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Vegetarian recipes that satisfy

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Vegetarian doesn't mean boring

Vegetarian dishes are healthy, hip and deliciously mainstream. To cater to this growing meatless trend, popular among herbivores and omnivores alike, restaurants, food manufacturers, cookbooks and websites are offering meatless options that are as accessible as they are delicious.

Vegetarian doesn't mean boring

If you tend to shy away from vegetarian recipes thinking they're more like side dishes that can't serve as a meal, these recipes will change the way you think about vegetarianism. Check out these vegetarian recipes courtesy of Chef David Hagedorn that are so delicious, even the biggest of carnivores won't miss the meat.

Wild Mushroom Lasagna Bolognese

Serves 12

Ingredients for the mushroom filling:

  • 1-1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetarian or vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups whole or low-fat milk
  • 2 cups red wine, such as merlot or cabernet sauvignon
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • Several sprigs of herbs, such as thyme, oregano and bay leaf, tied with kitchen twine to form a bouquet garni
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Ingredients for the bechamel sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole or low-fat milk (do not use nonfat) 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Ingredients for assembly:

  • 2 (9 ounce) packages flat, no-boil lasagna sheets
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. For the mushroom filling, place the dried porcini mushrooms in a large bowl and add the boiling water, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
  2. Combine the portobello and shiitake mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a separate large bowl and add the sliced cremini mushrooms.
  3. Melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the carrots, onion and celery in the bowl of a food processor and pulse (about 20 times) until they are finely chopped (but have not released a great amount of liquid), then add to the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes but do not let the vegetables brown. Season with salt and pepper and stir to mix well.
  5. Add the chopped garlic and the mushroom mixture to the vegetables. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed. Add the tomato paste and milk, stirring to mix well, and cook for 10 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Add the wine and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove the reconstituted porcini mushrooms from their soaking liquid and reserve the liquid. Rinse the mushrooms to remove any grit, then coarsely chop them and add to the saucepan.
  7. Strain the mushrooms' soaking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer or several layers of cheesecloth, then add it to the saucepan. Add the diced tomatoes and their juice, the bouquet garni and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, for two to three hours, stirring occasionally, until the filling is a deep, rich brown and very thick. Use strips of paper towel from time to time to skim off any fat that rises to the surface of the mixture. Discard the bouquet garni when the filling is done.
  8. For the bechamel sauce (which can be done while the filling is cooking), melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it with the butter for several seconds to form a roux. Add the milk gradually, whisking constantly to ensure that no lumps form. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for about five minutes, until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and whisk in the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Set aside.
  9. To assemble it, use nonstick cooking spray to lightly grease the inside of a 9 by 13-inch lasagna pan, preferably one with deep sides.
  10. Spread a thin layer of mushroom filling in the bottom of the pan. Arrange four lasagna sheets on the filling side by side but do not overlap. Spread a thin layer of filling over the noodles. Drizzle about 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce over the mushroom filling. Build more layers in the same order — noodles, mushroom filling, bechamel sauce — to create as many as seven layers. If there is pasta or filling left over, reserve for another use. Spread the remaining sauce on top of the lasagna so that the mushroom filling is completely covered.
  11. Sprinkle the top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  12. At this point, the lasagna can be cooled completely, wrapped well and refrigerated for one to two days or wrapped and frozen for up to two months (thaw completely before baking or adjust baking times as needed).
  13. When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the lasagna, unwrapped, for about an hour or until it is golden brown and bubbling. Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Smokey Slow-Cooked Roman Beans

Serves 12


  • 1 pound dried Roman beans, such as Goya brand
  • 2 dried pasilla or ancho chili peppers
  • 1 large onion, chopped (1-1/2 cups) 
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (2 to 3 medium cloves) 
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil (optional) 
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, stemmed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon smokey seasoning, such as Liquid Smoke
  • 1 cup water, plus more as needed
  • Brewed coffee (optional)


  1. Soak the beans in cold water overnight. Drain and rinse them, discarding any foreign matter.
  2. Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil over high heat and add the drained beans and cook for about 10 minutes, until almost tender (the beans will not be quite cooked through). Drain and place the beans in a 4- or 6-quart slow cooker.
  3. Hold the dried peppers by their stems and suspend them over a low flame until they puff and char slightly. Cut off the stems and discard. Pour out and discard the seeds; add the dried peppers (whole) to the cooker. Add the onion, garlic, espresso powder, truffle oil, honey, jalapeno pepper, bay leaf, thyme, powdered mustard, salt, ketchup, smokey seasoning and water.
  4. Cover and cook the beans on low for four hours, stirring occasionally. The beans should still be slightly firm (cook them longer, if desired). If you prefer beans with more liquid, add water (or leftover brewed coffee) near the end of cooking. Discard the bay leaf before serving.

Chipotle Infused Greens

Serves 12


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper en adobo (1 pepper, coated in sauce) 
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped (2 medium cloves) 
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 pounds chopped kale, rinsed well (about 12 cups)


  1. Combine the vinegar, honey, chipotle chili pepper, garlic, salt and butter and as much kale as will fit into a 6-quart slow cooker (not all of the kale will fit at the start).
  2. Cover and cook on low for an hour, then use tongs to turn the greens, creating as much available space as possible. Add the remaining kale, cover and cook for three hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.

For more vegetarian food for thought and eating, visit these links:

A vegetarian can love a carnivore but what will they eat?
Vegetarian breakfast recipes
Easy, healthy vegetarian dinners

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