Summer is quickly approaching and that means you’ll be going to quite a few barbeques. If you’re a vegetarian like myself, then you know that it’s not always easy to find meatless dishes. Well, other than chips or side dishes that end up becoming your main dish. You can only eat so much potato salad and baked beans before it gets boring, am I right? Summer is about more than warm weather, it’s about enjoying fresh, flavorful food. Check out this list of easy vegetarian recipes that’ll make your summer tastier!
Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps
Low carb and healthy, these lettuce wraps won’t disappoint. If you love tofu and mushrooms paired together, this is the recipe for you. Be sure to add shredded carrots for extra crunch.
Recipe courtesy of wellplated.com
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons canola or grapeseed oil
- 1 (12- to 14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu (do not use silken)
- 8 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 (8-ounce) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit if sensitive to spice)
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
- 8 large inner leaves romaine lettuce (from a romaine heart) or butter lettuce leaves
- Optional for serving: grated carrots, additional red pepper flakes
- In a small bowl, stir together the hoisin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
- Press the tofu between paper towels to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Refresh the paper towels and press again. Heat the 2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, crumble in the tofu, breaking it into very small pieces as it cooks. Continue cooking for 5 minutes, then add the diced mushrooms. Continue cooking until any remaining tofu liquid cooks off and the tofu starts to turn golden, about 3 minutes more. Stir in the water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and half of the green onions and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds more.
- Pour the sauce over the top of the tofu mixture and stir to coat. Cook just until you hear bubbling and the sauce is warmed through, 30 to 60 seconds.
- Spoon the tofu mixture into individual lettuce leaves. Top with remaining green onions, grated carrots, and additional red pepper flakes as desired. Enjoy immediately.
Ranch Pasta Salad
I have this side dish many times over the summer and it’s always delicious and very simple to make! Add or substitute your favorite vegetables or try different vegetables each time you make it. You can’t go wrong with this recipe.
Recipe courtesy of togetherasafamily.com
- 1 box (12 oz) tri-colored rotini pasta
- 1 cup chopped broccoli
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes, seeded
- 1 cup chopped cucumbers, peeled and seeded
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 1/4 cups ranch dressing, more or less to taste
- Cook pasta according to the instruction on package. Remember to salt the water so your pasta has some flavor. Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
- In mixing bowl, combine the cooled and rinsed pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, shredded parmesan cheese, and ranch dressing. Stir together until completely combined.
- Serve right away or let it sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Pasta salad tends to dry out in the fridge so don’t leave it in there too long before you need to serve it.
Portobello Mushroom Burgers
Full of flavor, these mushroom caps are the perfect alternative for when you want to switch it up from the usual BOCA or other vegetarian patty brands out there.
Recipe courtesy of skinnytaste.com
- 4 portobello mushroom caps
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
- 1-1/2 tsp steak seasoning like Montreal Steak Grill Mates
- 4 thick slices red onion
- 4 oz reduced fat Swiss, sliced thin (Alpine lace)
- 4 thin slices tomato
- 1/2 avocado, sliced thin
- baby spinach
- 4 whole wheat low-calorie buns (I used Martin)
- In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, oil, rosemary, and Montreal steak seasoning. Place the mushroom caps in the bowl and toss with sauce, using a spoon to evenly coat. Let stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, turning a few times.
- Heat the grill or indoor grill pan over medium heat. When hot, brush the grate with oil or lightly spray the grill pan. Place the mushrooms on the grill, reserving marinade for basting. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes on each side, or until tender, brushing with marinade frequently.
- Top the mushrooms with cheese during the last minute of cooking. While the mushrooms cook, grill the onions about 1 minute on each side and grill the buns until toasted.
- To finish, place the spinach and grilled portobello mushrooms on the buns and top with the grilled onions, sliced tomato, and avocado.
Spicy Thai-Style Veggie Skewers
Bring on the veggies! Another healthy and versatile side dish that can double as a main dish if served on top of rice or noodles.
Recipe courtesy of thewanderlustkitchen.com
- 1 1/2 cups packed cilantro leaves
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (sub soy for vegetarian)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chile-garlic sauce
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 pounds vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces (any combination of mushrooms, peppers, scallion, zucchini, and yellow summer squash)
- Place the cilantro, garlic, fish sauce, water, pepper, chile-garlic sauce in the bowl of a food processor; pulse to form a paste. With the processor running, pour the oil through the lid spout in a slow stream. Use a spatula to scrape the marinade out of the processor and pour it over the vegetables. Toss well, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare a charcoal grill for medium heat. Thread the marinated vegetables onto metal skewers (or wooden skewers that have soaked in water for 30 minutes). Grill the skewers for 12-15 minutes, turning frequently to prevent burning, until tender and browned around the edges.
- Serve with rice, noodles, or as a side dish to the main event!
Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad
Grilled corn is a summer-time staple. Paired with tomato and avocado, it makes for a bright and refreshing addition to more traditional side dishes.
Recipe courtesy of the-girl-who-ate-everything.com
- 2 cups cooked corn, fresh or frozen (see Note)
- 1-2 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Combine the corn, avocado, tomatoes, and onion in a large glass bowl. Mix together the dressing ingredients in another bowl, pour over the salad, and gently toss to mix. Chill salad for an hour or two to let flavors blend.