Healthy, easy vegetarian recipes I can make ahead and freeze?
March 22, 2012 3:54 PM   Subscribe

What are some good, EASY vegetarian recipes I can freeze, TV dinner-style?

I dislike cooking and have been eating too much junk lately. My new apartment has a standalone freezer and what I would like to do is develop a repertoire of recipes I can cook ahead and freeze in individual portions. Most of the recipes I have found for this purpose are not vegetarian. Most of the vegetarian recipes I know do not freeze well. Can anyone point me toward some good stuff?

Note please some dietary restrictions :) No corn or corn products, flax, tree nuts or green beans. And I try and limit wheat and bready stuff. Other than that, I am pretty open. When I eat out, I enjoy thai food, Indian and Italian food. I like beans, lentils and tofu but don't eat fake meat since I am gluten-sensitive.

My cooking skill is low and I would like to keep the recipes as simple as possible with few ingredients and no complicated procedures. When I do cook, I do things like rice pasta with tomato sauce and frozen vegetables, pizza on flat bread, canned lentil soup with crackers and tofu baked with sauce and served over rice.
posted by JoannaC to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I've brought this up so many times here on the green but chili is great for this (especially if you have a crockpot). Soak about a pound of beans overnight, in the morning add in some canned tomatoes, diced green peppers, onions, maybe mushrooms, whatever veggies sound good, along with some seasoning (I'm lazy and just use one or two chili seasoning packets). Cook in low on the crockpot all day. Freezes great, and you can also make a box of macaroni to add in for chili mac when the plain chili starts driving you batty.
posted by jabes at 3:59 PM on March 22, 2012

Here's a chili recipe that freezes beautifully. It's so basic as to barely even be a recipe, but somehow it is delicious.

1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 oz can regular diced tomatoes
2 15 oz can mexican-style diced tomatoes

Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil. Dump in all the other ingredients and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, or until it becomes saucy and chili-like. Add salt to taste.

You can also do it in the crockpot - just so the sauteeing part, then transfer the onions and garlic into the crock and add everything else and cook it on low all day.

I like chili because even if it's summertime, you can still eat it on veggie hot dogs or on roasted potatoes or whatever.
posted by something something at 4:01 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you have a crockpot? I do crockpot meals every weekend and we always have enough for another night's dinner (2 adults, 1 child) and it is super-easy. You just throw whatever vegetables you like into the crockpot along with some spices, and then set it on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

Couple recipes I like:

Veggie stew: carrots, zucchini, black beans, chard, onion, kidney beans, stewed tomatoes, garbanzo beans, garlic, cumin, turmeric, oregano, salt, pepper -- add a bit of jalapeno or chili powder to bump up the hot.

Yummy stew: black beans, sweet potatoes, chik'n (I use actual chicken but I bet you could do some kind of TVP or even just tofu), onion, garlic, allspice, paprika, black pepper, salt.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:02 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding what somethingsomething said--I make a variation of this all the time but use white cannelini beans and add either spinach or swiss chard (I like rainbow). The chard in particular--and I don't know what it is about it--is really savory and I've found it to be a really good, filling alternative to meat in these types of recipes. Chop up the stalks and sautee it with the onions (it takes a while, and you want it nice and soft), then chop up the leaves and add them towards the end.

Soups/chilis in general are your best friend in this scenario.

You should also check out this piece on The Kitchn (love that site)--sounds right up your alley.
Vegetarian Meals that Freeze Well?
posted by lovableiago at 4:11 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try here. I made this chickpea dish with rooster sauce instead of crushed pepper (scroll for recipe). First time I made it, I forgot to add the almonds. It was really good anyway and with a side of microwaved frozen broccoli florets, it made me two meals. It took about fifteen minutes, but that was long because my stove is slow to heat.

(I also really like it with the texture and crunch added by the almonds--if you can tolerate peanuts, I bet they would be delicious substitutes with the sriracha. Edamame out of the pod might be tasty, too. She always has a lot of variation suggestions. My current kitchen/pantry set up is suboptimal for cooking/clean-up, I have severe ADHD, and I share with two other people.)
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 4:17 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Since you like Indian, make up some dal. Super easy to make and freezes very well. The recipe I have is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Indian Home Cooking by Suvir Saran. I've typed it up for a friend, so I have it handy. I make this A LOT.

1 cup pink lentils, washed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
4 cups water

add these ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil and skim off the foam once it starts boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered for 30 minutes. Add water if you like a thinner dal later in the cooking.

When you have about 10 minutes left to cook, start making the tempering oil:

2 1/2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 whole dried red chilies
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 fresh hot green chile, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

heat the oil with the cumin seeds in a small pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring until it turns a light brown color, about 1-2 minutes. Add the dried chilies, ginger, garlic, green chile and cook, stirring, until the garlic no longer smells raw, about 30 -60 seconds. Remove from fire and add the cayenne and sprinkle some water in to stop the cooking.

Stir this into the dal pot and add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and 1/2 juice of lime or lemon and you're all set.

I play around with this recipe a lot by adding more cilantro, garlic, ginger and chilies. Usually I need a bit more salt, too.
posted by vivzan at 6:56 PM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm also a fan of soups. Mark Bittman has recipes for all kinds of simple soups. I'm also obsessed with this sweet potato soup.

It's also easy to cook up a bunch of black beans, season them (cumin, cilantro, onions, garlic, oregano) and freeze them and make rice the day of.

Oh and then you can use any leftover rice the next day to make stir-fried rice with ginger, garlic, onions, any frozen veggies you have that are appropriate, and soy sauce:)
posted by vivzan at 7:07 PM on March 22, 2012

Cabbage and Lentil Dall

7oz red split lentils
2 pints water
1/2 tsp turmeric
5 tbsp veg oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2-4 cloves garlic
3oz onions - sliced
8 oz shredded cabbage
1-2 fresh green chillies
1/2- 1 tsp salt
4oz tomatoes
1/2 tsp fresh ginger - grated

Boil lentils in water - remove scum, add turmeric and stir, simmer with
lid ajar for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Heat oil in frying pan, add cumin, few seconds later add garlic, brown
slightly then add onion, cabbage, chillies, fry 10 mins till brown and
slightly crispy, add 1/4 tsp salt, remove from heat.
When lentils are cooked, add salt, tomato, ginger, stir.
Cover and cook for 10 mins more, add cabbage mixture, simmer for 2-3
mins more.
Serve or freeze.
posted by biffa at 1:15 AM on March 23, 2012

Step 1: Get a slow cooker.
- It's so much easier to make large quantities and freeze them
the recipes are typically straightforward - if it's not "chop everything and put it in the slow cooker" - - it'll probably be "chop everything, brown the onions and put it in the slow cooker".
- freeze well since they're mostly in the stews/soups/curries genre
posted by chiquitita at 3:16 AM on March 23, 2012

I should mention, with that Dall, we often double up on everything and its fine, any more and you will struggle (i) to get all the cabbage into brown in one go and (ii) will need a huge pan for the final mix.
posted by biffa at 6:15 AM on March 23, 2012

101 Cookbooks Pierce Street Chili. We freeze it for lunch and grate some cheese on before freezing so that it melts in during the defrost.
posted by anya32 at 7:22 AM on March 23, 2012

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