Eat more plants: Vegetarian recipes to try at home

Published 11:32 am Friday, February 21, 2020

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Just like there are limitless options for meat, there are endless amounts of great recipes for vegetarians as well as those looking to add some extra veggies to their diet. The following recipes are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Choose My Plate.” All are easy to make, relatively inexpensive and packed with flavorful ingredients.

Black Bean Burgers


  • 1 can 15.5 ounce low-sodium black beans (drained and rinsed with cold water)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 scallions (green and white minced, about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (or basil leaves or a combination)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 whole-wheat buns
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  1. Add beans to a bowl and mash with a fork until chunky. Add the egg and mix well.
  2. Add precooked rice, scallions, garlic and oregano, salt and pepper and mix until well combined.
  3. Divide the mixture into four portions and form each portion into a patty about ¾ to 1 inch thick.
  4. Place a large skillet on the stove on high heat. When the skillet is hot, add oil. Add burgers and cook 4 to 5 minutes per side until browned on both sides and heated throughout. Place on a whole wheat bun.

Note: Serve with your favorite toppings such as lettuce, tomato, guacamole, salsa, low-fat cheese or low-fat yogurt.


Black bean burgers. Courtesy USDA

Spaghetti and Spinach Pesto


  • 1 pound whole wheat spaghetti, uncooked (or your favorite pasta shape)
  • 1 package 10-oz frozen spinach, thawed, well drained
  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 tablespoon tub margarine
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 ounce crumbled feta cheese


  1. In a blender (or food processor), combine spinach, oil, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, salt and basil. Mix at medium speed until finely chopped.
  2. Melt margarine in water. With blender or processor running, gradually pour in melted margarine mixture until blended.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  4. Toss pesto with cooked pasta.
  5. Sprinkle feta on top and serve.

Source: The “Grain Chain”


Spaghetti and spinach pesto. Courtesy USDA

Stuffed Squash


  • 2 summer squash
  • 3 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup squash pulp (from summer squash listed above)
  • 1 cup white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoon Parmesan cheese


  1. Wash and cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove the large seeds.
    2. Steam the squash, skin side down, in a small amount of water in a fry pan or skillet until slightly tender, but not mushy.
    3. Scoop out a good amount of pulp (1 cup), place in a bowl and mix with stuffing (ingredients from brown rice through Parmesan cheese).
    4. Place the squash shells in a baking dish. Stuff the squash with the stuffing mixture.
    5. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes.

Source: Connecticut Food Policy Council, Farm Fresh Summertime Recipes

Brown Rice Pilaf with Sage, Walnuts and Dried Fruit


  • canola cooking spray (as needed)
  • 1 onion (medium, chopped)
  • 1 celery stalks (small, ends trimmed and chopped)
  • 2 cup rice (brown, uncooked)
  • 2 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cup vegetable broth (fat-free, reduced sodium)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (dark)
  • 1/4 cup apricots (dried, chopped)
  • 4 walnuts (1/4 cup, chopped, optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sage (dried)
  • 2 teaspoon sage (fresh, chopped)
  • salt (to taste, optional)
  • pepper (to taste, optional)


  1. Spray the large skillet with canola cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sauté onion and celery until tender, about 5 minutes. Add brown rice and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Add water, broth, raisins, and apricots; heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 50 minutes.
  4. Stir in walnuts if desired, sage, salt and pepper.
  5. Transfer to serving dish. Garnish with fresh sage and serve immediately.

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research, Diet & Cancer



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