Celebrate National Vegetarian Week with Crop Drop
It’s National Vegetarian Week when everyone is encouraged to go veggie for a week and nominate some friends to join the challenge. This year, the focus is on going veggie for the environment, as a vegetarian (or plant-based) diet generally has a lower environmental impact in terms of emissions, land use and water consumption. You can join the challenge, enjoy some special offers and get involved with the Vegetarian Society if you so choose.
Whether you want to try a vegetarian diet this week or just increase the amount of fresh fruit and veg in your diet, you’ll be happy to know that all the recipes on the Crop Drop site are 100% vegetarian. As an added bonus, we also feature dairy free, gluten free and 100% vegan recipes.
Going veggie, even for just one week, can be a daunting task if meat is a key part of your diet. Replacing meat products with veggie alternatives such as veggie sausages, burgers, etc. is often the first step for many new vegetarians and vegans, and a lifesaver for many lifelong veggies who like the taste of meat. There are some great choices out there nowadays – a far cry from the sad, tasteless offerings of bygone years.
Of course, as an organisation championing fresh produce, we try to encourage a move away from processed foods, as they’re far from ideal both in terms of environmental impact and their effect on our health. We’ve collected some easy vegetarian recipes below that may inspire you to more beyond store-bought meat substitutes and celebrate the huge variety and richness of vegetarian cuisines from around the world. We believe that discovering exciting new ways of consuming our daily requirement of protein, vitamins and minerals is a great way of expanding one’s comfort zone when it comes to veggie food. The best veggie food is food that makes you feel like you’re adding something tasty and new to your diet, rather than denying yourself something you love.
Vegetarian Pasta Dishes
Trying a new diet can be off-putting when you’re worried about having to spend a lot of time cooking, so why not keep things simple? Pasta dishes are often an acceptable veggie alternative for diehard meat eaters - how else can you explain the abundance of risotto dishes on the menus of meat or fish heavy restaurants? The simple pasta dishes below can be made quickly and easily when you’re hungry and you don’t need to be an experienced cook to make them. That said, they’re big on flavour, with some unusual combinations to try.
This spaghetti with cavolo nero (a type of kale), garlic and chilly dish is one of the most popular recipes on our site and is incredibly easy to make. For a slightly different take on the theme, try this variation that adds feta, olive and capers. Not a fan of kale? This similar spaghetti dish replaces it with broccoli.
For a classic vegetarian pasta dish, head for this courgette, tomato and rosemary fusilli recipe.
This exotic dish calls for onions, saffron and pecorino cheese, but the hardest part of making it is slicing the onions!
If you have more time and want to cook up something impressive, try this impressive baked beetroot risotto.
You can find even more vegetarian pasta dishes in our Mains recipe section.
Vegetarian comfort food classics
Some of these can be made ahead and enjoyed over a few days, making them a reasonable choice when you don’t have that much time to cook.
This tried and tested vegetarian moussaka recipe takes some time to prepare but doesn’t call for any processed meat substitutes at all.
This simple kale leek & cheddar bake makes use of leftover greens and is surprisingly easy to make.
Another use for store bought dough is this recipe for veggie pasties. Make a bunch and keep them as a snack for when you need a quick bite.
This classic ratatouille recipe has a few timesaving tricks up its sleeve and is pretty simple too.
OK, so making veggie burgers from scratch is more time-consuming than reaching for the freezer, but we think these vegetarian beetroot burgers are worth the effort.
This comforting Greek-inspired stuffed cabbage dish is full of healthy veg but feels oddly decadent.
Yummy vegetable fritters turn any veg lying around into a tasty snack or main.
Throw these vegetable kebabs on the BBQ for the perfect veggie alternative to meat kebabs.
And it wouldn’t be veggie comfort food without these super impressive falafels you can make at home.
Vegetarian egg dishes
Eggs are the classic vegetarian source of protein, so here are a few interesting ways you can enjoy them.
This classic shakshuka dish adds feta and preserved lemons for even more flavour and is a whole meal in itself.
This one pot pilaf with spiced courgettes, green leaves and baked eggs is inspired by central Asia and is surprisingly easy to make.
This filling frittata is packed full of healthy veg and greens.
This Persian-inspired frittata is unusual and impressive, yet not difficult to cook up - great for when you want to make an impression.
Exotic vegetarian dishes from around the world
The below dishes are inspired by Balkan, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines but are still quick and easy to make – great for when you want to impress or try out something new without toiling in the kitchen for too long.
Aubergine has a “meaty” texture and is great as a non-processed meat substitute in many dishes. This Vietnamese-inspired aubergine hotpot is full of flavour and can be served with a side salad for a full meal.
Add some noodles for this stress-free roast miso aubergine noodle dish. You can also leave out the noodles for an even simpler roast aubergine recipe. For a different flavour profile, try this Moroccan version.
These tasty beetroot and halloumi keftedes are colourful, unusual and delicious.
This Malaysian panang curry recipe is rich and creamy. You do need some specialist ingredients (well, curry paste), but the rest is pretty easy.
Hailing from nearby Indonesia, this chickpea and potato curry is packed full of healthy, plant-based protein.
Spice up your carrots with this Moroccan carrot recipe, flavoured with a wonderful mix of Middle Eastern spices.