Help! What Do I Cook for My Vegetarian Guests?

Between allergies and food preferences, it might feel like you need a thick notebook to record your family’s food needs. And even the thought of inviting all your kids home for the holidays gives you a headache: how will you prepare food for so many different people’s food needs?

Well, in this series, we’ve prepared some easy meal ideas for your vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free/kosher/halal/dairy-free relatives. Say goodbye to the headache and hello to easy planning!

Vegetarian Meal Idea #1: Chickpea Salad

When preparing food for vegetarians, you really want to make sure that you have a dish comprised of protein with veggies. Oftentimes, hosts will give their vegetarian guests rice and vegetables, or some other veggie dish that isn’t very filling. There’s no need to do that, because there are a ton of filling meal ideas that are quick and easy to make. What’s even better is that even your non-vegetarian friends will want to take a bite!

We’ve already told you that olive oil is great for your heart—it’s one of the few “healthy” oils. This recipe also has chickpeas, which are a filling protein and a staple of the Mediterranean diet. This “diet” been associated with a lower risk of heart disease, increased bone health, and even a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This dish is a perfect appetizer for your vegetarian friends.

Chickpea Salad Recipe

Prep time 10 minutes


  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 purple onion
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper


Open and drain the can of chickpeas. Wash thoroughly (it’s important to wash them, even though they’re from a can).
Cut up the peppers and onion into thin slices.
Open, drain, and wash the corn.
Mix all together in one large bowl.
For the dressing, squeeze a lemon; add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Feel free to add other spices that you like. Mix and enjoy.

Vegetarian Meal Idea #2: Hearty Tomato-Bean Soup

I’ve always been a fan of filling soups, because instead of filling up on carbs, you’re consuming a ton of veggies. Plus, you’ll be fuller, faster, and less likely to snack on something you’d rather not eat. Trust me: after one bowl of this soup, you won’t even need the main meal. This vegetarian meal might even convert you into a vegetarian!

Hearty Tomato-Bean Soup Recipe

Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon of canola oil
  • 1 Large yellow onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 Large carrot
  • Zucchini (optional)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 can of Romano beans
  • 1 can of chickpeas (optional)
  • 1 can of red beans
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, no sodium added
  • 2 tablespoons of onion or chicken broth mix (try for low-sodium)
  • A pinch of salt and pepper


Pour the canola oil over the surface of a big pot.
Chop the onions, celery, carrot, and potatoes.
Rinse the beans and chickpeas thoroughly.
Pour the onions, celery, carrot, and potatoes into the pot and let them cook for 15 minutes on medium-low heat, or until the potatoes have some brown to them. Stir a few times while cooking.
Add the beans and chickpeas to the ingredients in the pot and let cook for 30 minutes; stir every few minutes.
Add the diced tomatoes and let cook for another 10 minutes.
Finally, fill the pot with water, stopping about one quarter of the way before you reach the top. Add the salt and pepper and broth mix for added flavor. Stir thoroughly. Simmer until heated through.(Note: Filling the pot with water at the very end ensures your soup is primarily filled with beans and vegetables, which will help to make your soup heartier—great for those vegetarian guests who won’t be eating other protein sources.)