Don't laugh. Looking to teach 21 year old how to make 3 super easy vegetarian dinners in an hour. Trying to teach someone with no interest in cooking.

Trying to show my son that cooking can be easy. Trying to find the no fail super fast easy vegetarian options for someone who does not like to cook. Looking for things that can be made in advance and will keep well in the fridge for 5 days. Is this a fantasy or is it possible? Beyond chili

Lesley Simpson


liz953 February 11, 2016
1. Go to the supermarket salad bar and fill a couple of containers with pre-cut veggies like pepper strips, onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, grape tomatoes. Then he can do stir fries and not have to chop up a lot of stuff.
2. Make a big batch of brown rice and freeze in individual portions. They heat up quickly in the microwave.
Snap F. February 8, 2016
I teach cooking workshops to kids and teens! Here are some recipes for beginners that we do:
-pita pockets
-tortilla wraps
-pasta salad
-fried rice
-tacos/burritoes (super forgiving, goes with any filling, including scrambled eggs!)
-pumpkin & chickpea stew with couscous
-homemade sushi
-easy pad thai
-fritatta in muffin tins
-lasagna (somehow always a hit with teens, even with lack of interest in cooking)
Sam1148 February 6, 2016
Get him a rice cooker. A simple one...less then 20 dollars..with one button; not a fancy logic one.
The simple ones have a steamer basket you can put on top. So you can do rice and steamed veggies on top at the same time. From there you can riff on adding things like nuts to the rice and use the left over rice for fried rice. Teach him miso soup...and add tofu, mushrooms or bean sprouts.
Lesley S. February 6, 2016
Hey there hotline responders
Thanks so much for the quick replies!
Marcella Hazan's genius sauce on this site has become a standby at our house. Then we tweaked it with some cream and vodka.
Megan February 6, 2016
My go-to for vegetarian cooking are quick curries, like this one They require minimal skill and are done in about 30 once he has the base down he can switch out the protein part (mushrooms, eggplant, chickpeas, whatever). The curry will keep and reheat well, too, which is always a bonus
GsR February 5, 2016
Two thoughts, one let hi get really hunger first. And two point out that making a meal girl a girl is the best date he will ever have ;0)

Voted the Best Reply!

Sara R. February 5, 2016
Does your son eat eggs? I do eat eggs (also a vegetarian) and they are seriously one of my faves to make into a million different things:
-Breakfast burritos (scrambled eggs, beans, hot sauce, maybe some potatoes or bell peppers)
-Scrambled eggs with white beans, garlic, goat cheese
-Fried egg sandwiches
-Fried rice with an egg on top
-Toss a simple pasta with butter, parmesan, spinach (it wilts from the heat of the noodles), salt & pepper, top with a fried or poached egg
-Toad in the hole (Fry up an egg in a holed piece of bread)
-hard boiled eggs for egg salad or on top of salads
Stephanie February 5, 2016
+1 on breakfast burritos. We make a big batch of them, wrap individually in foil, and freeze a bunch in a gallon ziploc. You can grab one out and either leave in the foil and put in the oven or toaster oven while you shower, dress, etc. Or unwrap from foil, wrap in paper towel and nuke in the microwave.
Kristen W. February 5, 2016
Use naan or other flatbread for individual pizzas. For minimal prep, layer mozzarella, bagged baby spinach and some crumbled feta on the pizza, bake and maybe throw on some sun dried tomatoes at the very end so they don't burn. Eat with green salad.

Or, steam some broccoli, throw it into a store-bought pie/tart crust, beat 6-7 eggs, add S&P and a bunch of grated Parmesan and pour it into the pie crust over the broccoli, grate a little cheddar on top, bake at 375 for about 30 minutes - voila, broccoli and cheddar tart.! Also good with a green salad.

Or this:

He can buy whole, precooked beets and bagged greens of some kind (instead of beet greens as in the recipe) at Trader Joes to save time on prep. Super tasty, made it this week in fact, also with green salad.

Those (and variations thereof) are three of my go-to meals when I am really tired or really short on time. Good luck!
stacy February 5, 2016
Yes - I use naan for pizza all the time, especially garlic naan. So good!
Elizabeth J. February 4, 2016
Dinner in 20 minutes. What is nice about these is that they are easy and quick but also very satisfying to eat. Happy cooking!
(I use Trader Joe's kimchi with this one and get good results)

luvcookbooks February 4, 2016
What about refried beans with tortillas, chopped tomatoes, scallions, grated cheese? Can even buy the refried beans in a can. Just heat the beans, toast the tortillas and add the fixings.
Maybe a batch of dal with rice? Keeps great in frig and infinite variations.
Spaghetti with genius tomato sauce on this site?
Emily L. February 4, 2016
what about this fried kimchi rice? it's delicious and really easy to customize based on preference of toppings.

I've never tried the next two recipes but they seem pretty simple, not sure if they would be simple enough or not?
Emily L. February 4, 2016
and obviously just leave out the chorizo from the frittata. you could probably add some Beyond Meat if you have a Whole Foods/health food store near you or maybe even tofu?
Emily L. February 4, 2016
what about this fried kimchi rice? it's delicious and really easy to customize based on preference of toppings.

I've never tried the next two recipes but they seem pretty simple, not sure if they would be simple enough or not?
creamtea February 4, 2016
Do you have a Whole Foods nearby? Their canned Rancho/Ranchero (?) beans are really good. A couple cans for chili, or a fried egg over the canned beans with maybe a slice of melting cheese....

Or just open a can or two of beans, sizzle some garlic & onion, add oregano and chili powder, stir in the beans. Serve w/rice, home cooked or precooked from TJ
Greenstuff February 4, 2016
Quesadillas won't keep for 5 days, but they are so quick, and so many young men seem to like them that maybe they should be on your list.
foofaraw February 4, 2016
Thai pumpkin soup is very easy, takes 5 minutes, and ready in 10". Good with bread too
plainhomecook February 4, 2016
Here are a few dishes that are favorites with my kids (21 & 19). If you start with the bolognese, then the carrot soup, then the scrambled eggs, you would have two dishes for the freezer/fridge and one delicious dinner in one hour! (you can substitute regular parmesan if you're not vegan) (substitute vegetable culinary stock for the chicken stock)
Emily |. February 4, 2016
Do you think he would make his own vinaigrette? It is really so easy and can impart flavor to other quick and easy staples, not just salad. I make a honey-lime version ( and will use it in a bowl with cooked rice, warmed up canned black beans (with some spices, sometimes cumin or smoked paprika, and chile flake), and some cubed avocado. If he gets the method the possibilities are endless, and can be made ahead and kept in a jar for last minute meals/snacks. Roasting vegetables is another method that can yield tons of different meals and is no more difficult than tossing the chopped veg on a sheet pan with oil and letting the oven do the work. Maybe top with a vinaigrette :) .
Courtney C. February 4, 2016
I love to mash canned chickpeas with avocado, salt and hot sauce. Throw it in a tortilla (or between bread) and you have lunch. You can add greens to the taco or sandwich if you want to increase the veggie content. I'll sometimes add chopped onion and add it to the mix as well. This recipe is great as well - it cooked up quickly and lasted in the fridge for lunch all week. Good luck!
Nancy February 4, 2016
Make a batch of whole grain something, then portion it into containers for fridge or freezer storage.
If son tolerates repetition he can put sauce on top at same time.
If he wants more variety, add something different each night...poached eggs, fried tofu, mixed beans, nut loaf etc.
Serve over cooked [whatever], with salad or quick steamed veg on the side.
Bevi February 4, 2016
There are hundreds of quinoa recipes here, many vegetarian:
If you get your son a knife skills class, the prep will go more quickly.
Eileen Q. February 4, 2016
I love lentil and tomato soup. Red lentils and a carton of Trader Joe's Organic Cream Tomato Soup. Cook the lentils until mushy, add the soup (a little water to wash out the carton), and whatever spices (I add some salt, pepper, and cumin). Salad, maybe some bread and you've got dinner in about 10 minutes.
Lesley S. February 4, 2016
Thank you. This is exactly the kind of idea I am looking for. Open, pour, stir!
Lesley S. February 4, 2016
Ideally looking for super fast ideas that do not use processed food. Like baked tofu with a sesame drizzle that can be served at room temperature or hot, a miso soup, a simple tomato sauce for pasta..... things with very few ingredients but big flavour
Bevi February 4, 2016
You can teach your son to make all sorts of pestos and sauces that can be thrown in the food processor with very little fuss. Green pestos and other fresh sauces come to mind. There are dozens of pesto and other pasta sauces on this site. With a potful of pasta, your son can have a great bowl of food to rely upon for days.
Stephanie February 5, 2016
Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce! Hands down. Simple and delicious.
Bevi February 4, 2016
Does your son have access to a blender or food processor?
Lesley S. February 4, 2016

Recommended by Food52