August 17, 2009

Meatless Monday recipes

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.


Olivia said...

I live in Atlantic Canada and right now I am boiling up fresh-from-the-garden potatoes, beans and carrots. When done, I shall spoon in some cream cheese (butter and cream are traditional but I like the cream cheese option) and fresh garden herbs to taste. Salt and pepper - and that's supper. It's called "Hodge Podge" and can be done with whatever veggies are in the garden. It's a traditional Maritime supper when gardens are overflowing with fresh produce.

Leigh @ compactbydesign said...

Angela, thanks for the reminder of great meals that don't need to contain meat. It is not a staple for us but I will be signing up for the recipes!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget eggs, Angela! :)(Shameless plug by hen-raiser!)
Eggs & nuts are great sources of protein. I like to make egg quiches or casseroles with cheese & veggies, quesadillas (eggs & cheese), and it's so easy to add nuts to salads or just as a side. I love beans & peas, too! They make great belly-fillers for an all veggie meal.

Evie Abat said...

I have some lemony, veggie, garbanzo and black bean burgurs in my freezer to serve up with a lemon tahini sauce. Awesome and easy to make. There are so many wonderful vegetarian recipies out there on the internet. Love your blog, and keep up the good work!

Cate said...

Oh, all kinds of things! Soups (vegetable, black bean, tomato, bean and mushroom, mushroom and barley, potato...mmmm), pizza and pasta (like you said, endless possibilities), scrambled eggs with vegetables, stir fries, risotto.....I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Betsy Talbot said...

My latest meatless obsession is a chickpea fritter. I had it served over green beans with yogurt sauce and it was the perfect summer lunch! I'm experimenting with cooking it myself and this recipe seems like the best fit for my tastebuds:

Thank you for continuing your posts on Meatless Mondays. We also eat meatless every week (love to make frittatas and bean salads on warm summer evenings as well as pasta dishes anytime) and I hope to get some of your soup recipes for the fall.

Ellen said...

My favorite series on your blog! I bake portobello mushrooms with a little olive oil & balsalmic on them, topped with cheese, cherry tomatos, and bread crumbs. Bake at 325-375 for 45 mins or so.

saymoi said...

Pasta - Muir Glenn crushed tomatoes, garlic, white (cannellini) beans, add chopped fresh basil and goat cheese at the end. I like it with farfalle pasta.

Cate said...

Do you menu plan? I would love to see your weekly menus.

Unknown said...

Angela, thanks for writing about meatless Mondays. I am so excited any time meat-eaters are open to trying meatless meals. I have been a vegetarian for 4+ years, I try to be vegan (no eggs, no dairy, no animal products of any kind)but sadly have a weakness for cake and ice cream so will indulge if there's any around. Sigh. However, my point is, to do the best you can and every little bit helps, every meatless meal helps your health, the planet, and your pocketbook. Yesterday, I made a recipe I have adapted from a Bob's Red Mill package. It's a pilaf sort of thing made from bulgur, flax seed, tomatoes, canellini beans, pine nuts. You can also use onions and mushrooms and season it however you like. I use garlic and Italian seasoning. Oh, heavenly.

Unknown said...

Oh and Olivia, that Hodge Podge dish sounds fantastic!! I've got to try that. I've never been any farther east in Canada than Toronto, apparently I'm really missing out!

Angela said...

Olivia- I LOVE the idea for Hodge Podge, it is so right up my alley. Thanks so much for sharing that!

Leigh- yes, I do think it's about creating habits and sometimes that takes repeated reminders. What really works in our house is creating non-meat favorites that we crave.

Hi Meg!- I did include scrambles, and I was going to include quiche, but ran out of room. I'll probably do another similar post in a few weeks with all the things I left out. I love quiche and all kinds of casseroles, plus I do a lot of baking, so I'm a big fan of eggs. Plus, we love devilled eggs.

Tango Goddess- Thanks for coming by and for the compliment on my blog. I'm so glad you like it. Your veggie burger varieties sound delicious. We are huge veggie burger fans in this house. Our favorite at the moment is from Trader Joe's, but I have a recipe for a black bean variety I've got to try. I'm sure it will be delicious, and of course much cheaper!

Cate- Black bean soup sounds good too! I think I'm entering a black bean phase... Is that soup recipe on your blog?

Betsy Talbot- Will definitely try that. Just started making zucchini fritters and they were a big hit with my husband.

Ellen- Thanks Ellen! I love your portobello mushroom idea! I usually make those out on the grill with a similar marinade, but I'm going to try it in the oven and also add the tomatoes from my plants!

saymoi- Love your name. That sounds really good. I'll have to make it when I'm home alone, because sadly I haven't gotten my husband to love white beans.

Cate- I don't menu plan because our schedules vary so dramatically. But I do a "loose" plan something like this: I buy groceries for 3 meals, one my husband will cook, one that includes fresh fish, and one that will yield leftovers (soup, crockpot, etc). That covers at least 4 dinners, which is usually enough for us. At least once a week we go out, and once we'll just sort of "graze." We always keep staples so I can always make an easy pantry meal if necessary. If I try to plan more than 3 meals, ingredients go to waste.

Julie- Thanks for coming by. I agree that whatever little bit we all do helps in the long run. Good for you for going vegetarian completely, I'm not ready for that. I just love fish too much, and it's a little too easy to use chicken and chicken broth in a lot of dishes. Vegan, I might have to say never because of my dairy obsession. But we'll see... And thanks for that recipe, I buy bulgar wheat but only use it for one recipe, so I'll have to try this one...

Thanks everyone for sharing your ideas!

Angela said...

Okay, I was just writing down a list of all your great ideas, and I decided I'm going to include some of these ideas in the next Meatless Mondays post, and make it a regular part of the post, for readers to send in their favorite meatless recipes. I'll do it once every two weeks, with the other Mondays being a CSA post.

Thanks everyone! I get very excited about good vegetarian recipes that are super easy.