I'll admit, I'm not the biggest fan of New Year's resolutions. At least, not the broad, sweeping type like, "become a perfect person" or "make my bed every day, all year."
But I do love a certain sort: simple, manageable New Year's projects. Like, challenging myself to spend a full weekend alone, or learning how to master (fingers crossed) laminated pastry doughs (I'm addicted to kouign-amann). And I like the kind of resolutions you can continue to dip into periodically throughout the year, making them less New Year's resolutions and more New Year's resolutions. One such pledge is a week or more of vegetarianism. I was attracted to this notion primarily because as a recipe developer, I really appreciate dishes that build a mind-blowing amount of flavor with no meat at all.
So I tried it out in January for the first time, to great success. With an endless supply of excellent-looking vegetarian entrées out there, I menu-planned with a handful of battle-tested options—Food52's all-time most popular meatless mains. Here's what I lined up, and plan to return to throughout the year:
A whole head of cauliflower gets poached then roasted 'til super tender. And I won't be sleeping on the tangy whipped goat cheese!
Deeply caramelized onions take a bath in butter, then get showered in Parmesan and mixed into pasta.
Fluffy quinoa and perfectly steamed kale join forces, and add zingy lemon and tangy goat cheese to their crew. Count me in.
A three-ingredient tomato sauce I plan to slurp straight from the pot. Then toss with pasta. Then dip a baguette into.
An endlessly riffable salty-sweet textural dream of a salad I'm planning to make a double batch of, so I can bring it for lunch the next day.
Seven ingredients and just five simple steps for a delicately nuanced and delicious carrot soup.
Pan-fried giant white beans that look so genius, I wonder how I've eaten beans any other way. “I have made Giant White Beans With Kale at least 4 times (or 5 or 6),” one reviewer wrote. “This is such a deceptively simple dish and can be adapted in so many ways to help clean out the pantry,” said another. “First of all, YUM!” said another. You get the idea.
I've made this pitch-perfect pasta—which comes together from storable staples (think: chickpeas, tomato paste, olive oil)—before, and it made me want to buy my pantry a BFF bracelet.
Just onion, cauliflower, and olive oil team up for a delicate, lightly sweet vegetarian soup.
10. Eggplant Parmesan
Perfectly cooked eggplant blanketed in sauce, with a melty belly of mozzarella cheese? Sounds like an excerpt from my diary.
As we learned a couple years back, the most popular burger on our site isn’t actually a burger. Or, isn’t actually a burger in the traditional, beefy sense of the word. Instead, the most popular burger on our site is totally vegan—mostly black beans, spiced up with chili powder, paprika, and garlic.
Once you master creamy, cheesy baked eggs, you’ll have a back-pocket dinner even on the tiredest of weeknights. In this case, they feature mushrooms and tangy Gruyère—but let your fridge guide you (kale and provolone? broccoli and cheddar?). For bonus points: Serve with a crusty baguette, extra-vinegary salad, and cold bottle of white wine.
Leisurely simmered broccoli, perked up with lemon and Parmesan. To make the soup vegetarian, feel free to skip the chicken stock and swap in an equal quantity of vegetable stock. And if you happen to have cauliflower around but not broccoli? That works great too.
To get crispy tofu, you need to fry it, right? Wrong. This tofu gets tossed with oil, panko, and sesame seeds, then baked in a high-heat oven, to yield a wonderfully crusty crust. Team up with shiitake mushrooms as written—or off-road with whatever vegetable you have around.