These are nutty times in the grocery store, and it is not unusual to see entire cases or shelves empty. Our local stores have begun limiting purchases, not a bad idea to reduce hoarding. Still, when you go to the meat counter and see not one package of chicken left, or the pork is down to some ribs and ground pork, it is time to think about having some all plant based meals. We do this from time to time, but we are thinking of going to a more regular schedule. We eat a fair amount of seafood, but for this post, I’m mainly going to talk about veggies. Most of the time our vegetarian options are things like black bean burgers, or a homemade pizza with lots of fresh veggies. See my post on End of the Garden Tomatoes for how I roast the tomatoes for pizza topping.
It isn’t really necessary for every meal to have a ‘complete’ protein, meaning one with all nine amino acids that our bodies cannot make. If you eat a variety of grains, beans and veggies, you’ll get what you need. But some simple things will give you complete protein in a dish. Eggs, milk, quinoa, and soy (like in tofu) have complete proteins, and if you put beans with rice, grains with cheese, or peanut butter with whole grain bread you’ll get complete protein in that dish as well. There are other combinations too but these are the ones I usually use.
There are a few tips that I use to make a meatless meal more substantial than a salad. The first tip is to serve something hot. A hot dish seems to me to be more of a main course, unless it is hot outside and all I want is something cold. Second, it needs umami flavor, that savory taste and mouth feel that says main course. I get that with mushrooms, tomatoes, eggs and cheese. Starchy veggies like potatoes and corn are good, too, unless you are counting carbs. A baked potato topped with a little butter, broccoli and cheese is an easy and filling meal.
Umami can also be developed with grilling foods adding a smoky flavor, or slow roasting to concentrate flavor. Grilled zucchini is delicious, and I add a bit of garlic and finish with Parmesan cheese to boost the flavor.
Here are some of my veggie recipes that could be a meatless main course in themselves, or with minor modifications. Low Carb Crustless Anything Quiche is made with eggs, so you can add whatever is left in the refrigerator and it will be wonderful. Plus it is gluten free because there is no crust. Throw in some leftover cooked broccoli, fresh spinach, onion, mushrooms, fresh herbs or whatever you have, top with cheese and bake.
Summer Squash Casserole takes yellow squash to main course hearty.
Beautiful Heirloom Tomatoes on whole grain bread with a bit of cheese makes a fabulous sandwich. This post has several ideas for using this fresh summer treat.
Of course, I have to mention my Tomato Pie, with the recipe that comes out rich and flavorful without the sogginess or excess liquid. We eat this as a meatless meal.
This post was the second post on this delicious Tomato Pie with a Homemade Crust so flaky and easy you won’t believe it. I was able to dry the tomatoes even better, so no liquid left in the bottom at all this time, just a rich and creamy filling, full of fresh tomato flavor.
Spaghetti Squash and Broccoli Casserole is hearty and good, with an egg and 3 cheeses. Assembled then baked, it is a wonderful meal all by itself.
Baked Black and Great Northern Beans have a deep tomato based sauce with two kinds of beans. Leave out the bacon and add some crusty bread, and it is a meatless meal. Or leave the bacon in, if you have it.
Baked Spinach with Roasted Garlic and Mushrooms is a staple dish in our house. It is easily a meatless main course, and there is so much flavor we often finish the entire dish in one meal. This recipe is sized for two.
If some seafood can sneak in, my Chilled Corn Crab Soup is great cold for a hot summer day, or serve hot for a filling meal.
While we are on the subject of eating, I delivered the placemats from our Coronacation challenge to Meals on Wheels last week. They appreciated them so much, we had a total of 35! Receiving the delivery, wearing masks and keeping our social distance, was Keith Logan, Executive Director and Christy Zbylut, Director of Outreach and Volunteer Engagement.
Back to what to make for dinner, sometimes I go to one of my cookbooks for an idea. These are the best of the all vegetable or mostly vegetable recipe books I have.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Fresh Cookbook
Cooking From the Farmer’s Market
Favorite Brand Name Vegetarian Cooking
Bread, Tomato, Garlic Quick Cooking with 3 Main Ingredients
Cooks Illustrated Best American Side Dishes
Even just the vegetable section of a basic cookbook will have what you are looking for. Corn chowder, French onion soup, hearty vegetable casseroles, vegetarian lasagna and small recipes for two can all be great ideas.
Cooking for Two – lots of cookbooks available for small yield cooking
Bake Until Bubbly – hearty casseroles
50 Chowders – great recipes for corn chowders
Williams Sonoma Savouring Soups and Salads – French Onion soup, and more
and more ideas for Meatless Main cookbooks are on Amazon.
We often do quesadillas with spinach, mushrooms and cheese heated in tortillas. Just fill the tortilla with anything you like, add a bit of cheese and heat on a griddle or in a skillet until the tortilla is crispy and the filling is hot. Serve this with guacamole on the side and you won’t miss the meat. Yum!
Do you have a favorite meatless main meal?
Try Amazon delivered Food Gifts to send to family or a treat for yourself.
Sharing – Best of the Month
19 thoughts on “Meatless Main Course Recipes”
if it was just me I could easily go vegetarian – hubby on the other hand thinks he has to have his meat. Because of him it is very hard to go meatless as he is not a veggie eater. I have to trick him and he is not in the kitchen nor a cook – l that much so it makes it easier. I will put half the meat in a casserole that I would normally use like a 1/2 pound ground beef instead of 1 pound and he wont’ realize it – he might just think it wasn’t evenly distributed in the casserole or something. I haven’t seen the shortage though as much has you have – they always seem to have the meat when we go shopping and I have a small chest freezer that is about half full right now of a 1/4 steer that my brother had butchered early spring so it will last awhile yet and I make sure to grab chicken and fish when I am at the store
Thanks for the reminder about non-meat meals. We try a couple of times a week to go meatless with shrimp quesadillas, some type of potato as the main dish, especially baked sweet potatoes. New Sprout farms in Black Mountain has the best organic sweet potatoes, and most grocery stores in WNC carry them.
Thank you for your wonderful meatless ideas, we all need more of these, My plans for the day include finishing a quilt for my grandson’s friend, although I don’t think I’ll get more done than the borders and backing ready to quilt. Have a great Sunday
I am trying your Baked Black and Great Northern Beans later this week – it sounds really good. Your other recipes are interesting too. Thanks for sharing them.
Sigh…everything you cook looks deeeeelish! But, sadly, I do not eat gluten, dairy, corn, beans or nightshades. When you take out the cheese, tomatoes, etc. things start to look pretty grim. Still, it’s fun to read and I do have my work-arounds. Like, I cheat with tomatoes a bit by removing the skins.
Thanks for all you do.
These are some great suggestions. We have been eating mostly meatless for a while now, Summer Squash casserole is one of our favorites too. Eggplant roll-ups will be coming soon into our dinner rotation, once our eggplants start producing. Another favorite is Crescent Roll zucchini pie from the Pillsbury website. Vegetarian chile made with sweet potatoes and black beans is another favorite. I made a skillet lasagna with zucchini the other night which was gobbled up.
You are making me hungry this morning!!
Love this posting and will be sharing with my daughter. My grandson at 8 became a vegetarian all on his own and at 10 is still going strong. She’s always looking for something new 🙂 I think your post will give her the boost she and he needs (plus he’s quite a chef himself)
Quiche is our go to for veggies when I have the time to bake. Pile everything in a pan, cover with cheese, done. I got busy one day and forgot to make a crust and it was just fine. But those so buttery roll up rolls make a good base too. But I pre-bake them about 2 minutes then pour the “stuff” on top. Fav cookbook “Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook” by Paul Gayler, lovely big pictures, simple instructions but often odd ingredients – I improvise a lot. But we have a Korean and Chinese grocery stores near so can usually get the right stuff.
Just finished “Good Knight” by Michael Miller (quilt) Now to start something new! Library is reopening tomorrow. Will try out your cookbooks and revisit your reading list. Always the best reads. Thanks for all the great tips! And so nice to see the Council truck and volunteers. I can see their smiles even though the masks. Thanks again for everything. j
Hello Carole, Every one of your shared recipes sound very delicious. Just not on my menu right now, the antibiotic the Doc has me on for the tick or spider bite that got infected has my tummy very upset. Toast and crackers are my main meals right now. LOL. But the infections are healing well!! LOL.
How wonderful to see the delight of the placemats being delivered. I sure wish we could all see the faces of the actual recipients, also. I know that I plan on continuing to make more placemats for our Meals on Wheels. It just feels so wonderful doing this. Thanks for bringing a fantastic project to my attention.
After a few days of heat in the high 90’s, after days of being back in the 50’s, we are now once again receiving rain (wonderful) and temperatures in the low 60’s this week. Southern Oregon is just not going to decide what we humans get to do in our flower gardens…or at least me. LOL. All my ideas of transplanting are now going to have to wait until fall, which is fine. I will just continue to get the flower beds ready, if and when I can. I hope you are continuing to enjoy all of your flowers and wildlife! We now have 3 deer visiting every evening, 2 baby possums, a family of raccoons, turkeys (although, they seldom come up to our yard) down below and across the road and a huge variety of birds.
Well enough from me, I hope that you stay safe, busy and happy!!
Perfect timing for this post!!!! I have been using portabello mushrooms too…..they substitute for hamburger meat and I also use them as a “main event” for dinner. I made 2 quiches and froze one, and since I live alone, my main goal now is to clear the freezer…..I cooked a LOT the first couple of weeks. Thanks for the additional ideas~!!!!!
A lot of great ideas. I do a lot of meatless – quiche, veggie pizza, anything goes topped pita, pesto on pasta, love any lentils.
Fab photos, and the soup on a bowl with matching plate under, that could be in any foodie book!! or posh magazine. Lovely ideas, it gives me lots of ” Food for thought”, pardon the saying, it just seemed to fit.
Thanks for the recipes and photos- it all looks delicious. My favorite meatless meal is one you showed- the baked potato with veggie toppings, cheese, and some sour cream. If I have bacon, that goes on too.
These recipes look great! I’m going to try some…especially after my sister’s garden produces some summer squash! It’s going to be a tasty summer!
I love meatless meals, these are great suggestions! My neighbor just brought me a bag of garden tomatoes, so tomato pie is definitely on the menu this week!
Favorite meatless recipe – guacamole and chips. I enjoy your blog; I was born and raised in North Carolina but now live out west. Reading your blog makes me feel like I’m back “home”.
I think it is a great idea to look at meatless meals on a regular basis regardless of availability. Good for the health and a change of direction. having said that I still enjoy a good steak!
We have been back to normal in our grocery stores for over a month now, with all products available on no limits. Hope that happens soon for you.
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