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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

30 Minute Vegetarian Meals for Busy Weeknights

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These quick and easy 30 minute vegetarian meals are your answer to healthy and nutritious weeknight dinner ideas! Plus, learn all my tips and tricks to making meals in a snap!

30 minute vegetarian meals collage: grilled cheese, tacos, pesto pasta, Mexican pizza, green salad, asparagus soup

You know the feeling when you’ve come home from work, you’ve had a long day, but dinner needs to be made!

There are some nights when my energy is low, and my family is hungry! That’s when simple 30 minute vegetarian meals are the answer to this common weeknight dilemma.

The infamous 30 minute meal is necessary! But sometimes it feels like even the so called 30 minute meal doesn’t actually take that short amount of time.

By the time you gather the ingredients, chop the vegetables, and cook your meal, you’ve exceeded that 30 minute mark!

I loved watching Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals, and I’d watch in awe as she quickly and seamlessly gathered her ingredients, chopped her veggies like a pro, and prepared a meal in no time at all.

But she was a professional, and I was just a home cook, or so I thought. Then I figured out that creating a 30 minute meal just took a little ingenuity.

With these tips and tricks, plus my favorite 30 minute vegetarian meals, you’ll have simple to make dinners that are family friendly, easy, and absolutely delicious!

Top Tips for Making 30 Minute Vegetarian Meals

  • Keep your cooking methods simple.
  • Stock your pantry with shelf stable go-to ingredients.
  • Wash and sort your groceries when you get home from the store.
  • Preheat your oven before you begin prepping the rest of your ingredients.
  • Use quick cooking vegetarian protein sources.
  • Gather all your ingredients before you begin cooking.
  • Use your 30 minutes efficiently. While one thing is cooking, prep another part of the recipe.
  • Use quick cooking shortcuts. For example, frozen vegetables, microwavable rice.
  • Use a garbage bowl.

Keep Your Cooking Method Simple

The 30 minute meal is not the time to try out a new cooking technique! It’s also not the best time to decide to work with a new and unusual ingredient. Instead, stick to the basics, and follow easy and familiar recipes.

Opt for one pot meals, Instant Pot dinners, or sheet pan meals. These are easy and quick to pull off!

Stock Your Pantry with Vegetarian Essentials

When it comes to quick and easy 30 minute vegetarian meals on busy weeknights, it’s essential that you have a stocked pantry with quick cooking ingredients.

What you choose to have in your healthy pantry will depend on the types of foods you enjoy eating. For example, if you enjoy Mexican recipes, keep salsa, taco shells, and refried beans. If you love Italian, make sure you have pasta, marinara sauce, canned tomatoes, and olive oil. However, for vegetarian meals there are some essentials.

30 Minute Vegetarian Meals: Essential Pantry Ingredients

  • Oils, vinegars, and condiments
  • A variety of spices
  • Canned goods (tomatoes, beans, broth, coconut milk, nut butters)
  • Grains and legumes (brown rice, whole wheat pasta, legume pasta, oats, lentils, breads, and tortillas)
  • Nuts, seeds, dried fruit

Prepare Your Vegetables in Advance

When you get home from the grocery store, the last thing you probably want to do is wash and prepare your vegetables. However, taking the time to do it as soon as you get home will save you tons of time during the week.

It should only take you about 30 minutes, and will make your weekday cooking a breeze. Wash your lettuce, clean your produce, and chop an onion. Not only does this speed up weekday prep, your vegetables will also last longer, and you’re more likely to use them, if they’re ready to go!

Preheat Your Oven

This might seem like a no brainer, but if you’re using your oven, be sure to preheat it as your very first step! Don’t begin prepping anything else until you’ve preheated your oven. Especially if you need a high temperature. You can waste a lot of time waiting for your oven to get hot enough to cook your meal!

Same goes for boiling water. If you’re making something that requires boiling water, like pasta, make that your first step.

Use Quick Cooking Vegetarian Protein Sources

While I love cooking dried beans, it takes a lot of time. Instead, use canned beans, or cook your beans on the weekend, and store in the refrigerator so they’re ready to go!

Other quick cooking vegetarian protein sources include lentils, tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, and eggs.

Take Out All Your Ingredients and Equipment

Before you begin cooking gather all of the ingredients as well as any tools and equipment and place them at your work space. Use a large baking pan to place all of your ingredients into so you’re not trying to balance everything in your arms!

This saves you time going back and forth to the refrigerator or the pantry to grab an item.

Use Your Time Efficiently

While it’s a great idea in theory to prep all your vegetables, and measure all of your ingredients, when you’re making a 30 minute meal, this can actually take you more time!

Instead, while one part of the recipe is cooking, prep the next part. For example, while you’re pasta is boiling, make the sauce. Or while your vegetables are roasting, prepare the vinaigrette.

It’s Okay to Use Shortcuts

When you’re making 30 minute vegetarian meals, it’s totally okay to use shortcuts. Not everything you prepare has to be made from scratch. For example, you can use frozen stir fried vegetables that are already chopped. Or prepared pizza dough for a homemade pizza.

This also applies to prepared sauces, or quick flavor enhancers like soy sauce, dijon mustard, harissa, garlic paste, etc. These add tons of flavor without a lot of cooking time.

Use a Garbage Bowl

While you’re gathering your equipment, grab a large bowl to fill with your garbage. Throw in your vegetable scraps, wrappers, seeds, or whatever else you accumulate while you’re cooking. This will save you back and forth trips to the garbage can!

Now that you’ve got some tips and tricks to help you save time, and cook efficiently, here my favorite 30 minute vegetarian meals!

30 Minute Vegetarian Meals

Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff

This creamy vegan mushroom stroganoff is packed with fresh flavors. It’s a warm, hearty, healthy and comforting recipe that comes together in less than 40 minutes. Perfect for a weeknight dinner, or a meal to impress your non-vegan friends and family!

vegan mushroom stroganoff served in a blue bowl with garnishes on the side, top view

Cheese Polenta with Squash

This gluten free polenta recipe allows you to enjoy creamy and cheesy polenta without any of the guilt! Served with squash, corn and fresh herbs, this dish is easy, fresh, tasty and full of flavor.

gluten free cheesy polenta topped with zucchini, corn and herbs, served on a white plate - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Southwestern Tofu Scramble

This incredible Tofu Scramble is loaded with lots of healthy veggies, beans, warm spices, and cheese. It’s the perfect 30-minute breakfast, brunch or dinner idea that the whole family will love. If you’re looking for a vegan friendly alternative to scrambled eggs, this easy tofu scramble is for you! 

tofu scramble recipe topped with tomatoes, salsa, green onions in a blue bowl - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Vegan Matar Paneer

This healthy version of matar paneer (made with tofu paneer!) is so rich and comforting it pretty much melts in your mouth when you take a bite of it. Made with only five ingredients, you can enjoy gourmet, restaurant-quality Indian food at home in just 20 minutes! 

tofu paneer, mattar paneer in a white dish with peas and curry sauce - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Superfood Salad

This Superfood Salad is going to be your new favorite dish! It’s filled with broccoli, blueberries, sweet Fuji apples, cabbage, spinach, dried cherries, pine nuts, and a healthy, homemade ranch dressing. Ready in just 15 minutes, it’s the perfect healthy lunch or light dinner!

superfood salad served in a white bowl with broccoli, blueberries, sweet Fuji apples, cabbage, spinach, dried cherries, pine nuts, and a healthy ranch dressing

Vegetarian Fajitas

The aroma of these Smoky Vegetarian Fajitas will make you smack your lips and your stomach growl. Every bite is filled with lots of caramelized vegetables, spicy seasonings, protein-packed black beans, gooey Mexican cheese, and a crispy corn tortilla. Ready in 30 minutes and gluten-free too!

vegetarian fajitas in a corn tortilla topped with cheese, avocado and cilantro, served in a blue bowl

Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup

This comforting Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup will warm you up, fill your belly, and tantalize your taste buds! The white beans give the soup a creamy taste and the pumpkin delivers a rich warmth that’ll have you coming back for more. Healthy, vegan, gluten-free, delicious, and ready in 30 minutes!

pumpkin and sweet potato soup, served in a blue bowl, topped with fresh herbs and coconut cream

Egg Roll in a Bowl

We took out the insides of an egg roll, and put them in a bowl! It’s easy to make, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto-friendly, and is ready in just 30 minutes. This vegetarian egg roll in a bowl recipe is a flavorful, healthy one-pan meal that the whole family will love!

vegetarian egg roll in a bowl topped with green onions, served in a white bowl

Vegan Tacos with Black Beans and Avocado

These healthy and delicious vegan tacos are great for an easy weeknight meal. Packed with black beans, veggies, and spices, they’re full of flavor, ready in 30 minutes, and perfect for the whole family!

vegan tacos with black beans, avocado, veggies, and cilantro, served on a white plate - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Healthy Homemade Pizza

This healthy homemade pizza is loaded with veggies, made with a whole grain crust, and topped with gooey mozzarella and fresh parmesan. Ready in 30 minutes and guaranteed to please even the pickiest eaters!

30 minute vegetarian meals - homemade vegetarian pizza

Asparagus Leek Soup

This asparagus and leek soup is made from scratch without cream or milk for a lightened up and healthy meal. It takes just 30 minutes to make and is perfect for the whole family to enjoy!

asparagus and leek soup with herbed goat cheese served in a white bowl

Vegetarian Pesto Pasta

Vegetarian Pesto Pasta made with spinach, herbs and whole wheat linguine is a quick and easy dinner recipe that comes together in 30 minutes. Every bite is bursting with flavor!

vegetarian pesto pasta with spinach and herbs, served on a white plate - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Vegan Bolognese

Our hearty and healthy vegan bolognese with lentils has great texture with the addition of walnuts and celery. It’s an easy family friendly weeknight meal that’s done in 30 minutes!

vegan bolognese with lentils, served over pasta in a white bowl - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Healthy Copycat Taco Bell Pizza

This vegetarian copycat Taco Bell Mexican Pizza is a real treat, and you wouldn’t guess that it’s healthy! Low in calories, made with whole foods, and ready in less than 30 minutes: my version of this classic Taco Bell dish means you can enjoy it without the guilt!

30 minute vegetarian meals - mexican pizza

BBQ Black Bean Pizza

Healthy & flavorful, this black bean and red pepper pizza recipe is easy to make at home and is low in calories. Loaded with fresh veggies, this recipe is a fun twist on traditional pizza and keeps in the fridge for up to 4 days!

black bean bbq pizza

Pesto Pasta without Pine Nuts

This healthy pesto without pine nuts is the perfect pasta dish for a quick and easy weeknight meal. The walnut and sage pesto is packed full of earthy flavors and is lower in fat and calories than the store bought.

pesto with whole wheat pasta - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese

Garlic Bread Grilled Cheese with French Onions is the ultimate gooey cheesy indulgent sandwich with a healthy twist. Packed with flavor and done in minutes, it’s comfort food at its best!

garlic bread grilled cheese cut in half and stacked

Healthy Quesadilla with Black Beans and Veggies

These easy healthy quesadillas are packed with gooey cheese, black beans, and crunchy veggies. Done in less than 30 minutes they make a great weeknight meal!

quesadilla with lentils and cheese - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Veggie Shawarma with Marinated Tofu

Stuffed with crispy savory tofu, chopped greens, quick pickled onions, and a super creamy yogurt sauce, this veggie shawarma is super easy to make and so delicious! Everything is tightly tucked into a soft and pliable whole wheat naan bread warmed to perfection. The perfect recipe to make on hectic weeknights or when you are craving something different!

veggie shawarma with marinated tofu, served on a tan plate

Vegetarian Spaghetti

Our easy and delicious Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce with hidden fresh veggies, served over whole wheat pasta, makes for a quick and satisfying meal.

Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce with whole wheat pasta, served in a black bowl with basil on top
tagliatelle pasta with tomato sauce parmesan basil on rustic table

Caprese Bruschetta

This Caprese Bruschetta has a twist with a mixture of tomatoes, zucchini, and white beans that sit on top of a whole wheat baguette, topped with fresh herbs for a finishing touch.

Caprese Bruschetta with vegetables, served on a wooden cutting board with a white and green napkin in the background

Healthy Margherita Pizza

An easy and healthy Margherita Flatbread is a delicious take on the classic pizza! Topped with fresh tomatoes and basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, it’s a family friendly meal!

top view of margherita flatbread with basil and tomatoes

Healthy Pita Pizza

This Healthy Pita Pizza with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes is the perfect option when you have a craving for pizza but you want to keep it healthy! These personal pizzas are loaded with veggies for a well balanced meal.

healthy pita pizza with goat cheese and tomatoes, served on a white plate, garnished with basil

Lebanese Lentil Soup

A rich and flavorful Lebanese Lentil Soup made with spinach and served with a dollop of cool yogurt and cilantro is hearty, healthy, and easy dish to pull together for a weeknight meal.

lebanese lentil soup with spinach, served in a white bowl with cilantro on top

Vegetarian Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta

Our healthy vegetarian pesto recipe is easy to make and perfect for a fuss-free weeknight meal. Ricotta gives this sauce a creamy texture and the added pine nuts gives it a nice crunch!

closeup of Vegetarian Pesto with Whole Wheat Pasta, topped with fresh basil, served on a white plate with a fork - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Goat Cheese Flatbread

This Goat Cheese Flatbread with zucchini ribbons and raisins are a match made in heaven! It’s a light and fresh flatbread that was made for sharing with friends and family.

goat cheese flatbread with zucchini and raisins

Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe with Spinach

This easy, tasty, healthy Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe is easy to make when you’re in a hurry! Full of flavor and loaded with veggies, this family friendly supper will be a sure fire hit!

whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate, top view

Spicy Cauliflower Soup

Spicy Cauliflower Soup with Curry is topped with crunchy cashews and served with warm naan bread to totally hit the spot! It’s vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free — and will be ready in 30 minutes!

spicy cauliflower soup, topped with crushed cashews and cilantro, served in a white bowl - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Healthy Cheddar Broccoli Soup

Our Healthy Cheddar Broccoli Soup takes under thirty minutes to make. It’s a lightened up version of the classic, without losing any of the cheesy goodness of the original!

healthy cheddar broccoli soup - 30 minute vegetarian meals

Spicy Sweet Potato Hash

Packed full of flavor, this sweet potato breakfast hash makes a great brunch, side dish or even main meal! Packed full of veggies and plant protein this is a one pan meal that’s easy to make.

Sweet potato hash in a bowl on a wooden table

I hope you were able to find some easy meal time inspiration!

Check Out These Other Helpful Vegetarian Meal Prep Ideas!

If you have tried any of these 30 minute vegetarian recipes, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

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