Vegetarian Menu and Recipes for a Month

EDIT 8/22/08: If you like these, try my vegetarian recipes for another month!Cooking from scratch.

A friend of mine is pregnant (with twins!) and is confined to bed rest due to some worrisome high blood pressure. She’s the main cook in the family, so in an attempt to help, I’m taking them a few complete meals ready to eat or freeze.

For me, cooking gets to be a chore when I’m tired and just don’t want to think about it. I remember when my mom used to say “I’ll cook anything you want, so long as I don’t have to figure out what to have!” Now that I’m working and cooking, I know exactly what she means. My friend’s wife is a fine cook, but she works full (read: “over”) time and it’s not her favorite activity, so it occurred to me that planning meals might also be the worst part of it for her, too.

So I made up a monthly menu, complete with recipes and grocery lists. As I wrote, I thought some of you might like them, too. All the recipes are vegetarian – many are or could be vegan – and feature a lot of vegetables and whole grains. They can be adapted to be a little more homemade if you use garden produce and dry beans or a little quicker if you use frozen vegetables and canned beans.

This menu reflects how we really eat at our house. I’ve often looked at “monthly menus” online and in magazines, and it seems like all of them start with more meat than we eat in a week, enough cheese to kill me, and/or cans of prepared foods. The canned and prepared foods in the list below are things like plain beans and frozen vegetables, with an occasional sauce or pilaf. If you’ve considered trying to eat less or no meat, you might pick one or two of these a week. If the family riots, you could always add some chicken to the stir-fry or some ground beef to the Salsa Fry-Up.

Other features:

  • Recipes assume you know how to cook (e.g., stir-fry some vegetables; cook rice).
  • Recipes feed 2 adults dinner, plus 2 child dinners or one adult lunch.
  • Five meals per week assumes some meals will be repeated, plus dining out or with friends/family. Weeks, as written, aim for a variety of starches, proteins, and flavor families.
  • When beans are called for, use one 14.5-oz can (the standard small size, drained and rinsed) or cook about ¾ c. dry beans
  • Each week has one or two “dead easy” meals that require little prep and are ready in under 30 minutes (unless you cook brown rice; then you’ll be done in 45 mins) .
  • Each week has two “average” meals that will take 45 mins-1 hour for all prep and cooking.
  • Each week has one more “involved” meal that might be best done on a weekend.
  • All meals can be made omnivorous, if desired

The menu and a printable PDF of the recipes and shopping lists is available after the cut.

Update 2/19/11 – I am hoping to plant an orchard in my yard! If you have found these recipes useful, would you considering donating a few dollars toward that end? I will send five new recipes to all who donate! You can donate securely through PayPal by clicking the “Donate” button. Donate via PayPal

Vegetarian Menu for a Month (download in PDF format; includes recipes and shopping lists)

Items marked with an * are “dead easy”

Week 1

  • *Salsa Fry-Up
  • *Rice, Greens, And Egg
  • General’s Tofu
  • Pad Thai
  • Lentil Herder’s Pie

Week 2

  • *Coconut Chickpea Curry
  • *Rice Pilaf With Tofu/Tempeh And Veg
  • Lentil Stew Over Rice Or Quinoa, Veg
  • Cabbage And Noodles (Or Potatoes)
  • Tortilla Casserole

Week 3

  • *Sag Daal
  • *Veggie Burgers, Sweet Potato Fries, Veg
  • Tofu, Mushrooms, And Broccoli Over Polenta
  • Ginger Garlic Stir Fry
  • Beans, Greens, And Cornbread

Week 4

  • *Chili
  • *Pizza
  • Big Crazy Salad
  • Creamy Veggie Pasta
  • Dilled Beets, Apples, And Potatoes

Update 2/19/11 – <strong>I am hoping to plant an orchard in my yard!</strong> If you have found these recipes useful, would you considering donating a few dollars toward that end?  I will send five new recipes to all who donate!  You can donate securely through PayPal by clicking the “Donate” button.

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  1. Deborah said,

    March 30, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    Hi! I’m a friend of Michael’s and Jocelyn’s and I stumbled over from his post on cooking. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing. You’re right about the online menus..they never sound like real food to me.

    Anyway…I will definitely use some of these recipes!

    • Anonymous said,

      March 5, 2010 at 9:02 am

      Girl ii Know Riqht

  2. March 30, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    You are very generous, thanks for the recipes! I downloaded the PDF and plan to read it later.
    Always learning -

  3. rebecca77 said,

    March 30, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Hello and Thank You for this wonderful post! I am a full time mum/house wife and am always looking for inspiration – especially vegetarian! I am going to try your menu plan over the next month and will let you know how we go!


  4. Momster said,

    March 31, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    Holy crap, batman! What a ton of work! I am taking your URL to my bookclub tonight and just sit there and radiate “proud”. You rock! We will slowly walk our way through this delicious journey!

  5. Leanne NZ said,

    April 3, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    Oh wow thank you!!!

    I have a teen dd wanting to be vege girl – we need to eat vegan due to food allergies.

    This am I was at, she is having a vegetarian challenege – I blogged about this – asking for ideas for vegan meals – then clicked on your blog (I pop into your blog often – but one of those shockers who don’t comment much) And I found your post

    Thank you!!!

    I will get my head around this & let you know when I try a meal – not sure about tofu (shudder – it feels yucky – but I will be brave!)

    Thanks for all your hard work – it is very much appreciated.

    Love Leanne

  6. Emily said,

    April 3, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Hey, everybody, thanks for the nice comments! I’m so glad you’re finding these useful. They are really tasty – we eat everything on this list as part of our regular meal rotation.

    Leanne, and anyone else who’s iffy on tofu…I don’t think it’s a wonderfood, but I do enjoy it sometimes. I used to hate it until I discovered super-ultra-mega-firm tofu. It has a texture more like mozzarella cheese (with tiny holes in it) and less like pudding. We’re lucky to be able to get it here, locally made and organic, for $1.29 a pound from a barrel in the co-op, but in some places, the closest you can get to that is Baked Tofu.

  7. Janet Springfield said,

    June 11, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    Hi, Em,

    I, too, am telling everyone I know about your blog……Momster is right on! I just downloaded the month of recipes. We’ll see how U.J. likes the new veg. meals! Thanks for a great resource!

  8. Amanda P. said,

    August 25, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    I have recently started using your meal plan, and I wanted to tell you I LOVE it and thank you so very much! I had been searching for exactly what you provide….vegetarian low fat menu plans with shopping lists. We love the meals and they fit in the grocery budget too. :)

    Also, your “General’s Tofu” converted my hubby to tofu! He has always had an issue with it, and was amazed by how good that dish was. He even went and got it out of the fridge later to snack on. So thanks again!

  9. Emily said,

    August 25, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Oh, Amanda! I’m so glad you’ve found this menu useful! And a new tofu eater? Do I get a toaster oven or something? :) (P.S. – Try baking cubes of super-firm tofu with a sauce of 1/2 sweet chili sauce and 1/2 ketchup – stir often – and after 60 minutes or so, you’ll have a “vegetarian meatball” dish perfect for a hot appetizer that your husband will *crave*!)

  10. Amanda P. said,

    August 27, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Oooh I will definitely have to try that one….it sounds great! And I will be keeping an eye on your blog in future….it’s fascinating. Keep up the good work!

  11. January 15, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Sounds both nutricious and delicious! Good menu :)

  12. January 15, 2009 at 10:47 am

    My mistake for hitting submit too fast, that should say nutritious.

  13. January 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    I love the recipes and they are realatively easy, thanks for the great ideas.

  14. Mia said,

    January 19, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s exactly what I was looking for

  15. Mosquito hawk said,

    February 5, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Thank You!! Type 1 Diabetic 17 year old college son going low fat and veg to be healthy and all those other environmental reasons. Knows I like trying new recipes and think this was his way of making me feel still a part of his life. Ha. Any way Thank you for sharing!! Makes the learning curve a bit easier when I have guided steps. :)

  16. Joan said,

    February 25, 2009 at 10:11 pm

    For those who are reluctant to try tofu, here’s a tip: freeze it. When you thaw it, it has a completely different texture, more chewy, substantial, and it soaks up a marinade or sauce in no time flat. Try marinating it in soy sauce, cutting it into “fingers”, and frying in a little oil to get a little crust on. It will win over sceptics for sure!

  17. Joan said,

    February 25, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    And, Emily, thanks for the great menus!

  18. saintless said,

    March 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Oh, this is heaven! Thank you for sharing it! :)

  19. Anika said,

    May 20, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Thank you VERY much for the menu plan. They’re REAL recipes for REAL people, not the foo-foo stuff! Looking forward to getting started. You are awesome!

  20. Mich said,

    May 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I love tofu but I live alone and each time i buy a brick of tofu, I end up having to throw some. I would like to know how to freeze it? In water like when we keep it in the fridge? Also, already made tofu burgers. Can i freeze some of it after I open the air tight seeled package?
    Thank you for this site, I really needed to find something like this!

    • Emily said,

      May 28, 2009 at 8:33 am

      Mich- I’d either cube the tofu and freeze it in an airtight bag, or pre-cook it and freeze it. Freezing does change the texture some – it drives out some water, making it more firm. You might prefer it this way, though I find it makes the tofu squeak on my teeth. *shudder* I think tofu burgers would do even better than plain tofu in the freezer.

  21. Emily said,

    May 28, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Thanks for the compliments, everyone. Want to know the irony? I just found out I’m allergic to most beans and soy! *crushed*

  22. michelle said,

    July 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    oh no, emily! i would be crushed too! i have no doubt that you’ll soon be coming up with delicious alternative recipes, especially since you’ll be feeling so much better without having to deal with allergies! :) these recipes are amazing and you are so kind and generous for sharing them. thanks!

  23. Jennifer said,

    July 11, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Hi there! I just wanted to say that I have spent the last month cooking your recipes, and they are wonderful! I am a vegetarian and a school teacher, so I work way too much and have no energy at the end of the day to plan meals and eat well. But these recipes have given me hope that this upcoming school year, I can cook real food (as opposed to eating things out of boxes) on a regular basis without much fuss. I look forward to trying the next month’s set of recipes too, and I thank you so much for sharing your ideas and recipes.

    • Emily said,

      July 11, 2009 at 9:32 pm

      You’re making me a teary, Jennifer. :) I’m glad you like the recipes…hope the second month is tasty, too.

    • Elaine said,

      January 8, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you. So helpful.

  24. July 12, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    [...] Rice Pilaf with Tofu/Tempeh and Veg [...]

  25. michelle said,

    August 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Wow-thanks so much for your monthly menus. I made the lentil herder’s pie tonight, and it was a hit! Can’t wait to try the other recipes, especially looking forward to general tofu. I love that the recipes are not too complicated, nor do they require a multitude of exotic ingredients!!

  26. Jodi said,

    September 6, 2009 at 10:13 am

    This is so awesome. Thankyou so much. I just got married and am having a hard time finding/comming up with this to cook that are different, not too hard, and nutricious. Thank you so much for all your hard work. They all look wonderful.

  27. Terri said,

    October 4, 2009 at 12:18 am

    This is so helpful. I’m trying to break away from my tried-and-true recipes and you’ve provided a lot of inspiration. Thanks!!

  28. Jessica said,

    October 11, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Just wanted to say that I’m in love with you – not in a creepy, Internet stalker sort of way, but in a thank goodness I don’t have to figure out dinner for two whole months sort of way. Your recipes are so good and easy that even my four-year-old daughter said as we were eating Lentil Stew over Rice, “Is this a Martha Stewart recipe? Because I like her recipes the best because they are so good and this is really good.” High praise, indeed!

    • Emily said,

      October 12, 2009 at 8:58 am

      Jessica, I am touched and flattered. :) And you can tell your daughter, no, it’s not Martha Stewart – it’s a slight modification of an old recipe from teh Joy of Cooking, which assures us that tastiness is achievable by mere mortals. :)

  29. December 23, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Just found your blog and want to say “thanks” for really great recipes and Vegan menu – keep up good work!

    Matilda Duhliu

  30. Tinna said,

    January 3, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    I found your blog when I googled vegetarian menu, I will look no further! Thank you for sharing;)

  31. MRod said,

    January 8, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    I am on a mission to change our family meals into vegetarian meals only and your weekly planner is just the ticket.

    I am currently using Gary Null’s 2 week planner and I look forward to adding your receipes into his mix.


  32. January 24, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    [...] vegetarian recipes and shopping lists on-line today. We spent all of 5 minutes doing it and found one quickly. We bought ingredients for one week and it only cost about 50 bucks. The recipes arent [...]

  33. barbara said,

    February 19, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you so much. This is just what I’ve been looking for. Always called myself a wanna be vegetarian but with these menus and recipes I can get off the wanna be train and join the big boys on the porch. thanks again

  34. Karen from Connecticut said,

    March 4, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Emily, I can’t thank you enough for your recipes and menus. All my planning done for me, which is, I’m afraid, what I’m looking for. Not much fun cooking for one, and it’s way too easy to eat salt-laden prepared foods just so I don’t have to be creative and make decision after decision at the grocery store.

  35. jptownley said,

    March 10, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Hi Emily!
    I made the cornbread and beans last night. Used vegan substitutes.

    The beans and sage were really stupid simple and so delicious. I was like yeah, right sage, I forgot about you!

  36. Jennifer said,

    March 26, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Thank you! This has been so helpful for me!!! I felt like I was cooking the same old thing every week, and was so bored with it when I stumbled on your site. Thanks for posting!

  37. Vicki Heal said,

    April 17, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Sooo useful

  38. Cindy said,

    April 23, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this collection of recipes and the lists to go with the menu plan. I am on my way to the store now!!

  39. Aubrey said,

    May 26, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks for these! I needed a little inspiration and this was just the ticket! :)

  40. Joan Booth said,

    June 1, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I’m in heaven. I just discovered your website and can’t wait to cook these wonderful meals. Sometimes cooking vegetarian requires many ingredients that require shopping hither and yon, but your recipes are so easy. And talk about taking your readers by the hand———–providing the shopping list is just too fantabulous!!

  41. June 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I have been looking all over the web for new diet ideas, my boyfriend and I have been running into trouble with health ideas. Your recipes seems to be have the health aspect down. Now I just hope they taste as good as they sounds.

    M. Jones

  42. Catherine said,

    July 6, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Hi Just found you today and thanks for the menu!

    We’ve decided to eliminate meat from our diet and choose to eat alot healthier. So I can’t wait to try these!


  43. Batemet said,

    July 11, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks so much~~~ I’m at a point where my brains dont want to work although my hands do. Typical menu plans for moms are loaded with meat– I’m so glad for the info you’ve made available!!!

  44. August 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

    Fantastic post. My partner and I have been eating these meals for the last few weeks and we really love them. Thank you! ♥

  45. Dana said,

    August 31, 2010 at 1:44 am

    I hate to spoil the party but… the majority of your recipies have huge glycemic index: potatoes, rice noodles, polenta, cooked carrot, cooked onion (a no no especially for people with cancer, let alone soy products completely forbidden for women with hormomal breast cancer).

    • Emily said,

      August 31, 2010 at 11:22 am

      …which is why I don’t eat these meals regularly. However, people value different factors in their food, and for some, not eating animals outweighs the glycemic index. I originally made these recipes for some vegetarian friends who had a baby and thought I’d share them here, as well.

      And of course, you can always sub another protein – even meat – for the soy listed and leave out the onion. (What’s wrong with cooked onion, anyway? I’ve never heard that one before…)

  46. September 22, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    [...] easy vegetarian recipes; the localvore, Emily at Eat Close To Home, has a pdf of a month’s of meal recipes and shopping lists; if you are in the mood to impress, the Veggie Table has some great gourmet vegetarian [...]

  47. Elizabeth said,

    September 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing!! As a working mom of six I barely have time to plan anything. This was a huge help!!

  48. Anonymous said,

    November 21, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Emily,your meal plan is outstanding. Thank you so much. And btw I may not be the worlds best cook, but I am pretty good, so what is wrong wtih cooked onion Dana ? I, just like emily have never heard that one before.

  49. Mel said,

    January 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Hi there! Just wanted to let you know that my family is starting your meal plan today! I am actually a trained chef and the gluttony of the holidays have gotten to us all! I needed something fast and organized to get us all going on our veg head detox. I am thrilled there are spaces to do your own things with spices etc in your recipes. Thanks so much for putting this together!

    • Emily said,

      January 4, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Wow, that’s the prettiest plate of salsa fry-up I’ve ever seen! Enjoy!

  50. January 14, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    good afternoon! i too hate planning meals, which is how i found your post! thank you so much! week two makes me all kinds of excited! many many thanks!

  51. January 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    [...] when I sit down to plan anyway and my brain just blanks out. After some google-fu, I came across this site that has a menu and grocery lists for a months worth of vegetarian meals. The meals looked similar to stuff the kids and I were already eating, so I figured I'd give it a [...]

  52. Bill said,

    February 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    If you put together “Vegetarian Menus and Recipes for a YEAR” as a book, you would have a best seller. You would have my business! Anyone else here agree?

    • Emily said,

      February 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bill! I think I’m wrung pretty dry though…even my second month of recipes started to fall flat. :/ Maybe I should do at least a summer set, though…for when all the fresh veg is in season…

  53. Katena said,

    February 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    I am with Bill! I would buy that book right now!!! I’ve been feeling very uninspired in the kitchen lately. My partner recently developed a sensitivity to soy and I’ve started thinking about how processed all the food we’ve been eating is as a result. While many of your recipes call for tempeh or tofu I plan to substitute seitan as we are going soy free. Anyone who’s going veg and who is tofu-phobic might consider this too as (in my experience) it’s more “meaty” for those of us who appreciate that texture.

  54. brody said,

    February 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    These recipes look sooo good. i am a vegetarian and i feel like i have gained weight because of it. so i am planning to start dieting. i was just wondering are these recipes high on calories because id like to try them all but i am not sure if they will fit into my diet.

    • Emily said,

      February 26, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Just reduce the starch and add more vegetables!

  55. Rosey said,

    March 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Your quote about “enough cheese to kill me” cracks me up! I’m an omnivore and the 3 males in my family are definitely carnivores, so I’ve been trying to throw in a few veggie dishes here and there. It’s a whole new search for quick and easy vegetarian recipes for me. Keep up the good work!

  56. April 16, 2011 at 6:25 am

    excelent and delicious,the best way to test our own by seeing the recipy.persone love to veg.this is an asset for them.
    thank you for this help for those who realy need.
    hope in futur you cpntinue it.

  57. Rebecca said,

    April 18, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Thanks so much for these recipes and shopping lists! We have had a hard year, and this past week it was such a blessing to spend little $$ on healthy, easy recipes that we all enjoyed!

  58. Jill said,

    April 20, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Great stuff here. I’ve been a partial vegetarian for years, but still can’t do tofu (not that I haven’t tried–Lord KNOWS I have!) Can’t wait to try your recipes!

  59. May 4, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Thank you so much for a great menu list we could try out. You are a great help indeed!

  60. Liz said,

    May 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    How nice to find a menu plan with a shopping/pantry list that looks like mine! I’ll need to double the recipes as my kids, 13 and 15, inhale all edibles in sight. Thank you for putting this together and all the posts – with a husband who refuses tofu I’ll try the seitan. I’m all for the book idea as well.

  61. Luckson said,

    May 23, 2011 at 5:00 am

    -Thank you very much.I have been a vegetarian for more than ten years(lactovegetarian) and i have survived without the organised cooking like i stumbled into on your site!
    -I guess with a bit of some organisation which will be achieved with your menu and recipe and shopping list, I will now enjoy my vegetarian life style.
    -Better late than never
    -I will tryout and certainly give you afeedback.

  62. Maria Rose said,

    June 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Let me just say THANK YOU from a busy working college student. I really needed this and this is SO perfect to help me plan out my meals. I am NOT a meal planner by any means and this has helped me get back on track with eating healthier. I must say that I am keeping 98% of the weekly recipes vegetarian. I am incorporating some meat here and there (Just for a balance) But this has helped me SO much with my busy lifestyle. I can now eat healthy AND work…It’s a miracle!!! :)

    I mentioned you on my Youtube channel as well just to give my viewers a much simpler way to start going vegetarian. Thanks so much!

  63. Anonymous said,

    June 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

    I’ve been vegetarian for years, and yours is one of the greatest recipe resources on the web, mate. Thanks for being so awesome!

    • Kari said,

      June 25, 2011 at 9:15 am

      Wow! All I can say is THANK YOU!!!! I’m in my forties and have been a vegetarian since the age of 15, because of all the stuff they put in the animals way back then. Don’t even want to THINK about what they use NOW… I’m not good at planning, and have pretty much lived on pasta for about two years which, as a personal trainer I know isn’t good for the body but I never had time to figure out another approach. Thank you thank you thank you! I’ll proof-read the book, or even help write it. I’m a terrific secretary and a really fast typist. Call me,.. let’s talk… godsgal

  64. Amy said,

    July 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Thank you so much for the recipes. My husband and I have both lost weight and are much healthier since we’ve been using your blog! I’m not working right now, but when I do, I am definitely sending a donation your way. You rock!

    • Emily said,

      July 9, 2011 at 8:16 am

      Wow, Amy, I’m so happy to hear about your recent health gains! That matters so much more than any donation. :) good luck on the job search, and happy eating!

  65. MY WORLD said,

    July 30, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I’m not a vegetarian,but i want to Thank You for such a wonderful post!

  66. Pupie said,

    August 5, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Thanks for great sharing for the menu and recipes

  67. August 22, 2011 at 9:18 am

    [...] Eat Close To Home [...]

  68. Barb said,

    September 11, 2011 at 9:35 am

    We’ve just started eating vegetarian to curb our bad eating habits and improve our heart health. I already have lots of recipes, but as a novice vegetarian I had trouble deciding what foods/recipes to combine for a meal. I was used to the old formula of meat, starch and veg. I ended up cooking several recipes and trying to put them together in a meal. The result often was too much of the same texture and taste, and too much work. I was making this way too complicated. Your meals make sense and are doable. I’ll start this week and see how it works out. Thanks for your help. I needed this.

  69. November 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I just discovered this, so I can’t say the recipes are fantastic…but I believe I will be able to say that next month.

    In the meantime, here’s a volunteer effort for someone else (aren’t volunteer efforts always best when handled by someone else?). See if 12 of your readers want to contribute a week’s menu. Find someone to compile these into a book of “tasty meals from your farmers market.” Find someone to edit. Find someone to organize in a machine-printable format.

    Invite people to publish at their local Kinko’s/FedEx and sell at farmers markets nationwide. Heck, we’ll sell them worldwide. We’ll be famous! And rich! Okay, maybe not rich, but our children will eat better and farmers markets will sell more healthy food.

    • Emily said,

      November 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      Now THAT’s an idea I can get behind! Ok, folks, if you want to send me a week’s worth of recipes (let’s make that a work week – recipes for five balanced dinners), I’ll put them together and post them. The printable book might have to wait, though, in part because I don’t feel like dealing with splitting royalties among all the authors. Perhaps I can post them in an easier-to-print format?

      • November 11, 2011 at 3:12 pm

        Emily –

        Why not allow free reprinting and sales, but the proceeds by honor go to Share Our Strength or some other hunger-prevention charity? Or a vegetarian group? They can handle the design parts and can push the idea out to their members.

        You and your contributors get the credit, farmers markets get the traffic, and hungry vegetarians eat better.

        - Dave

        • Emily said,

          November 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm

          Hmm…must ponder that for a winter project!

  70. Barb said,

    November 11, 2011 at 11:33 am

    This menu has been my go-to reference for the last few months. As a new vegetarian it has been a lifesaver, easy and tasty. I was hoping you might have another one coming up soon.

  71. Debbie said,

    December 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Just downloaded your month of recipies and heading to the grocery. This is what I needed. My husband is recovering from tongue cancer and can’t eat by mouth so I will be preparing for one. The question is: Canthese be frozen once cooked for later and if so how long?

    Thanks this is a blessing for me. I have been doing fast food and want to get back to healthy eating.

    • Emily said,

      December 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm

      An awful lot of these are great in the freezer. Salsa fry-up, lentil pie, lentil soup, chili, saag daal, tortilla pie, and rice pilaf, for sure. If you cook 2c of rice at a time (2c rice, 4c water), you’ll be able to make a full recipe and put 4c of cooked rice in the freezer, which then makes many of the other recipes a snap to cook up from scratch. Eggs, greens, and rice, for example, takes about 10 minutes from start to finish if your rice is cooked and you use prewashed fresh greens (spinach, maybe?) or frozen greens.

      Best of health to you both!

      • December 19, 2011 at 10:11 pm

        Emily –

        I know your post is intended for cooks with a bit more experience, but if you have hints on reheating left-overs (microwave, saucepan, oven, steamer), I know it would help me. Thanks.

        - Dave

        P.S. Congratulations on your hoped-to-be-new home.

        • Emily said,

          December 20, 2011 at 9:15 am

          Thank, Dave. Wow, you must have snagged that post quick – it was only up a few minutes before I pulled it. Will repost soon. :)

          I usually reheat leftovers in the microwave. If you reheat on the stove in a saucepan, you’ll probably want to add a little water and/or oil so the food doesn’t stick.

  72. Rachel said,

    January 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    do you have a yummy vegetable pot pie recipe? thanks, Am loving this site!

    • Emily said,

      January 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm

      Oh, sure – just make a vegetarian gravy (2tbs oil or butter, 2Tbs flour, optional 2 Tbs nutritional yeast, and 2 cups veg broth). Then decide what you’re putting in your pie – tons of veg and chick peas, maybe. Sautee them if they are raw; thaw them if frozen. If you use tofu, press it and brown it in oil and a little soy sauce first.

      Then put it all in a pie shell, or straight into a casserole pan and top with pie crust, biscuits, or mashed potatoes. Bake until your topping is done and the pie is hot all the way through.

  73. Rachel said,

    January 8, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Thanks Emily,
    I just made a pot pie and it is delicious. I was wondering what you meant in your august 31st 2010 post about not eating these meals regularily ( in response to Dana’s comment). Were you saying that following this month long menu would not be a healthy choice? or only if one was diabetic or had a form of cancer. I realize that you are not a nutritionist ( I don’t think?),just wondering, Thanks so much for your time and effort!

    • Emily said,

      January 8, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      I learned that I’m allergic to beans, and that I benefit greatly from getting a better balance of protein, fat, and fewer carbs. So ironically, I’m eating meat much more frequently these days.

  74. Anonymous said,

    January 9, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Thank for this one and the other one. I’m new to the vegetarian lifestyle. Being vegetarian was the best and most budget friendly way to lose weight for me.

    From Holland, Michigan ^_^

  75. Marilla said,

    January 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    My partner and I both work full-over time, so when we get home around 5:30 or 6, the last thing either of us want to do is forage in the fridge or go get groceries. You have literally made my month. The recipes, the grocery lists, the planning all done in advance, and all we need to do is get ingredients and cook. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m thrilled, and am so looking forward to dinners this week!

  76. Gina C said,

    February 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I’m a lazy cook…this is just what I needed! I love the fact that the recipes, shopping list and month is all laid out for me. I’m looking foward to getting started!

  77. February 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    [...] Eat Close to Home – Vegetarian Menu and Recipes for a Month [...]

  78. March 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for such a wonderful post! I love this recipe!

  79. April 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    [...] and I had a blast putting together a vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie. The basic recipe came from Eat Close to Home, but we have made some adjustments. Liliana noted while we were making it that since it [...]

  80. chikezie onyedika said,

    April 12, 2012 at 4:34 am

    am from africa and most of this names being called are strange to me like tofu etc wondring if u can help me in knowing how to identify different fruits u mentioned and hw they are prepared….thank you

    • Emily said,

      April 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

      Tofu is somewhat like cheese made from soya bean “milk”. Many of these recipes can be made with your favorite cooked bean instead.

      I would do a Google search for images of unfamiliar ingredients. You might recognize something similar that is easy to find locally.

  81. chikezie onyedika said,

    April 12, 2012 at 4:36 am

    want to leave healthy…pls wud b waiting for reply

  82. M. Spence said,

    April 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I’m loving the way this menu looks! I’ve been trying to really cut down on my meat intake without being completely bored, and this really looks delicious, creative, and easy.

    My only concern is that I’m on a really tight budget. Can you give me some sort of general estimate as to how much each week of groceries costs you? I’ll need to stock up my pantry with some items I don’t have yet, too, and I know that’ll be even more expensive…

    Regardless, thanks for sharing this!

    • Emily said,

      April 12, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      I don’t have estimates, but this will be very, very cheap compared to meat. Especially if you use dried beans instead of canned, and opt for more things with beans than tofu or tempeh. A recipe’s worth of organic brown rice is maybe 50 cents; non-organic white rice is probably more like 15-20 cents. A recipe’s worth of dry beans is probably half that. Depending on how much cheese you use, and how much you pay for condiments like salsa, and if you’re buying cheaper in-season vegetables, I’m guessing most of these recipes can be made for $3-4 each. (

  83. Anonymous said,

    May 11, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Hello, Thank you for your recipes. I really want to be a vegetarian but I am an American Student living in Prague, Czech Republic so I am not as used to their super market selections. Pinto Beans are a rarity here. ;( haha I look forward to more of your posts. Thanks a bunch! :)

  84. Anonymous said,

    June 11, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Wow…thank you! These recipes sound great! Will sub some of the rice for fresh roti or naan. My hubby will love them…and thank you for not having mounds of cheese and yeah..NO MEAT!

  85. KJ said,

    July 26, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    As a part time student with a full time job who is also a runner, i am always hungry but dont always feel like cooking. i am also one of those people who HATES grocery shopping. Your month of meals with the shopping list is PERFECT for me! I made the lentil shepherds pie tonite and love it! WIll definitely make again. Oh, and my dachshund (the resident carrot addict) is a big fan of the cooked veggies lol

  86. Anonymous said,

    August 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you so much for this. I am a college student/recently turned vegetarian and I have been struggling with what to eat besides pasta and pizza! Very very helpful.

  87. October 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    [...] throughout the month; methods based on meals that cost 5 dollars or less; methods tailored to vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free diets; and [...]

  88. Keeraa said,

    January 8, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Thank you for all of this hard work. It’s much appreciated and I’m starting with this right now!

  89. Rosemary said,

    June 23, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Love these recipes. It’s true for me that the planning is the hard part. A tip: coat tofu with cornstarch lightly before sauteing…adds a crispy coating. Did with General’s Tofu and added a nice touch.
    Thank you!

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  93. Becca said,

    October 16, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks so much for the recipes and grocery lists! I don’t have time for planning + shopping + cooking + eating + cleaning. Thanks for making it possible to “outsource” the planning! I’ve been cooking through all the recipes and am week 2… I’d definitely recommend buying greens to include in the lentil stew as you say is optional in the recipe (I used dandelion greens and they provided a nice color and texture contrast), also you don’t need to have eggs on the grocery list for week 2. Thanks!

  94. July 25, 2014 at 3:47 am

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