7 Vegetarian Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less!

When I posted Five 20 minute meals, I got a lot of great feedback because many people get home from work late and just don’t have time to spend hours cooking a meal… but just because you are busy or work late doesn’t mean you can’t end the day with healthful wholesome meals. So here is a week’s worth of meals you can make in 30 minutes or less :). And the good news is you’ll probably have left overs to take with you for lunch!

1. Delicata Squash and Tofu Curry

Delicata Squash and Tofu Curry

2. Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad… 

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Vegan Lettuce Wraps

I came up with this recipe and since then, I pretty much make it every time I ask myself “What am I possibly going to make for dinner tonight?!”

There is a nice contrast between the hot filling and the cool crisp lettuce… all combined with a crunch from the final few ingredients. It is incredibly healthy and incredibly delicious.

Enjoy!

Vegan Lettuce Wraps
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • For Sauce
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder, divided
  • ½ cup soy sauce or (braggs liquid aminos for gluten free)
  • 3 tablespoons oyster-flavored sauce
  • ½ teaspoon arrowroot
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • For Filling
  • ½ cup farro (use quinoa for gluten free version)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 package (15oz) soft tofu, drained
  • 4 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, chopped in half lengthwise
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced
  • 1 can water chestnuts, drained
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 head of butter lettuce
Instructions
  1. Cook farro (or quinoa) according to package directions.
  2. Make sauce by combining ½ tsp five-spice powder with remaining ingredients and whisk together. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil and cook shallot until fragrant and it starts to be come transparent.
  4. Add block of tofu and smash with a wooden spoon until it becomes small chunks. Season with remaining ½ tsp of five-spice powder. Cook until slightly browned, approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms and cook until tender.
  6. Meanwhile prepare lettuce wraps, but removing butter lettuce leaves and setting aside.
  7. Add cooked and drained farro and sauce. Cook for a few more minutes until mixed together.
  8. Finally add bean sprouts, water chestnuts, cashews and scallions. Mix together and then remove from heat.
  9. Spoon a bit of the filling onto a plate with a side of the butter lettuce leaves. Make individual wraps at the table in order to not have lettuce get soggy.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Black Quinoa is a fun alternative to normal quinoa as it gives your dish a fun look. I made this the other night for my book club and the first compliment I got was on how good it smelled (thanks Alli) followed by several compliments on the taste. It is super easy to make for a big group and most importantly can be made ahead of time which is great when you are entertaining! You can find my homemade pesto recipe here.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
 
Cook time
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry black quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ – 2 cups pesto (more if needed)
  • 2 cups fresh basil, chopped
  • ¾ cup feta cheese (omit of looking for a vegan version)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Olive oil (drizzle as needed)
Instructions
  1. Combine the water and quinoa in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Fluff with a fork and add stir in spinach while quinoa is still warm. Stir in pesto once spinach is mixed in.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Add quinoa and basil and mix well. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on top and add feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss everything together. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving.
  4. Serving suggestion: Can use any combo of veggies bell pepper, olives, zucchini, etc.

Recipe modified from Eat, Live, Run.

Black Bean, Chile and Quinoa Veggie Burger

Veggie Burger

I had made an attempt at veggie burgers in the past and ended up with a crumbly mess. These ones turned out quite different. They were a hit among both vegetarians and non vegetarians. The chilies give it some good flavor while the beans and quinoa make it nice and hearty.

Black Bean, Chile and Quinoa Veggie Burger
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup quinoa
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cans (14 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ½ cup roasted red peppers
  • 1 can (7 oz) diced green chilies
  • ⅓ cup cooked corn
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, plus extra
  • 2 eggs/egg whites (only needed if burgers do not seem to be staying together)
Instructions
  1. Combine the quinoa and broth in a saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered until the quinoa is tender.
  2. In a bowl, slightly mash the black beans. Mix with remaining ingredients except eggs. Chill the mixture. I chilled for about 5 hours to let the flavors absorb.
  3. Just before cooking, mix the eggs into the mixture and stir evenly. Shape mixture into patties and brown and heat in a frying pan with a little oil.
  4. Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings.

 

Butternut Squash, White Bean and Spinach with Pesto

Who doesn’t love a good pesto? And why not load it up with some great veggies instead of pasta all the time? I invented this one myself and it turned out quite yummy!

Average Time: 20 minutes – 1 hour depending on prep work

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

2 lbs of butternut squash, cut into cubes

1 can (15 oz) of white kidney beans, drained

1 bag of baby spinach

2 cups of cherry tomatoes, halved

3/4 cups of homemade pesto, or premade pesto. Homemade pesto can be done ahead of time.

1/2 cup of quinoa, made according to package directions

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast squash for approximately 40 minutes or until a fork can easily poke through. This can be done ahead of time.

2. Coat a pan with olive oil spray. Saute beans until warm, about 5 minutes.

3. Transfer the squash to a pan sprayed or coated with olive oil. Sautee for approximately 3 minutes and then add spinach. You may want to cover with a lid so that the spinach has a chance to wilt. Sautee until spinach is slightly wilted.

4. Add the tomatoes and pesto. Stir until well combined, approximately 5 minutes.

5. Dish quinoa in a bowl and transfer vegetable mixture to serve over pesto.

Serving suggestion: Can also be served over pasta or any grain of choice.

Warm Garbanzo and Quinoa Salad

This is great for a side or can even be a dish all on its own. Between the spinach, quinoa, and garbanzos this is a powerhouse of fiber and nutrients. Easy enough to make of course. This recipe and image are courtesy of Women’s Health.

Average time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4 as a side, 2-3 as a main course

Ingredients

1 cup of quinoa (can use whole-wheat couscous as well)

2 cups of vegetable broth (optional)

1 1/2tsp chopped garlic

2-3 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced

2 carrots, grated

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 (140z) canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 bunch scallions, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 Tbsp white-wine vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

6 c fresh spinach leaves, cleaned and dried

3 0z feta crumbled feta (optional)

Directions

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Suggest using vegetable broth but may use water as well.

2. In a food processor, purée scallions, gradually adding oil, vinegar, salt, and black pepper to taste. Process to a thick consistency.

3.  Coat a sauté pan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. Add garlic, zucchini, carrots, and pepper. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add beans and sauté until heated through.

4. Add scallion mixture and quinoa to sauté pan; heat through. Let cool slightly.

5. Mix spinach, garbanzo bean mixture and feta (if using) in a bowl using tongs or salad spoons to toss.