Salad, but make it hot
October 17, 2021 5:06 AM   Subscribe

Looking for cool-weather meal ideas that are hearty and vegetable-forward. (Poultry ingredients are okay. No four-legged meats, please.) All cuisines are fair game. Classic dishes preferred, but not required.

By "classic", I mean: dishes which are a recognized part of a particular cuisine (or at least adapted from such), and which have endured the test of time. Not a dish that a food blogger made up for this year's food trends. Again, this isn't a requirement – just a suggestion.

I guess I'm looking for: beany things; brothy things; roasty things; stewed things; things that fuck with all the aromatics; the sturdier greens; mushroomy things; etc.

As an example, I love this simple, one-pot French lentil dish with carrots, onions, cloves, mustard, parsley, and (optionally) smoked bacon. It's absolutely delicious, and filling enough to be the main dish of a meal.

Roasted or stewed vegetable-heavy dishes would also be great.

I'm not, like, against carbs and cheese – but I'm not interested in dishes that use them as the primary load-bearing beams. The whole idea is to eat healthy, while still eating well.

Have I mentioned that all cuisines are fair game? European dishes are good, but so are all the other dishes. I have access to a decent international supermarket, and I like exploring new ingredients and such. I have yet to meet a cuisine that I don't like.

posted by escape from the potato planet to Food & Drink (41 answers total) 101 users marked this as a favorite
Classic, veggie forward, delicious: ratatouille.
posted by Pineapplicious at 5:15 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Moussaka (eggplant rather than lamb).
Chicken cacciatore (yes, has meat, but I had to include because it's my favourite and you didn't specifically exclude it).
posted by pompomtom at 5:32 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

This sweet potato tian would qualify. We usually add white beans or chickpeas to increase the protein content.

I don’t know if eggplant Parmesan is sufficiently veggie forward, but if you bake instead of fry the eggplant and go light on the cheese, it’s much less of a brick.
posted by tchemgrrl at 5:36 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I just made a vegetarian version of the classic boiled dinner that was great. You can take it in many directions but I grew up eating it as soup, mainly potato and cabbage with some carrots, onion and green beans. I put in some dried tofu rolls to stand in for ham, but it doesn't really need it.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:37 AM on October 17, 2021

This roasted cauliflower and lentil salad is… well, a salad (served with a lot of greens), but most of the ingredients are cooked, and it’s best served at room temp or slightly warm. Definitely works as either a side or main dish.

You would need a protein to fill out a meal with this eggplant dish from Madhur Jaffrey, but it’s a great start. She has a variation where she stirs in a few tablespoons of tahini at the end and it’s amaaaazing. (Obviously goes well with dal.)
posted by obfuscation at 5:46 AM on October 17, 2021

I'm on a lifelong quest to convince the world that cabbage and onions is good. The secret is that cabbage gets rich and a little sweet when you brown it, just like onion does. Don't boil — fry the cabbage and onions together in your biggest pan, in a good deal of butter, over high heat, until they're soft and well browned. Add as much salt as you're up for and lots of black pepper.

You can eat this on its own, but it's best for turning a simple protein into a meal. For veggies, I like it with some kind of bean situation, or roasted mushrooms, or fried tempeh. Or you could do it with bread and butter and soup.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:52 AM on October 17, 2021 [15 favorites]

Oh, also: beans and greens.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:56 AM on October 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

I’m not sure if there’s enough vegetables in this for you but mushroom Bourguignon is fantastic
posted by raccoon409 at 5:59 AM on October 17, 2021

I make a soup using sausage, you could use chicken sausage or thigh meat. Or just leave it out.

- One fennel bulb, sliced and chopped;
- One sweet onion, chopped;
- One red bell pepper, chopped;
- 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks;
- One can of white beans;
- Grated ginger and garlic to taste;
- Meat of choice;
- Enough water to cover.

Toward the end, I usually add some sort of greens, such as chopped Swiss chard or baby spinach.

It's hearty and I love the flavors, don't miss out on the ginger, it adds a lot. If you like it spicy, add a dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 6:01 AM on October 17, 2021 [3 favorites]

Mark Bittman's Tuscan Farro Soup is delicious.
posted by loveandhappiness at 6:03 AM on October 17, 2021

If you want a specific recipe for convincing yourself cabbage is amazing smitten kitchen has one! Does need protein but would be very easy to add chicken or beans.
posted by obfuscation at 6:07 AM on October 17, 2021

Ok so full disclosure, this is my food blog, but this cabbage + kielbasa recipe is a traditional Slavic one from my family.. a great one to eat tons of cabbage (and surprisingly so good, for essentially just being cabbage!). Use chicken sausage, thin sliced chicken breast, or turkey bacon instead of kielbasa. Shred some carrots into it if you want more veggie variety.

This pan-fried cauliflower recipe is also a traditional one from my Russian family. It's lighter than deep fried cauliflower.

I have a ton more veggie-forward recipes on there (warm bell pepper salad, cauliflower fritters, yellow squash tots, pumpkin stew, pan fried butternut squash, butternut squash + chickpea casserole, but they're not necessarily recognized from any particular cuisine so I won't share them here).
posted by at 6:26 AM on October 17, 2021 [8 favorites]

Disclaimer first that I am a fairly new Rancho Gordo bean convert - they have a recipe corner of their web site, with many of the recipes being main dish worthy. I recently made the polenta with borlotti beans and was good enough that when I brought the leftovers in to work the next day for lunch, my boss came into my office just to tell me "wow, that smells good." They also have a recipe for pasta e fagioli - that's a super-traditional recipe, which is also very adaptable (I don't even use that as my go-to, I use a Moosewood recipe which throws in even more vegetables).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Colcannon is basically fried cabbage mixed into mashed potatoes. There are tons of recipes out there, I keep mine fairly simple. I like my cabbage fried in a bit of oil but I make my mashed potatoes without fat, so it's not overwhelmingly unhealthy. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and a dash of nutmeg in the cabbage. For extra protein, top each serving with a fried egg.

This crockpot pasta e fagioli recipe is really good. It shows meat (italian sausage in this case, I've seen other recipes use ground beef) but I always make it without, as it really doesn't need it. It is very flavorful and has beans for protein so it's pretty hearty. If you're making enough to have leftovers, I suggest cooking the pasta on the side and adding it to each serving of soup at as you ladle it into bowls. If you refrigerate the leftover soup with the pasta in it, it will soak up most of the liquid by the next day. Of course, this is an opportunity to have turn the leftovers into a different dish by topping with spaghetti sauce and parm cheese and calling it marzetti.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:48 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Bibimbap is my go to and I substitute the rice with cauliflower rice. Its pretty flexible for whatever toppings you can make from ingredients on hand.
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 7:00 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh! All the pasta e fagioli talk reminds me, Memorie di Angelina posts lots of very simple and old-fashioned regional Italian recipes, either hand-me-downs from the guy's grandma or others that remind him of her style. Lots of warm-you-up stick-to-your-ribs basics, and if they have meat it's often optional. I find the best recipes there taste better than they sound — the instructions seem simple and even dull, but they've been tested by time, so following them closely (or sticking to the recommended additions) gives you something tastier than you'd get if you embellished on your own.

For a lot of them, you need really good pecorino cheese, canned tomatoes, and/or olive oil to make it worthwhile.

I like these fried mushrooms and the oldschool un-fancy pasta e fagioli and this chickpea and greens soup. I've been wanting to try these fava beans and this onion braise. There's a lot more in there, for all tastes and seasons. I've yet to have one totally bomb.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:04 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I like to just cut vegetables up into chunks, toss them in oil, salt, and pepper, and roast them. Works great with winter veggies like squash, root vegetables, mushrooms, hearty brassicas like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, but you can even do it with greens - I roasted up some bok choy the other day with VERY low expectations (but a lot of bok choy and not a lot of energy) and it came out great (the key was to overlap the green leafy parts with each other.

My other favorite way to cook up winter veggies is a steamy sauté - sauté (with seasoning), add liquid (and maybe more seasoning), cover and cook till tender, cook off the rest of the liquid. This is my favorite way to cook winter greens - they taste so good I have to restrain myself from eating to the point of gastrointestinal distress (a bunch of kale is probably not supposed to be a single serving).

And when I have too much cabbage I make pakoras and/or quick pickled cabbage. I freeze the extra pakoras and the cabbage pickle keeps for weeks.
posted by mskyle at 7:13 AM on October 17, 2021 [6 favorites]

I make a salad in October/November that has become a classic in my house, at least. I roast butternut squash chunks with za’star at 400F for about 30-40 minutes. I roast red grapes in a drizzle of olive oil with salt and pepper, also at 400F until the grapes are bursting and jammy, usually about 30 minutes. Once these have cooled a bit, I put them on top of arugula with pistachios, some baked tofu or tempeh, and a lemon tahini dressing. Sometimes I add some sliced avocado.

With some crusty bread, it is one of our (omnivorous) household’s favorite meals in the fall.
posted by little mouth at 7:49 AM on October 17, 2021 [17 favorites]

That lentil dish is the most delicious thing, and it has sustained my family during good times and bad. It was always fun to see the faces of little guests who looked at it with suspicion and then lit up when they had their first spoonful.
We also eat a lot of minestrone. I don't agree with the linked article, but it's hard to give a recipe, since it depends on the season, you should (almost) always have the basic onion+celery+carrot soffrito, and always a legume. The rest depends on what else you have. Cut everything into small dice, you want several different things in each spoonful, and put in the different veg according to their cooking time. So sturdy root vegs first and peas and broccoli last. Half a cup of small pasta for 1,5 liters of soup is optional. We use alphabet pasta or little hoops.
For a different approach, I like serving, and eating, these two recipes together: Kung Pao Mushrooms and Fish-Fragrant Eggplants. Add in some rice and spinach sautéed with garlic, and it's a whole feast, all prepared in the time it takes to cook the rice (when you have learnt the technique).
A Thai curry is always good, and when you have the method down, you can vary it endlessly.
A vegetable tagine checks all your boxes.
Yesterday, I had ful medames, mentioned above. I just use beans from a can, and I always have a can of fava beans because ful is my favorite "fast" food. Yesterday, I had them with yogurt and a salad of tomatoes, cucumber and parsley.
Greek artichoke and pea stew is good, too, and very healthy. Actually, I think I'll make it tomorrow, it's been a while.
posted by mumimor at 8:03 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

One of the older issues of EatingWell had a feature on green soups, and they are loaded with veggies and delicious. They are the first 6 recipes in this slideshow. For easier navigation, there's a "view all" button just under and to the left of the photo. There are also two similar cabbage and keilbasa soup recipes that we make with turkey keilbasa. Both are good! EatingWell has a ton of recipes for stir-fries, soups, stews, etc that use a lot of veggies, but a few years ago it merged with some other magazines, and really started to go downhill. Some of their recipes were even renamed to things like "Weight-Loss Mexican Cabbage Soup," which is infuriating. I usually skip recipes that say that they're from Diabetic Living or Cooking Light.
posted by amarynth at 8:14 AM on October 17, 2021

Chicken chili with lots of beans.
posted by heathrowga at 8:17 AM on October 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

This is not a classic but has become in my house - I usually use brown or wild rice in place of the orzo to make it a little healthier. I have found, as some of the commenters say, that’s it’s easier to roast the sweet potatoes.

Orzo with Caramelized Fall Vegetables & Ginger
posted by sillysally at 8:26 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

The classic-classic is braised bratwurst and cabbage, and you can use any nice chicken or turkey sausage for this since it's got some mustard and caraway in the braise. While I love braised cabbage, I have started swapping in about half of it with either shredded brussels sprouts or whatever "supergreens blend" my store has (usually brussels, kale, spinach, other dark greens) for a little more fiber and nutrients. Serve with sauerkraut if you like.

Iskender kebab can be made with or without a ground meat (I have also done this with veggie crumbles) and I make it periodically for meal prep because it reheats really well.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:02 AM on October 17, 2021

I really dig pumpkin and black bean soup from the Once Upon a Tart cookbook.

Vegetarian chili is a classic. I usually make the recipe from the infamous 1996 Joy of Cooking, but I'm thinking of trying this one next time I make it.

One of my staples is sweet potato and black bean tacos. I don't use a recipe, but this looks pretty much like what I do. They're really good with quick-pickled red onions.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:20 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I know this is probably not what you meant, but the invocation of “hot salad” made me think of this recipe for wilted romaine with a garlic oyster sauce. It’s really good and you can actually use any sturdy leafy green. (But it’s REALLY good with romaine.)
posted by lunasol at 9:20 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'd give Yotam Ottolenghi's Simple a look. Very vegetable-forward, and super delicious.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 9:42 AM on October 17, 2021 [2 favorites]

Chicken or vegetable pho - add more leafy greens and whatever other vegetables you want

Rice porridge made with vegetable or chicken stock - put whatever chopped up leafy vegetables and mushrooms you want. I really love eating rice porridge with bean sprouts. If you want a protein, you can use chicken or turkey or fish.
posted by Constance Mirabella at 9:43 AM on October 17, 2021

Roasted Vegables (spelling intentional) are a staple in our family. It’s basically pot roast without the meat. Potatoes, carrots, yellow onions, garlic cloves, maybe some chunks of turnip, rutabaga, or squash. Maybe a couple parsnips. Coat in olive oil, add salt and pepper, maybe some vegetable bouillon. Put them all in a roasting pan or something similar (I like the oval Pyrex casserole) with enough water to keep them from drying out. Bake in a 350-degree oven until tender.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:05 AM on October 17, 2021

From Serious Eats: Vegan Garbanzos con Espinacas y Jengibre (Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew With Ginger) Recipe

I think this ticks all your boxes - vegetable forward, adapted from a classic dish, delicious, filling, healthy.

Like most Serious Eats recipes, it’s a pretty involved recipe, but I usually skip a bunch of the steps - I don’t drain and blend the tomatoes, I just buy diced tomatoes in a can and put them in as-is. I use minced ginger and throw it in with the rest of the ingredients. I often use frozen spinach. I often top it with a poached egg, and highly recommend it that way - in fact, I usually reheat the leftovers in a pan and cook an egg or two in it (like you’d do with shakshouka).
posted by insectosaurus at 10:25 AM on October 17, 2021

My favorite warm salad: rice, lots of baby spinach (raw), sweet potatoes or squash, sesame tofu, diced red onions, apple slices, miso sesame dressing.
posted by pinochiette at 10:58 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I can't say enough about Cool Beans. Cook your way through this book this fall & winter, you won't regret it. Some of my faves are the black bean & plantain chili, the ratatouille cassoulet, the root vegetable cassoulet, and the kidney bean and mushroom bourguignon. One of the things that I love about this book is that it gives you many hearty stew recipes from a very wide variety of cuisines. I gravitate toward the European and Mediterranean ones, but there is a good variety of cultures in the book. Very hearty! Much veg!

I'd also recommend the America's Test Kitchen Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. Many recipes are great for summer, but oh my goodness, don't sleep on Koshari and Mujadarrah to stick to your ribs when you're feeling like you want something meatless but robust.

I also love a chickpea coconut curry, a red-lentil daal, a thai curry with veggies or chicken, or a vegan pad thai with tofu.

Also, sweet potato black bean enchiladas are a big hit in my house.

Shakshuka for brunch instead of bacon & eggs is a great way to get some veggies in early.

If you make ratatouille and have leftovers, you can use the leftovers in a vegetable risotto. Also a mushroom risotto can make a nice hearty veggie meal!

Finally, get you a bottle of liquid smoke and/or smoked paprika. You can add this to dishes that usually require a ham hock or smoked bacon, like black eyed peas and greens.
posted by pazazygeek at 11:53 AM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

For actual salads, now is the season for duck, apples, oranges and walnuts.
This is a French brasserie classic, but I haven't been able to find the classic recipe online.
You roast a duck breast in its own fat, in a cast iron or steel skillet. Season the skin side of the breast, cut a diamond pattern into the skin but not all the way through to the meat to avoid it curling up. Put it on a very hot skillet and turn down the heat to medium right away. When the skin side is golden and a lot of the fat has melted into the skillet, turn the breast over and brown it on the other side. Take the meat off the heat and leave it to rest. It should not be cooked through, but rosy-red inside. It needs to rest at least 15 minutes, and doesn't need to be hot when served.
Use the fat as the base for a dressing, using mustard, honey (or honey-mustard), cider-vinegar, maybe some garlic, salt and pepper, and depending on how much duck fat you have, perhaps a little EVOO. I put in the juices from the rested duck as well, but some people are squeamish about that.
Now prepare a salad of frisée, slices of a crispy apple, slices of an orange and some walnuts. Mix the salad with your dressing and serve with thin slices of duck breast on top.

About bread: I'm very suspicious about bread if it is not from insanely expensive bakers because there are so many additives, but it is very easy to make a simple whole wheat dough and keep it in the fridge for a week, taking out what you need for baking rolls, pita bread or pizza. That way you always have fresh bread and not more than you need. I just mix water, yeast, whole grain flour, Manitoba flour and some salt and olive oil. The dough needs to be moister than you think when you mix it, it will pull together as gluten develops. Let it develop on the counter, knead it, then put it in the fridge. Stretch and fold the dough every time you take out a piece. If you have gas, a pita bread can be made on the stovetop. Just take a ball of dough, roll it out, heat up a skillet to very high heat and throw your flat dough on to it. It will rise rapidly. After a few minutes, turn it over, give it a minute more, and it's ready.
posted by mumimor at 12:45 PM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

I love Budget Bytes' Mexican Red Lentil Stew. The recipe as written is vegan, but I serve it with sour cream and cheese. Also the lentils can totally be cooked in the same pot with everything else.
posted by bananana at 1:56 PM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Persian style stuffed vegetables are outstanding. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of recipes for them and each one is a little different. There are many that are vegetarian and don’t have minced meat in the stuffing - I really like to use a combination of mushrooms and nuts, though I have also enjoyed fillings with eggplant, lentils, white beans, and even toasted cauliflower.

My favorite is probably stuffed peppers with lots of fresh herbs, mushroom and walnut stuffing, spiced basmati rice and chopped dried apricots. No clue how traditional that is, it’s just what I often have in the house to cook with. I will go even less traditional and use pearled barley and other grain combinations, too.

You can stuff nearly any vegetable. Stuffed tomatoes are lovely but you have to be careful about cooking times so they don’t totally collapse. Stuffed winter squash can handle a lot more heat and you often need to roast it most of the way before stuffing - especially yummy with a yogurt sauce I think. If you have those fun globe shaped zucchini or other summer squash you can hollow them out and stuff them too. Cabbage leaves can be used like grape leaves to do roll ups without the tomato sauce (although stuffed cabbage in tomato sauce is another fabulous classic) but you have to be careful about the leaves not drying out so it’s good to use a hot water bath, baste regularly, or use a different technique like a crockpot. If you have big mushrooms you can stuff those too but they have a lot of water content and will need to be roasted ahead of time to prevent a mess. Stuffed onions are really delicious but fussy to make since you have to hollow out all the layers.
posted by Mizu at 2:55 PM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

Oh, duh - quiches and frittatas. You can throw any damn vegetable you want into a quiche or a frittata (a frittata is kind of like a quiche without the crust); as long as you've got enough eggs for whatever you're making, and you don't put in so many vegetables that you overwhelm the egg part, you can go hog wild. Here's a basic "how to DIY and improvise with a frittata" page I found, and another similar one for quiche. Leftovers store well for a couple days in the fridge as well, they can make a good breakfast, and leftovers can be a good grab-and-go brown-bag work lunch option.

This week's menu for me is going to include a sweet potato and goat cheese frittata tonight, and later in the week will be a potato and leek one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:30 PM on October 17, 2021

I am obsessed with this brown butter lentil and sweet potato salad. The sage makes it very autumnal, and it's great the next day with whatever greens are in the fridge and a a runny egg on top.
posted by Charity Garfein at 4:01 PM on October 17, 2021

I first came across the Persian dish Adas Polo through Samin Nosrat's Sat Fat Acid Heat. It is predominantly lentils and rice, spices and dried fruit and you can have chicken pieces and served with a cucumber yoghurt sauce on it. I've had it without chicken and used the rice and lentils as a base for more of the yoghurt sauce.
posted by pipstar at 5:38 PM on October 17, 2021

I love a good caldo verde in the cooler months, and while it does have potatoes, it’s really the greens that are the star of the soup. You’ll notice that this recipe does call for pork sausage, but I often make mine with either chicken sausage or spicy chipotle Field Roast and it’s still great.
posted by ActionPopulated at 7:49 PM on October 17, 2021 [1 favorite]

My go-to "those greens in the fridge are not going to make it another 24 hours" recipe is Palak (well, Saag) Paneer. If I don't have time to go out and get proper paneer it does work with firm tofu. Then again, I quite like tofu, so ymmv.
posted by All hands bury the dead at 1:19 PM on October 18, 2021 [1 favorite]

I wasn't able to find the caldo verde recipe in ActionPopulated's link above (and I went looking because I was intrigued) so here's another recipe for caldo verde.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:00 AM on October 19, 2021

« Older Reduce water pollution: School Art & Design...   |   Who to call to rearrange outdoor faucet and power... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments