A Day Of Easy Vegetarian Meals

Whether you're hosting guests or planning a day of healthy eating for your family, it's great to have an arsenal of whole food, vegetarian recipes at the ready.

Bonus: you can make all of these recipes ahead, to cut down on kitchen time during a busy week of work or play.

Breakfast: Baked Cinnamon Crunch Oatmeal

A cross between cinnamon-sugar French toast and oatmeal, this is absolutely delicious. Feel free to use 1 or 2% milk to lighten this up a bit, and you can swap out the sugar for maple syrup or honey if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)*
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the insides of 4 (6-ounce) ovenproof ramekins and place on a baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the oats, walnuts or pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla. Add to the oat mixture and stir to combine. Carefully divide the oatmeal evenly among the ramekins (it will be liquidy) and drizzle the top of each one with a little melted butter.

4. Bake until the oat mixture is set and the tops are golden brown, 30–35 minutes. Set on a rack to cool slightly, then serve with adrizzle of maple syrup, blueberries, and sliced bananas.

*Use gluten-free oats if you have a gluten sensitivity.

Lunch: Sprouted Wraps With Hummus

Sprouted grains—essentially whole grains that have been allowed to germinate — are lower in starch, and higher in protein, vitamins, and minerals than traditional whole grain items. And they’re more easily digestible for people with gluten sensitivities. You can find sprouted wraps in the frozen section of the grocery story near the gluten-free breads.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 (8-inch) sprouted grain tortillas
  • 1 cup hummus
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
  • 3/4 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 2 packed cups mixed baby greens

Preparation

1. In a non-stick skillet, warm the wraps over medium heat until pliable, 10–15 seconds.

2. Spread each wrap with 1/4 cup hummus, leaving a 1-inch border. Layer the center of each wrap with carrots, cabbage, greens, and feta. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Roll each wrap up burrito-style and cut in half before serving.

Variation: If you don’t want a vegetarian wrap, feel free to add some roast chicken or turkey. This is also delicious with roasted red peppers or chopped Kalamata olives.

Snack: Vegetables With Lemon + Tahini Dip

This tangy dip is made with tahini, a sesame paste that’s also used to make hummus. I love creating a crudité platter using unexpected vegetables like watermelon radishes, romanesco broccoli, and heirloom carrots—the more colorful, the better! You’ll notice that there are not specific amounts for the vegetables in the recipe—just use whatever combination you like.

Serves 4

Ingredients for the dip

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetables to serve

  • Rainbow carrots, halved
  • Raw snap peas or haricots verts
  • Romanesco broccoli or cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Breakfast radishes, halved lengthwise
  • Watermelon radishes, halved and cut into half-moons
  • Fennel slices

Preparation

1. For the dip, In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice and garlic and let sit for 2–3 minutes (this takes a bit of the edge off the raw garlic).

2. Transfer to a food processor, add the parsley and tahini, and pulse until the mixture has the consistency of a thick paste. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Add 2 tablespoons of water and blend until completely smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Arrange the vegetables on a platter and serve with the tahini dip.

Do ahead: You can prep the crudités several hours in advance. Place the cut veggies in resealable plastic bags or in airtight containers, cover with moist paper towels, and refrigerate until ready to use. You can make the dip 1 day ahead and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Variation: To make lemon parsley hummus, add 1 (15-ounce) can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained, to the tahini dip in the food processor and pulse to combine. With the motor running, add 2 more tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons water, and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store, in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

Dinner: Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille

This is my ode to Provence, where I first fell in love with the classic vegetable- and tomato-laden side dish. Unlike most ratatouille recipes, for mine, I like to roast the vegetables first to intensify their flavors, before simmering them on the stovetop. This is delicious with grilled chicken or salmon, or as a vegetarian dish served over couscous or quinoa.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved if large
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Shaved Parmesan, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil.

2. In a large bowl, toss the eggplant, zucchini, and squash with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture onto 1 1/2 of the foil-lined baking sheets. Add the grape tomatoes to the large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread out onto the empty half of the 1 baking sheet.

3. Roast until the vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly.

4. While the vegetables are roasting, make the tomato sauce: In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and red bell pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the pepper is softened, 3–4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the canned tomatoes, smashing them gently with a spoon, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

4. Add the roasted vegetables, stir, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls with shaved Parmesan (if desired).

Do ahead: This dish tastes even better on the second or third day, so make it a few days in advance and just reheat on the stovetop before serving. Store, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Reprinted with permission from The Yellow Table published in 2015 by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. © Anna Watson Carl. Photography by Signe Birck

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