Yes, we like to wax poetic about fresh, tender spring greens. And we're not-so-secret fans of turning off the stove and inhaling juicy summer produce raw. But, honestly, we need to stop sleeping on fall and winter veg. From creamy curries and veggie-packed stews to piles of crispy, roasty roots and ooey-gooey gratins, there are so many ways vegetables can shine in colder weather.
To celebrate the colder season, we've got 24 hearty, flavorful meatless meals to add to your dinner rotation. We promise, whether you're a committed vegetarian or just looking to add more plants to your plate, these recipes will keep everyone warm and happy.
We'll start off with a flavorful, filling weeknight hit from recipe developer, Maria Lichty and her husband, Josh, of Two Peas & Their Pod. Maria and her family follow a plant-forward diet more often than not. And even more often than that, they eat fresh, simple, family-friendly homemade meals that require a relatively low effort for their high pay-off.
Take these stuffed sweet potatoes with all the fixings you'd expect in enchiladas — a spiced tomato-based sauce, creamy black beans, cubes of fresh avocado, melty cheese, and more. There's no rolling, filling, or baking in a casserole dish for hours. Just roast the sweet potatoes until tender, split them open to get the middle flesh all fluffy, and top to your heart's desire.
Warming spices like paprika, cumin, and turmeric, along with onion and garlic, come together in this "hard to screw up" rice pilaf. Then, crispy chickpeas and tart-sweet dried cherries get added to the fluffy, fragrant rice, along with a ton of tender herbs. The result is a satisfying dish that takes a little over an hour (mostly inactive!) to get on the table.
3. Best quiche
Here's Food52's best quiche recipe — ever — straight from our test kitchen. It's made with a buttery, flaky, cream cheese–laden crust, and then filled with the silkiest savory custard you could ever dream of, and that alone would be enough. But even better, you can customize all the mix-ins to make the quiche of your dreams: strong aged Cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, chopped-up broccoli florets, and cremini mushrooms are all favorites of ours.
What do you cook for a whole-wheat skeptic to make them a believer? This nutty-garlicky-buttery pasta. The whole thing is ready to eat in 30 minutes, leaving you enough time to toss together a little side salad and call it a night.
A one-pan lasagna that can be whipped up in...under an hour? Yes, it's here, and we'll happily let us solve all our weeknight woes. The trick to this whole kit and caboodle is a package of frozen ravioli. For real! Just make a sauce in the pan, then layer frozen ravioli in and top with cheese before letting it do its thing in the oven. Simple as that.
Store-bought Thai curry paste is a weeknight miracle worker. For instance, it helps take this root vegetable-packed curry over the finish line in about 20 minutes. It's plenty hearty as-is, but with steamed jasmine rice or chewy rice noodles, it'll keep you satisfied and cozy as can be.
Adding tomatoes, sweet butternut squash, and spices to a slow cooker, then letting it go for 6 hours, can only spell good things: namely, the beginnings of a great shakshuka. Once the tomato base has cooked and the flavors meld together wonderfully, crack a few eggs into the slow cooker itself and let them firm up for a little less than half an hour. Break out some pita or other crusty bread, and get to work.
Nutty, rich pistachios team up with licorice-y fennel and lots of green herbs for this ultra-cozy, if not a bit nontraditional, take on lasagna. It tastes even better the next day — that is, if it lasts that long.
What could be heartier and more comforting than a fully loaded baked potato? This rendition, with a drizzle of garlicky Greek yogurt and plenty of mushroom "bacon," is savory and satisfying, and totally ready to be your dinner tonight.
Fluffy, pillowy ricotta dumplings are simpler to put together than you'd think, and pair wonderfully with an also-simple homemade vodka sauce. The two get baked together in a dish with lots of bubbly cheese on top, creating a dish that's like a warm hug.
The classic gratin gets a bit of an update by our cofounder, Merrill, who took the recipe she learned in culinary school and riffed on it to fit the season. She layers thin slices of hardy vegetables — like butternut squash, parsnips, and white potatoes — in a bath of garlic-and herb-steeped milk, then tops it with piles of cheese and sticks it all in the oven to bake. With a little side salad for some freshness, this new take is sure to enter your dinner rotation this season.
Paneer takes a dip in a spiced tomato-and onion-based sauce, and is joined by a whole mess of sweet English peas. With rice, chapati, or even a crusty piece of bread, this quickie curry becomes a satisfying dinner.
No low-and-slow cook times here, but still all the flavor, thanks to a few very clever tricks. A steaming bowl of beany, spicy chili can be yours in well under an hour.
With butternut squash and mushrooms, this pasta is fall on a plate. Better yet, the whole dish is made in an Instant Pot, cutting down cook time to about 20 blazing minutes.
A richly spiced tomato sauce envelopes creamy hard boiled eggs to create a dish that's "filling and satisfying without feeling overly heavy." The pops of flavor from curry leaves and cilantro really help take this South Indian-style dish to the next level.
This take on spaghetti squash made a non-believer change their tune — thanks to a garlicky, tomato-ey white bean ragoût. Any leftover sauce has about a million other uses: as a topping for polenta, on eggs, scooped up with toast...
Ah, potatoes, we meet again. This time, with a zingy chive-cashew pesto and a creamy, garlicky filling. The potatoes are roasted, scooped, then filled and put back into the oven for a second bake, to yield their skins impossibly crispy and their insides tender, fluffy, and delicious.
A go-to dinner for chef, cookbook author, and busy mom, Chitra Agrawal? Coconutty, not-too-spicy dal and a heap of fluffy turmeric rice. It's plenty flavorful for adults, and happily kid-approved, too.
Once again, prepared Thai curry paste is here to save the day — this time, for a 20-minute green curry noodle bowl, chock-full of vegetables. You can add in whatever veg you like, but we're partial to a starchy kind (potatoes, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash) and something more tender (mushrooms, young corn, bell pepper, you name it).
This hearty, hefty main is not only really satisfying, it's also packed with vegetables. Tortillas blanket themselves around sautéed collard greens and savory, spiced roasted yams. Then, the whole thing is smothered in a thick, homemade enchilada sauce and lots of cheese before heading to the oven.
This one-pot, 35-minute Thai-inspired curry will save you from yourself. Just chuck all the ingredients in and let them simmer to glory.
Humble cremini mushrooms provide so much meatiness and umami-rich flavor to this ragu, dreamed up by Manhattan restaurant, L'Artusi. After it cooks down with tomato paste and cream to create a luxurious sauce, the mushrooms top tender handmade garganelli pasta (that can easily be replaced with store-bought, dried noodles) for a flavor-packed meal you'd never know was vegetarian.
Quick-cooking red lentils are spiced with Tunisian chile paste, harissa, and a whole mess of creamy tahini. Tender and sweet caramelized onions, along with chopped fresh parsley, join the party, too, for good measure.
A vegetable-packed, warmly spiced, extra-fragrant basmati rice pilaf is the perfect vegetarian dinner. Paired with a cooling, creamy tomato–onion raita and crunchy fried papad, we want to eat this dish every night of the week.
This story was originally published on Food52.com: 24 hearty meatless mains everyone at the table can tuck into this fall