It’s the 21st century. We’re well past the era of bland, boring vegetarian food—or rather, the widespread assumption that all vegetarian food must be bland and boring. Gone are the days of herbivores being forced to subsist on wet, lifeless iceberg house salads at restaurants and struggling to find items like lentils and tofu at the grocery store. We’re living in an enlightened age in which flexitarians, vegetarians, and vegans are all invited to the party, and the spread is colorful, flavorful, and satisfying. It’s a good time to eat plants.
The following are some of The Takeout’s best vegetarian recipes, from salads to sides to entrees. Of course, you don’t have to observe a plant-based diet to find them hearty and delicious, and you can add meat directly to these dishes or serve them alongside a nicely grilled chicken thigh, if that’s your thing. In any case, they’re a solid body of evidence that “vegetarian food” doesn’t have to be a category unto itself. It can simply be the very best stuff you cook and eat.