To life-long meat lovers, going totally meat-free can sound like a big hurdle. For others, the sheer variety and complexity of vegetarian options makes plant-based eating feel like an opportunity, not a restriction. Without meat or fish taking up the bulk of your plate, you’re free to play with an even wider range of textures, flavors, and colors to get your necessary protein intake. Think handmade tlacoyos topped with fresh salsa and refried beans, bright turmeric-yellow dal, and quick-but-satisfying pasta arrabiata.
We’ve compiled a best-hits list of satisfying vegetarian entrees, each created by a professional chef partner or member of the Made In Kitchen team. While we made sure to pick recipes that worked well on their own to demonstrate just how filling plants can be, you can supplement each of these with additional sides or mains.
This dinner-worthy salad from Olamaie Chef Amanda Turner is a glorious tangle of textures and flavors, balancing the sweetness of strawberries and beets with the tangy bite of balsamic vinegar and blue cheese. Pair it with a protein, or devour the entire bowl on its own—either will be supremely satisfying.
We know that eating vegetarian doesn’t have to mean loading up on carbs, but when the craving hits, it’s important to have a solid dumpling recipe in your back pocket. These potato pierogies from Chef Jakub Czyszczon of Austin’s Garrison are incredibly homey, featuring a double dose of starch for good measure.
Kale is way more than a trend. In fact, recipes featuring this hearty brassica have been a part of traditional Tuscan cooking for centuries. In this Italian-ish recipe from Chef Peter Nguyen, curly kale is braised with cannellini beans and chicken broth until tender, leaving plenty of flavorful liquid to mop up with the crusty bread of your choosing.
The name translates literally to “angry pasta,” but this quick, spicy homemade tomato sauce is the perfect salve for frayed nerves. Made In’s Culinary Creative Director Rhoda Boone adds a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end, which gives this ten-minute sauce an extra layer of complexity. Serve over rigatoni or your favorite short pasta.
With layers upon layers of thin-sliced, pan fried eggplant, this recipe puts an elegant spin on an often-heavy trattoria dish. Chef Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due keeps his ingredient list short, leaning heavily on good-quality canned tomatoes (like those from Bianco DiNapoli), fresh basil, and freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Dal is a staple on South Asian dinner tables, often served with accompaniments like rice or flatbread, tangy achaar (fruit or vegetable pickles), and papadum. This version comes from Chef Anita Jaisinghani of Pondicheri in Houston, and features a bright combo of fresh cherry tomatoes and fennel.
These grilled oyster mushrooms from La Condesa’s Chef Rick Lopez are way more than a meat substitute. Seared to savory, crispy perfection in a grill frying pan, these make a satisfying main dish served with some crusty bread alongside.
Made from fresh blue corn masa, these tlacoyos turn a lovely light purple color when they’re crisped up in a hot pan. Once they’re cooked, Chef Fermín Núñez of East Austin’s Suerte loads the tlacoyos up with beans, crumbled cotija cheese, and a simple tomato salsa to serve.
Like so many Provençal dishes, ratatouille puts seasonal produce, good olive oil, and fresh herbs right front and center. This version from Chef Dennis Hong calls for pan-roasting the vegetables first for color and texture, then combining them with a simple tomato sauce at the end. We’d happily eat this over noodles or polenta for a perfect late summer/early autumn meal.
Like with any style of cooking, great vegetarian food comes down to quality ingredients, a good recipe, and a bit of kitchen know-how. With that being said, excellent cookware can take your meals a step further. Our cookware offers the deepest sears, gentlest braises, and most consistent bakes, whether you’re sticking with vegetarian mains or switching it up with meatier fare.