Easy dinner recipes: Ragouts, gratins and more ideas for Meatless Monday

It's Monday, and you know what that means. Even if you have no intention of going vegetarian, it doesn't hurt to give up meat once in a while. Meatless Monday is a perfect time to try, and with these hearty ideas, you might never notice that something is missing.

For a rich yet simple dinner, you can't go wrong with soup. - See more at:
Whether you call them chickpeas or garbanzo beans, if you're a fan, they don't get much better than this refreshingly bright salad, one of our Top 10 Recipes from 2011. Marinate chickpeas in a blend of lemon juice, olive oil and salt, then toss them with some Spanish chorizo, tomatoes and a little garlic, green onion, parsley and bell pepper. Marinate the beans first thing in the morning, then assemble the salad in the last few minutes before you sit down to eat. It makes a colorful side, or a perfect light meal. - See more at:

Wild mushroom ragout: Assorted wild mushrooms are cooked with leeks, fresh herbs, dry white wine and broth, the ragout thickened with tangy crème fraîche. Ready in only 30 minutes, the ragout can be served alone like a stew, or spooned like a sauce over pasta, rice or polenta.


Mushroom and spinach gratin: Looking at the finished product, you might never guess this gratin has only six ingredients. Browned butter-sauteed mushrooms are combined with wilted spinach and reduced heavy cream in a wonderfully rich dish from Guy Savoy that comes together in only 40 minutes.

Gene Autry stuffed mushrooms: Take large white mushrooms and stuff them with a medley of sauteed onion and shallot, breadcrumbs, fresh parsley and grated Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses. Hungry yet? You can have stuffed mushrooms of your own in only 45 minutes.

You can find the recipes below.

And for more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below or email me at


Total time: 30 minutes | Serves 4

Note: This can be served alone, in a bowl like a meat stew, or as a sauce over polenta, fresh pasta or white rice.

1 1/2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms

4 tablespoons butter

2 leeks, white part only, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, plus more to taste

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup vegetable stock

1/2 cup crème fraîche (plus a little more if desired)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into chunks of roughly even size.

2. Melt the butter in a large shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, sprinkle with salt and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes.

3. Add the mushrooms and stir to mix well. Add the thyme, bay leaf and cayenne pepper and mix well. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the liquid is reduced to a glaze.

4. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes (cooking time will depend on variety and age of mushrooms).

5. Stir in the crème fraîche and heat through. (Add more if you want more liquid.) Taste and add more salt if needed. Season well with pepper and serve.

Each serving:261 calories; 7 grams protein; 15 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 19 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 45 mg. cholesterol; 205 mg. sodium.


Servings: 4

Total time: 40 minutes

Note: Adapted from "Guy Savoy: Simple French Recipes for the Home Cook"

1 pound white mushrooms

1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the dish


1 pound spinach (about 2 bunches), stemmed, washed and drained

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into one-eighth-inch slices. In a medium skillet, heat the butter over high heat just until melted, then add the mushrooms and sauté them until golden, about 10 minutes. Drain any liquid from the mushrooms and set them aside.

2. Place 2 quarts of water in a medium stock pot with one-half teaspoon salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then stir in the spinach and blanch for just a few seconds, until wilted and bright green in color. Remove the spinach using a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water until cool. Drain the spinach well, squeezing out any excess water.

3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Reduce the cream to one-half cup in a small saucepan over low heat. Strain the cream into a small bowl and season with a pinch each of salt and pepper.

4. Butter a small (2-quart) baking dish, and spread the spinach in the bottom in an even layer. Sprinkle the top of the spinach with one-eighth teaspoon salt. Arrange the mushroom slices over the spinach in a fish-scale pattern. Spoon the cream evenly over the top and bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until heated through. Serve immediately.

Each serving: 337 calories; 7 grams protein; 9 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams fiber; 32 grams fat; 20 grams saturated fat; 113 mg. cholesterol; 170 mg. sodium.


Active work time: 35 minutes | Total preparation time: 45 minutes | Serves 8

24 large white mushrooms

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

Salt, pepper

1/2 cup finely minced onions

1/2 cup finely minced shallots

3 tablespoons oil

2/3 cup Madeira

1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs

2/3 cup grated Gruyere cheese

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2/3 cup minced parsley

1/3 cup whipping cream

1. Remove stems from mushrooms. Finely mince stems and set aside. Place mushroom caps on baking sheet. Brush caps with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Cook onions and shallots in oil and any remaining butter in skillet over medium heat until tender but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add minced mushroom stems to onion mixture. Raise heat to high and sauté until liquid is absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Add Madeira and bring to boil. Boil until liquid evaporates. Cool. Add bread crumbs, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses and parsley to mushroom mixture. Add enough cream to bind mixture. Adjust seasoning. Spoon stuffing into mushroom caps on baking sheet.

3. Bake at 375 degrees until hot and bubbly, 10 to 12 minutes.

Each serving: 264 calories; 335 mg sodium; 47 mg cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 0.38 gram fiber.