Quick Vegetarian Dinners

Quick Vegetarian Dinners

If you cringe at the words “vegetarian dinner” it’s OK.  Unfortunately, that term brings to mind foods one might consider less than savory.  Well don’t worry, you aren’t going to be subjected of a meal consisting solely of carrots.  And there is also a big difference between vegetarian and vegan, the latter being no consumption of any animal products at all.  So in preparing a vegetarian meal, you can utilize ingredients like eggs, milk, and cheese which can do wonders for adding depth and flavor to foods without meat.  So here are a few options for quick and satisfying vegetarian dinners.

Mexican Mac and Cheese

This is a spicy and savory take on a dish that most people love, it makes a lot of food, and it is oh so tasty.  Start off with boxed or homemade macaroni and cheese then give it a south of the border kick.  After you have mixed your cooked pasta and cheese together, transport this mix to a large skillet and add in your choice of ingredients.  This dish is particularly delicious with tomatoes, black beans, corn, finely minced chili peppers, queso blanco, and a healthy dose of hot Mexican-style chili powder.

Pasta Arrabbiata

“Arrabbiata” is Italian for “angry”, and one can see how that accurately describes the kick you get from this dish.  Usually made with penne that perfectly catches the spicy sauce, pasta arrabbiata is an Italian classic that tends to be a crowdpleaser.  Not only is this dish packed with flavor, it is extremely easy to make as it consists of just 5 ingredients:  pasta, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, and chilies.  After you have cooked and drained the pasta, you can make the sauce as easy or as complex as you like.  You have your choice of using fresh tomatoes put through a food mill/processor, or using ones from a can.  If you do use canned tomatoes, please use good quality San Marzano tomatoes as they are considered a standard for excellent sauces.  Sauté just a bit of garlic in the olive oil then add in very finely minced red chilies.  After the garlic is translucent and the chilies have softened a bit, add in the tomato puree or just squeeze in the canned San Marzanos with your hands.  Let the sauce cook until it has somewhat reduced and thickened, then just pour it over your pasta.  One quick note, fresh shredded Parmesan cheese is delicious on this.

Pizza Margherita

As almost everyone loves pizza, this versatile food offers a wide array of vegetarian options.  One of the most famous choices is the classic pizza margherita which is simplicity itself thus has a good chance of attracting even picky eaters.  Once more this is a meal that calls for just a few ingredients:  pizza crust, olive oil, sauce, sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.  This creates a mild but beautiful blend of flavors accented by the sweetness of the basil.  Just like the pasta arrabbiata, you can pull out all of the stops when making this pizza or use canned and prepackaged ingredients.  Please keep in mind there are several very high-quality options when it comes to ready-made crusts and jarred pizza sauces.



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