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Vegetarian Meals That Even The Biggest Meat-Eaters Will Love

We spoke with chefs, recipe creators and nutritionists.

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Photographs by Doaa Elkady (prop stylist: Alexandra Masillion; food stylist: Hadley Sui)
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You’ve got a vegetarian in the family. Or maybe your veggie friend is coming for dinner. Don’t worry: We spoke with chefs, recipe creators and nutritionists to find some healthy, delicious, simple vegetarian dishes that your non-meat-eating friends will love.

Doaa Elkady

Eggplant Rollatini

Serves 6

Created by Lisa Lotts, the owner and publisher of Garlic and Zest, a food and cooking Website.

Why it’s fantastic “I love it because it’s quick and easy to assemble, can be made in advance and freezes well,” Lotts says.


2 medium eggplants

1 Tbl olive oil

15 oz ricotta cheese

1 cup low-fat, part-skim mozzarella, shredded

½ cup parmasean cheese, grated

1 large egg

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp black pepper

1 Tbl fresh basil or 1 ½ tsp dried

1 ½ tsp fresh oregano chopped or ¾ tsp dried

2 tsp fresh mint chopped or 1 tsp dried

½ tsp fresh lemon zest

2 cups marinara sauce

Instructions Slice the eggplants into ¼ inch thick slices lengthwise. Lay the slices on a surface lined with paper towels or a wire rack. Sprinkle the eggplant with salt and let it rest for 15 minutes to draw out the moisture. Flip the eggplants and repeat on the other side. Pat the excess moisture from the vegetables with another paper towel and grill the thin slices of eggplant in a hot oiled pan or on your grill. Cook the eggplant until it’s tender and has some grill marks. Assemble the filling by blending the ricotta cheese, egg, kosher salt, pepper, basil, oregano and lemon. Spread a little marinara sauce in the bottom of a 2-quart casserole. Lay a slice of eggplant on a work surface and add a spoonful of the ricotta mixture to one end. Roll the eggplant over the filling and continue to roll it into a cylinder, and transfer the eggplant rollatini to the casserole dish. Continue in this manner until you use all the eggplant and filling. Spread additional marinara over the eggplant rollatini, then top with grated mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 30 to 35 minutes, and serve.

Doaa Elkady

Protein pesto

Serves 4

Created by Alyssa Smolen, registered dietitian nutritionist and vegetarian.

Why it’s fantastic “It’s filled with protein from the hemp seeds and nutritional yeast (which you cannot taste). Adding pesto to a pasta dish is the best way to enjoy foods you love, but also to get the added benefits of veggies. It can even be stored in the freezer, which makes it really convenient and affordable,” Smolen says.


3 Tbls lemon juice

4 garlic cloves

1 ½ cups walnut

½ cult nutritional yeast

½ cup hemp seeds

2 cups spinach or green of choice

¼ cup basil

¼ cup olive oil

Pinch of salt


Wash and rinse lemon and green of choice. Peel the garlic. Add all ingredients to a food processor. Add olive oil to the mixture little by little in between pulses. Pulse until smooth. Add salt to taste.

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Doaa Elkady

Roasted Veggie Quinoa Bowl

Serves 4

Created by Radwa Khalil, founder of Healthy Life Trainer, a food and recipe blog.

Why it’s fantastic “It’s highly adaptable, flavorful and simple to make. Quinoa adds a base with a lot of protein, making this bowl not only tasty but also filling and healthy. The recipe is wonderfully balanced by the creamy and tangy flavor of the feta cheese,” Khalil says.


1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth

2 cups mixed vegetables, such as bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, chopped

1 red onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbl olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

Lemon wedges for serving

Instructions Preheat the oven to 400. Combine the quinoa and vegetable broth in a pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and let the quinoa cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid is completely absorbed. In a large bowl, combine the chopped veggies and red onion slices with the olive oil, minced garlic, dried oregano, smoked paprika, salt and pepper while the quinoa is cooking. On a baking sheet, arrange the seasoned vegetables in a single layer. Stirring once halfway through, roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to caramelize. When the quinoa and vegetables are done, put your bowls together as follows: Vegetables that have been roasted are placed on top of a base of cooked quinoa. Over the dishes, serve feta cheese crumbles and fresh parsley. For a zesty twist, serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Are any of you vegetarian? Let us know in the comments below.

Follow Article Topics: Lifestyle