Midweek Meals: Five vegetarian dinners for those of us who want to eat less meat 

Midweek Meals: Five vegetarian dinners for those of us who want to eat less meat 

Family-friendly meals that are heavy on vegetables to include in your weekly menu

These vegetarian dinners are comforting and delicious and most of all: family-friendly.

Mon, 03 Jan, 2022 – 12:00

Cheesy tomato and aubergine bake

recipe by:Derval O’Rourke

This dish gives you so many options for dinner. It’s delicious by itself or served alongside some chicken, fish or couscous. If you want a freezer-friendly version, just leave out the egg topping but cook everything else as normal

Preparation Time

10 mins


  • 2 aubergines, cut lengthways into thin slices

  • olive oil 

  • salt

  • pepper 

  • 2 onions, finely chopped 

  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed 

  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes 

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée 

  • handful of basil leaves, torn 

  • 3 eggs, beaten 

  • 30g Mozzarella, sliced 

  • 1 tbsp Parmesan, grated 


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Lightly brush both sides of the aubergine slices with olive oil and season well. Divide the aubergine slices between two baking trays and bake for 12 minutes, turning once during cooking.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan on a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato purée.

  3. Remove the aubergine slices from the oven and increase the heat to 180°C.

  4. Layer half of the aubergine slices in the bottom of a large ovenproof dish. Add the basil to the tomato sauce and stir well. Pour the sauce over the aubergines in the dish.

  5. Add the remaining aubergine slices in an even layer. Pour the beaten eggs on top and scatter over the Mozzarella and Parmesan.

  6. Bake for 15–20 minutes. Divide the bake between warmed serving bowls.

Red lentil dahl

recipe by:Derval O’Rourke

This recipe will be deliciously rich the following day as the flavours come out even more so try to make enough for a few meals!

Preparation Time

10 mins


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

  • ½ onion, finely diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, grated

  • 1 medium red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

  • 3 tsp cumin

  • 1 tbsp medium curry powder

  • 200g red lentils washed and drained

  • juice of 2 limes

  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

  • 500ml boiling water

  • bunch of fresh coriander, roughly chopped


  1. In a large pot melt the coconut oil. Add the vegetables and sweat off gently on a low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the dried spices and cook for roughly another 2 minutes.

  2. Stir in your lentils, lime juice and chopped tomatoes. Add the water and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to simmer for another 15- 20 minutes, adding more water if necessary.

  3. Serve topped with heaps of fresh coriander and a good dollop of natural yoghurt!

Tofu pad thai

recipe by:Derval O’Rourke

Tofu is easy to cook, tasty and packed full of proteins, iron and calcium – a great alternative to meat and delicious with this rich pad thai with crunchy vegetables

Preparation Time

30 mins


  • For the tofu:

  • 1 packet of organic tofu, drained and diced

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 packet rice noodles

  • 2 limes, juiced

  • 1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced

  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced

  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced

  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated

  • 1 packet mangetout, finely sliced

  • a handful of peanuts, roughly chopped

  • salt

  • pepper

  • For the Asian dressing:

  • 50ml tamari or soy sauce

  • 20ml olive oil

  • 10ml sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter


  1. Cook noodles as per packet instructions. Rinse with cold water and set aside to drain.

  2. To make the dressing blitz all the ingredients together in a small food processor.

  3. In a bowl toss together the diced tofu, corn-starch, salt and pepper, making sure all the tofu has a light covering of the mix.

  4. In a wok heat the olive oil and add in the tofu. Toss on a high heat until the tofu crisps up. Remove from wok and set aside.

  5. In the same wok heat the dressing a little. Add the noodles, pepper, carrot, spring onion, chilli and mangetout. Toss for 5 minutes. Do not overcook just heat through enough for eating. The crunchier the raw vegetables remain the better!

  6. Just before serving toss the tofu and peanuts through the noodles. Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with coriander and a drizzle of fresh lime juice.

Vegan chocolate chilli with cornbread

recipe by:The Happy Pear

This recipe is a tasty take on a chilli, with dark chocolate giving it a depth of flavour and adding an air of intrigue to the dish

Preparation Time

20 mins

Total Time

1 hours 10 mins


  • For the chocolate chilli:

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 2 medium leeks

  • 2 red peppers

  • 1 whole fresh chilli or ½ tsp ground chilli

  • 1 courgette

  • 2 tbsp oil

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds

  • 2½ tsp salt

  • 1 tin of kidney beans

  • 2  tins of chopped tomatoes

  • 100g tomato purée

  • 1 tbsp ground coriander

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin

  • ½ tsp smoked paprika

  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • small bunch of fresh coriander (20g)

  • juice of ½ a lime

  • 50g vegan dark chocolate

  • For the cornbread:

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds

  • 3 tbsp water

  • 130g fine polenta

  • 85g buckwheat flour/rice flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 80ml agave syrup

  • 90ml rice milk

  • 60ml rapeseed oil

  • To assemble:

  • 100g baby spinach


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

  2. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Slice the leeks into rounds, including the green tops. Deseed the peppers and, if using fresh chilli, deseed and finely slice it lengthways. Chop the courgette into bite-size pieces.

  3. Heat the oil in a big saucepan and fry the leeks and garlic on a medium heat for five minutes, stirring regularly to make sure they don’t burn. Add the courgette and peppers along with the chilli, whole cumin seeds and salt, and fry for a further five minutes.

  4. Drain the kidney beans and rinse thoroughly. Add to the pan together with the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, ground coriander, ground cumin, paprika and black pepper. Turn the heat up to high and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, add the chocolate and leave to simmer for a further 10 minutes.

  5. Finely chop the fresh coriander and mix it into the chilli with the lime juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

  6. To make the cornbread, first mix the ground flax and water together in a small bowl to make ‘flax eggs’. Leave to sit for 10 minutes.

  7. Mix the rest of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients, then add the ‘flax eggs’ and stir in. Add the wet mix to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until they form a dough.

  8. Put the chilli into a shallow pie dish (or an approximately 25cm quiche dish), spreading it evenly. Cover the chilli with the spinach leaves. Top it off with the cornbread dough, then put into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.

  9. Serve with a green salad and coconut yoghurt.

Vegan shepherd’s pie

recipe by:Derval O’Rourke

This comforting dish uses lentils and it is just as delicious as the meat version, with a rich vegetable layer and creamy mashed potato topping

Preparation Time

15 mins

Total Time

1 hours 10 mins


  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 2 onions, finely chopped 

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 2 tins of lentils, drained and rinsed

  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tbsp tomato purée

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, until softened. 

  3. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 

  4. Add the lentils and cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat.

  5. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, tomato purée, and bay leaves and bring to the boil. 

  6. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  7. Meanwhile, make the mash. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10–15 minutes, until tender. Drain, season and mash well. 

  8. Place the cooked mince in a large ovenproof dish and top with the mash. Bake for 20 minutes. 

  9. Divide the pie between warmed serving plates.

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the irishexaminer.com, direct to your inbox every Friday.


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to
your inbox.

Sign up

Read More

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.