In the 6 years since becoming a vegetarian, people have constantly asked me, “Uh, so… what do you eat? Salad?”. (No. Rarely.) Those first few years, I eased into it with fairly simple recipes with vegetables I was already super familiar with. There’s no need to become intimidated right off the bat with raw kale salads and mashed parsnips, so here are a slew of “starter” recipes: recipes that were my go-to when I first transitioned to vegetarianism. Yes, they are cheese-heavy, and if you’re looking for vegan recipes this isn’t the blog. This is for those dabbling with going veggie: people doing Meatless Mondays and contemplating the big switch without scaring off the rest of the family used to gorging on meat and potatoes. These are the exact recipes that set me on the path towards a cruelty-free and healthy lifestyle and not one of them includes tofu, which I know wigs people out.
**I would combine all of these recipes with something more simple. For example, if I made the pesto risotto I would just saute some green beans with slivered almonds on the side, or roast some brussel sprouts- anything, really. You don’t need recipes for those sides. Just go for it. Olive oil with salt and pepper is always the best.
Zucchini and Ricotta Galette by Smitten Kitchen
Butternut Squash and Carmelized Onion Galette by Smitten Kitchen
Kale Lasagna Diavolo by Vegetarian Times
Risotto with Pesto and Peas by The Food Network (leave out the stupid ham)
Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese by Smitten Kitchen
Asparagus and Cheese Tart by The Food Network
Spinach or Broccoli Calzones by The Moosewood Cookbook
Tabouli by The Moosewood Cookbook (serve with hummus and pita, maybe some grape leaves or falafel- you can find frozen falafel at Whole Foods and they’re fab.)
Baked Potato Soup by Smitten Kitchen (skip the bacon)
Lentil Soup by The Food Network (Use veggie broth, and tweak to make your own. I omitted the celery and added more carrots. I have also added diced sweet potatoes.)
Yam and Black Bean Burrito by The Esalen Cookbook
Asparagus and Shiitake Mushroom Strudel by The Esalen Cookbook
Zucchini and Parmesan Omelette by Tessa Kiros’s book Apples For Jam
**More tips: Indian Food and Mexican are simple ways to go veggie. So is Italian! Eggplant Parm with a side of broccoli rabe! Pasta pasta pasta!! So. Freaking. Simple. Good luck!