The 10 Best Soy-Free Vegetarian Recipes Without Tofu

Whether you’re on a soy-free vegetarian diet or just prefer your meals without tofu, we have 10 delicious vegetarian recipes for you. Get ready for some amazing high-protein, soy-free meals!

  • By Brittany Yamamoto-Taylor
  • May 11, 2020

A great way to enjoy every meal you eat and to save money during quarantine is to acquaint yourself with some delicious vegetarian recipes. After all, we’re beginning to see a shortage of meat, so you’ll want to make sure you have some non-meat recipes in your back pocket for the times you are unable to find chicken, beef, or pork (to name a few) at the store.

We know that for folks who aren’t accustomed to eating vegetarian, tofu-filled meals often come to mind and are quickly rejected. Although we do enjoy tofu here at Cook Smarts, we know that not everyone shares our love of soybean curd and many people have to be on soy-free diets. That’s why we never use tofu more than once in our weekly vegetarian meal plan.

Because our vegetarian members love our recipes so much, we are excited to share 10 of our favorite soy-free vegetarian recipes that average 21 grams of protein per serving and utilize ingredients with long shelf lives! Under each recipe we have a ‘Quarantine Smarts’ section with tips that highlight how each recipe is quarantine-friendly for these times. 

Speaking of ingredients, since we avoid soy in these recipes, the main proteins we use below are beans, lentils, eggs, grains, and high-protein veggies (which you can learn more about with our Guide to High Protein Vegetables). All of these ingredients will provide the protein you need in healthy daily meals and are also perfect for cooking on a budget during this pandemic. 

Okay, so now that you know how this collection of vegetarian recipes is unique, let’s explore 10 great soy-free vegetarian recipes and start revolutionizing your quarantine life and bank account! (Click on the recipe title or photo to get the full recipe.)

Protein-Rich Bowls

These hearty bowls build layers of flavor and layers of protein with beans, grains, veggies, and stellar sauces.

1. Quinoa Bowl with Za’atar Chickpeas

We think the key to a great grain bowl is a variety of flavors and textures. Between the peppery arugula, warm roasted vegetables, crisped chickpeas, tender soft-boiled egg, and creamy avocado sauce on top, these grain bowls bring it all. With 20 grams of protein per serving, these 40-minute bowls can also be easily customized and made entirely ahead of time.

“The flavor combinations in this were excellent! The peppery arugula and the bite from the radish combined with the simple tangy dressing and the delicious crema. Yum yum yum!”

 – Clifford V.

Quarantine Smarts:

Canned chickpeas and quinoa have a long shelf life and are an excellent source of protein.

2. Southwestern Spiced Bean Burrito Bowls

Recreate your favorite burrito bowl at home in just 35 minutes instead of paying for take-out! With our delicious Southwestern spice mix giving a burst of flavor to the beans and corn in this recipe, we know you’ll think twice about ordering from Chipotle or Qdoba next time you want a quick, fresh meal. And, we know that not everyone will want the same thing in their bowl, so just set out all of the ingredients and let everyone dive in.

“So delicious, fresh, and easy!”

– Lindsay B.

Quarantine Smarts:

Frozen corn, canned beans, and tortilla chips all have a long shelf life. The homemade pico de gallo in these bowls adds a fresh element, but feel free to use store-bought salsa or pico de gallo (from the produce section) to save time.

Comfort Foods with a Twist

Cheese and high-protein veggies are the filling bedrock of these comfort foods. Each of these dishes have a healthy revamp that brings all of the satisfaction without the heavy-feeling aftermath.

3. Spinach & Artichoke Grilled Cheese

This creamy, vegetable-loaded grilled cheese sandwich always gets great reviews from our cooking community when we feature it in our meal plans! It pairs the delectableness of the classic comfort food with all the glory of a spinach and artichoke dip. In only 40 minutes, you can have these delicious sandwiches and crisp green salad with pears ready for devouring.

“My husband is a super grilled cheese fan and he says this is possibly one of the best he’s ever had. Definitely a favorite!”

– Olivia G.

Quarantine Smarts:

Bread, frozen / canned artichoke hearts, provolone cheese, and lettuce are all easy to find year-round (even during a pandemic), and our balsamic mustard salad dressing is made out of long-lasting pantry staples. Bread is also very freezer-friendly, so pop leftovers in the freezer and take a few slices out whenever you need!

4. Twice-Baked Potatoes with Broccoli & Cheese

These comforting, twice-baked potatoes use broccoli, cheese, and shallots to deliver an incredibly satisfying meal that also happens to be low-calorie and freezer-friendly! The potatoes cook alongside our delicious balsamic Brussels sprouts for an easy one-pan dinner that can be on the table in less than an hour.

“Definitely one of the best recipes! The potatoes were microwaved perfectly and the Brussels sprouts were delicious.”

Hunter M.

Quarantine Smarts:

The potatoes, shallots, cheddar cheese, and sour cream (or Greek yogurt) in this recipe are all super versatile ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about them going bad before you use them up. That’s always great for your wallet!

5. Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese 

This creamy mac and cheese recipe is made easy, quick, and healthy with the addition of butternut squash soup. A side of simple roasted broccoli makes this meal come together fast and great for any time you don’t want to spend ages on dinner. And, since each serving has 29 grams of protein, this meal will fill you up in the tastiest way!

“Although we did not include any meat with this meal it felt very hearty. My husband said this is the best macaroni and cheese he had ever eaten.”

– Gabrielle S.

Quarantine Smarts:

Although our recipe originally used leftover butternut squash soup from our Pork Chops with Pear and Celery Slaw dinner, a can or box of soup from your local grocery store will work great as well and has a long shelf life. The pasta, flour, butter, and cheddar cheese in this recipe have a good shelf life as well.

Light and Easy Salads

These quick entree salads bring a beautiful combination of flavors, give new meaning to the phrase “easy-breezy,” and leave you feeling fulfilled after dinner in the best possible way.

6. Halloumi, Apricot & Couscous Salad

This gorgeous salad is not only pretty to look at – it’s positively delicious! With warm couscous, sweet apricots, seared halloumi cheese, and a smoky paprika dressing, this 30-minute entree salad recipe provides a delightful combination of flavors and 19 grams of protein per serving.

“Love love love this meal! We’ve made it several times.”

– Elissa M.

Quarantine Smarts:

Walnuts, couscous, and unopened halloumi cheese all have a very long shelf life. If there aren’t fresh apricots available at your store, you can always use apricots that come in a jar or can, or swap in peaches or nectarines. Also, if you can’t track down halloumi cheese in your local grocery store, you can find it online or swap for cheese curds or paneer instead.

7. Lentil Nicoise Salad

Nicoise salad is a French favorite, and we love its combination of tart vinaigrette and hearty ingredients like eggs, potatoes, and green beans. This 35-minute version uses lentils instead of the traditional tuna for a great vegetarian spin, but delivers the same satisfying flavors as the original while providing 21 grams of protein per serving.

“This is the most delicious salad I’ve ever eaten and I freaking hate salads, will make this one again for sure!!”

– Milica J.

Quarantine Smarts:

The lentils, walnuts, and vinaigrette ingredients all have long shelf lives. Also, jars of both roasted red peppers and nicoise olives (or kalamata) will last a long time and leftovers can be used in a wide variety of ways, including grain bowls, sandwiches, and frittatas.

Dishes that Deliver Big on Flavor

These 3 soy-free recipes let beans be the protein staple while delivering the exciting flavors of Latin, Indian, and Southwestern cuisine in under an hour.

8. Sopa de Fideo

This Latin-inspired soup consists of noodles in a rich broth and can be found in Mexico, parts of the Philippines, and many places that serve Tex-Mex cuisine. Our take on this classic soup recipe lets a blend of spices, vegetables, noodles, and kidney beans come together to build incredible depths of flavor and texture in a one-pot meal that is low-calorie but still delivers 19 grams of protein per serving. And, if you want to give the noodles extra flavor and help them to hold their shape in the soup, simply toast them in oil at the beginning of cooking.

“Where has this been all my life?!? This is my new favorite soup.”

– Mackenzie B.

Quarantine Smarts:

This soup is freezer-friendly so you can save leftovers for the future. The canned beans, fideo pasta (or angel hair pasta), stock, and canned fire-roasted tomatoes all have a great shelf life.

9. Samosa Wrap with Cauliflower, Potatoes & Chickpeas

This meal thrives on just the right spices as all the delicious flavors of Indian samosas are rolled up into healthy wraps. With a curried mayonnaise that will make even the most okra-averse home cooks fall in love with our side of okra ‘fries,’ this dish is the exact type of adventure that will pull you out of your dinner rut.

To make this meal come together extra quickly with our ‘cook once, eat twice’ method, the original recipe utilized leftover cauliflower and potatoes from a previous weekly menu item, which you can get from this recipe.

“So I’m a big ‘meat and potato’ kinda guy . . . But with this recipe, I wasn’t left missing meat at all! This recipe was so darn easy . . . Definitely making this again!”

– Dustin A.

Quarantine Smarts:

This soy-free recipe uses frozen peas, canned garbanzo beans, mayonnaise, and spices that all have long shelf lives. You can even buy frozen cauliflower and keep burrito-sized tortillas or naan frozen until you are ready to use them.

10. Southwestern Polenta Pie

This one-pot, Southwestern skillet dinner starts on the stovetop and finishes in the oven. This process helps get super tender vegetables and a well-developed enchilada flavor in only 40 minutes of cooking!

“Great flavors . . . Never cooked polenta before, fun to try new things!”

– Cara B.

Quarantine Smarts:

Enchilada sauce, canned black beans, frozen corn, and unopened polenta all have a long shelf life. Also, this whole meal freezes well, so you can always make a double batch and freeze some for a rainy day. 

Now that you have 10 wonderful vegetarian recipes without tofu to try at home, we hope they will help you have more fun around the dinner table and save more money during coronavirus and for years to come! To help you with your meatless endeavors, we have our Guide to Vegetarian Protein Sources and 10 Best Meatless Meals on a Budget to explore and enjoy.

Get more helpful cooking tips and resources by signing up for our newsletter below. We send out weekly emails that will help you improve in the kitchen and live a healthier life, so join our community today and start cooking smarter!

10 Best Soy-Free Vegetarian Recipes | Cook Smarts10 Best Soy-Free Vegetarian Recipes | Cook Smarts10 Best Soy-Free Vegetarian Recipes | Cook Smarts


Our Podcast: Strategies to become a smarter cook


Try our award winning meal plan service for free

Share the love!

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How can we help you in the kitchen?

Join our community

Enjoy free tips in your inbox

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Sign up for the Cook Smarts Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Privacy Policy: We hate SPAM & promise to keep your email address safe.

Skip to content