To celebrate October being World Vegetarian Month, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite ultra-decadent plant-based recipes. From a luxurious mac-and-cheese to an updated twist on stuffed peppers, these sumptuous recipes prove that vegetarian meals are every bit as decadent as recipes featuring meat, poultry or fish.
1. An Ultra-Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
This recipe for creamy mac-and-cheese uses a trio of cheeses, puréed butternut squash, and vegetable broth to create a silky, luscious sauce. The term “pecorino” refers to any firm, Italian sheep’s milk cheese and for this dish we suggest using grated pecorino Romano cheese for its sharp and tangy flavour. To bypass the butternut squash prep, try using a bag of thawed frozen squash that has been peeled and diced in place of the fresh. Cauliflower florets are added to the pasta before being tossed with the sauce, adding fibre, and vitamin C, and broccoli can be substituted with equally delicious results.
2. A Praise-Worthy Pie
Combining the sweetness of caramelized onions and the sharpness of blue cheese, this recipe for gourmet pizza calls for a minimal number of ingredients to achieve maximum flavour. When caramelizing the onions, feel free to cook extra — they can be stored in the fridge for up to a week and added to burgers, pasta, sandwiches and grain dishes. We’ve opted for Gorgonzola, a creamy Italian blue cheese, but Roquefort, Cambozola or even fresh goat’s cheese may be substituted with similar results. To save time, use pre-made frozen pizza dough in place of pizza dough mix.
3. A Stuffed Pepper with Mediterranean Flavours
With a protein- and fibre-rich base of quinoa and chickpeas, these mouthwatering stuffed peppers with a Mediterranean-inspired quinoa stuffing are as filling as they are delicious. We’ve added high-impact ingredients like kalamata olive, store-bought pesto, and feta cheese to keep the finished peppers bright and flavourful. To cut down on the bitterness of quinoa, give it a good rinse under cold water in a fine mesh sieve before cooking to remove the bitter outer coating.
4. A Dinner Party-Worthy Lasagna
This lasagna recipe makes use of roasted eggplant, red pepper, and tomatoes, resulting in an elegant yet hearty entrée fit for a celebration. With the exception of tomatoes, the veggies called for in this recipe are fairly open to interpretation. Depending on the contents of your fridge, you may want to experiment with yellow squash, zucchini, butternut or acorn squash, or different varieties of sweet or mildly spicy peppers. Uneaten roasted vegetable lasagna should be brought to room temperature, cut into individual servings and double-wrapped with plastic wrap before freezing for up to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy the leftover lasagna, defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat using the microwave or toaster oven.
5. A Bubbling Pasta Bake for Cold Nights
Simple and satisfying, this recipe for stuffed pasta shells couldn’t be easier to assemble. When you’re stuffing the pasta, be careful not to overcook the shells before handling as they can easily tear while being handled. We’ve opted to use fat-free jarred marinara sauce for the sake of convenience, but you can use any tomato sauce you have on hand (or try making our quick homemade tomato sauce if you have the time and ingredients handy.) For best results, use the freshest ricotta cheese possible; it should be slightly sweet-tasting without any hint of grittiness.