Get inspired for the week ahead with our top picks from this week’s menu.
We hear it more and more these days: “My [kid, spouse, sibling, roommate] recently started eating vegetarian, and now family dinner looks totally different.” Whether you’ve joked about skipping the butcher counter, dabbled in a Meatless Monday or two, or seriously considered putting your entire meal plan to the test—it can be tough to switch all meals in a day, let alone for life. Especially difficult when it comes to these dietary lifestyle changes? Planning what to cook (and what to shop for) if you’re just a little outside your comfort zone. Our suggestion: Try making vegetarian dinners this week with five of our favorite meatless dishes.
Now, on to the recipes!
Monday: Chickpea Saag
1 cup basmati rice
12 ounces baby spinach
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
14 ounces feta cheese
2 yellow onions
3 cloves garlic
½ ounce ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
1 teaspoon silk chile powder
1. In a small pot, combine rice, 1½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and simmer until water is fully absorbed, 10– 12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover again to keep warm until ready to serve.
2. While rice cooks, rinse all produce. Halve lime. Pat spinach dry with paper towel and roughly chop. Reserve ⅔ cup chickpea liquid, then drain and rinse chickpeas. The chickpea cooking liquid, also called aquafaba, is frequently discarded, but don’t waste it! It’s often used for its ability to thicken; here, we’re using it as a substitute for water to add richness to the saag. It’s easiest to reserve in a liquid measuring cup, if you have one.Cut feta into 1-inch cubes (try to avoid crumbling the feta so the pieces stay intact). Peel onions and cut into small dice. Mince garlic. Trim and discard skin of ginger and mince.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and sauté until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in cardamom, coriander, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
4. In a blender or food processor, combine sautéed aromatics, spinach, and reserved chickpea liquid. Blend until smooth. No blender? Add sautéed aromatics, spinach, and reserved chickpea liquid to pan with chickpeas and feta in Step 5 and cook until liquid is reduced and spinach is wilted, 2–3 minutes. Meanwhile, return pan from aromatics to medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. When oil is shimmering, add chickpeas and cook, stirring, until warmed through, 3–4 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt in a small pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add almonds. Fry, stirring frequently, until light golden, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat. Return pan with chickpeas to medium-high heat, then add feta and saag sauce. Cook, stirring gently, until warmed, 1 minute. Remove from heat and season with juice of 1 lime and 1¼ teaspoons salt.
6. Divide basmati rice among shallow serving bowls. Spoon feta and chickpea saag over rice. Top with fried almonds, drizzling over oil from pan, then sprinkle with silk chile powder (it’s a bit spicy, so skip or use half for less heat).
Tuesday: Charred Corn and Avocado Salad
4 ears corn
¼ ounce cilantro
4 corn tortillas
2 ½ teaspoons honey
4 tablespoons sour cream
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
8 ounces mixed lettuces
1 pint cherry tomatoes
4 ounces queso fresco
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Rinse all produce. Shuck corn, discarding husks and silk; slice off kernels, discarding cobs. Need a trick for removing corn kernels from the cob? Lay each cob flat on your cutting board and carefully slice kernels off 1 side. Rotate cob and continue slicing to remove kernels on all sides. Halve limes. Peel shallots and thinly slice into rings. Pick cilantro leaves, discarding stems (a helper can do this part). In a small bowl, stir together juice of 2 limes, shallots, and ¼ teaspoon salt—Marinating the shallots in lime juice softens them slightly and removes some of their pungent bite. Set aside to marinate until Step 4.
2. Rub each tortilla all over with ¼ teaspoon olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and season with ½ teaspoon salt. Bake until golden and crisp, 6–8 minutes.
3. While tortillas bake, heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred in spots, 6–8 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and black pepper as desired. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
4. While corn cooks, drain shallots over a separate small bowl, reserving marinade. Transfer 2 tablespoons marinade to a large bowl with honey, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and black pepper as desired and whisk to combine. Set dressing aside. To small bowl with remaining marinade, add sour cream and cayenne pepper (it’s spicy, so feel free to use less), and whisk to combine. Set crema aside until ready to serve.
5. Halve avocados and discard pits; carefully scoop out flesh, discarding skins, then thinly slice. Using your hands, break tortillas into chips—this is a great task for your dinner date.
6. Pat mixed lettuces dry with paper towel and add to bowl with dressing, along with whole cherry tomatoes and shallots, and toss to combine. Divide salad among serving plates and top with queso fresco, cilantro, charred corn, crispy tortillas, and avocado. Drizzle over crema.
Remake this salad next time you’re craving a summery, veggie-packed lunch.
Wednesday: Broccolini Grilled Cheese
12 ounces broccolini
½ pint grape tomatoes
½ cup sliced pepperoncini
8 slices sourdough bread
¼ cup mayonnaise
4 ounces shredded white Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
8 ounces mixed lettuces
1. Rinse all produce. Trim and discard woody bottoms of broccolini, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch pieces. Halve tomatoes. Peel shallots, halve, and thinly slice.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add pepperoncini, broccolini, shallots, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Cook, stirring occasionally, until broccolini is tender and lightly browned, 3–4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a large bowl and set aside. Wipe pan clean and reserve, off heat, for Step 4.
3. Arrange bread slices on a clean, dry surface. Spread mayonnaise over 1 side of each bread slice, then flip. Sprinkle half of white Cheddar over plain sides of 4 bread slices, then top with sautéed vegetables and remaining white Cheddar. Adding the vegetables between layers of cheese helps bind the filling to the bread so the sandwiches hold together. Finish with remaining bread slices, mayonnaise-side up, pressing lightly.
4. Place pan from vegetables over medium heat. Carefully hover your hand a few inches away from the pan—when you can easily feel heat, add sandwiches. Place a medium heavy pan or large plate on top and cook, working in batches as needed, until bread is golden and cheese is melted, 3–4 minutes per side. Placing a heavy object like a pan or plate on top of the sandwiches while they cook helps weigh them down, intensifying the heat underneath and resulting in evenly crisp bread. Transfer to cutting board.
5. While sandwiches cook, in a large bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, mustard, honey, ¼ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Whisking continuously, slowly add 3 tablespoons olive oil until fully combined. Pat mixed lettuces dry with paper towel, then add to bowl with dressing, along with tomatoes, waiting to toss until ready to serve.
6. Halve broccolini grilled cheese sandwiches on a diagonal and divide among serving plates. Toss salad, add to plates.
Thursday: Bok Choy Fried Rice
1½ cups basmati rice
1 pound baby bok choy, divided
1 pound summer squash
⅓ cup roasted salted cashews
¾ ounce ginger
2 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup gluten-free soy sauce
1 cup peas
1½ tablespoons Sriracha
1. Preheat oven to 450F. In a small pot, combine rice, 2¼ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until water is fully evaporated, 12–14 minutes. When cooking rice, exact timing is crucial, as is keeping it covered—no peeking! Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then set aside uncovered to release steam, making it easier to fry in Step 5.
2. While rice cooks, halve bok choy lengthwise and rinse thoroughly—it tends to hide a lot of dirt between its leaves! Thinly slice crosswise, keeping bulbs and leaves separate. Rinse squash, halve lengthwise, and cut crosswise into ½-inch half-moons. Roughly chop cashews. Trim and discard skin of ginger and mince. Mince garlic. Peel onion and cut into small dice.
3. On a baking sheet, toss squash with 1 tablespoon canola oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Arrange in a single layer and roast, tossing halfway through, until lightly browned and tender, about 10 minutes total.
4. While squash roasts, heat sesame oil in a large high-sided pan over medium heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add carrots and bok choy bulbs and cook until tender, about 5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and set aside until rice is done cooking.
5. Once rice is cooked, return pan with vegetables to medium-high heat. When vegetables sizzle, add soy sauce and cooked rice, stirring to coat. Press rice down into a single layer and fry, without moving, until golden on bottom, 3–4 minutes. Add bok choy leaves and stir to combine. Cook until soy sauce is fully absorbed and bok choy leaves have wilted, 3 minutes more. Remove pan from heat and stir in peas and squash. Divide fried rice among serving bowls.
6. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick pan over medium. When oil is shimmering, crack 4 eggs into pan and season with salt and pepper. Fry until whites start to set, 2 minutes. Cover pan and cook until edges are crisp but yolks are still runny, 2 minutes more. Lightly jiggle the pan to make sure your eggs are cooked. If the whites don’t move, you’re good to go. Top rice with fried eggs. Garnish with cashews and drizzle over Sriracha.
Try our fried rice as a side dish—simply use the smaller serving recipe!
Friday: Moroccan Chickpea “Bolognese”
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 red onions
¼ ounce mint
¼ ounce parsley
1 teaspoon ras el hanout spice mix
1 pound cavatelli pasta
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons harissa paste
½ cup red wine
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drain and rinse chickpeas and pat dry. Rinse all produce. Halve grape tomatoes. Peel onions, halve, and thinly slice. Roughly chop mint and parsley leaves, discarding stems. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. On prepared baking sheet, toss half of chickpeas with ras el hanout, 1½ tablespoons olive oil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Spread in a single layer and roast until browned and crisp, 16–18 minutes.
3. While chickpeas roast, season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in cavatelli and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 11–12 minutes. Reserve ¾ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and set aside.
4. While pasta cooks, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over mediumhigh heat. When oil is shimmering, add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until light brown and softened, about 7 minutes. Add remaining chickpeas, ⅓ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until onion is golden, chickpeas are warmed through, and water has evaporated, 4–5 minutes more.
5. To pan with onions and chickpeas, still over medium-high heat, add tomato paste, harissa, and grape tomatoes. Harissa is mostly smoky, but subtly spicy. It’s what really flavors the sauce here, but feel free to use half for milder heat. Cook, stirring, until combined, 2–3 minutes. Add wine and simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed, 2–3 minutes more. Using a fork, roughly mash tomatoes and chickpeas. Stir in cavatelli. Adding 1 tablespoon at a time, stir in reserved pasta cooking water until sauce is silky. Starchy pasta cooking water will give your sauce a perfect consistency and help it cling to the cavatelli. Keep adding it until the sauce is silky—you might need more than you think.
6. Taste Moroccan chickpea “Bolognese” and season with salt and pepper as desired, then divide among serving bowls. Top with spiced chickpeas and garnish with feta and herbs.
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