March 15, 2010

Meatless Monday recipes

The following is a reprint of a previously published post, my very first "Meatless Mondays recipes," where I offer our favorite easy meatless meals.

A few months ago, I signed up for Meatless Mondays. You can read all about the worldwide movement by clicking here. Why go meatless? According to the website, "Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel."

That sounds like a great win/win to me, and when you add in the fact that you'll probably save money too, the whole Meatless Monday idea becomes a win/win/win... what Katy over at The Non-Consumer Advocate calls a trifecta.

For me, signing up was absolutely no sacrifice. To give you an idea of how much it has changed our lifestyle, I don't think I've ever mentioned it to my husband. That's because we already go meatless several nights a week. We don't even think of it as "going meatless" because it's just the way we already eat.

In fact, it's almost incomprehensible to me that people would have trouble coming up with ideas for meatless meals. Forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but I will never forget something I saw on the news during the riots in Los Angeles in 1992, after the infamous Rodney King verdict. A woman was being interviewed in a supermarket where they'd run out of meat. And she said, "What am I supposed to feed my kids, beans on toast?" The fact that she had no other ideas boggled my mind.

If you sign up for Meatless Mondays, you get an email every Monday with related news of the week, plus some great recipes. But I thought I'd offer up some of our favorite meals, everyday stuff we enjoy that's quick and easy and delicious. And this is still leaving out tons of things we eat regularly, like veggie burgers, main dish salads, and stir frys.

1. Pizza- My husband's specialty, he usually adds mushrooms, but the possibilities are endless.
2. Pasta- His other specialty, again the possibilities are endless. One favorite is a version of puttanesca: cooked tomatoes, garlic, capers, and kalamata olives.
3. Soup- I love to make soup. Some of our favorites are lentil, vegetable, carrot, tomato, and minestrone. All vegetarian.
4. Tofu/Spinach- This is an easy staple we love. Saute tofu, spinach, and garlic in olive oil next to each other in a large pan. Drizzle with a mixture of soy sauce and hot chili oil.
5. Egg scramble- One of our favorites is "Mexican" style with onions and cheese, served with salsa, guacamole, and black beans. A tortilla on the side is great, but it's also good with toast if you don't have it.
6. Risotto- We love it with tomatoes, basil, garlic, and mushrooms, but you can make risotto with almost anything. Get creative. Mastering risotto will make you feel like you're eating in a gourmet restaurant. I'll do a post on my method soon.
7. Stuffed potato- Top a baked potato with a stir-fry of your favorite veggies.
8. Burritos or wraps- Again, the possibilities are endless. Wrap your favorite cheese and vegetables or start with beans and add cheese, avocado, peppers, and salsa.
9. Vegetable curry. Click here for my crockpot recipe.
10. Mjederah lentils. Click here to try this super-easy meal.

Those are just a few of the dinners we eat regularly. I think the key is to get away from the whole concept that you're trying to "replace" meat. Don't worry too much about not getting enough protein, especially if you're only doing this once or twice a week. And if you add more lentils, beans, chickpeas, and grains to your diet, you probably won't have to worry at all about a protein deficit.

What are your favorite meatless recipes? Please share them in the Comments section.

5 comments:

Beth said...

I took a look at your vegetable curry recipe and it looks awesome! I actually think I have all those ingredients on hand. I am a sucker for a good crockpot recipe. :) One of my favorite meatless meals is lentil soup. I just started cooking with them recently and both my husband and I love them! I also really like that they are inexpensive. Here's a link to the recipe I used: http://savingmoneywhileeatingclean.blogspot.com/2010/02/wonderful-world-of-lentils.html.

Frugal Kiwi said...

I'm always amazed at people who complain about cooking vegetarian. There is a world of options out there. One of my faves is Sweet Corn Chickpea Fritters. Since it uses chickpea flour as a binder instead of wheat flour, it is also gluten-free. http://frugalkiwi.co.nz/2009/09/gluten-free-sweet-corn-chickpea-fritters/

Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

My boyfriend is a professional chef (and meat-eater) and says Americans diets are protein toxic and people are obsessed with meat at every meal. He blames the food companies for conditioning them with cheap meat.

I love all of your meatless ideas. I can't wait to make asparagus risotto and soup when it hits my farm.

Angela said...

I make a meatless pizza with pesto, feta, fresh mozzarella, fresh garlic, thinkly sliced tomatoe and a sprinkling of quatro frommagio. My husband is a total carnivore and he loves it.

Forest Parks said...

I'm vegetarian so eat meatless everyday... one of the biggest things that stops people from trying to be vege for even a day a week is thinking there is nothing to cook.... Even if you make meatless monday takeout pizza night it's easy to do...

Thanks,
Forest.
http://frugalzeitgeist.com