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How To Add Meatless Meals Into Your Week

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Our family is not 100% vegetarian, but we have made a concerted effort to go meatless as often as we can. The truth is, we could all eat more veggies and going meatless once in awhile is definitely not a bad thing. I believe everyone should do what is right for them, and I don’t try to push my way of eating on anyone else. That being said, if you are looking for ways to eat more veggies or meatless meals once in awhile, I’ve got ten easy tips to help you on your way.

TIPS FOR GOING MEATLESS

 

vegetarian shepherds pie st patricks day

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

1 – Transform old favorites by revamping them without the meat. One of my favorite blogs, Oh My Veggies, has a series called “Make It Meatless” where classic recipes get a meatless makeover. Replace chicken, pork, and beef with cauliflower steaks, thick slices of eggplant or squash, substitute legumes and beans in soups, stews, and casseroles. Top pizza with thinly sliced veggies and mushrooms.

vegetarian taco salad with tempeh and black beans

Vegetarian Taco Salad with Tempeh and Black Beans

2 – Think beyond tofu. I love, love, love tofu. I really do. But there are other vegetarian protein options out there. Seek out veggie burgers and use them in creative ways. (See the slideshow below for some great ideas.) Try tempeh and seitan. Use finely chopped nuts in place of ground meat in tacos. Mushrooms are a popular “meaty” substitute that are incredibly versatile.

braised lentils and vegetables

Braised Lentils and Vegetables

3 – Don’t focus on what’s missing, think about what you’re adding. Yes, the term is “meatless,” but think of it as “veggie-full“. Your body will thank you for adding more low calorie, high fiber and nutrient foods into your diet.

GF Quinoa Pizza with Stone Fruit, Chiles, and Queso Fresco

Quinoa Pizza with Stone Fruit, Chiles, and Queso Fresco

4 – Textures and colors are your friends. We eat with our eyes too! I think a common misconception is that vegetarian meals are boring. Oh, not so! Look for or create recipes using a rainbow of colors and different textures. Experiment, experiment, experiment! Pair up your favorite fruits and veggies in new, unexpected ways.

stewed+eggplant+and+tomatoes+with+polenta-2

Stewed Eggplant and Tomatoes with Polenta

5 – Buy a vegetarian cookbook or magazine. Oh, I can’t tell you how helpful it was to stock up on vegan and vegetarian cookbooks in the beginning. When I started running out of ideas for meatless meals, all I needed to do was flip through my cookbooks and I was instantly inspired.

quinoa salad with chickpeas and avocado

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Avocado

6 – Behold the power of a salad. Truly, a salad can be more filling than you might think. Load it up with leafy greens, veggies, fruit, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, and a little cheese. It takes longer to chew raw food and brains will register that we are full when we are eating slowly. It’s also a great way to use up any leftover odds and ends in the fridge. Roasted veggies make the best salads in the fall.

dal with brown rice

Red Lentil Dal

7 – Go on a little trip around the world without leaving your kitchen. Many of the meals we make are Asian or Southeast Asian because they are typically already vegetarian. But there are also many, many vegetarian recipes from cuisines are the globe too.

slow cooker vegan tomato sauce with fennel

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce with Fennel

8 – Ease into it. Start with one day a week or once a month even. Try one new ingredient or recipe a week. Do it sometimes – it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Do some research beforehand. Team up with some friends. Join in on #MeatlessMonday and see what people are making around the web. Don’t make it a chore!

vegan asparagus risotto lemon

Vegan Asparagus Risotto with Lemon

9 – Use veggies that are in season for best flavor and best prices at the grocery store, and learn how to properly cook them. You can add veggies into favorite dishes as another way to sneak some more into your day.

pumpkin creme fraiche spaghetti

Pumpkin Creme Fraiche Spaghetti

10- Lastly, plan it out, then go shopping…or don’t. Look at your fridge and see what you can put together to create a new dish. Let inspiration take you when you’re standing in the produce section. There are no hard and fast rules. Eating should be fun. You might even be surprised what you can come up with in the moment.

MEALS THAT ARE EASY TO MAKE MEATLESS

-Burritos
-Enchiladas
-Tacos
-Curries
-Loaded baked potatoes
-Soups and Stews
-Casseroles
-Chili
-Noodles and pasta
-Pizza and flatbreads
-Sandwiches
-Basically anything!

INSPIRATION

Check out Meatless Main Dishes

by Lindsey Rose Johnson at Foodie.com

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by MorningStar Farms as part of my partnership with Foodie.com. All opinions expressed are my own.

Vegetarian Gluten-Free Tamale Pie

Gluten-Free Tamale Pie {Pamela’s Products Giveaway!}

Easy Gluten-Free Tamale PieThank you to Pamela’s Products for sponsoring this post and giveaway. 

In the last few weeks, I’ve read a bunch of articles and blog posts on the subject of home-cooked family dinners. The big question is: are they more pain than they’re worth? My opinion lies somewhere in the middle of that argument, as there are plenty of opinions to go around on both sides. I think it’s so, so important to sit down as a family as often as schedules allow to share a meal together. Sometimes we miss a day here and there. Is it always dinner? No. Sometimes it’s breakfast or lunch. But over all, we try, but we certainly aren’t perfect. In any case, I really enjoy sitting down with my family to discuss our day, whether it’s beginning or ending, without distractions. My kids relish the time with us too. This is especially important to me now that school is back in session. One common complaint about family dinners at home is that it takes too long to make something healthy. We are all busy, and that is true of some recipes. But not this one! As a kid, one of my favorite quick meals was my grandmother’s tamale pie. It was delicious and super easy to put together.I haven’t made it in years! Using Pamela’s Gluten-Free Cornbread and Muffin Mix, I recreated it for my family. And it’s even easier than my grandma’s recipe. This gluten-free tamale pie has a yummy filling made from two kinds of beans, corn, and salsa. Read on to see just how easy it is to make and to enter the Back To School giveaway.

Tamale Pie Ingredients (more…)

Peach + Rosemary Two Ways

Peach + Rosemary Two Ways: Fruit Salad + Iced Tea Fizz

Peach + Rosemary Two Ways-8
Peaches and rosemary were made for each other. It’s as simple as that. I love peaches. I love rosemary. Put them together, and I’m head over heels for it, no matter what it is. As I’ve been dreaming up new ways to eat peaches (like it’s my full-time job), the idea came to me a few weeks ago to make an iced tea infused with rosemary and sweetened with fresh peach puree and a touch of raw honey. Rosemary has that deeply savory, piney flavor that helps bring out the natural sweet, perfumey flavor of the peaches. It’s a bridge between late summer and early fall when I’m not quite ready to jump into pumpkin everything, and not ready to let the vibrance of summer go.

Peach + Rosemary Two Ways-6Peach + Rosemary Two Ways-4
So yesterday I stopped by a farm stand to get more peaches and a pumpkin. I select peaches as you should, but in the way that is frowned upon by market owners. To get the perfect peach every time, it must be gently squeezed. Almost like you’re squeezing a raw egg and don’t want to crack the shell. Just so. It should yield slightly. If it’s rock hard, set it down and search for another. Peaches will not continue to ripen off the tree. They will soften a bit. They might even be juicy instead of mealy, and you’ll think they are ripening, but they will never, never be as sweet as the ones left to fully ripen in the cool early fall nights and sunny, warm afternoons. Those peaches will be as sweet as honey, just as sticky, and exploding with juiciness. No supermarket peach will ever do again. (more…)