Easy meatless meals in minutes

Mar 1, 2012 at 4:09 a.m. ET

Whether you're cooking for one or you're cooking for a crowd, you'll love these easy, meatless meals you can whip up in minutes.

Falafel sandwich

Falafel pitas with cucumber-yogurt dressing

Pita pocket sandwiches are always a good choice for quick, family-friendly meals in minutes. If falafel isn't your thing, stuff your sandwiches with egg, tuna or hummus instead.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Serving size 4


  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon spicy Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 16-ounce can chick peas, drained
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread, torn in pieces
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 whole wheat pitas, split into individual pita pockets
  • 1 cup arugula, romaine lettuce or spinach
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup diced, seedless cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Mix the Greek yogurt, cucumber and lemon juice in a bowl. Cover and chill.
  2. Place the onion, mustard, chick peas, spices, bread and egg whites into a small food processor and pulse until they're well blended.
  3. Heat up the olive oil on a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.
  4. Spoon 1/3 cup chick pea mixture per falafel onto the griddle. With a large enough skillet or griddle, you may be able to cook all four falafels at once.
  5. Cook approximately four minutes on each side, flipping like a pancake. They're done when they're golden brown.
  6. Place greens in each pita and place one falafel on top of the greens.
  7. Spoon Greek yogurt mix onto each falafel.
  8. Serve with fresh fruit or sliced veggies.

More recipes: Vegetarian avocado and white bean pita wrap >>

Microwaveable black bean "soup"

There's not a meal much easier than this one. If you're cooking for a crowd, just double or triple the recipe and increase the cooking time, monitoring it until it's hot and ready to serve.

Serving size 2


  • 1 can low-sodium black beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh salsa
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 once cheddar cheese
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
  • 1/2 diced avocado (optional)


  1. Empty the black beans into a large, microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Place the salsa and diced onions on top of the beans and stir.
  3. Microwave the mixture for three minutes.
  4. Top the black beans with cheddar cheese and microwave until cheese is melted.
  5. Stir and distribute between bowls. Top with sour cream and avocado.
  6. Serve with corn chips or crumble them on top for a little extra crunch.

More recipes: 3 Delicious soup recipes >>

Fresh vegetable pasta

For a hearty Italian meal, you don't have to indulge in meals decked out in beef, chicken or veal. Try this light and tasty meatless meal served up in about 20 minutes.

Recipe adapted from MyRecipes

Serving size 6


  • 1 package whole wheat pasta of your choice
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups trimmed arugula (spinach may be substituted)
  • 1-1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/3 cup sliced fresh basil
  • 14-ounce canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered


  1. Cook the pasta as directed by the label. During the last two minutes of the cooking time, add the asparagus to the pot.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, mix the vinegar, oil and pepper in a large serving bowl.
  3. Drain the pasta when cooking is complete.
  4. Add the pasta, arugula, tomatoes, onions, basil, artichokes and cheese to the bowl, tossing until everything is coated with the oil and vinegar mixture.

More recipes: Healthy pasta recipes for summer >>

More meat-free recipes

Grilled fish recipes
Spring recipes: Lighter dinners with fish
Spaghetti frittata recipe