5 Light and Easy Vegetable-Forward Weeknight Meals

Consider these light and nourishing vegetarian weeknight meals the perfect segue into next week’s Thanksgiving feast.

5 Light and Easy Vegetable-Forward Weeknight Meals

Our family has been eating far less meat and we’re liking it. It’s not because we’re particular about eating seasonally, we feel strongly about sustainability, or want to boost our well-being (although bonus points for all of that). There are so many scrumptious vegetable recipes out there, it’s easy to eat meat only occasionally. 

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this week I’m motivated to make lighter meals that are simple, satisfying, and nourishing. It’s a fitting segue to next week’s feast. 

I gathered five weeknight vegetarian meals that are substantial enough to hold their own from a slurp-worthy noodle soup and a roasted vegetable soup brimming with flavor to a cheesy casserole that won’t bog you down. 

  • Soba Noodle Bowls with Spinach and Poached Eggs

    Sesame Soba Noodle Bowls
    Sally Vargas

    Every time I make soda noodles, I remind myself to make it more often. Soba doesn’t get gummy or starchy. It stays perfectly soft even after hanging out in the fridge. Plus, it’s still delicious served cold. Here, it’s served warm with spinach, a poached egg, and a simple store-bought stock flavored with ginger, garlic, and sesame oil.

  • Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup

    Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup
    Elise Bauer

    If it feels like one too many steps to roast the vegetables before adding them to the soup, try it once. Caramelized (it means the sugars in the vegetables were intensified, just like, well, caramel) vegetables plus the browned bits stuck to the sheet pan all translate to big flavor. If meat is a must for you, some cooked sausage would work well with this dish.

  • Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu (Indian Spinach and Tofu)

    Pressure Cooker Saag Tofu
    Coco Morante

    Our very own instant pot expert, Coco Morante, created this garam masala-spiced spinach and tofu dish that only requires 10 minutes of prep. I’ve used curry powder in a cinch instead of garam masala and it’s still delicious. The saag will be bright yellow because curry powder has turmeric and garam masala doesn’t.

  • Easy Vegetable Tart with Carrots, Fennel and Chevre

    Savory Vegetable Tart with carrots and chevre cheese.
    Sally Vargas

    Galettes are for wannabe pie masters like me that can’t quite crimp the edges to look nice. The dough around the edges of galettes is folded to look uneven and rustic on purpose. This fall-ready galette is filled with carrots, fennel, and soft goat cheese. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole

    Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole
    Sally Vargas

    Spaghetti squash is such a cheeky vegetable. It’s not spaghetti pasta. It’s squash, but unlike the varieties you know and love, this one’s mild flavored and stringy. It’s great in casseroles as a healthier stand-in for the usual carbs like bread or pasta and a textured vehicle for cream and cheese. Serve it with a bold and bright salad like this Radicchio Salad with Citrus. In our family we eat this as a main dish, but you can also enjoy as a side with roasted chicken.

  • Weekend Baker: Orange Bread

    Orange Bread
    Elise Bauer

    Loaf cakes are my favorite category of dessert because they are unfussy. Often made in one bowl using pantry ingredients, it can be whipped up without advanced planning. Use lemons, tangerines, limes, or grapefruit instead (or in addition to!) oranges.