It’s the start of the new year, so whether you’re looking for healthier dishes that don’t sacrifice taste and flavor or already made the commitment to vegan-vegetarianism, these 17 recipes are a great place to start and revisit all year long. From mujaddara, Beruit’s long-favored comfort food to eetch, an Armenian dish that's heartier than tabbouleh, and ndambe, a West African staple that utilizes canned black-eyed peas for ease, you won't miss the meat. This is one resolution to check off your list.
Lebanese Lentils and Rice with Crisped Onions
For our take on mujaddara, a much-loved comfort food in the Middle East, the lentils get a 10-minute head start so they finish at the same time as the rice. Then, we top the one-pot mixture with crispy, caramelized—almost burnt–onions.
Stir-Fried Broccoli with Sichuan Peppercorns
Here, we toast Sichuan peppercorns before they’re ground into a fine powder in a spice grinder to enhance their lasting flavor and its tongue-tingling sensation. A small step to take for big results.
Senegalese Avocado and Mango Salad
This recipe, adapted from Pierre Thiam's cookbook, “Yolele!,” combines sweet, sour and salty flavors in a spicy, yet refreshing salad. Note: It’s worth seeking out roasted peanut oil for the dressing to get the deep, nutty notes and a rich aroma.
Bulgur-Tomato Salad with Herbs and Pomegranate Molasses
Instead of soaking bulgur in water—as is done for tabbouleh–we hydrate these grains in a mixture of tomato paste and water, giving them a red-orange hue. The bulgur turns into a satisfying meal with blanched green beans, crumbled feta cheese and fried eggs.
Black-Eyed Pea and Sweet Potato Stew (Ndambe)
Black-eyed peas are a West African staple. Here, for Senegalese ndambe, they're simmered with sweet potatoes to make a hearty vegetarian stew. Bonus: Canned black beans keep this dish fast and simple.
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Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini and Lemon
In this cauliflower recipe, we ditch the deep-fryer in favor of a high-heat oven to get golden-brown, crisped florets. But first we coat the cauliflower in a cornstarch, oil, tomato paste, tahini and hot sauce mixture. Cilantro and lemon brighten up the colors and flavors.
Grilled Eggplant with Sesame and Herbs
Whether you’re cooking indoors or outdoors, look to the Middle East to transform eggplant. In this recipe, we like serving the eggplant’s flesh in its charred skins, but it can be scooped into a bowl, mashed and seasoned with the herb mixture. Finish with olive oil and lemon juice.
Pasta with Fried Capers and Toasted Breadcrumbs
This vegetarian pasta dish features brined capers two ways: tossed with the pasta for sharp bursts of flavor and fried crisp to sprinkle on top for added crunch.
Sichuan Dry-Fried Cauliflower
Here, we use a Mandarin dry-frying technique known as gan bian, which cooks the cauliflower in two stages. First it’s parcooked in oil until it’s browned and any exterior moisture evaporates, at which point it’s stir-fried with aromatics and seasonings.
Spicy Garlic Soba with Greens
Spicy, garlicky soba noodles and dark green kale make for a hearty, one-pot vegetarian meal. We like buckwheat-wheat blended soba noodles, but any will work. Gochujang, a Korean chili paste, adds a savory-salty heat. Top with a sunny-side up egg.
Indian Lentils with Spiced Oil
This comforting dish combines two Indian staples—dal, or lentil stew, and tarka, spices and aromatics bloomed in hot oil. (The latter is a technique we love.)
Quinoa and Avocado Salad with Almonds and Mint
White, red or rainbow (tricolor) quinoa works in this recipe, so use whichever type you prefer. Just note: Most quinoa sold in grocery stores is pre-rinsed to get rid of a bitter-tasting, naturally occurring coating, but check the package and rinse and drain if it doesn’t indicate.
Udon Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach
The quick vegetarian supper has lots of meaty flavor from the fresh shiitake mushrooms and soy sauce. For added heat, serve with Sriracha, chili-garlic sauce or chili oil.
Spicy Red Lentil Soup with Coconut Milk and Spinach
For our spin on this simplified Goan staple, split red lentils finish in minutes to make a quick weeknight meal.
Portuguese Rice with Kale and Plum Tomatoes
Arroz de grelos, a flavorful one-pot vegan or vegetarian meal, is traditionally made with spicy turnip greens. But in our version, we swap in easier-to-find kale.
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Transform your average grocery-store carrots into a delicious side dish. Shredding the carrots maximizes sweetness while minimizing that fibrous texture.
Tunisian Chickpeas with Swiss Chard
Don’t throw away your chard stems for this wholesome but hearty dish, inspired by a recipe from North African and Mediterranean cuisine expert Paula Wolfert. Eat well and reduce waste at the same time. (Now you’ve realizing two resolutions!)