food

Just four stupidly easy weeknight dinner recipes that are 100 per cent meat-free.

Full disclaimer: I’m a cooking novice.

My partner gets home from work later than I do, so I recently realised that if we want to eat at a reasonable hour and not order UberEats every night, I should probably learn how to cook. But also, I seriously love food. So I may as well figure out how to do it myself at home.

Don’t use the microwave when reheating these five foods. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Similar to many other people right now, I want to be a little more environmentally friendly in my day to day.

I started with a Keep Cup, metal straw and Meatless Monday, but now, I’m finding myself eating meat-free meals more often than not.

I feel better for it and honestly, it can taste just as good (if not better) with the right flavour combinations.

So to get you and everyone else I know on board, here are my four favourite meat-free dishes I cook during the week. They take less than 30 minutes to make and are seriously yum (if I do say so myself).

And FYI, each recipe makes two servings.

Vegetarian Quesadillas

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Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.
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This is probably my weekly go-to. After a long day at work, this literally takes no more than 15 minutes to make (winning). It requires very few ingredients, it's super cheap and bloody delicious.

Of course, you can add extras if you feel like it but I find the simplicity of this works really well.

Ingredients

meat-free-recipes
Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Chilli flakes
  • 1-2 corn, cut off the cob
  • One can of black beans, drained
  • Grated cheese (whichever type you prefer)
  • 2 capsicums, finely diced
  • 3-4 spring onions, finely diced
  • Tortillas or wraps of your choice
  • Sandwich press
  • Store-bought taco sauce (lazy, but works just as well)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add some oil to the pan.
  2. Chuck in the corn, capsicum, black beans and spring onion.
  3. Season to your liking with cumin, paprika, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
  4. Turn sandwich press on and let it heat up.
  5. Cook everything in the pan until it is softened. Usually for about 3-4 minutes.
  6. Place a wrap on a plate, add a spoonful of the vegetarian filling from the pan and sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Fold wrap and place it in the sandwich press.
  8. Remove the wraps from the sandwich press when you notice they are golden and the cheese is melted.
  9. Serve with sour cream and taco sauce (or any dipping sauce you like).

Miso Eggplant

This is just yum. So many meat-eaters I know absolutely adore this recipe.

There is something about the eggplant that has quite a meaty texture, so when you add the salty miso glaze it hits all the right spots. And, it can be ready in under 25 minutes. How good!

miso-eggplant-done
Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.
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Ingredients

miso-eggplant
Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.
  • 4 small eggplants
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil or other neutral oil
  • 1/2 cup miso paste
  • 4 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoon sake (I did not have any so it is not pictured)
  • Sesame seeds

Method

  1. Slice eggplant in half and using a knife, score the inside in small squares.
  2. In a pan over high heat, add oil and put the eggplant skin facing down.
  3. Cook for a few minutes until skin is brown. Turn the eggplant over and cover with a lid. Cook until eggplant is cooked through (about 3 to 4 minutes).
  4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix miso, mirin, sugar and sake.
  5. Cover a cooking tray with foil and place the eggplant on top. Brush miso mix on top of each eggplant until all the surface is coated.
  6. Put in the oven and broil for 4 minutes. The miso mix should be bubbling when you take it out of the oven.
  7. Sprinkle sesame seeds and spring onion on top and serve hot.

Miso glazed eggplant recipe by Caroline Phelps from pickledplum.com

Tofu San Choy Bau

San Choy Bau is always a fan favourite at Chinese restaurants, but recently I realised how stupidly easy it is to make at home (and it tastes exactly the same).

It's great for dinner, but also if you shred the lettuce it's a great salad for work lunches too!

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Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.
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Ingredients

san-choy-bow
Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
  • 150g firm tofu, crumbled
  • 2 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 tin water chestnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • A handful of mint, chopped (not photographed)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Iceberg lettuce

Method

  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan on high heat.
  2. Fry the red onion and ginger in the pan for a few minutes.
  3. Add the tofu, carrot, spring onion and water chestnuts.
  4. Add the sesame oil, soy sauce, chilli flakes, lemon juice and kecap manis. Mix through well and cook for around 5 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and add mint.
  6. Get your iceberg lettuce and separate your lettuce cups. Place them in a bowl or on a plate.
  7. Spoon tofu mixture into lettuce cups evenly.
  8. Add sesame seeds and any extra spring onion on top (to make it look pretty)
  9. Feel free to add extra seasoning to your liking.

Beyond Burger

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Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.
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I wouldn't exactly call this cooking, it's more just assembling a bunch of ingredients on top of one another. But hey, out of the four recipes, this one is my favourite (probably because it's foolproof).

Instead of using regular beef patties, I tried this meat-free alternative patty.

The brand, Beyond Meat, is one of the biggest and most popular meat-alternative companies in the United States. And now, Coles supplies them in Australia.

Do your own research before you make a judgement on these new alternatives (I would highly suggest this video), but all I can say is, they taste so damn similar and are way better for the environment.

Ingredients

burger
Image: Supplied/Charlotte Begg.
  • Beyond Meat burger patties (comes in a two-pack)
  • 2 burger buns
  • Sandwich press
  • Sliced cheese
  • One tomato, sliced
  • Iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • One red onion, finely sliced
  • Any sauces you'd like to add

Method

  1. Turn sandwich press on, so it heats up.
  2. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add some oil to the pan so that the patties don't stick.
  3. Once the pan is hot, add the patties.
  4. Cook the patties for four minutes on each side. When you turn the patties over, add the cheese so it melts on top.
  5. Cut the burger bun in half, butter each side (optional) and place on sandwich press until slightly golden.
  6. Remove the patties and let them rest on a chopping board while you assemble the burger.
  7. Place the bottom of the bun on serving plates and add the tomato, lettuce and onion on top.
  8. Feel free to add any sauces you like and dig in!

Which one will you be making? Let us know in the comments.

Feature image: Getty.

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