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4 vegetarian meals that will keep you full

Ten years ago, a cookbook called How to Cook Everything Vegetarian introduced us to delicious ways of cooking without meat. Now, in a world where green smoothies and plant-based meals are all the rage, renowned food writer and author Mark Bittman has revised that very book.

If you’re a meat-eater, you’re probably wondering how a vegetarian meal is enough to keep you full. It’s a common concern, but Bittman brought along four proteins to the Your Morning kitchen that he claims are substantial enough to fill you. Oh, and they’re also delicious.

Excerpted from HOW TO COOK EVERYTHING VEGETARIAN 2ND EDITION © by Mark Bittman. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


Braised Tofu with Eggplant and Shiitakes
Makes 4 to 6 servings
Time: 30 minutes

A more or less traditional Sichuan preparation, with creamy soft cooked eggplant and crispy sautéed shiitakes. Substitute green beans for the eggplant if you like.


  • 4 tbsp good quality vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sliced shitake caps (reserve stems for stock or discard)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (optional)
  • 1 ½ pounds eggplant, trimmed and cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
  • 1 tbsp Chilie Paste, or to taste (optional) – recipe follows
  • ½ cup vegetable stock or water, or more if necessary
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 pound tofu, blotted dry, cut into ¾-inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil for garnish (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions for garnish (optional)



  1. Put 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the shiitakes and some salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate.
  2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and, a few seconds later, the garlic and ginger if you’re using it. As soon as the oil sizzles, add the eggplant. Cook, stirring every minute or so, until the eggplant browns, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the chile paste, if you’re using it. Add the stock and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan if necessary to release any browned bits of eggplant. Cook until the eggplant is very tender, 10 to 15 minutes more, adding a little more liquid if necessary (unlikely, but possible).
  3. Stir in the soy sauce and tofu and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu is heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved shiitakes and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then garnish
  4. with sesame oil, cilantro, sesame seeds, and scallions, as you like, and serve.


Chili Paste

  • 2 ounces dried whole chiles (6 to 12 total, depending on size)
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp good-quality vegetable oil


  1. Toast and clean the chiles. For a hotter paste, set aside some of the seeds. Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water and a small plate to keep them submerged. Soak for about 30 minutes, until soft.
  2. Drain the chiles, saving the soaking liquid. Put the chiles, any seeds you might be using, and a pinch of salt in a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth, adding a spoonful of soaking water at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Put the oil in a small skillet and turn the heat to medium-high. When it’s hot, add the paste and cook, stirring constantly, until deeply colored and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Serve or cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Just before serving, taste and adjust the seasoning.



Bulgar Beet Burgers with Ginger
Makes 4 to 8 servings
Time: 45 minutes, plus chilling time

Dried fruit is the secret ingredient in these rich burgers. You can serve them on a bed of Braised and Glazed Brussels Sprouts or any winter green, or for a more casual meal, on a whole grain bun with lots of mustard.


  • 1 pound beets, trimmed, peeled, and grated
  • ½ cup packed pitted dates or dried plums (prunes)
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 1 1-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into coins
  • ½ cup bulgur
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup red wine or water
  • 1 tbsp Dijon or other mustard
  • Cayenne or red chile flakes (optional)
  • All-purpose flour for binding, if needed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter



  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Put the beets, dates, almonds, and ginger in a food processor and pulse several times until everything is well chopped but not quite a paste.
  2. Put the mixture in a large bowl with the bulgur and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bring the wine to a boil and stir it in, along with the mustard, and a pinch or more cayenne if you’re using it and cover the bowl with a plate. Let steep for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes before shaping it into patties; if it seems too wet, stir in a little flour to help bind it. Lightly wet your hands and shape the mixture into 4 to 8 patties; put them on the baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  3. Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add the patties. Cook, undisturbed, until brown on one side, 3 to 8 minutes. Add more oil if the pan looks dry, then turn them over carefully with a spatula and cook until the burgers feel firm and are browned on the other side, another 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot or warm.



Pan-Seared Seitan
Makes 4-6 servings
Time: 10 minutes

The simplest way to cook seitan is to cut it in slices and cook in oil. You can also take it further and create a delicious sauce for it right in the pan; I’ve included a couple of old school variations that translate beautifully to seitan. Seared pieces of seitan are also great on salads or in soups.


  • 2-3 tbsp good quality vegetable oil
  • 1-1    ½ pounds seitan, cooled, cut ½-inch thick, and patted dry
  • Salt and pepper (optional)


  1. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick or well seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the seitan, taking care not to overcrowd the pan; you will have to work in batches. Cook until the pieces are well browned and release from the pan, 3 to 5 minutes, then flip and cook the other side. Drain on paper towels, taste, and sprinkle with salt and pepper if you like.


Tempeh Hash
Makes 4 servings
Time: Approx. 1 hour

A twist on an old favorite.You have to cook each of the main elements separately, though you can easily prepare them a couple of hours in advance and assemble the hash at the last minute. All you need with this are some sliced ripe tomatoes or a simple steamed vegetable like carrots or broccoli. A poached egg or two on top would be perfect.


  • 4 tbsp good quality vegetable oil
  • 2 or 3 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled, and cut into small pieces
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled (about 2 cups)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2    tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp miched fresh chile (like jalapeno or Thai) to taste, or red chile flakes or cayenne
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro



  1. Put 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper,
  2. and cook, undisturbed, until the edges brown and they release easily from the pan, about 5 minutes. Toss the potatoes gently, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they are crisp and golden on all sides and tender inside, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer to a platter or baking sheet.
  3. Put 1 tablespoon of the remaining vegetable oil in the skillet and return the heat to medium-high. Add the tempeh and cook stirring frequently and scraping up any browned bits, until it is deeply colored and crisp on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the tempeh to the potatoes, but don’t stir them together yet.
  4. Put the last tablespoon of the vegetable oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften, a minute or 2. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 20 minutes. When done, remove from the heat.