11 Make-Ahead Vegetarian Meals

August  6, 2014

Now's the time of year when your friends are looking for any excuse to be outside and enjoy good food, cold beer, and a warm breeze. People are inventing reasons to get together -- one friend is hosting the "One Year Anniversary of My Housewarming Party" party -- and you're always expected to bring a dish.

But when you're busy working all day, you need food you can make the night before and grab from the fridge as soon as you get home from work. It has to be sturdy enough to withstand refrigerator time, and stable enough to survive your drive, taxi ride, subway, walk, or skateboard journey to the venue.

More: Need an airtight container to safetly transport your dish in? Look no further.

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In these situations, we turn to vegetarian dishes. They'll stay good at room temperature, they can be eaten by the majority of party-goers, and, if the other guests fawn over fried chicken and barbecue ribs instead, they'll be leftovers for you all week.

Patricia Yeo's Sesame Noodles by Genius Recipes


Almost Spiceless Eggplant Bharta by Panfusine

Scallion Ginger Noodles
 by Alexandra V. Jones 

Ginger Scallion Noodles


Miso Quinoa Pilaf with Grilled Cucumber, Eggplant, and Soy Dressing by gingerroot


Pasta with Tomatoes, Corn, Squash, and Ricotta by Merrill Stubbs


Tarragon Lemon Summer Squash Soup by anotherfoodieblogger


Roasted Potato Salad with Mustard-Walnut Vinaigrette by Shannon


Lemon-Dill Orzo Pasta Salad with Cucumbers, Olives, and Feta by Sarah | strawberryplum


Tofu Spring Rolls by Lindsay-Jean Hard


Mujaddara with Spiced Yogurt by Rivka


Savory 'Venn Pongal' (South Indian Style Rice and Mung Bean Risotto) by Panfusine

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ken Kosko
    Ken Kosko
  • Jayne Cates
    Jayne Cates
  • kimikoftokyo
  • FoodLover
  • sophia
Emi Boscamp

Written by: Emi Boscamp

Editorial Intern, Food52


Ken K. August 4, 2015
Substitutions are usually at "chef's discretion" and often require trial and error. In general, full flavored almond milk is a spot on stand in for milk, and Greek yogurt can take the place of sour cream. I agree with Jayne about switching stocks & broths. My recommendation is making your own stocks, using Organic Low Sodium Broths as the base. This way, you control the spice blends, flavors and salt content.

As for FoodLover's comment about not being Emeril, I agree. I am currently trying to put together a cookbook for young, new or inexperienced chefs. In the meantime, feel free to ask. If you prefer access to my e-mail....just say so, and I will put it up.
Same offer goes for others on here too,
Jayne C. August 3, 2015
I think it takes a cook with imagination other than just a recipe to make it vegetarian. So, it has chicken stock???...Replace it with vegetable stock? At least these recipes are promoting healthier foods for people to eat and make at home. Any recipe with more vegetables is a lot more healthier than just meat, and this is coming from a meat and potatoes gal. Chill out.
FoodLover August 3, 2015
agree, but some of us are not exactly Emeril Lagasses, we need more exact directions than some others. also wondering about substituting cow milk with coconut or almond milk? worried that too many substitutions will make for a much less appealing dish.... ?
kimikoftokyo August 3, 2015
Three of these are a go. I want to try the spicy yogurt. I wonder if you could substitute different types of rice to this dish. Now to buy the containers. lol. I am also that friend that host a party at a venue or park and name it things like. " my cats rescued party" or "nine year blogging anniversary party " which you all are invited to the middle of August;be sure to bring a dish lol
FoodLover August 3, 2015
The first one I clicked on was the summer squash soup and the recipe requires chicken broth. Not vegetarian enough for me!
JORJ August 3, 2015
You can sub the chicken broth with water and it will still be delicious!
FoodLover August 3, 2015
ok, thanks!
Ashley M. August 3, 2015
Or vegetable broth :)
FoodLover August 3, 2015
good, thanks.
sophia August 3, 2015
Too bad the article lists these recipes as vegetarian yet the Tarragon Summer Squash Soup had a base of chicken stock. I love that vegetarian meals are being promoted I just wish they really were vegetarian.
Teresa August 8, 2014
My favorite veggie dish is broccoli rabe with portobello mushrooms. Here it is.
Matt L. August 7, 2014
My favourite vegetarian picnic food is a Caramelised Onion filo tart...really easy to make and totally delicious. The recipe is here if you want it.
Philippe L. August 7, 2014
Mercie beaucoup! J'ai essayé et j'ai réussi! Tellement, c'est délicieux! pour d'autres recettes je suis preneurs!
ChefJune August 6, 2014
Both my sister and I have found we eat more grains and meatless meals when we cook up a decent quantity of one grain or another over the weekend and store it in the fridge. Then the rice (or quinoa or farro or millet or whatever) is ready to mix with grilled, roasted or sauteed vegetables for a hearty meal.