Quick No Meat Meals?

Updated on May 14, 2013
R.D. asks from East Orleans, MA
17 answers

I have recently went from working 2-3 days a week to working 4-6 days a week and I am running out of quick things to make for dinner, so far we have had mostly pasta dishes or fast food days. We try to limit the days we eat meat to once or twice a week so I don't make a lot of the hamburger helper type things a lot of women I know do. I would love any sort of 30min or less recipes you have where I can easily sub out the meat!

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So What Happened?

Thank all of you so much! We are staring to get a routine going with cooking then freezing and lots of quick little meals! Thank you so so much!

Featured Answers



answers from Sacramento on

Fritattas are a great option. If you search on CookingLight's website, you'll find a ton of easy recipes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Zucchini and black bean quesedillas. I don't have a recipe off-hand, as I just Google it when I plan to make it.

More Answers



answers from Miami on

- Quesadillas with tons of veggies (huge hit in our house). I bake mine in the oven, so there's not much "clean up". Load them up with cheese and lightly sauteed vegetables (or leftover veggies from another meal) and pop them in at 425 for ten minutes, then flip for another 5.

- Omlettes are quick and easy. You can put anything you want in them- whatever's in the fridge! Add some toast and juice and you're all set.

- You probably have 1001 pasta recipes, but I usually keep a thing of frozen ravioli in the house. I mix store bought pesto (small jar) with 1/2 cup of heavy cream and pour it over the frozen ravioli (in a baking dish). Mix to coat. Add 1/2 bag of frozen peas & carrots and mix. Bake it at 425 for 20 minutes (covered), uncover and sprinkle with parm and bake another 20 minutes. It's not the most healthy, but it is delicious!

- Quiches are not as hard to make as you might think. Much like an omlette in a pie crust, but heartier. We have them pretty often with a side salad.

- Vegetarian chili in the crock pot is pretty good with corn bread.

- Grilled cheese with soup

- Veggie and cheese paninis

I would suggest getting a good crock pot cookbook. I have the Better Homes and Gardens one and I love it! Not sure why you limit your meat intake (health or $$ I assume), but make sure to find one that has plenty of meatless options.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

I made some rice/cheese enchiladas recently that were yummy! Just make the rice, mix it with cheese and sour cream and green chilies. Roll in tortillas and then line up in a baking dish. I covered them with green sauce, sprinkled with cheese and baked for about 20 mins. Yummy!

Portabello mushrooms or tofu "steaks" are good. Marinate and throw on the grill! Serve with veggies or cous cous.

Scrambled eggs or omelets

taco or taco salads with no meat, sub beans (or even mushrooms). You can use whole beans or refried, they make vegetarian beans too.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Taco salad :
(just use beans or ground beef alternative like Morning star veggie crumbles)
instead of a big salad we just each individually pile up a layer of corn chips, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato, olives, chives, sour cream and salsa.

Mango corn and bean salad :
( i love this one on a hot summer day when I just plain don't feel like cooking. Minimal dish clean up too) I open a few cans of pinto or black beans, corn, and dice in fresh tomato and mango. I dress it with a lemon, oil, cumin and add cilantro and chive. We eat it with french bread or corn chips and a dash of hot sauce.

Stir fry with chicken alternative.
There are so many great chicken alternatives out there. Some of my fav's: Quorn, asian style canned gluten (found in asian or health food markets), frozen Gardian orange flavored "chicken". Dice a few veggies (or buy the fresh ready cut stir fry from grocery store) and stir fry in veg broth and serve the orange flavored chicken over the top for flavor. Make a huge batch of brown rice each week and reheat!

Panini night:
Panini makers are inexpensive. Noting is easier and whipping together sandwiches and minimal dishes. Try roasted red peppers (out of a jar), with hummus and basil, fresh tomato, and pre sliced cheese.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You didn't say why you don't want meat. I'm guessing its economics.
You can do the soups and stews with cheaper cuts of meat in the crock pot. The crock pot tenderizes otherwise tough cuts of meat.

My favorite crockpot food is chili and beef stew. If you don't want meat, then beef stew becomes vegetable soup unless its thick then vegetable stew.

Allrecipes.com can help you a lot.

Good luck to you and yours.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My kids actually love this. Usually groan when they see me chop zucchini.

half a red onion chopped
3 cloves (or more if you like) chopped garlic
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2 medium chopped zucchini--also can use 1 or 3
baby spinach
15 oz can black beans
10 ounces chicken broth (more or less)

saute the red onion until almost cooked, add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. add the zucchini and cook until almost tender, add tomato. I like to add a little salt here and some Italian seasoning for flavor.

add the beans and chicken broth. Cook until you get a boil. Turn down heat and add spinach. I like to chop the spinach because my kids hate the big pieces even though it pretty much shrinks up.
simmer for maybe 10 minutes and serve over cooked rice. You can even cook the rice the day before.

I like to cook extra rice and use it the next day for veggie stir fry. Add some soy sauce and worcestershire to 2 beaten eggs. Put the rice in a deep pan with a little oil. Add bag of frozen veggies. make a hole in the center of the pan and add the egg. Let it cook a little and then mix it all together. Takes maybe 10 minutes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

Bean burritos, quiche, omelettes, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Mexican food is good and easy without meat: bean, cheese and rice burritos, quesadillas, black bean soup.
Eggs for dinner, either a hearty scramble with cheese & veges/onions (this is a great way to use whatever random produce you have in the fridge) with toast, or a quiche or a frittata.
During warm weather we often have sandwiches for dinner, good bread, meat, cheese, tomato, avocado, etc. You can always toast them under the broiler if you want something warm.
My favorite make-aheads: roasted whole chicken, a tri tip, chili, soup or stew. Those things make great leftovers AND they freeze well.
Sorry I'm not providing specific recipes but I would either have to retype them from my family cookbook or cut and paste everything from allrecipes.com, or pinterest and,
ain't nobody got time for that!!!
LOL :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Not fast but make ahead:
1. eggplant parm
2. spaghetti squash casserole
3.upside down veggie pizza

Pretty fast:
1. veggie stir fry
2. bean and cheese burritos or enchiladas
3. stuffed peppers
4. veggie burgers
5. falafel
6. Garden chowder soup

In my experience, veg meals take a little more planning in terms of ingredients etc.

We are also trying to cut our meat consumption down!

Any recipes you want, let me know.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Stir fry with tofu? You can marinate chunks of drained tofu ahead of time in some soy sauce (I use firm tofu - it holds up better in stir frying). You can also chop up your veggies ahead of time, or buy them already sliced at the supermarket. We like it as a "refrigerator clean-out" type of meal to use up whatever veggies are left, as the quantities don't matter.

Separate sliced raw veggies according to cooking time - longer cooking items include carrots, green beans and broccoli florets; medium ones are peppers (any color), onions and celery; quick ones are zucchini, baby corn cobs, mushrooms and snow peas. You can add canned water chestnuts or bamboo shoots if you like. You don't have to use all of these veggies- choose what you want and what the family eats. I just put them in separate bowls or plastic containers, making sure they are not sitting in water.

When you get home, start a pot of rice. I add vegetable broth (reduce water accordingly) and/or Chinese 5-spice powder to the water to give it a little flavor. While it's cooking, get out your tofu and drain it, reserving the soy sauce marinade. Get out your pre-sliced veggies and put them "in order" of longest cooking first. Head some canola oil in a skillet - you can add a little Asian sesame oil if you like. When the oil is hot, put in the drained tofu and cook each side until browned, turning gently with tongs. As they finish, remove to a platter. When done, add in the carrots/broccoli and quick fry for 1-2 minutes. Then add medium-cook veggies (peppers, onions) and keep stirring now and then. After 1-2 more minutes, add in the zucchini and mushrooms for 1-2 minutes.

While these are cooking, take the reserved soy sauce mixture and add a little water or white wine and some corn starch to thicken it (about 1 tsp for 1/2 cup of sauce). You can add spices you like such as ginger or 5-spice powder. Shake or stir well.

Remove the cooked veggies to the same platter as the tofu, then throw in the liquid and stir until it thickens. Put in the cooked tofu and veggies and any water chestnuts/bamboo shoots (they don't need to cook - just get hot). Just stir gently until covered with sauce and heated, serve over rice.

It sounds complicated but it's all about planning. It puts lots of cooked veggies on the kids' plates and it looks colorful. If necessary, kids can pick out the veggies they don't like, but often they will choose something they wouldn't normally try.

Another option is a frittata - also good with leftovers like spaghetti and vegetables. You can find lots of recipes on line.

How about spaghetti squash instead of pasta? Just put the sauce and the cheese on it as you normally would.

I also use soft tofu mixed with some cottage cheese instead of ricotta in lasagna.

I also make bean enchiladas with various veggies - start the rice ahead of time and use some plain tomato puree instead of some of the water, adding Mexican type spices as you wish (cumin and coriander work, so does chili powder. While the rice is cooking, spread some tortillas with vegetarian refried beans (in a stripe down the center of the tortilla), then add any combination of kidney and black beans (drained), some frozen peas and frozen corn, some diced green peppers, some diced onion and a little Mexican style or cheddar cheese. Fold the two sides of the tortilla up and secure with a toothpick. Repeat. Line the tortillas up on a baking sheet, top with a little tomato sauce/puree (same spices as you used with the rice) and put some cheese on top. Bake 15 minutes at 350.

Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

Stir fried Tofu with Black Bean Sauce (from a jar) over rice

Vegetarian Chili

Taco Salad (haystacks) Use beans instead of meat.

Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup



answers from Honolulu on

Go to the Martha Stewart website.
They have "Everyday Food" recipes.
ie: quick and easy and good.
It is also in magazine form. At stores.

Lots of good recipes on her website.
I have used it.



answers from Los Angeles on

Shrimp (p/u already cooked from store), throw in pasta w/light alfredo
Chicken on salad (pre cooked strips of chicken in deli section thrown on
top if bag of spinach leaves or garden green), throw sliced red onion &
diced tomatoes. Or even add corn.
Bbq chicken breast, rice, salad
Tacos (grd beef or turkey). Quick, easy. Put in flour or corn tortillas. Have
dice onions, tomatoes & bag of shredded cheese.
Frozen veggie pizza
Spaghetti, bag of salad, garlic bread from the freezer you put in toaster oven
Soup & grilled sandwhiches
Veggie fajitas
Veggie lasagna (cook night before & put in fridge to be heated up)
Pick up a rotisserie chicken & pasta salad on way home from work
Red beans & rice. Soak beans overnight on weekend, cook all day on
Sunday then have in fridge to re-heat for Monday night's dinner
Chinese style sauted veggies served over rice. You buy the bag of froz
veggies from Costco or any store for that matter.

Edit: Quesadilla pie. You layer warmed flour tortilla topped w/black beans,
shredded cheese, tomatoes, red onions. Again, flour tortilla, black beans,
shredded cheese, tomatoes, red onions finishing w/one last tortilla topped
w/shred cheese. Bake in 350 degree oven for 10-15 mins. Serve w/sour
cream, jalapeno slices, salsa.



answers from Omaha on

I like things I can make ahead, like a lasagna. I make it the night before with oven ready noodles, then pop it in the oven when I get home. Meatloaf (sorry, it's one with meat! I make it with ground turkey) is also easy to make the night before and pop in the oven when I get home.



answers from Seattle on

DONT forget "make ahead & freeze"!!! Things that take AGES to cook, but you make lots & lots and pull out of the freezer. Things like
- Taquitos
- Samosas
- Gyoza
- Stuffed things (peppers, mushrooms, etc.)
- Soups
- Caseroles
- Pot Pies
- Stackers (like meatloaf, potatoes, spinach... Or rice&beans bean cakes w plantains, and peppers... Or crab cakes, leek potatoes, Raab. Individual serving. I cut (or form press for veg like in a duff in tin) in rounds, about 1" thick, stack 3" high. Once they're frozen, I just pop out of tins, or off the tray, wrap in seran, and put in gallon bags)
- mini quiche (I use giant muffin tins)
- Bao
- French toast
- Pancakes
- Canneloni
- Lasagna
- etc.

These are things I make about 100-200 a batch. I used to have a deep freeze with something like 30 "types" of meals with dozens of actual meals (200 tamales, 2-3 each per person = several dozen meals) , as I made/froze a new thing each week.

Most things take 15-30 minutes to reheat in the oven or steamer if you prep them in individual servings. Family style servings take 60+. Meanwhile, others just zap in minutes. Depends on the thing.



answers from Atlanta on

We also have busy week days/evenings, so my trick is to move the prep/cooking time to the weekends or late night. For example, I cook a pot of beans or lentil soup and keep it in the fridge during the week. At meal time, we make some rice in the rice cooker or use bread with the soup, heat up the stew/soup, and serve. For veggies, I rinse some grape tomatoes and slice some peppers and/or cucumbers, and they eat those on the side. Another option is to keep tortillas and grated cheese in the fridge and serve burritos in which the kids can put their own toppings once I heat up some beans and cheese in a tortilla. Sliced olives, chopped tomatoes, chopped green/red peppers, salsa, and yogurt or sour cream give us a nice range of options. Finally, a slow cooker can be very useful; I found a book with meat-less recipes in the store. Good luck--there are lots of non-meat quick options.

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