View Full Version : Very Simple Vegetarian Meals

10 July 2012, 12:35 PM

I am new to this whole thing, and the fear of how complicated this can be has made me really mess up my diet these past two days. I was hoping to make a list of VERY simple vegetarian meals that I can start out with until I get more into this whole vegetarian thing. THEN, I can start making more healthy and complex meals. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :)

Rice with Sauce (curry)
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Cheese Enchiladas

Om Aim Saraswatiya Namaha

10 July 2012, 01:02 PM
Keep in mind that Land O' Lakes (a US brand) cheese is the only one that makes the explicit claim that no animal rennet is used in the manufacturing. Most other cheeses are iffy, and don't make any explicit claims, simply listing 'enzymes' on the package, which could be veg-friendly or not.

10 July 2012, 01:42 PM

It's interesting you should post this now, as I wrote an e-mail to a new friend the other day who had a similar question. So I'll cut-and-paste from my suggestions to her.

*Hearty whole-grain bread sandwiches piled high with veggies and cheese.
*Pita bread with "dipping stuff" like hummus and babaghanoush.
*Kichadi. This is an easily digested staple food. A very basic recipe is to take one part basmati rice; and one part red lentils, split yellow mung beans, or split yellow peas; wash them and put them in a pot. Add four parts water. (A half cup of dry stuff, and one cup of water, usually makes a nice serving for one or two people.) Bring to the boil, then when it's bubbling lively - stir, lower the heat to "low," and clamp a lid down on that sucker. Set a timer for twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, remove from the heat. Fluff with a fork and replace the lid. Let sit for another five minutes, and it's ready to eat. You can add all sorts of stuff to simmer in the pot with it - vegetables, spices, or just some plain salt, pepper, and oil or butter.
*Did you know that one example of ancient Roman 'bar food' was fried carrot? It's simple - cut baby carrots in half lengthwise, toss into olive oil, fry until browned and yummy, drain on paper and sprinkle with salt.
*Coleslaw. Bagged pre-chopped coleslaw and bottled coleslaw dressing isn't overly elegant, but is tasty and quick.
*Sliced potatoes, parsnips, and carrots are great roasted together in the oven as healthy 'fries'.
*Oven-roasting benefits turnips, too: mix lemon juice and honey together. Cut turnips into thin slices and put them in foil, cover with lemon/honey 'sauce,' close the foil and set the package to roast in the oven. Even people who hate turnips - and I'm not fond of them usually - love this.
*Falafel with tahini, and tabbouleh salad on the side. (You can find tahini in a jar, and both falafel and tabbouleh as boxed mixes, in the kosher or Middle Eastern foods section of the store. They are simple: falafel is made of ground chickpeas that are fried up into a patty, and tabbouleh is a salad of wheat and chopped parsley that is refreshing and yummy, especially during summer.)
*This pineapple side salad recipe is from my mommy. :) She is not vegetarian but practically raised me on this, as she too hates to cook. Put a bed of lettuce in a bowl. Cut a fresh pineapple into slices (or use canned slices, but very well-drained - you don't want this to be mushy). Put some slices on top of the lettuce. Top with a dollop of mayo and some shredded cheddar cheese. Eat all together. It sounds horrifyingly bad, and yet, somehow is good!
*Really simple recipe for sauerkraut soup here (http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/vegetarian-forum/1284895-vegan-deli-sauerkraut-soup.html). It's of the "throw in a pot and simmer" variety, which is my favourite sort of cooking. :p

My concluding advice to her was, "Above all, don't be intimidated. People already eat tons of vegetarian food. It's not some sort of 'consolation prize,' especially when you consider that everything folks eat in a typical meal or snack is vegetarian except the meat. And don't feel like you have to be SuperCook, proving to everyone the virtues of vegetarianism with every gourmet masterpiece. Convenient meals - like spaghetti with veggie-tomato sauce from a jar, canned tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich, pre-packaged "chicken" nuggets, and vegetarian baked beans from a can - are perfectly valid meals! (As are cheese pizza, seven-layer taco dip with chips, bean burritos, cream of mushroom soup, fries with mayo, and other "culinary delights" that you won't see in most cookbooks. :) )"

Oṁ Indrāya Namaḥ.
Oṁ Namaḥ Śivāya.

Eastern Mind
10 July 2012, 02:35 PM
Vannakkam: You have received excellent suggestions already. Personally, I'd be a bit wary of overdoing the cheese. I often just add a bit of the grated stuff to a salad.

A friend of mine once told me of a dish called rice and thang. (Jamaican for 'thing') which describes rice with just about anything on top. Its relatively common around here when we want to get rid of the remnants of vegetables. You just cut up about everytning you have, give it a quick stir fry (easy on the oil) , add some tomato sauce, and that's it.

We vary the rice, never using white rice, to various brown rices, red rice, quinoa, and millet, which re all easy to obtain. The 'thang' gets varied a lot too, especially in the summer when we have fresh veggies in the garden. For some protein, we add a bean or lentil, garbanzos, etc into the thang, and use a wide variety of spices, both east and west, but mostly basil, oregano, or thyme from the west, and a premixed masala from the east.

Aum Namasivaya

10 July 2012, 02:43 PM
Some of these are simple and all look delicious! I love watching her videos:)


10 July 2012, 02:56 PM
I recently made a truly pathetic version of curd rice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curd_rice). Pathetic by the standard of the description. It was leftover rice that I did boil until it was almost like wallpaper paste, then I seasoned it. Truth to tell, it really wasn't bad. I added beans to it. Spanish people make cream of rice, which is a bland version of this, i.e. it's not sweetened or spiced.

Vaikuntha Bound.
11 July 2012, 12:36 AM
Namaste, SIL.

Check out:




The easiest base in the world for a meal is to take some tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and yellow squash, pour a little bit of olive oil and salt and pepper on them, and roast them in the oven. I spread some baba ganoush or hummus on a flatbread and turn that into a fresh, delicious wrap. I put them in the blender with a little more olive oil, basil, olives, and parmesan and turn it into a quick, rustic pasta sauce. You can bbq some tofu and build a monster sandwich. You can just eat them as they are. They're delicious and so stinking easy.

Honestly, man, at first vegetarianism can be frustrating. It's so easy to get focused on what you're missing and sometimes there's the feeling that you're relying on the same old boring meals, time and time again. I tried and failed at vegetarianism a couple of times before it really stuck, and when it did, it was solely by the grace of God.

I had to learn to cook vegetarian food. I think most of us are stuck in a food rut, eating the same food with minor variations over and over and over. What makes that repetition bearable is the fact that we induce a food coma with a meat overload. Minus the fried chicken or hamburger or steak, everything else seems like a side dish. But when you learn how to put veggies, fruits, grains and legumes front and center, you'll find that they're delicious. So go out and buy yourself some basic cookbooks.

I highly recommend the Moosewood Collective's "Simple Suppers" and Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian". The Moosewood Collective is mostly vegetarian, and where they use fish or eggs, you can usually subtract them and the food is still tasty. The nice part about these books is that they'll give you basic techniques, as well as help you figure out good ways to balance out your meal with regard to flavor and nutrition. These are the things that make learning to cook vegetarian a chore - and by working your way through a cookbook you pick up this knowledge experientially - which is to say, in a way that results with you eating your own delicious food.

You could also look to see if there's a local vegetarian cooking class. The community colleges in my area offer them, and I've thought about taking them. Things are a lot more fun and tend to stick better when done together with a group of likeminded people.

Anyway, stick with it. Ten years ago, I never thought I'd say this, but I eat all my veggies, and I love it.

All the best,


11 July 2012, 08:16 AM
Don't make fun of me, but Subway has a veggie sandwich http://www.subway.com/Menu/Product.aspx?CC=USA&LC=ENG&ProductId=16&MenuId=35&MenuTypeId=1 that is < 6 g of fat. You can get whole grain bread and ask for any and all vegs they have. They have a salad too that is a build-your-own. http://www.subway.com/Menu/Product.aspx?CC=USA&LC=ENG&MenuTypeId=1&MenuId=36 Take it with you, add some cheese cubes or shreds and a legume and I think you're good to go. I may try this soon.

11 July 2012, 08:32 AM
Don't make fun of me, but Subway has a veggie sandwich that is < 6 g of fat. You can get whole grain bread and ask for any and all vegs they have. They have a salad too that is a build-your-own. Take it with you, add some cheese cubes or shreds and a legume and I think you're good to go. I may try this soon.

I know Subway has a veggie sandwich, but I never tried it, I don't like to go for KFC or even McDonald's. Some Hindu should start better Vegetarian only fast food chain, this will make me to grab it.

11 July 2012, 08:40 AM
I know Subway has a veggie sandwich, but I never tried it, I don't like to go for KFC or even McDonald's. Some Hindu should start better Vegetarian only fast food chain, this will make me to grab it.

Some Subways, like any franchise, are run better than others. I have not been to a KFC, McD's, Burger King, Wendy's in ages, nor do I plan to, veg offerings or not.

I agree about more vegetarian chains. I wish there were more Indian establishments in this area. There should be an Indian take-out for every Chinese take-out. :) I'd really like to experience Indian cuisine. I am sick of Italian-American. I grew up on it. And Spanish cuisine doesn't know a vegetable from a railroad spike.

13 July 2012, 01:38 PM
pasta w/o any vegetarian sauce

vegetable fried rice - think chinese take-out but you can pick whatever vegetable vegetables and seasoning you choose.


grilled vegetables and cheese sandwiches

Not sure if you have access to more exotic foods where you live but middle-eastern and indian food has a ton of choices.

Lentils and beans are great protein source for vegetarians. Great cheap staple for soups and stews. Or you can toss with veggies, season and put it into a pita.

Also check out the Moosewood cookbooks - they are great.

10 December 2012, 11:51 AM
The Caribbean's food culture is a mix of African, European and Indian. Vegetarian is really making a revival.

I live in Jamaica right now and a good site for Caribbean Vegetarian Food is:


If you like it please tell me.