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National Vegetarian Week Recipes and Ideas for Beginners

Tomorrow marks the start of National Vegetarian Week. A week long celebration of exciting vegetarian food and the sharing of information about a vegetarian diet.

I've been a vegetarian for nearly 28 years now, but I still remember how daunting it was at first. It wasn't the food I found daunting,  just figuring out what to eat so I had plenty of choices. Of course back then, and I'm showing my age here, it was harder to find veggie options in the supermarkets, but now there is so much to choose from.

Vegetarian Ready Meals

Ready meals can be convenient, but not great for a healthy lifestyle. You need a basic set of recipes so you can make tasty vegetarian meals at home without all the additives or excess sugar and salt.  Buying a ready meal now and again is fine and don't beat yourself up over it, but home-cooked meals are much fresher, tastier and usually cheaper too.

Easy Ideas and Recipes

To make it easy for you to get started, I will share some recipes, meal ideas and tips for different times of day. Recipes that both adults and children will enjoy.


A full vegetarian breakfast on a black plate

I have to hold my hands up and admit I'm not a breakfast person. I'm never ready to eat until about 9 am, but I'm up and off to work well before then, so my breakfasts tend to be restricted to days I don't work. However I know how important breakfast is in a healthy diet. I hasten to add I always make sure my son eats breakfast, but then he wakes up hungry.

Vegetarian Breakfast Ideas

  • Breakfast Cereal - it's a good choice as it's fortified with extra nutrients, but it is heavy on sugar, so I would only eat a small portion and have something else too
  • Beans on Toast - full of protein and filling
  • Scrambled or Poached Egg on Toast - with a good grinding of black pepper and just a little salt
  • Porridge - the breakfast of kings. There's no need to buy the instant packets, porridge oats only take a few minutes to cook in a pan or the microwave with some milk. I like to add raisins and a little cinnamon to mine while it cooks. When it's ready to serve I add sliced or mashed banana for sweetness and extra nutrients
  • Toasted English Muffin topped with peanut butter and sliced banana
  • Toasted Bagel topped with cream cheese
  • Greek Yoghurt - with berries and a drizzle of honey
  • Cheese Omelette - add some grated cheddar and serve with cherry tomatoes and fresh spinach
  • Cooked Vegetarian Breakfast - this can include veggie sausages, baked beans, toast, potato scones, fried or poached eggs, grilled mushrooms, tomatoes or asparagus, grilled halloumi, spinach cooked or fresh
  • Pancakes - not for daily consumption, but a nice treat now and again
  • Fruit Juice - keep it to a small glass as it's packed with sugar. Drink it with your meal for the most benefit
  • Smoothies - blend rather than juice smoothies and remember to add vegetables as well. Carrots, spinach, kale and cucumber are good in smoothies.

Vegetarian Breakfast Recipes

Creamy Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Porridge

Creamy Blueberry, Banana and Coconut Porridge

A creamy bowl of porridge made with blueberries, cinnamon and coconut with mashed banana added for sweetness. This healthy breakfast will see you through the day and keep you full longer.

A full scottish breakfast on a plate including Scottish potato scones

Homemade Scottish Potato Scones

A staple part of a cooked breakfast. Made simply from just a few ingredients including potatoes. They are soft and fluffy on the inside and crisp and golden on the outside.


cheesy bean wraps

Lunch can be a light snack or a full meal. Sometimes the type of meal depends on how much time you have, what you have in the fridge and if you are eating lunch at home, at work or out and about. Try to resist buying your lunch every day and save yourself some money.

Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

  • Sandwiches - a good lunchtime standard and easy to make the night before. 
    • cheese and pickle
    • peanut butter and jam
    • peanut butter and banana
    • hummus, falafel and mango chutney with salad leaves
    • cheddar and beetroot
    • pesto, mozzarella and tomato
    • roasted vegetables, salad leaves and cream cheese
    • mushroom or bean pattie and salad
    • goats cheese, beetroot and salad
    • cream cheese, cheddar and celery
    • hummus and grated carrot
  • Filled Wraps and Pitta Bread - these are great filled with your favourite fillings too. 
  • Toastie and salad
    • cheddar and red onion
    • veggie haggis, red onion and mango chutney
    • pesto, mozzarella and tomato 
    • baked beans and cheese
  • Soup - soups make the perfect filling and tasty lunch and they are easy to make too.
  • Omelette - filled with cheese or mushrooms and served with salad
  • Salad - pile all your favourite salad onto a plate and lightly dress it. Choose some of the following:
    • lettuce or salad leaves
    • spinach
    • slices of cucumber
    • slices of tomato or cherry tomatoes
    • thinly sliced red onion
    • slices of red and yellow bell pepper
    • grated carrot
    • thinly sliced radish
    • sliced or halved beetroot
    • roasted vegetables
    • sundried tomatoes
    • cubes of cheddar
    • slices of brie
    • grated veggie parmesan
    • falafel
    • boiled egg halves
    • hummus
  • Grazing Meal - put together some picky bits and pieces to graze through
    • carrot sticks and hummus
    • slices of crusty bread, hummus, cheese, apple wedges, pickle
    • chunks of cheese, wedges of apple and a few crisps

Vegetarian Lunch Recipes

Falafel and Apple Salad Sandwich

A delicious vegan sandwich. Sweet crunchy apple with lightly spiced falafel, creamy hummus and fresh salad on soft brown bread with a sweet bit of heat from some mango chutney.

Grilled Halloumi & Red Pepper Burger

Grilled Halloumi & Red Pepper Burger

A stacked halloumi and red pepper burger layered in a bun with courgette, salad leaves and salsa. The vegetables and cheese are grilled for extra flavour and texture.

Spicy Bean Lunchtime Wrap

Spicy Bean Lunchtime Wrap

A delicious spicy bean wrap, both creamy and tomato spicy. A very, very addictive lunchtime sandwich wrap. A copycat recipe from a Tesco wrap.

Spiced Carrot, Lentil & Spinach Soup

Spiced Carrot, Lentil & Spinach Soup

A gently spiced soup that has so much flavour. It's perfect if you are watching your weight. It's only 184 calories for a huge bowlful or 138 calories for a standard bowlful and so tasty!


puff pastry tart, filled with roast vegetables

This is where you may be stuck for ideas but there is so much you can serve for a tasty but easy dinner. 

Vegetarian Dinner Ideas

Here are some simple ideas for vegetarian dinners that don't require recipes. Just simple ideas to get you started.

  • Baked Potato and Salad - top the potato with grated cheese and either coleslaw or pickle, fill the potato with bean chilli and grated cheddar or baked beans and grated cheddar
  • Halloumi Salad - dry fry slices of halloumi, chop into smaller pieces and serve mixed with salad leaves, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and olives. Drizzle over some balsamic dressing
  • Simple Spaghetti - cook spaghetti according to the packet instructions then toss with a little olive oil, black pepper and grated veggie Parmesan. You could also add olives or chilli flakes
  • Tomato and Basil Tart - spread a sheet of ready rolled pastry with pesto and top with slices of tomato and some fresh basil. Season with black pepper and bake until the pastry is golden. Serve with baby potatoes and green vegetables or salad
  • Stir-Fry with Noodles or Rice - stir fry a selection of vegetables, add a dressing and serve with rice or noodles
  • Quiche - buy a good quality quiche and serve with baby potatoes and vegetables or salad
  • Indian Dal - make a simple dal and serve with rice and mango chutney or serve it simple with some toasted pitta bread
  • Veggie Bangers and Mash - cook veggie sausages and serve with gravy, mash, peas and broccoli
  • Baguette Pizza - slice a small baguette in half lengthways. Toast lightly, then spread the top with pizza sauce and top with slices of mozzarella and your favourite pizza toppings, pop in the oven to bake until the cheese is melted and golden. Serve with a dressed salad
  • Quick Green Soup - whizz up frozen broccoli, cauliflower and peas with some vegetable stock, then season with salt and pepper to make a quick tasty soup
  • Breakfast for Dinner - make a vegetarian cooked breakfast (see breakfast section) for dinner

Vegetarian Dinner Recipes

10 Minute Bean Burger on a burger roll with cream cheese, avocado and salsa

10 Minute Bean Burgers

These easy bean burgers are made in less than 10 minutes. The ingredients are all added to one bowl, mashed and shaped into patties. They are as easy as that. You can cook them right away in a frying pan with a little olive oil or chill or freeze them for later. A real family favourite.

Scottish Vegetarian Cottage Pie with a sliced potato topping

Scottish Vegetarian Cottage Pie

This is a vegetarian version of cottage or shepherd's pie. It's marked as vegan, but is accidentally vegan. I've topped it with slices of potato but you could top it with mashed potato before popping it in the oven. Serve with lots of veg.

Rich Mushroom and Lentil Ragu tossed through tagliatelle

Rich Mushroom and Lentil Ragu

A traditional Italian style pasta sauce served with tagliatelle for a really satisfying meal.

Vegetarian Bolognaise on top of spaghetti

Vegetarian Bolognaise

I've been making this bolognaise for nearly as long as I've been veggie. Many years ago I made it with dried soya mince, but now I use the vegetarian mince you find in the supermarket freezer aisles. It's easy to make and has so much flavour. it's a real family favourite and a good one if you are just starting to try a vegetarian diet. It's also accidentally vegan.

Cheesy Vegetable Puff Pie in a pie dish with a pastry bird to let out steam

Cheesy Vegetable Puff Pie

This pie has Sunday dinner (or lunch) written all over it. A selection of vegetables and potatoes in a cheese sauce topped with a golden puff pastry lid. Serve with roast potatoes and green vegetables.

3 individual Easy Mediterranean Tarts

Easy Mediterranean Tart

An easy tart that can be made with ready rolled puff pastry, frozen roast vegetables and a few other easy ingredients. Serve it with baby potatoes and salad or with roast potatoes and vegetables or as I serve it with potatoes wedges and corn on the cob.

More Vegetarian Recipes

I hope following a vegetarian diet seems much easier now. For more of my recipes check out my recipe index or sign up for my recipes by filling in the follow by email at the bottom of this page. Each of my posts will land in your inbox.

You can also sign up for my newsletter, which I send out every month or so (link in sidebar) or follow me on Pinterest.

For more about National Vegetarian Week, check out the Vegetarian Society website.

I nearly forgot to mention my book Living on the Veg

An inside look at Living on the Veg

recipes from Living on the Veg

It's a kids guide to living meat-free, but actually is a really fun way to learn about a vegetarian diet, broken down into interesting snippets. There are also 12 easy recipes to try. 


  1. So many good idea here Jac, I especially like the sound of that carrot and lentil soup!

    1. Thanks Caroline and yes the soup is delicious. It's our absolute favourite.

  2. Such a great list! I'm not Vegan but my religion is buddhism, I often have a vegatarian day per month. But actually, your list makes me consider more than one vegatarian day xD

  3. Bintu | Recipes From A PantryWednesday, 16 May, 2018

    Such a delicious selection of vegetarian recipes - I love the look of that halloumi burger, it has got my mouth watering!

    1. Oh yes that is a good one Bintu. Go on treat yourself.

  4. Such a great post for anyone wanting to get more vegetables in their life, like me! I love the cheesy vegetable puff pie.

  5. Such an amazing collective vegetarian recipes. Being a vegetarian, this is just perfect :) I love the idea of an easy mediterranean tart!

    1. Thanks Sandhya and yes the tart is one of our favourites. Perfect at this time of year with salad for a light dinner.

  6. Great list of vegetarian ideas! Great timing too, a friend just asked me for some vegetarian ideas so going to pass this along.

  7. All of these recipes look really delicious and comforting. My favorite would probably be Falafel and Apple Salad Sandwich. So yummy!


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