Welcome to the first post for MeatLESS (#AHSMeatLESSinMarch) in March! I’m looking forward to diving more into this topic that seems to be on so many of our minds lately. For clarification, meatless doesn’t have to mean vegetarian or vegan, unless you want it to. It is just a a focus on incorporating more plant-based meals and snacks into our weeks. I hope to show more behind the scenes of how we’ve been eating more plant-strong family meals, the prep work, and even what I keep in my fridge at all times…
Always: La Croix, fresh herbs, leafy greens, ginger, and beer.
Never again: those faux mozzarella shreds. Yall, they made me gag.
I’m finding it easier to get inspired for colorful meals now that the weather is starting to perk up. We spent a lot of this weekend outside. We rode bikes (Hailey is officially on two wheels!), played a little basketball, restarted tennis lessons, had a backyard bonfire, and wandered Davidson (good news- chips and guacamole is meatless ;))
So let’s get into last week’s plant-strong family meal plan. As always, I’ll link to the recipe and tell you what my family thought and if I will add it to the repeat list!
I loved the deep flavor in this dish (David did too), and though it wasn’t complicated by any means, having to use a mortar and pestle or a small food processor doesn’t fall under easy. It was too spicy for the girls so they ate buttered rice and naan (quite happily). I will make it again, but probably decrease the number of fresh green chilies to make it more family friendly.
The addition of cashew cream (you only have to soak the cashews for an hour), give this dish some heartiness you don’t usually get from a typical marinara sauce. The capers and shallots offered depth and the entire family ate this is quite quickly. Of course, what’s not to love- it’s PASTA! Next time I might try it with a shorter pasta noodle, like fusilli, so I don’t have the long linguine or spaghetti strands stick together quite as much.
This dish won meal of the week! These burgers take some prep work and some time in the fridge to set, but they were delicious. Hailey gave an emphatic two thumbs up to both the burgers and the kale salad. Kaitlyn ate the burger happily (with ketchup) but stuck to a single bite of the kale salad. I doubled the avocado Caesar dressing and ate it several times (YUM) and David enjoyed the heartiness of the meal (anything with a bun usually equals hearty). I’ll definitely make these again and maybe try to freeze a batch.
Zesty Greek Pasta Salad over Greens with Hummus and Pita Chips
This recipe is already on our repeat list because it’s an easy dinner (or side) that I know everyone likes. Ideally I would add some falafel and pita bread, too, but it was a quick option because I was heading for a girls’ night and wanted to leave the fam with something effortless. Easy peasy!
Homemade Vegetable Pizza
I always get questions about my homemade pizza dough. It’s fluffy, delicious, and perfect each and every time because I use my bread machine. It has a dough feature, so I just add the ingredients, set the timer to whenever I want it to be ready and viola! We roll it out, add pizza sauce, sauteed mushrooms, onions, and peppers, mozzarella, and oregano. I tried the vegan cheese shreds and threw them right into the trash. We stuck with the real thing, and added fresh basil afterwards. Is anything better than pizza night?!
For a peek into lunches…
I made a batch of kichadi and ate it all week long. It was mindless (heat and eat!), and balanced (lentils, rice, veggies) so I liked how simple it made lunches, but I was a little bored with it by the end of the week.
The girls and I often eat the same thing unless I note otherwise, and this was an instance when we didn’t line up for the week. Instead, they stuck with snack plates because they are colorful and easy.
It’s now been a couple months of eating more plant-based with less meat. Overall I’m feeling really good! I still will feel bloated on days I overdo the beans, but I’ve gotten into a rhythm now where that doesn’t happen often. I’ve been asked if it has made me lose weight- no it hasn’t really (I’m down about 1-2 lbs from Christmas time, but… holidays) and that was never part of my motivation. However, David is down a few pounds, and although he says he doesn’t noticeably feel any different day to day, he notices he feels worse when he does eat meat now. Again, he says I’ve ruined him. Men… 😉
What meatless hurdles or frustrations do you struggle with?