Fall Is Actually the Best Time to Eat More Vegetarian Meals

Goodbye, lettuce. Hello, sweet potatoes.

October 27, 2020
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Food Stylist: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin ,Food Stylist: Rebecca JurkevichProp Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Con Poulos Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Con Poulos Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

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I consider myself very lucky to have a family that doesn’t put up a fight at mealtime. Sure, there’s the occasional meltdown over carrots (if even the tiniest shred finds its way onto my daughter’s plate we’re in trouble). But, for the most part, whatever I make for dinner is happily gobbled up. Most days I even get a thank you.

But, despite their easy-going nature, there is one thing that my family struggles to get on board with: vegetarian dinners. For my husband, it’s the fact that he grew up in a Hispanic household where meat was considered an essential part of every meal. For my daughter it’s her love of beef. And Italian sausage. And… OK, you get the picture.

The only time they don’t seem to mind going meatless? October through February — because fall produce is hearty and satisfying and cold-weather cooking methods bring out the best in veggies. And, who can blame them? I’d take cinnamon-roasted sweet potatoes or crispy, oven-roasted Brussels sprouts over lettuce and cucumbers any day!

So, I’ve been serving up lots of chunky vegetarian chili, creamy butternut squash risotto and curried lentils with rice and oven-charred broccoli these days. And do you know what? Everyone’s happy.

Are you looking for ways to serve your family more meatless meals too? Do you want to cozy up with a comforting dinner that you can feel good about? These recipes are the perfect way to get started.

No one will miss the meat with this hearty bean-and-cauliflower chili. It gets its incredible flavor from the addition of coffee and cocoa powder. They work together with the chipotle pepper and spices to give the chili a deep, savory flavor.

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FNK_VegetarianChickenFriedPortobelloMushroomSteaks_H

Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Vegetarian Chicken-Fried Portobello Mushroom Steaks Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Vegetarian Chicken-Fried Portobello Mushroom Steaks, as seen on Foodnetwork.com Project: Foodnetwork.com, HOLIDAY/SUPER BOWL/COMFORT/HEALTHY Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Despite the name, there’s no meat or poultry in this dish. Hearty portobello mushroom caps are covered with the same breading that’s used to make chicken-fried steak — and then fried until golden and crispy.

Aarti Sequeira's Mum's Everydat Red Lentils for Reshoots, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Well-spiced lentils are a family-favorite in our house. They’re so comforting (and filling) spooned over fluffy basmati rice. They also pair perfectly with oven-roasted vegetables, making it easy to bring a wholesome, meat-free meal to the table.

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Food stylist: Jamie Kim Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin

Photo by: Antonis Achilleos

Antonis Achilleos

Whether you make your own from scratch or opt for store-bought, there’s no denying that potato gnocchi always makes for a satisfying meal. Here, we turn them into a well-rounded vegetarian main by adding butternut squash and kale.

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FNK_RoastedVeggieBuddhaBowl_H

Food Network Kitchen’s Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl for NEW FNK, as seen on Food Network.

Photo by: Renee Comet

Renee Comet

Healthy, delicious and easy to make — these grain bowls check off all the boxes. They feature plenty of protein (thanks to the chickpeas and quinoa), are loaded with crave-worthy ingredients (like roasted sweet potatoes), and come together with the help of a sheet pan (easy cleanup!). What’s not to love?

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