Weeknight Cooking

10 Cozy Vegetarian Dinners You Can Have on the Table in Under 30 Minutes

Why I'm March's biggest hype man.

March  6, 2019

I'm officially putting myself out there as March's biggest food fan. Which makes March's food–fan count, let's see here... exactly one.

The month gets a bad rap, food-wise, because it's not quite a distinct season, even though we're all ready for spring. Technically, it's kind of spring (the spring equinox will take place toward the end, on March 20), but weather-wise, it's like a weird mash-up of winter's worst hits: sleety rain, mostly gray skies, the sort of 15-minute sun peek-outs that seem promising, until moments later, when the sky explodes with fluffy white snowflakes.

But here's why I'm an official hype man for the year's third, dreary-weathered month: I've embraced its worst qualities, and rebranded it accordingly. I've gone full-on "winter's last hurrah" with March. In my kitchen, it's treated as a bonus month for cozy, comforting winter fare—even on those days where it's inexplicably oscillating between 40 degrees and sunny, and a bizarrely humid sleet-shower.

Bring on the bowls of warm, flavorful food showered in Parm, and the snuggling up under cozy blankets to watch more episodes of television in a row than would feel prudent were it nicer out. With winter produce still available toward the beginning of the month (plus, all those pantry staples to lean on), and early April favorites coming into play at the tail-end (asparagus! ramps!), I find that March is actually a prime time to break out my comforting vegetarian favorites. Weeknight bonus: Each of these takes just 30 minutes or less, start to finish:


Pan-Fried Giant White Beans with Kale

The crunchy-to-creamy ratio of the white beans called for by Heidi Swanson in this cozy, ultra quick pan-fry is jussssst right. Don't sleep on the toasted walnuts, either.

Simple Weeknight Vegetarian Green Curry & Noodles

Consider this to be to be less of a recipe, and more of a game plan for how to get a big bowl of velvety, nuanced curry on the table quickly. Oversized pajamas are optional, but highly recommended.

One-Pot Tomatoey, Cheesy Pasta with Shallots

This creamy, one-pot pasta with shallots asks so very little of you—and in return, gives you a comforting, hearty bowl of noodles that can be riffed upon in a million directions.

Instant Pot Paneer in Spinach Sauce

A bright, bold, warming paneer lightened up with cashews in place of heavy cream.

Miso-Mushroom Pasta

This meat-free pasta dish manages to be especially savory, thanks to dreamy miso-butter.

Pad Thai Redux

A veg-forward take on pad Thai you'll want to put on repeat from now until...forever. For even more excitement, you know what to do. (Okay fine, we'll tell you: Put an egg on it!)

Tofu Scramble Fried Rice

File this one under: the coziest, more flavorful way to use up cooked grains. (Any cooked grains will do.)

White Bean Soup with Garlic and Parsley

Calling those cans of beans from the way back of the pantry! We're about to make you a star.

Ooey Gooey Toasted Cheese

For those nights when you just want to eat a melty pile of cheese. And maybe a side salad, for show.

Speedy Kale & White Bean Stew

...and for those nights after those nights where you just want to eat a pile of melty cheese, when you just want to eat kale. (In a speedy, perky, tomatoey stew.)

What's your go-to weeknight comfort meal? Let us know in the comments!
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Ella Quittner

Written by: Ella Quittner

Ella Quittner is a a writer at Food52. She covers food, travel, wellness, lifestyle, home, novelty snacks, and internet-famous sandwiches. You can follow her on Instagram @equittner, or Twitter at @ellaquittner.

9 Comments

Cathy D. March 13, 2019
This article was highlighted as vegetarian meals in 30 mins. so it is a bit of lazy advertising by not updating the recipes with vegetarian substitutions. Vegetarian broth seems like a simple substitute, however there may be other substitutions and/or additions to be made to a recipe for a full flavor profile.
 
Janet V. March 12, 2019
If you all who write and are so critical,why not stop and THINK...use a vegetarian broth,hhmmm and it seems that you are critical..negatively and yet tell it all in a know it all attitude.Why not just do your own thing! The food 52 is a genuinely elegant site with so much to offer.Write your own recipe site.......and see how successful you will be???
 
lilo March 10, 2019
Simply boring. Simply Simplistic.
 
Sara B. March 10, 2019
The White Bean Soup With Garlic And Parsley isn't vegetarian either, beef stock, really?
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. March 10, 2019
Hi Sara,

That recipe calls for "1 cup homemade broth or water" so you can use vegetarian stock, or whatever you like—the parenthetical "(or 1/3 cup canned beef stock diluted with 2/3 cup water)" is intended to be one option.

Hope this helps!
Ella
 
Michael C. March 10, 2019
If you want vegetarian skip the beef and add vegetable stock instead Duh
 
Thomas C. March 7, 2019
Re: Chickpea, Pumpkin, and Sage Stew. Chicken stock isn't exactly, er, vegetarian.
 
Author Comment
Ella Q. March 7, 2019
Hi Thomas,

Thanks for your comment! While that recipe can be made by using vegetable stock, we've swapped it out to provide even more options. Hope this helps!

Ella
 
Jennifer F. March 10, 2019
Really?