a vegetarian breakfast recipe that's a to go-to. In fact, we make this recipe every single day. Why? This best oatmeal recipe tastes incredible. It’s vegan so it’s a plant based way to start the day. AND it is full of plant based protein so it is seriously filling: you’re literally full for hours after you eat it.
Want to eat more breakfast vegetables? Eating more veggies to start the day is starting to trend. Because let’s face it: the American breakfast is largely based on carbs and sugar. Pancakes, waffles, muffins…all sugary. So health-minded people have been asking: why not re-imagine breakfast? Let’s infuse veggies into the first meal of the day, too. So try this Breakfast Vegetable Scramble! You can make it two ways: with eggs or tofu, depending on your diet.
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 a breakfast vegetarian recipe that’s so full of cozy-spiced flavor, you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life. Meet this incredible easy baked oatmeal! It's that brunch recipe you search for when you have house guests to impress. But guess what? It also works for quick mornings! Bake up a pan in advance and then grab a square to go. It’sbeyond easy, and the combination of the cinnamon, allspice and maple makes magic.
Last up in our vegetarian recipes...a sweet treat! 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!
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Add the vegetables in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes, then remove the sheets, stir the veggies, and sprinkle on another 1/2 teaspoon salt spread between the trays (1/4 teaspoon on each). Stir again, then return to the oven and roast another 10 minutes until tender.
Meanwhile, pit the avocados. Scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the lime juice, salt, and cilantro.
Heat the refried beans in a small sauce pan.
If desired, char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. (See How to Warm Tortillas.)
To serve, place the refried beans and roasted veggies in tortillas, and top with guac-ish.
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.