Capsule Grocery List: Vegetarian Edition

This is my second Capsule Grocery list (to see my first, click here), and instead of picking another round ingredients I usually buy, I wanted to challenge myself a bit. So I decided that this Capsule Grocery list would be vegetarian with six vegetarian recipes. I am not a vegetarian, but I definitely don’t eat as much meat as I used to. Plus by taking out the meat options in the grocery list, I default have more opportunities to add vegetables and other healthy items. After completing this week with only two meals with meat (we had chicken from the freezer one night and we BBQed on Saturday), it didn’t hit me that we had a full vegetarian work week until I started writing this. I never felt hungry or craved the meat we skipped. For our main protein sources for the week, I used tofu, beans, and eggs. Besides the spaghetti, each dish has a decent amount of protein to keep you full. And I think you’ll be just fine on being full from the spaghetti as well.

This grocery list is meant for two people, for six meals with most meals having at least one serving leftover.

Grocery List:

  1. Spaghetti noodles, 1 package
  2. Firm to extra firm tofu, 1 package
  3. Sourdough bread, 1 loaf
  4. Cannellini beans, 3 cans
  5. Spinach, 1 large bag
  6. Onion, one large should work. Whatever your preference: white, red, yellow
  7. Frozen veggie medley, one bag, preferably peas, carrots, corn, and asparagus
  8. Mushrooms, one small container
  9. Avocados, 3-4
  10. Diced tomatoes, preferably canned, 2-3 cans
  11. Veggie stock, you’ll need 4-5 cups, I prefer a jar of Better than Bouillon vegetable base
  12. Eggs, a dozen
  13. Sesame oil
  14. Vinegar: Red wine, rice wine, or apple cider vinegars would all work. Whichever you have or like.
  15. Radish, cucumber or something else you like that has a crunch. This will give your veggie sandwich texture it might be missing otherwise. A pound will work.
  16. 2-3 pounds of other veggies like carrots, asparagus, red bell pepper, and cauliflower. These all saute well. Whatever you choose can go into your sesame noodles, baked tofu with veggies, the soup, and fritatta.

Pantry Items Requested:

Stuff you might already have, but should get if not:

  • Olive oil and a neutral oil
  • Garlic or garlic powder
  • Soy sauce
  • Red pepper flakes and hot sauce (if you like)
  • Mayo (ok this one is optional)
  • Sugar
  • Sesame seeds

Dishes:

  • Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Garlic Toast
  • Asian-Inspired Sesame Noodles
  • Baked Tofu with Veggies
  • Vegetable and Bean Soup in a Tomato Broth
  • Veggie Frittata
  • Bean and Avocado Spread Sandwich

Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Garlic Toast

I feel like I don’t need to do a full recipe here. I added mushrooms for some veggies and I wanted to start getting through my loaf of sourdough, so I made some toast then rubbed the toast with a cut piece of garlic. It’s simple and fast and I usually always have the ingredients to make some form of noodles in a tomato sauce.

Asian-Inspired Sesame Noodles

This is such a good recipe. It’s really quick and flexible. The sesame oil is the key ingredient in this dish and it should shine through, without overpowering. I added tofu in mine to keep it vegetarian, but these noodles would also taste great with shredded chicken breast sauted in soy sauce. Red bell pepper and broccoli would also go well in this dish as substitutes. Just cut them up small so they cook quickly with the other ingredients. If you don’t have cucumbers, radishes are a nice sub or just leave out. But the freshness and crunch of a cucumber or radish adds a nice element to the dish. This dish should be noodle-forward so I toned down the amount of veggies and tofu I added. I used about an eighth of a container of tofu, because I’m saving the rest of another recipe. Feel free to adjust to your taste. This time I served the noodles with a side of edamame to add more protein. If your pan is not big enough to separate the tofu and veggies while cooking like I suggest below, simply cook them separately.

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti or pad thai noodles. I used about a third of a bag of spaghetti.
  • Neutral oil
  • 1/4 cup of onions, diced
  • 2 oz of tofu, patted dry, and diced to quarter inch
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded with a box grater
  • 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced. Garlic powder will work too if needed.
  • Soy sauce. Tamari, teriyaki, or coconut aminos also all work.
  • 2-3 teaspoons sesame oil, used throughout dish
  • 2 small cucumber, sliced into 3 inch long matchsticks
  • Garnishment options: sesame seeds, green onions, or cilantro

In a pot, pour enough water to cover spaghetti and add at least one tablespoon of salt to water. Turn heat to high. While you’re waiting for water to boil, cut onions, carrot, mushrooms, tofu, garlic, and cucumber. Turn a second burner to medium heat and in a large pan, add about a tablespoon of neutral oil and let heat. Once water is boiling, add noodles and took 1-2 minutes less than instructions read. Once noodles are done, drain and add back to pot you cooked them in. Pour about a teaspoon of sesame oil over noodles, or more if needed, to coat. Set to the side. While noodles are cooking, add onions to pan and saute for about a minute. Push onions to one side and add tofu. Your goal is to get at least two sides of the tofu cube to turn a nice brown and have a slight crisp. Don’t stir the tofu too often. (Tongs work well here). While the tofu is browning, add mushrooms to the onions for about a minute and stir, then add carrots and garlic. Once the tofu is browned, mix all ingredients together and add a teaspoon of soy sauce and a teaspoon of sesame oil. Taste for flavor. Add any spicy ingredient you like, like red chili flakes or sriracha. Add noodles to veggies mix and cook for about a minute until noodles are hot and al dente. Serve with sliced cucumbers or radishes and top with sesame seeds and green onion if you got them.

Vegetable and Bean Soup in a Tomato Broth

The key to the recipe is building a flavorful broth. I prefer using canned tomatoes for this recipes because the juice really helps develop the flavor. If you only have fresh tomatoes, just go a little heavier on the Italian spices. I actually use chicken broth for this recipe usually, but I’m sticking to the veggie stock this time. The veggies in this soup are really flexible. I had more fresh ingredients, so I added less frozen veggies. Go with what you got. But I prefer to stick with these vegetable options: onions, potatoes (diced to about a quarter inch), carrots, corn, peas, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, chopped kale, mushrooms. I wouldn’t suggest broccoli or summer squash, but most others veggies are fine. Just make sure you’re cutting up the veggies small enough and staying aware of what vegetables take longer to cook.

Ingredients

  • 4-5 cups of vegetable stock. This part is flexible and just depends on how many servings you want. 4-5 cups will give you about 4 servings.
  • Seasonings, like Italian seasoning, dried basil, thyme, and oregano
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • Half an onion, diced
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans, drained. You can use other white beans, or maybe pinto or kidney. But I probably wouldn’t recommend black beans here.
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with juice or about a cup of fresh tomatoes
  • 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
  • A cup of frozen vegetables (no need to thaw)
  • A cup of spinach, torn into large pieces. If you’re using kale, add in with tomatoes in the recipe to follow

In a large pot, add stock and turn heat to medium high. While waiting for stock to simmer, cut your vegetables. Once stock is simmering, add carrots and onions and cook for about five minutes. Test a carrot. It should still be firm, but starting to cook through. Add beans and tomatoes. Once broth is hot again, test for flavor. Depending on how flavorful your stock is, add salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings to taste. You want your broth to be really flavorful, because, well the vegetables need it. Add mushrooms and frozen veggies and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Finally, tear spinach into bite-size pieces and add to pot. Soup is done once the spinach is wilted. Serve with a sliced of garlic sourdough bread or keep the soup extra healthy and eat as is.

Baked Tofu with Veggies

This recipe is nice because almost everything goes onto sheet pans and takes about the same time to roast. It’s really filling and a nice way to get your vegetables in for the day. Of course, you can serve this with a side of rice or even some leftover sesame noodle from above. This dish will taste extra good if you can get the tofu to crisp by baking long enough.

Ingredients:

  • About one container of firm to extra firm tofu (what you have leftover from the sesame noodles). Drained, lightly squeezed dry, and cut into 3/4 inch cubes.
  • 1/2 teaspoon of neutral oil, plus more to grease pan
  • 1/2 an onion, sliced into small wedges
  • 2 medium carrots, diced to quarter inch
  • Half bunch of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, used throughout recipe
  • Salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour, optional
  • Soy sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg per person
  • Optional toppings: hot sauce, oyster sauce, sesame seeds, green onions

Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease one sheet pan. While oven is heating, cut the vegetable you’ll be using and the drained tofu. You want the tofu to be as dry as possible without crumbling the cubes. With a towel or paper towels pat dry. You can also put a towel on a plate, placed cubed tofu on it and put in fridge until everything else is prepped. Place vegetables on the ungreased sheet pan and pour a half of teaspoon of neutral oil and half a teaspoon of sesame oil, or more, to coat. Then sprinkle some salt, pepper, red chili flakes, garlic powder or whatever else you like on top. On the greased sheet, add tofu and sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and other seasonings. If you feel the tofu is still too wet, sprinkle about a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour on top. Make sure there are no clumps, as you’ll be able to taste that in the finished product. Put both sheets in oven, with tofu on top rack and cook for 10 minutes before flipping everything. Cook for another 7-10 minutes until vegetables are slightly soft and some tips are charred. The tofu is done when several sides are brown and crunchy. While the tofu and vegetables are cooking, mix 2 tablespoons of soy sauce with minced garlic, a few splashes of sesame oil and some hot sauce if you prefer. Fry up however many eggs you want. Once tofu is done, add sauce straight to pan (or put everything into a bowl) and mix. Place tofu and veggies in bowls, and top with egg. Garnish with more sauce, sesame seeds, or green onions.

Bean and Avocado Spread Sandwich

This meal comes together in under 15 minutes and is surprisingly filling. You don’t necessarily need to use a food processor like I suggest. You can use a potato masher or just the back of your fork. It’ll give the dip a nice rustic texture, which will work just fine. I suggest sourdough bread here, but I’ve also made a similar recipe with bagels and that worked out perfectly. Unless you’re make more than four sandwiches, you will probably have plenty of the dip leftover. Of course you can make more sandwiches with it, but it’s also really good with crackers or chips. It’ll brown a little overnight, so it’s not the best party dip, but it’s still wonderful tasting. The keys to this recipe are the drizzle of vinegar at the end and making sure there’s enough flavor in the dip. Don’t be afraid to add those spices, salt, and vinegar. The rest of the ingredients are fairly mild, depending on what you add, so having a flavorful dip will make this recipe come together.

Ingredients:

  • Sourdough bread, sliced
  • 1 can of cannelinni beans, drained
  • 1-2 teaspoon of the vinegar of your choice. I used red wine vinegar here.
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of spices, like dill and red pepper flakes. Cumin and cilantro are also good options.
  • 1 teaspoon or more of olive oil
  • 1-2 avocados, semi-ripe with some give, diced. Use two avocados if you want the dip to be more avocado-forward.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A couple radishes, sliced thinly into coins
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, then sliced into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler OR 1 cucumber thinly sliced
  • 1/4 of an onion, thinly sliced
  • A handful of spinach or other greens
  • Other garnishment options: mayo, thinly sliced red bell peppers, pickled peppers, olives, diced green onions, in-season tomatoes

Instructions:

Using a blender or food processor, blend beans until almost creamy. Add vinegar, garlic and spices and blend until smooth. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and blend again, add more if needed until beans are slightly shiny. Add avocado and salt and pepper and stir with spoon, NOT with food processor, until avocado is incorporated but some small chunks are still visible. Taste for flavor; you don’t want this dip to be too mild. Toast sourdough until fairly crunchy (to hold up better with the dip). Smear pieces of toast with some of the dip. If you’re not feeling overly healthy, a little mayo on one side adds a nice touch. Layer with whatever veggies you have and drizzle a little vinegar over veggies for some nice acidity.

Veggie Frittata

This recipe is a staple in our home. It takes about 15 minutes to cook, so it’s not something I make a lot on a weekday morning, but it holds up so well and taste great for lunch that I often make it in the evenings while I cook dinner and we eat it for breakfast or lunch the next day. The frittata is fairly thin, but if you like a thicker version, here’s a nice recipe with several ingredient options. The main difference is that most thicker recipes ask for the frittata to be finished in the oven; mine you do everything on the stove top.

Again, this is another recipe that’s really flexible with the ingredients. Red bell peppers, asparagus, baby kale, leftover roasted veggies, like diced sweet potatoes or white potatoes would all go really well in here. The key to this recipe is seasoning the vegetables enough where they’re the little flavor bombs among the eggs. I keep the egg mixture fairly bland and spice up the vegetables to create a really nice depth of flavor. If you do want to add meat or a meat substitute, Italian sausage or chorizo are my preferred options. Just cook those in the same pan before adding the onions. For a meat substitute, I always use Field Roast’s Mexican Chipotle and slice it thinly and cook it until it has a nice crisp. The spice and oil from the ‘sausage’ really help flavor the dish and this brand is at most grocery stores.

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 4-5 grape tomatoes halved, or about a handful of diced tomatoes. Canned actually works well here too
  • Salt, pepper, dill, and Italian herbs you like and have
  • Handful of spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup of frozen vegetables
  • 4-5 eggs, depending on size of your pan
  • Optional garnishments: slices of avocado, cheese, cilantro, green onions, hot sauce
  • Optional sides: arugula or spinach salad with red wine vinegar and salt, avocado, or fruit

In a pan with a lid, preferably see-through, add two teaspoons of olive oil and heat over medium. Add onions and cook for about a minute, then add garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Stir and cook for about three minutes or until veggies are cooked through. Add seasonings, like Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, or dill. Taste one of the vegetables to make sure they are flavored enough. Add spinach, stir once more and put lid on pot while you beat the eggs. Beat 4-5 eggs in a separate bowl and season with salt and pepper. Make sure all vegetables are cooked to your preferred done-ness. Add a little more olive oil to the pan if pan looks dry. Keeping heat at medium, add eggs and stir mixture for a few seconds to create an even layer of vegetables. If the eggs don’t slightly cover the vegetables, beat one more egg and add. Turn heat to low and cover with lid for 5-7 minutes. If after seven minutes the eggs are still not set, turn heat back up to medium and cook for about 2 minutes, keeping an eye on them. The eggs should turn a lighter color and the top should not look shiny with uncooked egg. Turn off heat and let sit with lid still on for about a minute. Slice and serve. Leftovers hold up really well for a few days in fridge.

Any other ideas of what you would do with these ingredients? Any items on the list you would leave out or substitute? We would love to hear what you think!

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