Twenty for Twenty: Vegetarian Edition Article -
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Twenty for Twenty: Vegetarian Edition

Don't like repeated trips to the grocery store? Stock up on these 20 ingredients, and you can make 20 delicious dinners.

The Ingredients

To make the 20 recipes below, stock up on these 20 ingredients (and be sure your pantry includes the essential ingredients listed on the right).

1. Tahini
2. Lemons
3. Limes
4. Canned garbanzo beans
5. Canned black beans
6. Fresh ginger root
7. Tomatoes
8. Tomato puree
9. Celery
10. Raw jalapeno peppers
11. Spinach
12. Onions (white, red, green)
13. Garlic
14. Bell peppers (green, red, yellow)
15. Tofu
16. Lentils
17. White rice
18. Eggs
19. Parmesan
20. Cheddar cheese

    Jun. 29, 2009 3:28 pm
    Thank you sooo much!! This is the perfect kickoff for a brand new vegetarian.
    Jul. 5, 2009 6:32 pm
    This is great! More, please.
    Jul. 31, 2009 2:18 am
    Aug. 9, 2009 10:57 am
    I think I'm going to try the Baby spinach omelet soon, it looks yummmy!
    Aug. 11, 2009 11:59 am
    I completely agree that this is an awesome list for beginner vegetarians. I hate that there isn't much out there for vegetarians that that isn't too expensive to make and has you buying ingredients that you'll only use once. There are also too many recipes out there that are too complicated to make. I'll definitely share this with my college buddies. Thanks!
    Sep. 3, 2009 3:14 pm
    Vegetarian Parmesan doesn't exist. Honestly, google it. If it doesn't contain animal rennet, it can't be described as Parmesan
    Sep. 13, 2009 4:41 pm
    this is great i caint wait to try them!
    Sep. 13, 2009 9:58 pm
    Thanks! my girlfriend and I are both brand new vegetarians. We needed this!
    Sep. 15, 2009 5:25 pm
    Thank you so much. This is such a useful list to bring to the store, especially for those of us who avoid cooking with meat. I'll be bringing it to Whole Foods!
    Sep. 23, 2009 1:41 pm
    @Leezud Parmesan isn't a special cheese that uses animal rennet, there are several cheeses that use it. It doesn't add to it's flavor it is only used for its protease (coagulating) properties. Kosker cheeses have used microbial rennet (non animal) for years and years. And there are plants that have the same properties, thus a vegetable rennet. So, regardless of the rennet, it is still parmesan.
    Dec. 3, 2009 12:14 pm
    A good and healthy substitute for parmesan is nutritional yeast flakes. They taste great and have lots of healthy benefits like b 12 and protein. I eat them everyday on soup, pasta, popcorn etc. I buy them in bulk at my health food store, they are expensive but a little goes a long way.
    Jan. 3, 2010 7:17 pm
    YAY! I have been struggling to find new things to fix and this was quite helpful!
    Jan. 4, 2010 4:01 pm
    Thanks for the lists!!!
    Jan. 9, 2010 10:11 am
    Thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful, especially for someone just beginning!
    Jan. 11, 2010 10:39 am
    Love this! Trying ease into trying more vegetarian meals and this list is great for a beginner!
    Jan. 31, 2010 4:35 am
    Hi there, lovely recipe & easy ..I decide to be a vegetarian for couple of weeks or month !!! just to clean my mind & body I can be healthy & to lose 20 kg ???!!
    Jan. 31, 2010 6:17 pm
    thank you!!! I agree with Mizz_d its perfect for a new vegetarian! now i can cook something other than pasta with veggies hehe
    Feb. 2, 2010 1:15 pm
    awesome list and great idea. thanks!
    Apr. 14, 2010 2:34 pm
    These ideas are really awesome.
    Apr. 26, 2010 10:03 am
    There are some things missing on the ingredients: onion powder, nutmeg, parsley, termeric, bread crumbs, baking powder, cornstarch, soy sauce, peanut oil, brown sugar, cumin, green onions, cilantro, lime, garlic powder, caola oil, tarmari, dried oregano, white rice, canned stewed tomatoes, chile powder, hot sauce, and basil. Now it is complete. Thanks for the list !
    May 1, 2010 9:27 am
    love this easy shopping concept! But for new vegetarians, Everyday Cooking by Dr. dean Ornish is considered the beginners "Bible"
    May 4, 2010 5:30 pm
    Thank you! Great list :)
    May 13, 2010 7:59 pm
    This post is for Leezud, vegetarian parmesan does exist. It is sold in the produce section of most grocery stores. I think it is soy based, but I can't be sure. I know because I've seen it, I didn't buy it because I am not fond of it, but as a vegan, I use the soy-based cheese and it's pretty good. Taste like real cheese, at least to my taste.
    Jun. 2, 2010 10:23 pm
    Thanks! I wish I had found this list a few years ago. I've switched the white rice to brown for my pantry and added wild rice and quinoa plus whole wheat flour and noodles. Old fashioned and steel cut oats are there for a healthy breakfast and a variety of nuts and nut butters are good to have on hand. Frozen fruit is in the freezer along with Morning Star Farms Meal Starters -grillers recipe crumbles for chili or other recipes that call for hamburger. Being vegetarian is healthy if you avoid junk food and stick to whole grains and fruits and veggies. Knowing that you can get all your calcium and protein from plant foods revolutionized my diet.
    Jun. 3, 2010 3:02 am
    Nicky, your list sounds pretty yummy and healthy. But check your Morning Star, too much Sodium and is the tofu they use organic? If not it's probable full of MSG for flavor and GMO soy! I will only get organic soy and season it myself.
    Jun. 3, 2010 6:54 am
    The one item missing on your list of essential items is "Teriyaki Sauce". Similar to Soy Sauce, however, milder and less salty. Teriyaki sauce has 610 mg per tbsp wehereas Soy Sauce has 920 mg per tbsp, and no sugar.
    Jun. 13, 2010 9:03 am
    Thanks a lot! I love trying out your vegetarian recipes, yet find it quite troublesome to find the ingredients or alternatives that are needed to make them. I'm going out to buy these today!
    Jul. 7, 2010 1:51 pm
    You know, it'd be nice if you gave a quantity on the shopping list. I bought two cans of chick peas, because I didn't look through every single recipe before I went shopping. Now looking at it, apparently I need like 10 cans of chick peas. Kind of eliminates the ease of it if you have to run back to the grocery store!
    Jul. 7, 2010 9:11 pm
    Great start for a beginner veg-head! Thanks for putting this together!
    Aug. 2, 2010 7:47 pm
    Very cool! Thank you!
    Oct. 23, 2010 10:48 am
    One more great missing ingredient is soy chorizo from Trader Joe's. It is fabulous! Vegans of the world unite!!
    Nov. 16, 2010 2:26 pm
    yessss! thanks!
    Nov. 19, 2010 2:59 pm
    hmmmm I would like to thank you, having these recipes on hand instead of hunting them down is very helpful I would also like to encourage the new veggies to know exactly what their deffinition of veggie they are, vegan is absolutely no animal product or by-product, vegetarian is sometimes a by-product, but no slaughter (org eggs, org butter or margarine, wool) and then you get into ovo-veggie or lacto-ovo-veggie. Cheese is unless otherwise stated, involved directly in slaughter (google rennet or "cheese enzymes") many times people disregard fish as an animal and so think its vegetarian, its pescatarian. 1) Parmesan, like some other cheeses, is defined properly as with animal rennet, you can make a copy with vegetable rennet, but the official definition from Italy states animal, otherwise its not considered proper cheese, at least to the Italians. 2) Chickpeas are a godsend, not only do they provide reliable protein, but are versatile too
    Dec. 29, 2010 4:36 pm
    What is the recipe pictured under the vegetarian recipe list. It is not in the listing. Thanks
    Jan. 24, 2011 5:42 am
    This is fantastic!
    Feb. 27, 2011 4:57 pm
    @RAINY:Jeanie's Falafel is the picture
    Mar. 5, 2011 3:08 am
    parmesan cheese isn't vegetarian. you can get other hard cheeses that are vegetarian, or soya cheese but that tastes like sick
    Mar. 26, 2011 2:10 pm
    LOVE this!
    Mar. 26, 2011 8:40 pm
    wow! all of this looks SO tasty! i'll have to start making all of these!
    Apr. 9, 2011 7:39 am
    a link to add ingredients on list to my shopping list would be handy and for the recipes listed too to add to my recipe box :)
    Apr. 19, 2011 1:16 am
    First of all, I would love to thank you for posting this. It's perfect for a veg college student! I live alone in an apartment, and it's just perfect for me to stock up on these things and eat these meals and other concoctions I come up with! Second, I want to let everyone know that there IS vegetarian cheese! And it doesn't have to be soy! Some cheeses are made using microbial (synthetic) rennet or vegetable rennet. Just make sure that the cheese you choose is made by a company that uses one of these methods. (PS- Who cares what the Italians say? Most things aren't made by the original recipe anymore!)
    May 8, 2011 9:58 am
    Thank you for this easy concept. I agree with the other folks that some refinements are needed (mostly, quantity listing, links to web site resources like the recipe box, etc) but it is a great start. I see that you make a seasonally adjusted list which is very important and much appreciated. I would hope that vegetarians and vegans as a community would get over themselves and quit nit picking. We should just rejoice that other folks are choosing to engage in the key word which is vegetable (not meat substitute) and are seeking to improve their health.
    May 8, 2011 10:01 am
    oh, i now see that the links ARE there. Reconsidering the quantity listing in that some folks may not want to make all 20 recipes and just use it as a foundation, good start.
    May 8, 2011 10:05 am
    Ah, allrecipes, you posted a seasonally adjusted list but it isn't vegetarian! That would be a fabulous addition since fruits and veggies are seasonal by nature.
    Jun. 1, 2011 3:49 pm
    There is a new product named Dayia cheese. I believe it's vegan and tasty( hard to get both in one package lol). Sold at whole foods. Great ingredient list. Just jumped back on the veggie train and I'm feeling good. I font even remember why I jumped off in the first place...
    Chelsea Rose 
    Jun. 30, 2011 6:29 am
    Jul. 19, 2011 4:46 am
    This is an extremely helpful link. Lots of recipe's for me to try out and introduce to my family.
    Bagel Filling 
    Jul. 23, 2011 4:43 pm
    To put the Parmesan issue to bed; Parmesan is a food which is protected in the same way Champagne is. Champagne has to be made in a certain way, from a certain region of France, to be called Champagne. Parmesan has special food regulations attached too and as such must be made using animal rennet (ie the stomach lining of slaughtered calves - nice, eh?). Simply swap it for an Italian hard-style cheese. In the UK, try Bookham's Not Just a Pasta Cheese or Sainsbury's Basics Italian Hard Cheese. No need for any cashew or tofu-based 'cheeses', unless of course you're vegan. Oh and eggs are veggie, so long as they're free-range and you consider yourself, like most, an ovo-lacto vegetarian. I'm a food writer and veggie of 17 years.
    Aug. 23, 2011 10:21 am
    Tofu is one of my new favorite ingredients to work with. I think I have finally mastered the cooking technique. I felt like I was having texture issues, but a friend had told me to press the water out first. After researching I found there are tons of ways from using heavy objects to actual tofu presses. Has anyone tried these? Is it worth it?
    Aug. 29, 2011 6:38 am
    I would keep the 20 for 20 list but add to it to make "21" with Quinoa!
    Aug. 31, 2011 1:51 pm
    alex, i just put my tofu between layers of paper towels, on a plate, and stack a heavy can on top. let it sit for a while to drain the liquid out.
    Sep. 5, 2011 9:07 pm
    After watching Forks over Knives, my wife and I decided to go vegetarian. This is GREAT! thank you, it is a great start for us.
    Sep. 10, 2011 4:49 pm
    The article is a lovely idea, but I just went out and bought the 20 ingredients, and I can't find a single recipe that they're sufficient to make. Even your "essential pantry" which should be re-labelled "the other 25 ingredients you need" isn't sufficient to make most of these. Could you try again, but this time actually stick to 20 recipes that use 20 ingredients?
    Oct. 1, 2011 3:49 pm
    LEEZUD is correct- I have searched high and low and I have never found a vegetarian parmesan cheese. It contains animal rennet- an enzyme that is used to seperate the curds from the whey in cheese making. Most rennet comes from veal calf stomachs (after they are slaughtered of course). There are some cheeses that are made using microbial (plant) enzymes instead. More and more cheese makers are turning to this, but you need to carefully look at labels or call companies- be careful, one company I called (I think it was either President or Athenos brand feta) insisted that their cheese was made with vegetable rennet, but then told me that they "flavor" their rennet with "enzymes" and couldn't tell me where the enzmes came from. Cabot brand cheeses are made with microbial enzymes. If you have a Wegman's near you, you are in luck- most of the cheeses in their specialty cheese cases are well-labeled and say if it is animal or microbial rennet. Another unfortunate fact for vegetarians
    Oct. 13, 2011 4:42 pm
    Thank you for this great list! I have recently decided to switch to a mostly veggie diet purely for health reasons. I will be stocking up on some of things suggested!
    Oct. 21, 2011 12:00 am
    Looks like I'm on my way, week 2 of the vege way and I have most of the top 20! :)
    Nov. 17, 2011 3:30 pm
    my best friend is a vegitarian. I needed this. Thanks. I wanted to make her somthing. It's hard to find good vegitarian food. :)
    Dec. 17, 2011 12:43 pm
    None of the posts seem to be recent so I thought I would add a note. I have spice-challenged. Thanks for the combination ideas. PS. to Leezud: there is such a things a vegetarian (even vegan) parmesan. It's made with nutritional yeast. The yeast also makes a great "cheese" sauce. Happ vegging!
    Feb. 11, 2012 1:17 pm
    Leezud...vegetarian- with or without dairy and egg products, it's a choice not an indictment. maybe you're thinking of vegan...
    Feb. 22, 2012 6:04 am
    The homemade black bean veggie burgers are the best! I make them once a week to last all week....double the recipe for about 6 small patties...add some sweet red thai chile sauce for a sweet kick! :)
    Mar. 1, 2012 1:01 am
    brilliant suggestions for me, but what do i feed my carnivore husband who won't eat lentils, tofu, or chickpeas?
    Mar. 1, 2012 2:06 pm
    Cyd_Delve - I have the same issue. I keep poached chicken and shredded pork and beef on hand in the fridge. They're easy to make ahead in a slow cooker. He can add whatever meat suits him to what I make or heat it up on the side.
    Mar. 2, 2012 5:28 am
    Wow you had me in mind when you decided to do this. My husbands wants to go vegetarian and I was reluctant because I did not know where to start. This is awesome LOVE IT thanks ever so much!!!
    Mar. 4, 2012 9:10 am
    how come when viewing a video you never give the amount of product neede to make that receipe?????
    Mar. 4, 2012 9:11 am
    how come when viewing a video you never give the amount of product neede to make that receipe?????
    Mar. 4, 2012 11:01 am
    Many thanks for this useful list.I am in the process of setting up a kosher kitchen and until I can source organic,kosher meats,will perforce be eating vegetarian. Shalom!
    Apr. 2, 2012 5:37 pm
    Love this, but FYI- parmesan cheese is NOT vegetarian. It is made with animal rennet (all parmesan cheese is)
    Apr. 12, 2012 4:06 am
    Trader Joe's manages to get away with calling their shredded Parmesan "parmesan" despite being made with microbial rennet. Unless you're able to get to a TJ's you're not likely to find vegetarian Parmesan.
    Apr. 19, 2012 12:53 pm
    This is quite disappointing. The word vegetarian has come to include being able to wear, eat, and use animal products. There are many good vegan/vegetarian foods if only persons search for them and experiment with replacements.
    Apr. 30, 2012 12:33 pm
    Thank you so much i am just starting off as a vegitarian and this is sooooo yummy
    May 10, 2012 1:55 pm
    Please make a vegan dairy, it does me in!
    Aug. 31, 2012 2:41 pm
    This is awesome! A great way to stay healthy and vegetarian with a busy schedule! I was wondering how I was going to manage my grocery shopping trips around work and college! haha
    Nov. 12, 2012 11:01 am
    Parmesan is classed as vegetarian because it does not contain meat.( and animal was not killed to get the cheese made. It is abstained by vegans( who abstain anything that comes from animal.
    Jan. 6, 2013 6:16 pm
    Thank you for this list! I look forward to many easy and delicious meals as a new vegetarian.
    Jan. 12, 2013 11:18 pm
    Please add quinoa to your list!
    pie lady 
    Jan. 21, 2013 3:22 pm
    Really a very complete list for a lot of recipes. I'm trying very hard to eat more healthy. I'm 68 yrs. And not as active, so these recipes are of great value. Thanks.
    pie lady 
    Jan. 21, 2013 3:28 pm
    Post comment. I don't find alot of recipes for older people, who are not as active as the used to be but want to eat good food and healthy foods. I can no longer excerise like I want to due to back injury of years ago.
    Jan. 23, 2013 11:08 am
    They need to put noodles on the list as well........unless you are planning to eat the Simple Arrabbiata Sauce by itself LOL
    Jan. 23, 2013 11:12 am
    P.S. I really dislike tofu as I'm sure many others do as well. However, it's hard to get all your protein from beans. Try tempeh or seitan and substitute those for the tofu. It's readily available unless you shop at wal-mart, which is a very limiting store for vegetarians anyway. Tastes much better.
    Feb. 17, 2013 6:53 am
    thank you. i am new to cooking vegetarian, and this is perfect!
    Feb. 27, 2013 6:44 am
    Nice so tired of going to store every other day
    Apr. 4, 2013 11:27 am
    One thing is for sure, this list should have been called Twenty for Twenty: Lacto-ovo-vegetarian edition for technically cheese and eggs are not vegetarian.
    Apr. 22, 2013 5:45 am
    Delicious, yummie, cant wait, mouth watering,
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