What To Eat on a Vegetarian Diet

Veggie kebab

You might be wondering what to eat on a vegetarian diet. Vegetarian food is colourful, tasty, and healthy; these recipes are so tasty you won’t miss the meat.

If you’re still going to eat eggs and dairy then it’s easy to adapt your favourite dishes to vegetarian recipes. But even if you’ve given up dairy there are many alternatives available; you will still have lots of choices. 

Pasta is a great base for vegetarian food. It goes perfectly with vegetables, cheese and nuts. Rice is a good staple as you can create delicious risotto dishes or serve it as a side dish to a veggie curry.

Will I Be Deficient in Protein?

A lot of your protein will come from legumes such as beans and lentils. Both are highly nutritious and have the ability to absorb flavours like little sponges. A vegetarian chilli can be made with several different kinds of beans for variety; red kidney beans, black beans and flageolet beans are all good. You will still get enough protein but from a different source.

Lentils make a good substitute for mince in vegetarian recipes. They are highly nutritious and cook quickly. You can buy the dried kind, or if you’re in a hurry, tinned lentils are a speedy short cut. Just drain them in a colander, rinse and add to your dish. Warm them through for a few minutes and your meal is ready.

Vegetarian Recipes

Here are some recipes for you to try. All are easy to prepare and delicious to eat.

Mushroom Stroganoff

You have probably heard of beef stroganoff but you can make an equally delicious stroganoff with no meat; replace the beef with some chunky mushrooms and serve with rice or pasta. Serves 4.

2 tablespoons olive oil
25g butter
500g mixed mushrooms – chestnut, flat field mushrooms or a mixture
2 – 3 tablespoons brandy
1 medium onion, peeled and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
200 ml soured cream
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Heat the oil and butter in a non-stick pan until it’s sizzling. Add the onions and lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the onions have softened and turned pale golden brown. Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let it burn or it will taste bitter.

Wipe the mushrooms clean with some kitchen paper and slice them into quite chunky pieces, then add to the pan with the onions and garlic. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes until the mushrooms have softened. Add the brandy and turn up the heat. This allows the alcohol in the brandy to burn off without losing the flavour. Then add the soured cream, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.

Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. When ready, the sauce should be rich, thick and smelling wonderful.

Serve the stroganoff with rice or pasta and sprinkle over the chopped parsley before serving.

Veggie Burger

Veggie burger

These are so delicious that everyone will want to try them, even dedicated carnivores. Especially if they’ve been cooked on the barbecue. Makes 6 burgers.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
75g fresh baby spinach
400g tin butter beans, drained
400g tin black beans, drained
A small bunch of fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
50g mature cheddar cheese, finely grated
Salt and pepper
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
2tbs olive oil for frying
50g plain flour for coating

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onion over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat, add the garlic and cook gently for about 15 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Turn up the heat, add the spinach and cook for a few minutes until the spinach has wilted. Tip the mixture into a bowl and leave it to go cold.

Drain the canned beans in a sieve and rinse them under cold running water. Shake well to dry them off a bit.

Put the beans, basil, tomatoes, cheese and spinach mixture into a food processor and pulse until a coarse paste has formed. You don’t want it to be too smooth, some texture is nice. Season well with salt, pepper and chilli flakes.

Scoop the mixture out onto a board and divide it into 6 equal pieces. (You can weigh each one if you want to get them exactly the same, but as long as one isn’t twice as big as the others it’s not too important.) Scrunch the mixture in your palms then roll it into a ball and flatten it out. The burgers should be about 3cm thick. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Place the burgers on a plate, cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour onto a plate and press each burger into it to get an even coating on both sides. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and cook the burgers for about 5 – 7 minutes on each side or until piping hot and cooked all the way through.

Serve in toasted buns with lettuce or rocket leaves, sliced tomatoes, slivers of avocado and mayonnaise, mustard or ketchup. And some fries on the side if you like.

*To cook the burgers on the barbecue, rub them with a little olive oil instead of coating them in the flour and cook for 5 – 6 minutes on each side.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne


This lasagne is a nice change from the meat-based version. Roasting the vegetables gives them a wonderful depth of flavour and the pretty colours will brighten up even the dullest day. This recipe involves a lot of preparation and has several elements, so you might want to save it for a weekend. Serves 4 – 6.

9 sheets of spinach lasagne or regular egg lasagne (the no-need-to-soak variety)
450g tomatoes, skinned
1 small aubergine
2 medium courgettes
1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 yellow pepper, de-seeded and cut into 2.5cm pieces
1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50g pitted black olives, cut in half
2 tablespoons fresh basil, leaves roughly torn
100g grated mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper

White Sauce
35g plain flour
40g butter
570 ml whole milk
1 dried bay leaf
A pinch of grated nutmeg
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian alternative) + 1 tablespoon

Grease a 23cm x 23cm x 5cm baking dish with a little butter. Set aside. Put the tomatoes into a bowl large enough to hold them all and pour over enough boiling water to cover them completely. Leave for 5 minutes then carefully tip away the hot water and cover the tomatoes with cold water. The skins should now peel off easily. Chop the tomatoes roughly.

Prepare the vegetables for roasting. Cut the stalks from the aubergine and courgettes and chop them into chunks, not too small as they will shrink during cooking. Tip onto a baking tray along with the red and yellow peppers and the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and drizzle over the olive oil. Add the crushed garlic and basil leaves. Using a large spoon, turn the vegetables in the oil until they have a thorough coating. Or use your hands.

Roast in a preheated oven, gas mark 9/240C/475F, for 30 minutes, stirring once to ensure the vegetables get evenly roasted. They should be turning brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and add the olives.

To make the white sauce, place the butter, flour and milk in a pan, put onto a medium heat and whisk continuously until blended and thickened. This may take up to 10 minutes but keep whisking – you don’t want any lumps. Season with salt and pepper, add the nutmeg and bay leaf and simmer gently for 3 minutes to cook the flour. Add the 3 tablespoons of Parmesan and stir until the cheese has melted.

To assemble the lasagne, pour a quarter of the white sauce into the base of the dish, followed by a third of the vegetable mixture. Scatter over a third of the mozzarella and lay 3 lasagne sheets over the top. Don’t worry if the lasagne doesn’t quite cover the vegetables, it doesn’t have to. Repeat the layering process, finishing with a layer of white sauce.

Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, reduce the oven temperature to gas mark 4/180C/350F and bake the lasagne for 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve with a green salad.

Sweet Potato and Spinach Curry

This lovely curry is warmly spiced rather than hot and fiery. Sweet potatoes taste like a cross between a potato and a carrot and are high in vitamins A and C. This curry is also suitable for vegans as it contains no dairy. Serves 4.

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil
1 large red onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 small fresh red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced
400 ml can coconut milk
250g young leaf spinach, ready washed
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh coriander to garnish

Cook the sweet potato chunks in a pan of boiling salted water for 8 – 10 minutes or until just tender when pierced with a knife. Drain in a colander and leave to one side.

Heat the oil in a large pan and when hot add the onion. Lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes then add the chilli and turmeric. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes then pour in the coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper and tip in the sweet potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes then add the spinach. This should wilt down in a matter of minutes.

Serve the curry with basmati rice or naan bread and sprinkle over the fresh coriander.

Red Thai Vegetable Curry

Thai curries are quite different to Indian curries, they tend to be hotter and rather than using spices they include flavours such as coconut, lime, ginger and chilli. Ready-made Thai curry pastes are available in most supermarkets and have a wonderfully authentic flavour. My favourite is made by Thai Taste. Serves 4.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
650g mixed vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, aubergine, cauliflower and green beans, cut into pieces
2 – 3 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
300 ml vegetable stock
200 ml carton coconut cream
Salt and pepper
Lime wedges to garnish

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the sliced onion for about 5 minutes over a fairly high heat until starting to brown. Lower the heat and add the garlic. Stir it around for a couple of minutes then add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the remaining vegetables to the pan along with the stock and curry paste. Stir well, cover with a lid and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. You want the vegetables to be tender but not too soft. Pour in the coconut cream, season with salt and pepper and add a squeeze of lime juice.

Serve with some Thai jasmine rice and lime wedges for squeezing over.

Vegetable and Bean Stew

Bean stew

This is a great winter warmer for those who love a good stew but choose not to eat meat. It’s filling, tasty and best of all, it’s all cooked in one pot, meaning less washing up to do afterwards. Serves 4 – 6.

2 tablespoons olive oil
Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 red chilli, seeds removed and sliced
100g sweetcorn
450g potatoes or sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
450g butternut squash, peeled and diced
600 ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons curry paste
400g can red kidney beans, drained
400g can haricot beans, drained
2 large tomatoes, diced
Salt and pepper
Natural yoghurt and spring onion to garnish

Crush the cumin seeds in a pestle and mortar or a plastic bag with a rolling pin. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the cumin seeds and onion over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until starting to turn golden brown. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for 2 – 3 minutes then add the diced potatoes and butternut squash. Stir in the curry paste, season and pour in the stock.

Allow the stew to simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. Rinse the beans in a colander under cold running water and shake off the excess moisture. Add the beans to the stew with the tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve the stew in warmed bowls accompanied by some good crusty bread and garnished with spoonfuls of yoghurt and sliced spring onions.

Baked Avocados

Ripe avocado

I love avocados, they’re versatile, tasty and packed with vitamins and good fats. I first tried this recipe in an Italian restaurant in London where it was served as a starter. It was so good I made it for lunch the next day. Serves 2.

2 large ripe avocados
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 – 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons double cream
75g grated mozzarella
Half a teaspoon of sugar
Salt and pepper

First, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the onion for about 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and lower the heat. Cook for 2 minutes. 

Tip in the tomatoes, stir and bring to the boil. Season with salt and pepper and add the sugar. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce has reduced down a bit and thickened. Sir in the cream and remove from the heat.

To prepare the avocados, cut all the way around with a sharp knife. You should be able to feel the large stone in the centre which you won’t be able to cut through. Twist the halves of the avocado in opposite directions and they should come apart. (If they don’t, then your avocado may not be ripe enough.) Remove the stone from the avocado by pushing the tip of a knife into it then carefully lever it out.

Hold the avocado half in your palm with the widest part facing you and push a spoon between the skin and the flesh. The fruit should come away cleanly from the skin. Place the peeled avocado halves flat side down in a baking dish.

Pour the tomato sauce over the avocados, sprinkle with the mozzarella and bake in a preheated oven, gas mark 5/190C/375F for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden. Serve with a side salad and some garlic bread.

Veggie Chilli

Chilli con Carne is something that makes a regular appearance in my house. In this vegetarian version, I’m using beans instead of minced beef. You could use Quorn mince if you prefer, in which case cut the quantity of beans in half. Serves 4.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 small red chillies, de-seeded and sliced
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed
1 400g tin chopped plum tomatoes
250 ml hot vegetable stock
Half a teaspoon of sugar
400g tin red kidney beans
400g tin black beans
Salt and pepper
Red chilli slices to garnish

Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan and fry the onion over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, until starting to soften. Add the cumin, sweet potato, chillies and garlic and fry for 3 – 4 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and stock and add the sugar, salt and pepper.

Empty both tins of beans into a sieve or colander and rinse well under cold running water. Drain off the excess water and add to the tomato and onion mixture. Stir, lower the heat and cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.

Check the seasoning and if you want the chilli a bit hotter, add some dried chilli flakes. Serve with rice or as a filling for tacos or tortilla wraps. 

I hope you enjoy trying these recipes. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Have these recipes whetted your appetite? Find out more by going to what is a healthy vegetarian diet.

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6 thoughts on “What To Eat on a Vegetarian Diet”

  1. Although I’m not a vegetarian, there’s nothing stopping any of us from eating vegetarian food and you have given some great ideas for those who don’t eat meat. I like the fact that you have given an in depth detail in all of your recipes and they all look so appetising. 

    Sometimes I try to find dinners that don’t have meat just to have a variety so it’s great that I can look here and try some of the delicious meals you have listed.

    I like the idea of the roasted vegetable lasagne as lasagne is a favourite in our house.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Louise, I’m glad this has given you some inspiration. The lasagne is very good. It does take a while to cook and assemble but the effort is worth it. Roasting the vegetables changes the flavour, especially peppers. To save a bit of time, you could buy a bag of frozen roasted vegetables from the supermarket. But obviously, fresh is better. 

      I will be adding more recipes so do pop back now and then to see what’s new. Enjoy trying out these recipes in the meantime!

  2. Great topic. I’m not a vegetarian, I eat a little meat. My diet is mostly vegetables. I love the recipes, especially the baked avocado. Have you tried using soy instead of meat? I often make burgers.
    I think that this way of eating can strengthen immunity. Surprise us with more beautiful recipes

    • Hi and thank you so much for your comments. I’m so glad you liked the recipes. I have used soy instead of meat, it tastes pretty good. Quorn is a popular meat replacement product here in England but it’s quite expensive. 

      The baked avocado is one of my favourites. You should try it, I’m sure it will become a favourite of yours too! Vegetables are so good for us, we all need to eat more of them. You could have a point there about this diet strengthening the immune system. Maybe we can reverse some of the damage caused by a poor diet? 

      Pop back now and then, I will be updating the website regularly and adding more recipes as time goes by. Have you seen my article on quick and easy pasta? There are some veggie recipes on there too. Have a look and see what you think!

  3. Awesome recipes vegetarian recipes. There are some spices (hot spices) and other ingredients that I can’t use because of digestion problems. What can I substitute for the mozzarella cheese and chilli flakes and still have the recipe taste the same. For the curry I have to use the turmeric powder and not the curry paste usually burns m stomach in that form. What tips do you have for someone who suffers from gas when beans are eaten?  

    • Hi there and thanks for getting in touch. I’m glad you liked the recipes. You can leave out the chilli flakes, they’re not vital to the taste of the finished dish. Instead of curry paste, you could use a mixture of 1 teaspoon each of turmeric, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek, and fennel seeds. Fennel is very good for digestion so it might be beneficial for you. I don’t know of an alternative to mozzarella I’m afraid, but do some research and see what you can discover. 

      You could swap the beans for finely diced root vegetables, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or even tofu. Beans are notorious for causing gas! My brother is banned from eating them by his wife. Can you eat edamame (soya) beans? Or are they still bad? Please let me know if you have any other questions. 


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