Shop Once, Eat Vegetarian for a Week!

By Christine Byrne |

With just 14 ingredients, you can make a delicious, meatless meal at home every night this week.

Sweet Potato and Asparagus Hash

There are many reasons why people choose to follow a vegetarian diet. For some, it’s about animal rights or the environment. For others, it’s about health.

Whatever your motivation, there’s nothing wrong with shunning meat, and doing so might even make you healthier. A 2017 observational study from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found that adults who adhered to a plant-based diet most of the time had a lower risk of heart failure than those who ate a diet higher in meat and processed foods.

The exact impact of vegetarian eating is tough to quantify, since there are many types of vegetarians—some eat dairy and eggs, for example, while others eat only plant-based foods. But it’s fair to say that adding a few meatless meals to your dinner rotation is a good idea.

Whether you’re a full-time vegetarian, want to try a week-long test run, or simply want to get more comfortable cooking meatless meals, the seven recipes below can help. With just 14 ingredients (plus a few pantry staples), you can make a delicious, meatless meal at home every night this week.

Bonus: You might save some money, since meat and other animal-based foods are often more expensive than most plant-based foods.

Your 14-Ingredient Grocery List

vegetarian meal plan ingredients

Each recipe serves two people. If you’re cooking for one, refrigerate your leftovers, and reheat them for lunch the following day. If you’re dining with more people, simply multiply the amounts to make more.

  • Asparagus, 2 bunches
  • Baby spinach, 8 cups
  • Basil, ½ cup
  • Cherry tomatoes, 1 pint
  • Chickpeas, 3 cans (15 ounces each)
  • Eggs, 10 large
  • Fresh mozzarella, 3 ounces
  • Garlic, 5 cloves
  • Lemons, 3
  • Scallions, 7
  • Snap peas, 1½ cups
  • Sweet potatoes, 3 small and 1 large
  • Parmesan cheese, 7 ounces
  • Whole wheat fusilli, 12 ounces

You’ll also need a few pantry staples, which you likely already have on hand: olive oil, salt, pepper, chili powder (optional), and cumin (optional).

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Your 7-Day Vegetarian Dinner Menu

You can make the seven meals below in any order. You’ll notice that two different recipes call for soft-boiled eggs and two call for roasted sweet potatoes. To save time, cook three sweet potatoes and six soft-boiled eggs when you make the first recipe that calls for each ingredient (look for the * below).

Vegetarian Meal #1: Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Parmesan, and Spinach

Sweet Potato with Chickpeas, Parmesan, and Spinach

Serves: 2
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes, including 1 hour of baking

You’ll need:

  • 2 small sweet potatoes*
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup canned or cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated

*You’ll need one cooked sweet potato for the spinach salad recipe below. Cook it now, along with the two sweet potatoes for this recipe, to save time.

What to do: Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, prick sweet potatoes all over with a fork and wrap in foil. Bake on a sheet pan for 50 to 60 minutes, until soft. Unwrap to cool slightly.

Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add chickpeas, scallions, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cumin (if using). Cook 2 minutes, until chickpeas are slightly brown in spots. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add spinach and toss to wilt. Add Parmesan and toss to melt.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise, and spoon chickpea-spinach mixture down the center.

Vegetarian Meal #2: Sweet Potato and Asparagus Hash

Sweet Potato and Asparagus Hash

Serves: 2
Total time: 25 minutes

You’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 eggs

What to do: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add sweet potato cubes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cubes are browned on all sides, about 4 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water to the skillet, and let the cubes steam until soft all the way through, adding another tablespoon or two of water if needed.

Add tomatoes and scallions. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder (if using). Cook 3 minutes, until tomatoes are starting to burst. Add asparagus and cook to desired softness. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil. Crack eggs into skillet, season with salt and pepper, and cook until whites are set and yolks are still runny. Serve eggs over hash.

Vegetarian Meal #3: Pasta with Snap Peas and Parmesan

Pasta with Snap Peas and Parmesan

Serves: 2
Total time: 20 minutes

You’ll need:

  • 4 ounces whole wheat fusilli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup basil, torn
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved after cooking pasta

What to do: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, setting aside a cup of pasta water.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add snap peas and cook until lightly browned in places, about 2 minutes.

Add cooked pasta, basil, and a few tablespoons of pasta water. Toss to combine. Remove from heat, add Parmesan, and toss to melt.

Vegetarian Meal #4: Shaved Asparagus Salad with Chickpeas, Parmesan, and Soft-Boiled Egg

Shaved Asparagus Salad with Chickpeas, Parmesan, and Soft-Boiled Egg

Serves: 2
Total time: 20 minutes

You’ll need:

  • 2 eggs*
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of cumin (optional)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces), rinsed and drained
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, grated

*You’ll need four soft-boiled eggs for the spinach salad recipe below. Cook them now, along with the two eggs for this recipe, to save time. Peel and store them in the fridge for up to five days.

What to do: In a small pot, boil 5 inches of water. Carefully add eggs. Cook 6 minutes, keeping the water at a gentle boil. Use a slotted spoon to lift eggs out of water, then cool in ice water for a few minutes. Peel, halve, and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice and a bit of zest, olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cumin (if using) to make a vinaigrette.

Use a vegetable peeler to shave asparagus into thin ribbons, working over the bowl of vinaigrette. Add chickpeas and toss to coat. Serve topped with egg and Parmesan.

Vegetarian Meal #5: Pasta with Chickpeas and Spinach

Pasta with Chickpeas and Spinach

Serves: 2
Total time: 20 minutes

You’ll need:

  • 4 ounces whole wheat fusilli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup canned or cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of chili powder (optional)
  • Pinch of cumin (optional)
  • 2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • Juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved after cooking pasta

What to do: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, setting aside a cup of pasta water.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add chickpeas and scallions. Season with salt, pepper, chili powder (if using), and cumin (if using). Cook, stirring, until scallions are soft and chickpeas are browned in places, about 3 minutes.

Add spinach, cooked pasta, and a few tablespoons of pasta water. Toss until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and toss with lemon juice and zest.

Vegetarian Meal #6: Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta

Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta

Serves: 2
Total time: 25 minutes

You’ll need:

  • 4 ounces whole wheat fusilli
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup basil, torn
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 1 cup pasta water, reserved after cooking pasta

What to do: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, setting aside a cup of pasta water.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are very soft, about 10 minutes.

Add garlic and basil, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cooked pasta and a few tablespoons of pasta water, and toss together. Serve topped with fresh mozzarella.

Vegetarian Meal #7: Spinach Salad with Chickpeas, Sweet Potato, and Soft-Boiled Egg

Spinach Salad with Chickpeas, Sweet Potato, and Soft-Boiled Egg

Serves: 2
Total time: 10 minutes

You’ll need:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of cumin (optional)
  • Pinch of chili powder (optional)
  • 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • 1 cup canned or cooked chickpeas, drained
  • 1 cooked small sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 soft-boiled eggs, halved
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, grated

What to do: In a large bowl, whisk lemon juice and zest, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin (if using), and chili powder (if using). Add spinach and toss to coat. Add chickpeas and sweet potato, and toss to combine. Serve topped with eggs and Parmesan.

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Photos: Christine Byrne.

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