Fall

22 Hearty Meatless Mains *Everyone* at the Table Can Tuck Into This Fall

As comforting as your favorite flannel.

October  4, 2019
Photo by Two Peas & Their Pod

Yes, we like to wax poetic about fresh, tender spring greens. And we’re not-so-secret fans of turning off the stove and inhaling juicy summer produce raw. But, honestly, we need to stop sleeping on fall veg. From creamy curries and veggie-packed stews to piles of crispy, roasty roots and ooey-gooey gratins, there are so many ways vegetables can shine in colder weather.

To celebrate the turn of seasons, we’ve got 23 hearty, flavorful meatless meals to add to your dinner rotation. We promise, whether you're a committed vegetarian or just looking to add more plants to your plate, these recipes will keep everyone warm and happy.

1. Enchilada-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

We'll start off with a flavorful, filling weeknight hit from recipe developer, Maria Lichty and her husband, Josh, of Two Peas & Their Pod. Maria and her family follow a plant-forward diet more often than not. And even more often than that, they eat fresh, simple, family-friendly homemade meals that require a relatively low effort for their high pay-off.

Take these stuffed sweet potatoes with all the fixings you'd expect in enchiladas—a spiced tomato-based sauce, creamy black beans, cubes of fresh avocado, melty cheese, and more. There's no rolling, filling, baking in a casserole dish for hours. Just roast the sweet potatoes until tender, split them open to get the middle flesh all fluffy, and top to your heart's desire.

Lucky for us, Maria and Josh collected many more recipes like this in their new cookbook, arming us for many a busy weeknight ahead.

2. Rice Pilaf With Crispy Chickpeas & Cashews

Warming spices like paprika, cumin, and turmeric, along with onion and garlic, come together in this "hard to screw up" rice pilaf. Then, crispy chickpeas and tart-sweet dried cherries get added to the fluffy, fragrant rice, along with a ton of tender herbs. The result is a satisfying dish that takes a little over an hour (mostly inactive!) to get on the table.

3. Best Quiche

Here's Food52's best quiche recipe—ever—straight from our test kitchen. It's made with a buttery, flaky, cream cheese–laden crust, and then filled with the silkiest savory custard you could ever dream of, and that alone would be enough. But even better, you can customize all the mix-ins to make the quiche of your dreams: strong aged Cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, chopped-up broccoli florets, and cremini mushrooms are all favorites of ours.

3. Garlicky Whole-Wheat Pasta With Fried Hazelnuts

What do you cook for a whole-wheat skeptic to make them a believer? This nutty-garlicky-buttery pasta. The whole thing is ready to eat in 30 minutes, leaving you enough time to toss together a little side salad and call it a night.

4. Speedy Skillet Ravioli Lasagna From Grace Parisi

A one-pan lasagna that can be whipped up in...under an hour? Yes, it's here, and we'll happily let us solve all our weeknight woes. The trick to this whole kit and caboodle is a package of frozen ravioli. For real! Just make a sauce in the pan, then layer frozen lasagna in and top with cheese before letting it do its thing in the oven. Simple as that.

5. Yellow Curry With Root Vegetables, Cashews & Basil

Store-bought Thai curry paste is a weeknight miracle worker. For instance, it helps take this root vegetable-packed curry over the finish line in about 20 minutes. It's plenty hearty as-is, but steamed jasmine rice or chewy rice noodles, it'll keep you satisfied and cozy as can be.

5. Slow-Cooker Butternut Squash Shakshuka

Adding tomatoes, sweet butternut squash, and spices to a slow cooker, then letting it go for 6 hours, can only spell good things: namely, the beginnings of a great shakshuka. Once the tomato base has cooked and the flavors meld together wonderfully, crack a few eggs into the slow cooker itself and let them firm up for a little less than half an hour. Break out some pita or other crusty bread, and get to work.

6. Fennel-Pistachio Pesto Lasagna

Nutty, rich pistachios team up with licorice-y fennel and lots of green herbs for this ultra-cozy, if not a bit nontraditional, take on lasagna. It tastes even better the next day—that is, if it lasts that long.

7. Fully Loaded Baked Potatoes With Mushroom "Bacon" & Garlicky Greek Yogurt

What could be heartier and more comforting than a fully loaded baked potato? This rendition, with a drizzle of garlicky Greek yogurt and plenty of mushroom "bacon," is savory and satisfying, and totally ready to be your dinner tonight.

8. Baked Ricotta Gnudi With Vodka Sauce

Fluffy, pillowy ricotta dumplings are simpler to put together than you'd think, and pair wonderfully with an also-simple homemade vodka sauce. The two get baked together in a dish with lots of bubbly cheese on top, creating a dish that's like a warm hug.

9. Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin With Herbs And Cheese

The classic gratin gets a bit of an update by our cofounder, Merrill, who took the recipe she learned in culinary school and riffed on it to fit the season. She layers thin slices of hardy vegetables—like butternut squash, parsnips, and white potatoes—in a bath of garlic-and herb-steeped milk, then tops it with piles of cheese and sticks it all in the oven to bake. With a little side salad for some freshness, this new take is sure to enter your dinner rotation this fall.

10. Paneer Bhurjee With English Peas

Paneer takes a dip in a spiced tomato-and onion-based sauce, and is joined by a whole mess of sweet English peas. With rice, chapati, or even a crusty piece of bread, this quickie curry becomes a satisfying dinner.

11. Busy Weeknight Bean Chili

No low-and-slow cook times here, but still all the flavor, thanks to a few very clever Big Little tricks. A steaming bowl of beany, spicy chili can be yours in well under an hour.

12. Fettuccine Alfredo With Butternut Squash & Mushrooms

With butternut squash and mushrooms, this pasta is fall on a plate. Better yet, the whole dish is made in an Instant Pot, cutting down cook time to about 20 blazing minutes.

13. Andhra Egg Curry (South Indian-Style Egg Curry)

A richly spiced tomato sauce envelopes creamy hard boiled eggs to create a dish that's "filling and satisfying without feeling overly heavy." The pops of flavor from curry leaves and cilantro really help take this South Indian-style dish to the next level.

14. Spaghetti Squash With White Bean Ragoût

This take on spaghetti squash made a non-believer change their tune—thanks to a garlicky, tomato-ey white bean ragoût. Any leftover sauce has about a million other uses: as a topping for polenta, on eggs, scooped up with toast...

15. Twice-Baked Potatoes With Creamy Chive Pesto

Ah, potatoes, we meet again. This time, with a zingy chive-cashew pesto and a creamy, garlicky filling. The potatoes are roasted, scooped, then filled and put back into the oven for a second bake, to yield their skins impossibly crispy and their insides tender, fluffy, and delicious.

16. Chitra Agrawal's Coconut Dal With Turmeric Rice

A go-to dinner for chef, cookbook author, and busy mom, Chitra Agrawal? Coconutty, not-too-spicy dal and a heap of fluffy turmeric rice. It's plenty flavorful for adults, and happily kid-approved, too.

17. Simple Weeknight Vegetarian Green Curry & Noodles

Once again, prepared Thai curry paste is here to save the day—this time, for a 20-minute green curry noodle bowl, chock-full of autumn vegetables. You can add in whatever veg you like, but we're partial to a starchy kind (potatoes, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash) and something more tender (mushrooms, young corn, bell pepper, you name it).

18. Roasted Yam & Collard Green Enchiladas

This hearty, hefty main is not only really satisfying, it's also packed with vegetables. Tortillas blanket themselves around sautéed collard greens savory, spiced roasted yams. Then, the whole thing is smothered in a thick, homemade enchilada sauce and lots of cheese before heading to the oven.

19. Sweet Potato-Coconut Curry With Black-Eyed Peas & Collard Greens

This one-pot, 35-minute Thai-inspired curry will save you from yourself this fall. Just chuck all the ingredients in and let them simmer to glory.

20. L’Artusi’s Famous Mushroom Ragu With Fresh Garganelli

Humble cremini mushrooms provide so much meatiness and umami-rich flavor to this ragu, dreamed up by Manhattan restaurant, L'Artusi. After it cooks down with tomato paste and cream to create a luxurious sauce, the mushrooms top tender handmade garganelli pasta (that can easily be replaced with store-bought, dried noodles) for a flavor-packed meal you'd never know was vegetarian.

21. Spicy Harissa Lentils With Lemon Tahini And Sweet Onions

Quick-cooking red lentils are spiced with Tunisian chile paste, harissa, and a whole mess of creamy tahini. Tender and sweet caramelized onions, along with chopped fresh parsley, join the party, too, for good measure.

22. Indian Rice Pilaf With Tomato-Onion Raita & Crispy Papad

A vegetable-packed, warmly spiced, extra-fragrant basmati rice pilaf is the perfect vegetarian dinner. Paired with a cooling, creamy tomato–onion raita and crunchy fried papad, we want to eat this dish every night of the week.

What's your favorite fall vegetarian dinner? Share ideas in the comments below!

The Magical Mini Guide
 to Cozy Weekends
View Guide
The Magical Mini Guide
 to Cozy Weekends

Whether you're in the mood for some soup-simmering,
 leaf-peeping, or nothing at all, your dream weekend awaits...

View Guide

Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Girlfromipanema
    Girlfromipanema
  • Hollis Ramsey
    Hollis Ramsey
Comment
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.

2 Comments

Girlfromipanema October 5, 2019
I love the inclusion of Indian recipes in this list- so frequently only pasta is offered in a roundup of vegetarian dishes. Can't wait to try them!
 
Hollis R. October 28, 2018
i'm not a vegetarian, but i love veggies. i can eat meatless meals happily, but i prefer to add some kind of meat as a flavoring -- e.g., bacon, prosciutto, sausage, smoked ham hock, chorizo, pork belly, even gribenes (chicken skins fried in schmaltz). i sure do love pork, don't i. but i'd be happy with tofu and mushrooms, too. but, bacon ...