I’m a Dietitian & This Is The Recipe I Always Make When Bringing a Meal for Vegetarian Friends

February 22, 2024

My mom is one of the main reasons that I love to cook. Growing up, she effortlessly pulled together fantastic meals and sides for our family every day, but it doesn’t stop there. Her desire to care for people through food also extends to the community.  She volunteered her time in community kitchens and meal centers for those in need, and we would volunteer as a family over the holidays when we all lived at home. It seems like every month, she’s signed up for meal delivery, through an organizer like or otherwise, for friends going through tough times, families recovering from illness or those whose families had gotten bigger by welcoming a little one. 

I have always admired her generosity and dedication to making sure everyone feels supported and well-fed, no matter what they’re going through. As an adult, I’ve tried to emulate this whenever I can. This has meant bringing a dish to friends who have lost a loved one or making a big batch dinner for those just getting home with a new baby. Not to mention, a meal makes a fantastic thank-you gift, too. And I’m starting to see why my mom loves it so much: the thought that I can, in some small way, help people I care about through something I enjoy gives me deep satisfaction and a sense of purpose. 

As a dietitian, I am always the first to volunteer a meal to those with food allergies or specific dietary needs. And I’ll admit that it isn’t always easy to think of comforting and delicious dishes to make that meet the recipient’s needs. That’s why this is my go-to when cooking for those following a vegetarian diet. Here’s how to make it and why I love it so much. 

Potpie is a classic comforting dish that is wonderful to eat but notorious for being a bit of a pain to make. That’s one reason why receiving an already-made potpie from someone else can feel like such a treat. And while most traditional recipes include a type of meat (like chicken, turkey or beef), you won’t miss it in this vegetarian riff. It’s still as delicious and cozy as a traditional one.  

It starts with a flavorful base of onions, carrots and celery, sautéed until tender, then made ever more flavorful with garlic, thyme and rosemary. Once the vegetables are cooked and the kitchen smells amazing, you stir in kale for some added nutrition and heartiness (plus a punch of fiber and protein). Sprinkle in some flour and cook for about 30 seconds before adding in the broth. After a few minutes, when the mixture has thickened s, you add in beans for even more and fiber. 

Then there’s the biscuits. Did I mention they come together in just one bowl? Simply whisk together your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper), then rub in the butter with your fingers or a pastry cutter. While it’s one of the messier steps of the process, it’s also the most fun (at least to me). Lastly, pour the buttermilk into the bowl and mix until just combined. Then, you can form into six biscuits and space them evenly on top of the veggie mixture in the skillet. Bake at 350℉ for about 30 minutes until nice and bubbly—and the dish is done.  While this dish takes some time and a bit of technique, it only requires a skillet and a large bowl to reduce the dishes you have to do at the end (especially if you use the recipe tip to cover your baking sheet with foil, as its only job is to catch any drippings from the potpie).

Not to mention, this vegetarian main is packed with 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein for something that’s equally comforting, filling and nourishing. The recipe makes six servings, so depending on the size of the household you’re bringing it to, they may even have some leftovers to enjoy the next day. It also showcases how versatile vegetarian dishes can be and that there are options besides the standard veggie lasagna or black bean tacos (though both are delicious and healthy, there’s nothing wrong with variety). 

Whenever I drop this dish off, it’s a big hit. Part of that may be because of the nostalgia, but another reason is because it’s deeply delicious. So many layers of flavor are built into each step of making the dish, allowing people to have a comforting meal that feels special without having to cook. 

I hope this article inspires you to cook a meal for someone you care about, to take something off their to-do list during a challenging time or just because. And just because they follow a vegetarian eating pattern doesn’t mean you’re confined to making veggie lasagna or plant-based tacos. 

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