34 Simple (Vegetarian) Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less

October 05, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Article, Main Dishes


In 2007, the New York Times wrote an article called Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less. I’ve held on to the article (yes, from the actual newspaper) and just came across it again in a massive desk clean-up. So, rather than hiding it back into a deep dark drawer, I figured I’d list some of the ideas here.

In the original, the majority of the dishes included meat (mostly fish), but there were many on there that are vegetarian or vegan. I’ve also included several that were easy to substitute with a faux meat. Many of these dishes can be prepared if you are good about keeping the basics in your pantry. (For a refresher check out my list of what every vegetarian should have in their kitchen.)

So, without further ado, here are 34 simple vegetarian meals ready in 10 minutes or less.

1. Make six-minute eggs: Simmer gently, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
2. Toss a cup of chopped mixed herbs with a few tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. Serve over angel-hair pasta, diluting the sauce if necessary with pasta cooking water.
3. Make pesto: put a couple of cups of basil leaves, a garlic clove, salt, pepper and olive oil as necessary in a blender (walnuts and Parmesan are optional). Serve over pasta (dilute with oil or water as necessary).

IMG_89184. Gazpacho: Combine one pound tomatoes cut into chunks, a cucumber peeled and cut into chunks, two or three slices stale bread torn into pieces, a quarter-cup olive oil, two tablespoons sherry vinegar and a clove of garlic in a blender with one cup water and couple of ice cubes. Process until smooth, adding water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, then serve or refrigerate, garnished with a little more olive oil.
5. Soak couscous in boiling water to cover until tender; top with tomatoes, parsley, olive oil and black pepper.
6. Chinese tomato and eggs: Cook minced garlic in peanut oil until blond; add chopped tomatoes then, a minute later, beaten eggs, along with salt and pepper. Scramble with a little soy sauce.
7. Cut eggplant into half-inch slices. Broil with lots of olive oil, turning once, until tender and browned. Top with crumbled goat or feta cheese and broil another 20 seconds.

IMG_35388. While pasta cooks, combine a couple cups chopped tomatoes, a teaspoon or more minced garlic, olive oil and 20 to 30 basil leaves. Toss with pasta, salt, pepper and Parmesan.


9. Egg in a hole, glorified: Tear a hole in a piece of bread and fry in butter. Crack an egg into the hole. Deglaze pan with a little sherry vinegar mixed with water, and more butter; pour over egg.
10. Quesadilla: Use a combination of cheeses, like Fontina mixed with grated pecorino. Put on half of a large flour tortilla with pickled jalapenos, chopped onion, shallot or scallion, chopped tomatoes and grated radish. Fold tortilla over and brown on both sides in butter or oil, until cheese is melted.
11. Fast chile rellenos: Drained canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in flour and fry in skillet slit side up, until cheese melts.
12. Saute 10 whole peeled garlic cloves in olive oil. Meanwhile, grate pecorino, grind lots of black pepper, chop parsley and cook pasta. Toss all together, along with crushed dried chili flakes and salt.
13. Cold soba with dipping sauce: Cook soba noodles, then rinse in cold water until cool. Serve with a sauce of soy sauce and minced ginger diluted with mirin and/or dry sake.

IMG_099514. Fried rice: Soften vegetables with oil in a skillet. Add cold take-out rice, chopped onion, garlic, ginger, peas and two beaten eggs. Toss until hot and cooked through. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
15. Taco salad: Toss together greens, chopped tomato, chopped red onion, sliced avocado, a small can of black beans and kernels from a couple of ears of corn. Toss with crumbled tortilla chips and grated cheese. Dress with olive oil, lime and chopped cilantro leaves.


16. Migas, with egg: Saute chopped stale bread with olive oil, mushrooms, onions and spinach. Stir in a couple of eggs.
17. Saute shredded (or sliced) zucchini in olive oil, adding garlic and chopped herbs. Serve over pasta.


18. Not takeout: Stir-fry onions with cut-up broccoli. Add cubed tofu along with a tablespoon each minced garlic and ginger. When almost done, add half cup of water, two tablespoons soy sauce and plenty of black pepper. Heat through and serve over fresh Chinese noodles.


19. The Waldorf: Toast a handful of walnuts in a skillet. Chop an apple or pear; toss with greens, walnuts and a dressing made with olive oil, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallot. Top if you like, with crumbled goat or blue cheese.
20. Put a stick of butter and a handful of pine nuts in a skillet. Cook over medium heat until both are brown. Toss with cooked pasted, grated Parmesan and black pepper.
21. Put a tablespoon of cream and a slice of tomato in each of several small ramekins. Top with an egg, then salt, pepper, ad grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 degrees until the eggs set. Serve with toast.
22. Make a fast tomato sauce of olive oil, chopped tomatoes and garlic. Poach eggs in the sauce, then top with Parmesan.


23. Peel and thinly slice raw beets; cook in butter or oil with garlic; do not overcook. Finish with parsley, lemon juice and coarse salt; serve over toast.
24. Rich vegetable soup: Cook asparagus tips and peeled stalks or most any other green vegetable in [vegetable] stock with a little tarragon until tender; reserve a few tips and puree the rest with a little butter (cream or yogurt, too, if you like) adding enough stock to thin the puree. Garnish with the reserved tips. Serve hot or cold.
25. Brush portobello caps with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper and broil until tender. Briefly sweat chopped onions, then scramble eggs with them. Put eggs in mushrooms.
26. Near instant mezze: Combine hummus on plate with yogurt laced with chopped cucumbers and a bit of garlic, plus tomato, feta, white beans with olive oil and pita bread.
27. Sear corn kernels in olive oil with minced jalapenos and chopped onions; toss with cilantro, black beans, chopped tomatoes, chopped bell pepper and lime.


28. Pit and chop a cup or more of mixed olives. Combine with olive oil, a little minced garlic, red pepper flakes and chopped basil or parsley. Serve over pasta.
29. Grated carrots topped with six-minute eggs (run under cold water until cool before peeling), olive oil and lemon juice.
30. Cut off the top of four big tomatoes; scoop out the interior and mix them with toasted stale baguette or pita, olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs (basil, tarragon, and/or parsley). Stuff into tomatoes and serve with salad.
31. Pasta frittata: Turn cooked pasta and a little garlic into an oiled or buttered skillet. Brown, pressing to create a cake. Flip, then top with three or four beaten eggs and loads of Parmesan. Brown other side and serve.
32. Ketchup-braised tofu: Dredge large tofu cubes in flour. [Megabeth note: press and drain tofu to get excess liquid out before using.] Brown in oil; remove from skillet and wipe skillet clean. Add a little more oil, then a tablespoon minced garlic; 30 seconds later, add one and a half cups ketchup and the tofu. Cook until sauce bubbles and tofu is hot.
33. Veggie burger: Drain and pour a 14-ounce can of beans into a food processor with an onion, half a cup of rolled oats, a tablespoon chili powder or other spice mix, an egg, salt and pepper. Process until mushy, then shape into burgers, adding a little liquid or oats as necessary. Cook in oil about three minutes a side and serve.
34. So-called Fettuccine Alfredo: Heat several tablespoons of butter and about half a cup of cream in a large skillet just until the cream starts to simmer. Add slightly undercooked fresh pasta to the skillets, along with plentuy of grated Parmesan. Cook over low heat, tossing, until pasta is tender and hot.

Peach, Strawberry, and Banana Smoothie

August 30, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Other, Snacks/Appetizers

I always forget how good smoothies are so when I finally do get around to making one I kick myself for not making them more often. The hardest part of making the smoothie is cleaning the blender when you’re done. And, really, that’s not so bad.

This version was made with yogurt but you can also substitute a scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt instead. Alternatively, you can throw some orange juice into the mix – the result is a little more “juicy” than “smoothie” but it’s still the same concept.

Peach, Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
by Megabeth

1 peach, peeled, cut into chunks
5-6 strawberries, cut into chunks
1/2 banana (or full banana), cut into chunks
1 cup organic, fat-free vanilla yogurt
2 cups ice*
1 tablespoon honey (optional depending on how sweet the yogurt is)

Throw all the ingredients into the blender and process until the ice is crushed. (You can leave the honey out until after you blend so that you can taste test for sweetness.)

* My blender doesn’t like large chunks of ice so I try to throw smaller pieces in. If you have large ice cubes, you might want to throw them into a bag and crush them with a hammer (or blunt instrument of your choice)before putting in the blender. Alternatively, you can fill an ice tray with only a little bit of water so that the resulting cubes are smaller.

Peach, Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
Peach, Strawberry and Banana Smoothie
Peach, Strawberry and Banana Smoothie

Eggplant in Spicy Yogurt Sauce

June 27, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

This is an easy, throw together recipe that only requires two major ingredients and a fully loaded spice cabinet. You can, of course, get creative on the spices but this can give you an idea of where to start.

Eggplant in Spicy Yogurt Sauce
by Megabeth

1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
canola oil spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

For the spice rub, combine all spices in a small bowl.


Spread some aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Place eggplants on sheet and spray one side with canola spray.


Sprinkle some of the spice rub on each eggplant. Flip eggplant over and repeat with canola spray and spices.


Bake until golden brown or cooked to your preferred “doneness” – about 15-20 minutes.


Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine yogurt and the rest of spices.


Drizzle on cooked eggplant and serve.

Lazy Dinner: Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

May 04, 2009 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
After a lot of recent travel, I obviously did not feel like spending time in the kitchen. I stared into my pantry and tried to whip together things that I have on hand and came up with Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. And, honestly, it was really good, easy to make and easy to clean up after. Just what I was looking for…

Vegetarian Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
1 15-oz can, vegetarian chili (or homemade vegetarian chili)
2 sweet potatoes
Greek yogurt

I scrubbed two sweet potatoes, poked them a few times with a fork. Set them in the microwave for about 6 to 8 minutes.

I then heated up the chili in the microwave. Meanwhile, I sliced open the potatoes. I used a fork to “mush up” the insides and pushed the potatoes to the sides of the skin to make room for the chili.

Once the chili was cooked, I spooned it inside the potatoes and added a little Greek yogurt on the top.

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