three finest vegetarian dinner recipes for wholesome, cozy meals

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As someone who loves vegetables, low maintenance cooking, and pasta, I always try to combine these three things in new, no-frills ways. For example, while I love eggplants, I’m not a fan of the salt step, although it is usually necessary, so I sometimes skip eggplant dishes out of laziness – until now. Enter my new favorite broiler method that skips this salt step. As you’ll see below, each dish has its own little twist to keep things simple, a little bit healthier, and most importantly, delicious. Here you will find three vegetarian recipes that have a cozy and calming effect – without much effort.

With kind permission of Adam Friedlander

A deeply flavourful, silky pasta with broccoli, mushrooms and garlic topped off with a few breadcrumbs to crisp, soft drops of creamy ricotta and quick pickled peppers for a little heat to make up for it. For a lighter sauce, this recipe borrows a step from the popular Italian dish carbonara, which mixes eggs with hot noodles to create a smooth, velvety sauce. The fear with carbonara, especially for beginners, is that the eggs will clot. To avoid this, you can stir in hot pasta water to temper the eggs. These pasta follow a similar step where eggs are mixed with grated parmesan cheese and hot pasta water, and then added to the pasta and vegetables to create a cheesy sauce that finishes baking in the oven – rich and creamy, yet light.

Eggplant with tomato, broccolini and mozzarella

With kind permission of Adam Friedlander

Eggplants are delicious, creamy, and very versatile. The downside is that they don’t cook properly and become rubbery, resulting in an uncomfortable texture and mouthfeel. This recipe treats the moisture-rich ingredient in a new way by treating it the way I like to cook mushrooms – with no oil or fat added – so we can skip this step entirely and still get browned, creamy eggplants. Instead of salting the pre-cooking, the eggplants are cooked under the grill to suck the moisture out of them. Then they are tossed into an Italian vinaigrette and fried with loads of other vegetables. You can use this method and finish cooking in a tomato sauce or smeared with pesto, as they are great for absorbing whatever you put in after grilling. This dish can be eaten on its own or served next to one of the pasta.

Baked broken lasagna noodles with spinach

With kind permission of Adam Friedlander

This is an effortless, Italian-inspired stew noodle when you don’t want to watch over the stove – a real set-it-and-art-forget-it-it dish. (Setting a timer is helpful so you don’t forget it.) The shredded tomatoes are seasoned with dried herbs and garlic in the pan, then mixed with non-boiling broken lasagna noodles to bake in the oven. During the second half of the cooking, spinach, mozzarella, and parmesan are mixed together until they bubble and melt. But you can also stir in boiled sausage or boiled vegetables. Digging out thick, funky-shaped pasta with a sauce coating is very satisfying, especially when it’s coated in melted cheese. I like breaking the noodles open a few sheets at a time between a clean tea towel to avoid flying parts, and it’s a great way to get rid of the day’s aggressions.

If you enjoyed these midweek dinner shortcut recipes, you should probably try these too:

Baked Chicken and Ricotta Meatballs with Broccolini

Patricia Niven

Quick pan ravioli lasagna

Dylan James Ho and Jeni Afuso