Easy Vegetarian Dishes for Enhanced Senior Health

    There are many reasons we may want to incorporate more vegetarian dishes into our dinner planning. For some people they are following a religious or cultural practice or want to limit their personal impact on the environment. For others, having more meatless dishes is a way to eat healthier and achieve their health goals. However; if you have been brought up and are used to eating meat with every meal it may be difficult to figure out ways to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your diet. Whether you enjoy an occasional meatless meal or follow a vegetarian diet, these easy vegetarian dinners make busy weeknights less stressful.

    Recipe 1: Spinach and Tortellini Soup


    1 teaspoon olive oil

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

    3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) vegetable broth

    2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

    1 package (9 ounces) refrigerated cheese tortellini

    4 cups fresh baby spinach

    Shredded Parmesan cheese

    Freshly ground pepper


    In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, broth and Italian seasoning; bring to a boil. Add tortellini; bring to a gentle boil. Cook, uncovered, just until tortellini are tender, 7-9 minutes.

    Stir in spinach. Sprinkle servings with cheese and pepper.

    Recipe 2: Black Bean & Sweet Potato Rice Bowl


    3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice

    1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

    1-1/2 cups water

    3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

    1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

    1 medium red onion, finely chopped

    4 cups chopped fresh kale (tough stems removed)

    1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

    2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

    Optional: Lime wedges and additional sweet chili sauce


    Place rice, garlic salt and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat; saute sweet potato 8 minutes. Add onion; cook and stir until potato is tender, 4-6 minutes. Add kale; cook and stir until tender, 3-5 minutes. Stir in beans; heat through.

    Gently stir 2 tablespoons chili sauce and remaining oil into rice; add to potato mixture. If desired, serve with lime wedges and additional chili sauce.

    Recipe 3: Italian Veggie Skillet


    1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained

    1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

    1 can (14-1/2 ounces) no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained

    1 cup vegetable broth

    3/4 cup uncooked instant rice

    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

    1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional

    1 cup marinara sauce

    1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    Minced fresh basil


    In a large skillet, combine first 6 ingredients and, if desired, pepper flakes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until rice is tender, 7-9 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce; heat through, stirring occasionally. Top with cheese and basil.

    Recipe 4: Vegetarian Pad Thai


    6 ounces uncooked thick rice noodles

    2 tablespoons brown sugar

    3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

    4 teaspoons rice vinegar

    2 teaspoons lime juice

    2 teaspoons olive oil

    3 medium carrots, shredded

    1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips

    4 green onions, chopped

    3 garlic cloves, minced

    4 large eggs, lightly beaten

    2 cups bean sprouts

    1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

    Chopped peanuts, optional

    Lime wedges


    Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain; rinse well and drain again. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar and lime juice.

    In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry carrots and pepper until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add green onions and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from pan.

    Reduce heat to medium. Pour eggs into same pan; cook and stir until no liquid egg remains. Stir in carrot mixture, noodles and sauce mixture; heat through. Add bean sprouts; toss to combine. Top with cilantro and, if desired, peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.

    Recipe 5: Tomato-Garlic Lentil Bowls


    1 tablespoon olive oil

    2 medium onions, chopped

    4 garlic cloves, minced

    2 cups dried brown lentils, rinsed

    1 teaspoon salt

    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

    1/2 teaspoon paprika

    1/4 teaspoon pepper

    3 cups water

    1/4 cup lemon juice

    3 tablespoons tomato paste

    3/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

    Optional: Chopped tomatoes and minced fresh cilantro


    In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; saute onions 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in lentils, seasonings and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until lentils are tender, 25-30 minutes.

    Stir in lemon juice and tomato paste; heat through. Serve with yogurt and, if desired, tomatoes and cilantro.

    For more information contact:

    Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc.


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