Food & Recipes

This Vegetarian Sheet Pan Dinner is Easy, Healthy, and Surprisingly Delicious

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Sheet pan dinners have been quite the rage lately, and for good reason — they’re easy, quick, and delicious. And the cleanup is a breeze! Whether you use meat and potatoes or fish and veggies, throwing everything onto a baking sheet and roasting will never lead you astray. Throughout the past two years, when time and energy have been at a minimum for many of us, these dinners have been lifesavers. I’ve tried a few, and as it turns out, my all-time favorite happens to be a vegetarian sheet pan dinner. Where’s the protein, you ask? Read on!

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The best one-and-done recipe, in my experience, is a slight variation on this New York Times recipe: Sheet-Pan Baked Feta with Broccolini, Tomatoes, and Lemon. Not sure about baking feta cheese? I wondered about it at first, too. But it’s fabulous — incredibly creamy, a little chewy, melts just a bit, and adds a delightful tang, as well as some protein, to the dish. Plus, it’s a perfect way to incorporate the Mediterranean Diet into your meal plan. Last but not least, this vegetarian sheet pan dinner is visually beautiful — the combination of colorful ingredients is satisfying to the eye.

If you feel like a dinner isn’t complete without meat, there are loads of other great sheet-pan dinner options to choose from, but I have to say I consider this vegetarian option to be perfect. The combination of creamy feta with crisp broccoli (or broccolini) with the bite of tomato, mellow red onion, and added spark of lemon makes for quite a delightful grouping for your taste buds.

How to Make Sheet-Pan Baked Feta with Broccoli, Tomatoes, and Lemon

This recipe couldn’t be easier! Simply combine the following ingredients:

  • 2 blocks of fresh feta, sliced
  • 1-2 bunches of broccolini or two heads of broccoli without the stems
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes or 1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 3+ Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • a sprinkle of cumin
  • a sprinkle of garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • a shake of red pepper flakes

Combine on baking sheet, add oil and spices, toss, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

While roasting, put some orzo, farro, or another healthy grain into a pot and boil. (The original recipe suggests serving over orzo, which goes along with the Greek theme, but I like using Farro occasionally because it’s chewier and denser.) Take the sheet pan out of the oven carefully, drizzle some extra olive oil over the top, and squeeze a little more lemon over the whole thing if you like. Serve over your pasta or grain of choice, and enjoy!

Tweaking the Recipe to Your Tastes

I’ve prepared this dish twice before, and after following the recipe to the letter the first time, I made a few slight tweaks for my second go-round. I’m not a huge fan of cumin, so I used a quarter teaspoon instead of a whole teaspoon, and added a sprinkle of garlic powder to round out the spice quotient. I used a bit more olive oil than the recipe called for, because I love it and it’s a great way to get your daily intake of good fat. Yes, there is such a thing. (I like California brand Extra Virgin Olive Oil best for its robust flavor — available to buy from Amazon here, or from Walmart, here.)

I also used Italian parsley instead of cilantro or basil because it’s the middle of winter and I would rather use fresh summer basil from my garden than anything else — if you haven’t grown your own basil, you’re missing out! Heavenly. And particularly if you’re one of those people who tastes either soap or dirty socks when they put a sprig of cilantro in their mouths, Italian parsley is another route you can take. One of the best things about sheet pan dinners is that you can play around with flavors and substitutions and still create something that tastes terrific.

sheet pan dinner with roasted broccoli, tomatoes, lemon, and feta ready to eat on a plate
Kate Gross

Who’d have thought something so healthy could be so delicious? Give this vegetarian sheet pan dinner a try tonight, and you just might be happily surprised!

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