Healthy Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

All the inspiration you need to make plant-based dinners a part of your regular weeknight routine.
Published May 9, 2022

Whether you’re a once-a-week Meatless Monday household or you enjoy making quick healthy vegetarian meals every day of the week, this collection of plant-based recipes contains something appealing for every taste, time allowance, and budget. New to plant-based cooking? Not to worry! We’ve also included our best tips for prepping, swapping out, and cooking with vegetarian ingredients alongside this roundup of soon-to-be-classic dinner recipes.

Vegetarian Swaps for Classic Recipes with Meat

When it comes to healthy vegetarian cooking, there’s no better place to start than with classic recipes you know your family already loves. With so many options to choose from, you’ll have no trouble adapting recipes that traditionally contain meat into new vegetarian favourites.

  • Tofu: Made from pressed soy curd and with a neutral flavour, tofu is available in extra-firm, firm, medium, soft, silken, smoked, and sweetened form.
  • Tempeh: A type of fermented soybean cake, this umami-rich Indonesian protein pairs well with flavourful sauces and marinades.
  • Seitan: Made from wheat gluten, seitan has a nutty, mild flavour. Seitan has a meaty texture, which makes it a good option for grilling, searing, stir-frying, or dehydrating.
  • Plant-based or analog “meat” products: “Fake meat” products are different from other types of plant-based proteins because of their resemblance, in terms of texture, taste, and appearance, to actual meat. These products are made from a variety of ingredients, including soy and/or pea protein as well as spices and other flavourings.
  • Pulses: Packed with dietary fibre and protein, use pulses such as beans and lentils instead of ground meat in chili, shepherd’s pie, and meat sauces.
  • Jackfruit: A relative newcomer to grocery stores in Canada, jackfruit is typically sold frozen or canned (for fresh jackfruit, check to see if your local Asian grocery store sells it in segments.) The flesh of this giant tropical fruit is slow cooked until tender and then used in place of pulled pork or other shredded meat in tacos, burgers, and sandwiches.

Sheet-Pan and Roasted Veggie Recipes

Preparing healthy vegetarian meals for dinner is a snap when all the ingredients are cooked on a single sheet pan or roasting pan. We recommend serving the following recipes with a serving of whole grains and a protein (see above for suggestions.) To bring all of the flavours together, try finishing the recipe with a drizzle of our soy-tahini dressing, lemony tahini sauce, or any other flavourful sauce your family loves.

Bowls and Grain Salad Recipes

Make a large batch of quinoa, farro, bulgur, lentils, or other veggie-bowl base at the beginning of the week and use it to make grain and salad bowls all week long. Putting together quick, healthy vegetarian meals is even easier if you’ve prepped veggies (use any of the above recipes), dressing, and extra add-ins (such as crumbled or shredded cheese, dried fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and marinated tofu or other plant-based protein.)

Burgers and Falafel Recipes

If you’ve ever struggled to make veggie burgers at home (some recipes are notoriously crumbly), the following tips will come in handy when you make these healthy veggie burger and falafel options:

  • Keep the ingredients as dry as possible, any extra moisture will cause the mixture to fall apart as it’s being handled.
  • Form the patties so that they’re roughly 1-inch thick, this will help prevent them from crumbling.
  • Always oil your grill before cooking the veggie burgers. Because veggie burgers contain significantly less fat than burger patties made with meat, they are much more likely to stick to unoiled surfaces while cooking.
  • If the veggie burgers or falafel end up crumbling despite your best efforts, use the crumbles to top a grain or salad bowl.