5 Satisfying Vegan Dinners

It's now March, which, for many home cooks, means the this: 1) You've been cooking "winter" food for four or five months, but winter isn't particularly close to being over where you live. 2) Your comfort food repertoire is starting to get old, but the time for light, fresh, spring cooking is still like six weeks away (at least). 3) If you eat meat, you've been eating lots of it in the form of braises, stews, roasts, and various other comforting, cold-weather forms, and maybe you need a break. 4) If you don't eat meat (or fish), you've been cooking every conceivable combination of hearty vegetables, beans, and grains, and maybe you need some new ideas.

Yes, this is all a gross overgeneralization, but I think there's some truth to it. This time of year most of us still crave hearty, comforting food, but for one reason or another, we might just not want meat in it. If the home stretch of winter calls for satisfying vegan dinners, here are five really good (and easy) ones.

1) Zuppa di Pane (bread soup), a classic peasant dish of vegetable stock, onion, and wilted spinach fortified with canned beans and cubes of toasted bread. 2) Chickpea and Zucchini Tagine, which can be eaten on its own like a stew, or served over couscous (even heartier). 3) A super simple but incredibly satisfying dish made by roasting big hunks of squash and kale, chopping them up, and tossing them with a creamy shallot vinaigrette (it's emulsified, there's no actual cream). 4) Mushroom Crostini. I know this sounds like a snack, but trust me; a big pile of earthy sautéed mushrooms on a couple of thick slices of rustic bread not only feels like dinner, but kind of a luxurious one. 5) For something "lighter" but not sparse, there's crisp stir-fried tofu and greens with peanut sauce. Serve it over brown rice if you like (optional, but this time of year, desirable).

It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: These dishes don't have to be vegan if you don't want them to be. Use chicken stock in the soup, or sauté bits of sausage along with the onion; sprinkle the tagine with some crumbled feta; slide a fried egg on top of the crostini. Whatever gets you from here to spring is just fine by me. Have a wonderful weekend.

—Mark


The home stretch of winter is the perfect time for hearty vegan dinners.

5 HEARTY VEGAN DINNERS


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