30 vegetarian dinner recipes

Eating vegetarian doesn't mean only eating veggies. Explore the different types of meat substitutes in these tasty dinner ideas.
Published 31 January 2021 | Updated 31 May 2024
Greek quinoa bowl with chickpeas and eggplant

Protein-packed vegetarian dinner ideas

Dinners for vegetarians does not mean only eating veggies and salad, there are plenty of plant-based recipes to keep your taste buds happy. Here are three easy protein-packed vegetarian dinner ideas:

  • Lentil soup: Lentils are a great source of protein, and they're also rich in fibre. You can add vegetables such as carrots, celery and onions to make it even more nutritious.
  • Tofu stir-fry: Tofu is a complete protein and a staple in many vegetarian diets. A stir fry with tofu, vegetables, and a flavourful sauce is a quick and easy dinner option that is packed with protein.
  • Chickpea curry: Chickpeas are another great source of protein, and they're also very versatile. A chickpea curry with vegetables and spices is a filling and satisfying dinner option that is perfect for any night of the week.

Below you will find a range of hearty vegetarian dinners including our quick sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry, great for a mid-week dinner idea. Indian-style chickpea patties with sweet potato and mint yoghurt. Or try our slow cooked mushroom and barley risotto, pearl barley adds a light and fluffy component that compliments the Swiss brown mushrooms and sharpness of rocket and parmesan. So whether you're a vegetarian or just trying to enjoy some meat-free dinners we have some tasty vegetarian dinner recipes here for you.

5 meat substitutes and their uses

1. Tofu

Tofu​ is made from soybeans, is high in protein and calcium making it a great option for vegetarians. It comes in a number of different forms including silken, soft, medium, firm, and extra-firm. Tofu is versatile because it takes on the flavours it is cooked with making it suitable for many dishes.

2. Tempeh

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and has a nutty flavour. It is firmer than tofu and has a grainy texture making it an ideal meat substitute and like tofu, it absorbs the flavours it is cooked with so marinating tempeh first is a great idea to maximise flavour.

3. Mushrooms

Mushrooms have an earthy, rich, ‘meaty’ flavour. Mushrooms are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants including their unique ability to produce their own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for bone health.

4. Lentils

Lentils come in a variety of colours such as green, red and brown. They contain protein, fibre and folate. They are quick to cook, inexpensive and can usually replace mince-meat like in our vegetarian cottage pie recipe.

5. Legumes and beans

Varieties of legumes include black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas and all provide a range of essential nutrients including protein. These all work well in hearty soups, casseroles and stews.