time to eat the veggies!
October 6, 2010 11:29 AM   Subscribe

What are your favorite all (or nearly all) vegetable recipes, that are tasty and fulfilling enough to be a main dish on their own?

Looking for vegetable recipes (besides salads) that don't need rice, pasta, bread or meat, and can be eaten as hearty meals by themselves. Legumes, beans, spices, oils and such flavorings are fine. Nothing that requires very fancy prep or kitchen tools, warm or hot dishes preferred, but other kinds of all or nearly all veggie recipes are appreciated!
posted by raztaj to Food & Drink (39 answers total) 146 users marked this as a favorite
Mixed vegetables in white (bechamel?) sauce baked au gratin Not the best recipe but the closest to the one I use that I could find online. Mine's a variation on the theme and difficult to quantify. I'm an intuitive cook
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:37 AM on October 6, 2010

you can argue the validity of whether this is a veggie or fruit, but i think it applies either way: slice up an avocado and drizzle balsamic vinegar and some very good olive oil (your choice of origin since people have their own tastes) over it along with a sprinkling of salt/seasoned-salt and cracked pepper.
posted by zombieApoc at 11:37 AM on October 6, 2010 [2 favorites]

Dry-Fried String Beans

You can omit the dried shrimp to make them strictly vegetarian. There also many other variations (although I much prefer ones that include preserved vegetable). I've eaten them as a main course quite frequently, although I guess I usually do have a little rice.

You absolutely must eat this dish hot.
posted by Serf at 11:38 AM on October 6, 2010

What's that thing that's basically a lasagna, but with strips of eggplant in place of the noodles?

Anyhow, That. Also a great lentil stew with veggies in the crock pot is almost impossible to screw up.
posted by hermitosis at 11:39 AM on October 6, 2010

Various pancake-y things, like latkes, arepas, and shredded-beet-and-pine-nut pancakes, fit this bill in our house. Quick, cheap, easy, and tasty.
posted by Dr. Wu at 11:41 AM on October 6, 2010

What's that thing that's basically a lasagna, but with strips of eggplant in place of the noodles?

Moussaka fits the bill, whether it's what hermitosis meant or not.
posted by contraption at 11:44 AM on October 6, 2010

There's a recipe in Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone for a winter squash gratin. The dish is vegan as written, although there's butter in it in janell's world. There's parsley and garlic and some fruity oil, as I recall.

The squash needs peeled and diced (a bit of a drag), but then you get a wonderfully light and fluffy texture with lots of crispy surface area... quite a bit different than the usual baked or roasted squash texture, and definitely pretty enough to stand up as a main course.
posted by janell at 11:44 AM on October 6, 2010

Baked veggie casserole:

In a thick baking dish, lay down layers of medium thin sliced (~ 1/8 inch) potato, carrot, onion, whatever squash is in season, and tomato. Nearly any other vegetable is acceptable as well; use your judgment. Between layers, sprinkle olive oil, fresh grated Parmesan, and fresh ground black pepper. Pile layers above the top of the dish; they shrink down during cooking.

Bake at around 400 until the bottom layer is boiling and the top layer is getting a little browned. Half an hour, 40 minutes, something like that.

So delicious! One of the first dishes I made that didn't feel like I was trying to replace meat, and didn't even want to add any meat products to the meal. Super filling too.
posted by rkent at 11:47 AM on October 6, 2010 [6 favorites]

I love the Vegetable Gratin from America's Test Kitchen. It has bread crumbs on top, but you can certainly not do that or replace with something that works better for you. You can use a regular 9x12 pan without trouble but if you have a casserole that works great. The biggest issue is slicing all the veggies, again, I use a Madeline but you can just use knife. But don't skip the "drying" phases because that is what makes the dish dense, and rich and very satisfying. I have this by itself for dinner and then lunch the next day all the time.
posted by agatha_magatha at 11:51 AM on October 6, 2010

Arrgh, of course I meant a Mandolin.
posted by agatha_magatha at 11:53 AM on October 6, 2010

Yesterday for lunch. I cut a red bell pepper in half and stuffed it with hummus and avocado. It was quick and easy and delicious, and I think I'll do it again. Probably more than once.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:56 AM on October 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

This sweet potato coconut soup is ridiculously easy and thoroughly delicious. If you roast up some other root vegetables at the same time your baking the sweet potatoes, add them too.
posted by rtha at 12:00 PM on October 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Fresh tomatoes.

Fresh basil.

Fresh mozzarella.

Slice the tomatoes into thick pieces, place thick slices of mozzaralla on top, add a few shreds of the fresh basil. Pour some balsamic vinaigrette over it. Voila!

You can also use cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella balls, and skewer them with tooth picks, placing a shred or two of basil between them on the tooth pick. This makes an excellent party appetizer as well!

And while this doesn't sound like much, on hot summer evenings, it's about all I want to eat for dinner.

Three bean soup. There are lots of variations. We soak beans overnight, add spices and herbs to taste, throw in a pot and let simmer slowly. You can add in nuts and other vegetables if you want, but don't have to. It's really good with just the beans, and you can pretty much choose whichever (whole) beans you want to use.

Vegetarian chili, though it requires more work than the soup initially you can make a huge fucking pot of it, freeze some in single size servings, and then only have to microwave or heat it up in a pot when you feel like having it. Chili recipes vary greatly, but we have an excellent one that involves cashews and raisins if you're interested.
posted by zizzle at 12:06 PM on October 6, 2010

Seriously cool question (in my view). This is how I enjoy cooking, essentially!

Zucchini cut lengthwise into thin strips makes for a delicious, toothsome "noodle." Stir-fry (wok, if you can) with a spicy peanut sauce, perhaps? Toasted sesame oil, and serve.

Ratatouille? How do you feel about 'shrooms, as they're quite substantial and satisfying?

You might find creative, lively inspiration in raw food, which inherently uses more fresh vegetables than anything else I can think of; of course, you could use heat in your adaptation if you wanted.

Ken Bergeron is a talented vegan chef whose Professional Vegetarian Cooking is full with inspiring recipes which can be effort-intensive to prepare. To my frustration, I cannot find the book to examine for mostly/wholly vegetable recipes, but my impression is that most break free from standard starch crutches.

Best! May you enjoy.
posted by alexandermatheson at 12:06 PM on October 6, 2010

Spaghetti squash. Can add a pasta sauce to it, or just some butter and parmesean.
posted by rhapsodie at 12:07 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also: there are few things more sublime (provided, you know, you in fact like avocado), than perfectly ripe avocado drizzled with fresh lime juice and a good sea salt (Celtic or Himalayan is best), maybe pepper. A snack rather than an entrée, but highly satisfying.
posted by alexandermatheson at 12:09 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

Boiling a bag of mixed vegetables can create a base for many variations for a meal. My fastest (while playing Civ 3 ;p) was butter, salt and pepper.

Also, cauliflower, cut into smallish heads, boiled (or microwaved to al dente) and then put into mushroom soup makes a great vegetarian casserole with buttered rice. Add mushrooms if you want, and you fry them in butter first but it all depends on how much fat you want.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:11 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am a big fan of basic roasted veggies -- I usually do a couple of potatoes, a couple of sweet potatoes, a head of broccoli, a head of cauliflower, and a head of garlic broken into cloves. Cut everything into chunks that are relatively the same size, drizzle with oil (olive or not, whatever), sprinkle with salt and pepper and any spices you like (rosemary! sage! thyme! Or curry flavors -- cumin! Garam masala! Coriander!), then roast at 425 for 45 minutes or so.

I tend to serve these with a lemon vinaigrette (juice of a lemon and half a teaspoon of brown mustard, whisked with 1/3 c olive oil). Sometimes over brown rice or quinoa, but usually just plain. Add warmed chick peas or soy beans for protein.
posted by shamash at 12:25 PM on October 6, 2010 [7 favorites]

Broccoli and/or cauliflower, roughly chopped and tossed into a hot skillet (or a hot oven) to brown a bit around the edges (with or without olive oil, your choice). Toss with garlic, salt and lemon juice. Add chickpeas or white beans and shaved parmesan. Serve hot, room temp or cold. (On preview, more or less what shamash said.)

Shredded cabbage, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli stems, bok choy, etc. in a pot with enough veggie broth to make a soup-like consistency you're comfortable with. Simmer until the vegetables are as cooked as you'd like. Add ginger, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, pepper (or red pepper flakes) to taste. Toss in small cubes of tofu or some edamame at the end. Finish with sliced green onions and a tiny bit of sesame oil. Not sure what cuisine this is, exactly, but it's delicious.
posted by rebekah at 12:32 PM on October 6, 2010

A simple, tasty autumn dinner:

1. Halve, seed, and lightly oil some delicata squash, or some other small squash. Roast it until soft at 400°.
2. While the squash are cooking, make Salvor Hardin's recipe for black-eyed peas.
3. Spoon portions of the black eyed peas in to the halves of roasted squash. Serve!
posted by everichon at 12:35 PM on October 6, 2010

Shamash beat me to it - I was going to recommend roasting veggies, which is always way tastier than it seems like it would be. An especially good combo is carrots, eggplant, and potatoes cut into chunks, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and thyme. Another favorite of mine is cauliflower prepared the same way - adding cheese to it is extra good.
posted by chez shoes at 12:35 PM on October 6, 2010

What's that thing that's basically a lasagna, but with strips of eggplant in place of the noodles?

Do you mean Ratatouille?
posted by purpletangerine at 12:37 PM on October 6, 2010

Lentils + greens (+ optional eggs) has been my go-to dish for the last few months. Here's what I do:

Cook some lentils according to the package instructions. Regular greenish brown lentils are fine, or you can use the French green kind or black lentils. They're all good. A cup of dry lentils will be plenty, and you will have some left over. I like to add a couple of garlic cloves, a bay leaf, and/or a little shake of dried red pepper flakes to them as they cook. Adding a little red wine to the cooking liquid is really delicious, too! I wait until they're done cooking to add salt and pepper -- I've read that if you salt them before they're cooked, they won't get tender. I've never tested this, but there you go.

While the lentils are cooking, make some greens. Kale is my favorite, but chard and spinach are good as well. Wash your greens of choice and shake them off. Chop up half an onion and sauté it in olive oil on medium heat for 5 minutes or so. Add the greens. If you're using spinach, the little bit of water left on them after washing will be enough to help them cook -- the water will create steam and they'll be done after a minute or two. If you're using something thicker like kale, add a little more water or a splash of vegetable broth and cover. Give it a little stir every couple of minutes until the greens are tender enough for your liking (usually around 10 minutes for me).

You can stop here and it'll still be totally good. Or you can go TOTALLY CRAZY and put a poached or fried egg or two on top of the lentils and greens. And if you really want to go nuts, a little bit of grated parmesan cheese on top of it all (eggs or not) is really good. I like to serve it with the lentils on the bottom and the greens on top and the eggs on top of that rather than mixing it all together because it makes me feel all fancy-like.
posted by kitty teeth at 12:42 PM on October 6, 2010 [6 favorites]

Red, Black, and Gold Chili from one of the later Moosewood books (Moosewood Cooks at Home I think)

Chop a medium or large onion and sautee with some garlic (pressed)
Meanwhile cook a half cup of bulgur in a half cup of hot water and some of the juice from a large can of whole tomatoes over low heat until it's tender
Chop a green pepper and add it to the onions
Throw a generous teaspoon of chili powder and the same of cumin in there
Drain a can of black and a can of kidney beans and add 'em in
Add in the bulgur
Add two cups of fresh or frozen corn
Salt & pepper to taste

Serve with grated cheddar and some tortilla chips or cornbread.
posted by that's candlepin at 12:47 PM on October 6, 2010

indian vegetarian food!! google sabzi, manjula's kitchen etc. youtube will also show you how to make it. yummy & hearty.
posted by UltraD at 12:49 PM on October 6, 2010 [1 favorite]

You can stuff a portobello mushroom with greens, peppers, cheese, carrots, just about anything, and bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes or so. If it's the main course you probably want two of these per person. Filling and hearty, especially nice this time of year!
posted by tetralix at 12:55 PM on October 6, 2010

Check out the soups in Jane Brody's Good Food Book
Some of them are veggie, all of them are freaking delicious. :-)
For example, Gypsy Soup, where the main idea is: put veggies in pot. Put dash of turmeric in, a little soy sauce maybe, then cook for a long long time.

Here's the recipe

Another: Bean chili.
Put in pot- 3 cans kidney beans. 2 cans black beans. One giant can chopped Italian tomatoes with their juice, chili powder and/or your favorite hot sauce to taste. Add later- Green Giant Mexicorn, 1 can or so.
Bring to boil then simmer a good long while, til it looks and smells like chili.
Eat with corn bread or rice.
posted by SaharaRose at 12:55 PM on October 6, 2010

also remind me to check back on this thread, great veg ideas going on!

posted by SaharaRose at 12:56 PM on October 6, 2010

Roasted veg. Squash, sweet and/or white potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions, kale, and others. Chunk up the veg, drizzle w/ olive oil, toss w/ garlic salt, rosemary and/or the herbs available. Roast at 375 for at least an hour, tossing every 15 minutes. Don't undercook; they should get brown and delicious. Kale needs plenty of oil, but gets crispy and delish.
posted by theora55 at 1:00 PM on October 6, 2010

Saute chopped cabbage in butter with a little garlic salt and onion salt (or add a chopped onion when you put the raw cabbage in.) This is really tasty and satisfying on its own, but stirring the cooked cabbage into mashed potatoes to make colcannon is a whole new level of delicious comfort food.

My aunt used to bring scalloped cabbage to family gatherings. I don't remember the exact recipe but it was similar to scalloped potatoes. I think she also added shredded cheddar cheese to the layers.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:24 PM on October 6, 2010

Creamed spinach? I can eat it as a meal!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:45 PM on October 6, 2010

Here is a recipe I posted in another thread. It's super easy, quick and very satisfying.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:49 PM on October 6, 2010

I make this Veggie & Polenta Bake all the time and it is DELISH. It lasts forever in the fridge, and although it's not really fancy enough for dinner-party fare, anyone I serve it to always loves it. I usually add whatever other veggies I have in the fridge and it always tastes great. You can either use pre-...made? polenta or use the bulk kind, then just cook it and cool it in the bottom of the pan.
posted by stellaluna at 2:17 PM on October 6, 2010

What's that thing that's basically a lasagna, but with strips of eggplant in place of the noodles?

My guess at what hermitosis is thinking of: eggplant parmigiana. It's more like lasagna than moussaka or ratatouille are in that it's Italian and features layers of cheese and tomato sauce. And yes, it's fabulously delicious!
posted by ootandaboot at 4:11 PM on October 6, 2010

Garlic Cashew Broccoli

1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
1-2 tablespoon butter (or more if that's your thing)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped salted cashews

So, So delicious. I sometimes just have it on it's own.
posted by sadtomato at 6:36 PM on October 6, 2010 [9 favorites]

um, just realized that the recipe is not completely there for the Garlic Cashew Broccoli. Here is the rest.

1. Place the broccoli into a large pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes, or until tender but still crisp. Drain, and arrange broccoli on a serving platter.
2. While the broccoli is cooking, melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Mix in the brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper and garlic. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Mix in the cashews, and pour the sauce over the broccoli. Serve immediately.
posted by sadtomato at 8:05 AM on October 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

This recipe for an Indian dish in case you're looking for ethnic food.
posted by cynicalidealist at 6:04 PM on October 7, 2010

sadtomato, that Garlic Cashew Broccoli is the best broccoli recipe and where can I find more like it?? I am not the OP but you won this thread in my book!

I don't think I have EVER eaten an entire head of broccoli on my own before, and I didn't serve it with anything else either. For future versions I could see serving it with tofu or on rice, and I am considering chopping up a little fresh hot pepper.
posted by whatzit at 6:27 AM on November 9, 2010

Rather than chop up fresh hot pepper, throw in a couple/three dried red peppers as sold in Asian/Indian stores in the oil as it heats. I use it for green beans as well. Also you can use firm tofu diced or softer versions mashed up a bit, I'd have the whole over rice. You can also microwave the chopped broccoli in a microwave safe bowl with a couple of tablespoons of water, covered without vent holes. Try a couple of minutes on high (750 to 800W) and then check to see if you need to do it a little more. Saves on boiling :)
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:31 AM on November 9, 2010

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