~ These vegetarian meals are the very best, most wildly popular, healthy vegetarian recipes from 100s of food writers, all across the Internet. They’re ideal for Meatless Monday … or any day! Easy vegetarian recipes that’ll even keep meat-lovers happy – perfect for the whole family! When someone asks me what are the absolute best vegetarian recipes, this is the post I refer them to! ~
How We Picked the BEST Vegetarian Dinner Ideas
Way back in 2016, we polled hundreds of other food writers and bloggers, asking them to share the one – just one! – absolutely, positively most popular healthy recipe from their entire site.
We sorted through those submissions to choose the most outstanding of all for our very first collection of 13 Best Healthy Vegetarian Meals.
But 2016 was a long time ago (at least in the Internet world), and soooooo many other amazing vegetarian recipes have popped up since then!
Search Our Site for MORE Healthy Vegetarian Recipe Ideas! Here’s How …
So, more than 4 years later, we reached out again – to hundreds and hundreds of food writers and blogging friends, asking them to share their ONE (and only ONE!) most popular vegetarian main dish. The very best vegetarian dinner recipe they had.
The response was overwhelming! But once again, we’ve narrowed it down to the very best of the best, and added about 40 new, inspiring, easy, healthy vegetarian recipes to our lineup.
And we think you’ll agree … there’s absolutely no doubt why all these recipes are so incredibly popular!
The Very Best Vegetarian Meals
Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs
These easy meatballs are packed with lots of flavor from traditional Italian spices, fresh herbs, and two types of cheese! They have a beautiful crispy exterior and tender, flavorful interior – and you'll never even miss the meat! (Gluten free option, too!)
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
This delicious recipe was featured on The Doctors tv show on CBS ... and has more than 500 reviews! No soy, fake cheese, or nutritional yeast. Just creamy, prefect comfort food goodness! Jenn promises, "You will not believe how good this is!" (Soy free, gluten free, vegan.)
Chipotle Inspired Vegan Burrito Bowl
If you love Chipotle, then you've gotta try this delicious vegetarian meal that's just bursting with spices and flavor! Bonus: it's also easier on your wallet than take-out! Set out all those tasty burrito fillings and cilantro-lime brown rice ... it's an easy way to give the whole family great options to customize their dinner just they way they like!
Sweet and Sour Tofu
Make this healthy vegetarian recipe in under 30 minutes! Crispy tofu and a sticky sweet and sour sauce mimic the classic Chinese takeout dish in this vegetarian friendly meal.
Vegetarian Quesadillas with Black Beans and Sweet Potato
Filled with black beans, sweet potatoes, avocado and cheese ... so nourishing and delicious!
One Pot Thai Peanut Veggie Pasta
Vegetarian pasta recipes are an ideal way to create a filling, easy weeknight dinner that even a meat lover will enjoy, with plenty of healthy ingredients you'll feel great serving. Perfect example: this streamlined one-pot recipe! It features whole wheat spaghetti and plenty of veggies in a flavorful Thai peanut sauce ... and it's on the table in under 30 minutes!
Instant Pot Golden Lentil & Spinach Soup
A thick and hearty lentil soup packed full of flavor – and so easy to make! Karen says that, after she shared this Instant Pot soup back in 2017, it's been one of her top-most-visited (and top-rated!) recipes ever since. A must-try!
Creamy (Vegan) Red Pepper Alfredo over Zoodles
Nutritious zucchini noodles are draped in a glorious alfredo sauce that combines roasted red peppers, soaked walnuts, veggie broth, and spices. A veggie-packed vegan meal!
This easy, plant-based dinner brings home the flavors of New Orleans! It's also perfect for meal-prepping, and the post includes alternate directions for making it in a slow cooker.
Mom's Vegetarian Pot Pie
Vegetable Chow Mein
This 15-minute Instant Pot Vegetable Chow Mein is a terrific go-to recipe for busy nights. Soniya says, "When I make these noodles everyone gobbles them up!"
Or, for a quick Chow Mein recipe that doesn't require an Instant Pot, try the Easy Vegetable Chow Mein from Masala Herb, which is ready in just 20 minutes.
Chickpea Avocado Sandwich
This vegan sandwich is packed with protein and filled with the delicious flavors of cilantro, celery, dill, green onion and lime. Top your creation with raw veggies like juicy tomatoes, zippy red onion, and fresh greens for extra flavor, texture and nutrition!
Paneer Butter Masala
This rich and creamy dish features cubed paneer cheese and warm spices in a tomato, butter and cashew sauce (known as makhani gravy). Try it with naan bread, roti or steamed rice ... and see why it's been rated nearly a perfect 5 stars in more than 300 reviews!
Homestyle Vegan Meatloaf
Whether it's a holiday, or just a typical weeknight dinner, there's nothing more comforting than delicious, savory vegan meatloaf with creamy mashed potatoes and gravy. No doubt, this healthy vegetarian dinner is pure homestyle comfort food!
Korean BBQ Zoodle Stir-Fry Bowl
The satisfying flavors of Korean BBQ in a 30-minute meal! Simple and absolutely PACKED with veggies!
Vegan Chick-fil-A style Nuggets with Honey Mustard Sauce
These Chick-fil-A style nuggets combine agave sweetness and briny pickle juice for a unique yet familiar flavor. Plus everything is oil-free! So fantastic served with a vegan honey mustard dipping sauce. With more than 100 ratings, these are definitely worth a try!
Slow Cooker Barley & Chickpea Risotto
The easy risotto leverages your crockpot to do all the work for you. And you're rewarded with slow cooked whole grains, packed with chickpeas and vegetables!
Roasted Garlic and Kale Spaghetti Squash with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
A low-carb vegan dinner recipe that only requires 5 main ingredients – so quick, nutritious, and easy to make! Plus, it's got loads of vitamins and minerals from the spaghetti squash and kale, a boost of flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic, and some protein and lovely crunch from the walnuts.
One Pan Mexican Quinoa
Mexican food lovers, rejoice! This easy quinoa recipe is a protein- and veggie-packed meatless dish that's ready in under 30 minutes (in just one pan). Swapping quinoa for rice really bumps up the protein, and this dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, too!
Vegan Sesame Tantanmen (Homemade Ramen)
Perfectly soft and chewy ramen noodles are drenched in a nutty, spicy, ultra rich and creamy sesame broth! So satisfying with chewy bits of meat-y mince, and wonderful crunch from the vegetables!
Vegan French Dip Sandwich with Au Jus
Trying to do more meatless recipes, but still craving a "meaty" vibe? This hearty vegan sandwich channels the deli classic, in an umami-packed, meat-free version! It's served on toasted ciabatta with sautéed onions, and slathered with horseradish mayo. Positively loaded with flavor from red wine, vegan Worcestershire, tamari, and broth!
If you're a fan of Middle Eastern and North African flavors, you’ll love this shakshuka! Eggs are poached in a savory, soul-satisfying spicy red tomato sauce base – a simple recipe that's infinitely flexible and so satisfying.
Sweet Potato Quinoa Skillet with Kale and Sage
This easy skillet meal is vegan and gluten-free ... and it's ready in under 30 minutes in just on pot! Loaded with superfoods and wonderful autumn flavors!
This veg-focused meal is a celebration of a few simple ingredients that shine brilliantly when they’re combined. A 20-minute, ultra easy recipe, yet so nourishing and delicious! For an extra-hearty protein boost, try serving it with a fried or poached egg on top.
Cheesy Zoodle Marinara
Hearty and indulgent, yet this healthy vegetarian recipe takes under 5 minutes to prepare! (With lots of handy spiralizing tips, too.) Great with your favorite homemade marinara recipe or even a terrific jarred pasta sauce (for an easy shortcut to get a meal on the dinner table FAST)! And mmmmmmm ... just look at that melted cheese!
Falafel-Spiced Chickpea Flatbreads
Pillowy naan is covered in garlicky tzatziki sauce, Middle Eastern-spiced garbanzo beans, tahini, fresh herbs and Sriracha in this addictive street food/comfort food mashup! A squeeze of bright, fresh lemon juice adds a final layer of fabulous flavor.
Lentil Bolognese Recipe
Naturally gluten free and vegan, this lentil recipe is hearty, healthy ... and perfect for topping pasta (or just about anything else)!
Cheesy Vegetable Quiche with Cauliflower Crust
This cheesy quiche is loaded with veggies, all baked in a low carb, gluten free, and deliciously seasoned cauliflower crust. Lynn says, "Just 2 months after I originally published this post, Huffington Post picked it up and plopped it into a roundup of recipes using cauliflower in unconventional ways. ... Needless to say, this recipe has received some pretty great reviews from folks who have made it."
Sheet Pan Garlic Tofu & Brussels Sprouts
Sheet pan dinners are all the rage – and for good reason. You literally throw everything onto one pan, bake, and enjoy! The final stroke of genius is the addition of sweet cranberries and crunchy pumpkin seeds. Everyone in the family will love this easy-to-make, easy-to-clean-up dinner that's naturally plant-based, vegan, gluten free, and bursting with delicious flavor!
Try pairing this vegan curry with roti for a meatless meal your family is sure to love! It's lusciously creamy, thanks to coconut milk. And it uses just 11 ingredients that you can easily find at just about any grocery store. Simple!
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Topped with veggies, marinara sauce, melty mozzarella cheese, and toasted seasoned breadcrumbs, these healthy stuffed mushrooms are a crowd pleaser. Plus, you can assemble them ahead of time!
Seitan Skillet with Peppers and Onions
This skillet recipe is an easy, healthy vegan dinner recipe, with plenty of flavor! Quickly chop up an onion and red bell pepper, and get 'em sizzling in a skillet while you whip up a speedy sauce for the seitan. Before you know it ... you have dinner ready!
Sweet Potato Tacos with Black Beans
These colorful, flavorful tacos are easy to prepare and can be made vegan. They're a delicious vegetarian dinner that even meat eaters go crazy for. Tex-Mex heaven, drizzled with Avocado Lime Crema! Tuck some whole grain tortilla chips alongside and enjoy the fiesta!
For another popular vegetarian taco option, check out the Slow Cooker Lentil Quinoa Tacos from Healthy Slow Cooking, too!
Gluten Free Lo Mein
Ready in less than 30 minutes, this quick vegetarian meal is packed with flavor AND with lots of yummy veggies! (Vegan and other allergen-free options, too!)
Curried Cauliflower Chickpea Wraps
A healthy, spicy, make-ahead meal that can easily be adapted for vegan and gluten-free diets. Made with warming Indian spices, these wraps are freezer-friendly and great for meal prep!
Mongolian Soy Curls
You definitely won’t miss the beef in these tasty Mongolian soy curls. This ingenious recipe is a delicious vegan take on the popular Mongolian Beef dish from PF Chang’s!
Pumpkin & Spinach Vegetarian Lasagne
A healthy and delicious family dinner made with layers of creamy pumpkin, ricotta, spinach, lasagne sheets, and tomato sauce. A meat-free lasagna filled with yummy veggie goodness! And so lovely paired with a crisp green salad!
Vegetarian Feijoada Recipe (3 Ways)
This healthy vegetarian meal is a plant-based, meatless version of Brazil’s national dish. High protein and loaded with fiber, this recipe also happens to be vegan and gluten free. Instructions included for making it in a slow cooker, Instant Pot, and on the stovetop.
Baked Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi)
This delicious, cheesy vegetable casserole is a unique spin on a French summer vegetable stew. It features flavorful tomato-bell pepper sauce with sliced zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes ... all topped with perfectly melted, golden cheese. An impressive dish to bring to the dinner table!
Chickpea and Potato Curry
This hearty vegan chickpea and potato curry is mildly spiced, fragrant and delicious. A terrific alternative to takeout – better for you, and kinder on your wallet!
Copycat True Food Kitchen Ancient Grains Bowl
Hearty, filling, savory, sweet and spicy ... this vegetarian ancient grain bowl has it all! Drizzle with a punchy, simple sauce (with just 3 ingredients!) for a headliner dinner that'll help you truly ENJOY achieving your healthy eating goals.
This vegetable paella is packed with veggies and easy to make. It's full of flavor, and so good that you'll barely notice there isn't any seafood in it. A delicious meal that's scrumptious the next day, too, so leftovers will be a welcome treat!
Spaghetti Squash Burrito Bowls
A hearty vegetarian dinner! These burrito bowls are so cheesy, flavorful, and literally stuffed with healthy veggies – they’re comfort food that’s actually good for you!
Vegetarian Rogan Josh with Black Lentils & Aubergine
This vegetarian meal is a spin on typical lamb (or mutton) versions. It's packed with wholesome ingredients – super healthy comfort food for chilly days!
Quinoa Power Bowls with Maple Chipotle Brussels and Smoky Butternut Squash
Perfect for meal prep or for weeknight, easy family dinners. These bowls are loaded with protein, fiber, heart-healthy fats, and a slew of micronutrients. And, you can customize the ingredients to include any produce or grain you have on hand. Just a little adobe sauce from chipotle peppers adds so much alluring flavor and smoky warmth. Yum! Vegan, gluten free, and equal parts nutritious and delicious!
20-minute Halloumi Pasta Primavera
Just 20-minutes (chopping included!) is all you need to make this delicious vegetarian pasta dinner that beautifully highlights the fresh vegetables. It's light and fresh without cream, and really lets the veggies shine!
So perfect paired with pasta, quinoa, rice or mashed potatoes! This is a quick and healthy meal that's ready in less than 30 minutes.
Lentil stuffed peppers
This recipe is extremely flexible and also freezer-friendly! Flavorful peppers are stuffed with rice, lentils, and vegetables for a wholesome, filling meal. You can use whichever color of peppers you prefer, but it's extra-pretty with a combination of a green, yellow and red bell pepper!
Two Healthy Kitchens’ Favorite Vegetarian Meals
While we’re talking healthy vegetarian recipes and veggie-centric meal ideas, check out a few of our own personal favorites here at THK. These are all recipes I make again and again for my own family that we just love … and I’m pretty sure your family will love, too!
Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta
Oven-roasted cauliflower and broccoli make this easy pasta recipe deeply flavorful. It’s deceptively simple … just a few ingredients that add up to surprisingly big, big flavors! Plus, with all those roasted veggies, it’s a meal-in-one with no vegetable side dish needed – perfect for busy nights!
"7-Layer Dip" Mexican Avocado Toast
The beloved flavors of 7-Layer Dip … in a delicious Mexican Avocado Toast recipe! Piled high with big flavors and great nutrition, this turns typical breakfast avocado toasts into a perfect option for lunch, dinner, or even game day noshing!
Easy Zoodles Recipe (Zucchini Noodles for Beginners)
This Easy Zoodles Recipe is the perfect way to try Zucchini Noodles and ease your family into the idea of spiralized veggies! (Although, honestly, we make this all the time now.) Ready in about 15 minutes, it’s a fun way to step up your pasta game and add more veggies into dinnertime!
Quick Stovetop Vegetarian Chili with Red Peppers, Corn and Black Beans
This quick, incredibly delicious, and very healthy vegetarian chili recipe is ready in about 30 minutes, and is made almost entirely with pantry staples. It’s loaded with so much depth of flavor, and also with nutritional powerhouse ingredients. So fantastic, yet so easy! We don’t miss the meat one bit!
One-Pot Whole-Wheat Spring Pasta with Asparagus and Peas
So easy, with such amazing flavors! This vegetarian skillet meal comes together so simply, in just one pot, and can even be made entirely ahead and quickly reheated on busy evenings!
Grilled Zucchini Flatbread with Goat Cheese and Rosemary
A crisp, cracker-like flatbread crust is the perfect counterpoint to the soft, creamy goat cheese and the succulent, smoky grilled zucchini, yellow squash and onion!
Spinach Spaghetti with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
This vegetarian pasta recipe packs big, big flavor in a super-quick (less than 30 minutes, start-to-finish) package! It's the perfect quick dinner on busy weeknights (served straight from the skillet), but it dresses up for dinner parties, too. Fast, easy and so delicious!
The Vegetarian Meal Trend
The current meatless trend is undeniable: even non-vegetarians are embracing the benefits of subbing out at least one meat-focused meal each week, in exchange for a vegetarian dinner.
Meatless Monday? Yup! It’s totally a thing! Everybody’s getting more excited about easy vegetarian dinner recipes.
And for good reason – vegetarian meals can be a great way to work more nutritious ingredients into your weekly dinner rotations.
But they’ve gotta taste amazing, right? So amazing that your family (even those meat lovers!) won’t care one bit about leaving out the meat and trying a vegetarian recipe instead.
Well, if all those recipes above aren’t inspiration enough … we’ve also got some tips that can make truly delicious, ultra-satisfying veg meals completely do-able!
Making Healthy Vegetarian Meals Satisfying
If you aren’t eating a lot of meatless meals yet (and you’re sort of in a “beginner vegetarian” phase) … or if you’re a vegetarian who’s looking for ideas that your non-vegetarian friends will like, too … you might keep stumbling against this question: What are some strategies for making healthy vegetarian recipes that taste just as delicious and satisfying as meals that include meat?
As you’ll see from our lineup of recipes above, there are lots of different ways to achieve this!
• Some “all veggie meals” directly swap the meat for protein-rich “meat substitutes” like soy crumbles, tofu hot dogs or sausages, and other plant-based meat “look alikes” (think of examples like Boca Burgers, Beyond Burgers or Impossible Burgers).
• Other recipes don’t really attempt to fake you out by tricking you into thinking you’re eating meat. They simply focus on high-protein ingredients like quinoa (one of the only plants that has all the amino acids needed to be a complete protein), or legumes such a beans and lentils.
• And some recipes basically just skip the meat altogether, focusing instead on satisfying grains, pastas, and loads of flavorful veggies.
Whichever path you choose, I would argue that the most important goal is to make sure there are interesting textures and, especially, to make sure those vegetarian diet recipes are hugely flavorful – so nobody’s taste buds miss having some meat on the plate.
• You might focus, for example, on coaxing lots of flavors out of your veggies by grilling or roasting them (one of my favorite techniques!). The caramelization that happens yields big flavor!
• Or, layer on lots of flavors with terrific sauces and condiments. Maybe you’re shooting for rich, cheesy, homey flavors … or bright, citrusy, summer notes … or spicy Mexican or Latin flair … or … well, you get the idea! Huge, totally vegetarian flavor can come through your sauces and condiments and make your dish, ultimately, very delicious and satisfying (with or without meat).
• One of the things many vegetarian-based meals miss out on is the umami flavor profile found in meat. But, that umami flavor profile can also be achieved through things like mushrooms, soy sauce, cheese and tomatoes.
Lots of little techniques to try, along with so many great new recipe ideas!
Oh … and to keep that veggie-momentum cranking all year long, we’ve even got specific collections of vegetarian and vegan meals just for the holidays:
And don’t miss all the other super-popular recipes in our “Very Best Healthy Recipes” series!
- Food Bloggers’ Best Healthy Cooking Tips and Swaps … with Recipes! (Part 1)
- 11 All-Time Best Healthy Breakfast Ideas (Part 2)
- 5 All-Time Best Healthy Smoothie Recipes (Part 3)
- 10 All-Time Best Healthy Snack Ideas (Part 4)
- 11 All-Time Best Healthy Salad Recipes (Part 5)
- 6 All-Time Best Healthy Side Dish and Vegetable Recipes (Part 6)
- 11 All-Time Best Healthy Chili and Soup Recipes (Part 8)
- 11 All-Time Best Healthy, Easy Chicken Recipes (Part 9)
- 9 All-Time Best Healthy, Easy Seafood and Fish Recipes (Part 10)
- 7 All-Time Best Easy, Healthy, Dessert Recipes (Part 11)
(Originally published August 18, 2016; fully updated with many new recipes, photos, and additional tips.)
50 thoughts on “55 Best Vegetarian Meals”
Great recipes – super delish and simple!
Thanks so much – I totally agree! It was really hard to whittle down the list of submissions I received to just the very, very best vegetarian recipes of all, but I love the final list! I’m so inspired by the other bloggers’ recipes, and I’m thrilled you liked the collection, too – thank you for the feedback! 🙂 ~Shelley
I really enjoyed this article – thank you! Fantastic!
So many yummy ideas! I get so inspired every time I look through all of these recipes – so glad you enjoyed it, too! 😀 ~Shelley
What a JAM -PACKED collection of vegetarian meals and THANK YOU for including our Sweet Potato Tacos! Each recipe is more sumptuous than the next; I don’t even know which one I want to start with, but I will be revisiting many!
I really love this collection, too, Dédé! I spent so much time sorting through all the submissions, trying to narrow it down to literally the very best of the best (which was soooooo hard to do)! I can absolutely see why your tacos are such a headliner vegetarian dinner – and I’m so excited to share the recipe with all of my readers, too – thanks bunches for letting me include it! ~Shelley
Hi Shelley! Such a delish and healthy vegetarian round up. Thank you for including my vegetarian feijoada. Everything looks super yummy.
You are so very welcome, Denise! I had a lot of fun selecting which vegetarian recipes to feature, but it was so hard to choose from among soooooo many terrific suggestions I received! Your Feijoada was too wonderful not to include, though – and I especially love that you offer three different ways to prepare it. Thank you so much for being a part of my vegetarian meals collection!
This is great! I’m really looking forward to reading more on your blog – thank you!
I’m so happy you liked it – and I hope you’ll find lots more to enjoy on our site, too! We have lots of vegetarian recipes, if that’s specifically what you’re keen to read about. You can check them all out in our Vegetarian Recipes index – happy reading! ~Shelley