I’ve gotten quite a few messages (well, four, I’ve gotten four) asking why I decided to become a vegetarian. I completely see why you may think that, as a lot of what I’ve been sharing has been vegetarian-focused. Still, tonight’s dinner is white chicken chili and I had Greek shrimp pasta over the weekend at mom and dad’s house. Vegetarian I am not, so what am I called now? A flexitarian?
Actually, I really like the concept Dr. Greger discusses in his book. I’m sure he explains things more eloquently, but the gist of it is there is a daily dozen check sheet of all the incredible foods we should be putting into our bodies. If we focus on getting all that good stuff in, then there just isn’t as much room left over for more processed foods, meats, etc. I’ll admit I’m far from perfect on this, but I am really enjoying using it as a guide to planning my meals each day.
I’ve also realized that vegetarian cooking is really flavorful. I’ve tried some really creative and intricately-spiced meals and am getting more and more comfortable diving deeper into my spice cabinet, instead of sticking to my basic cumin and oregano go-to options. The meals in this post, however, are not overly complicated and they don’t take a long time to create. These are meals I’ve tried, fed to my family, and will most definitely be making again. Since I’ve gotten feedback that you are enjoying the vegetarian meal ideas I’m sharing here and on Instagram, I wanted to put these meals all in one spot for the interested parties. Oh, and let me take this opportunity to thank you for all the recipes you’ve sent my way. You are my most valued resource and I’ve tried some really tasty dishes thanks to you!
True to it’s name, I love this meal because it only takes one large pan, plus most of the ingredients come from a can (beans, tomatoes) or the freezer (corn), so there isn’t much chopping in the prep work. It is tasty, but to be honest, I love any Mexican-style dish because I top it with salsa and guacamole so it always tastes delicious!
Despite the work “stew” never sounding all that appetizing to me, this is a great dinner for cold fall nights. Angela’s recipes never disappoint and this stew is perfectly spiced (I didn’t even need to add hot sauce like I usually do with more bland dishes) and it includes rainbow chard, which I love as a switch up to the more common veggies.
No recipe link here, but I’m making these for lunch every week, switching up toppings, sauces, and grain to keep things interested. I make a big batch of a grain during Sunday food prep and eat it all week. The one pictured includes multi-colored quinoa, sauteed chard, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pumpkin seeds, and parsley.
Black Bean Burrito Bowls
We eat Mexican-inspired dishes once or twice a week because it’s a meal the entire family loves and one that David doesn’t even miss the meat on (much, at least). My go to method for these nights: brown rice in the rice cooker, a can of black beans in a pot, a pan full of sauteed peppers, onions, and mushroom, all small-diced for easy eating for the kids, then salsa, guacamole, and sour cream for topping. Like I said, an easy hit for the whole family.
I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe because the list of ingredients is short and simple, but I’m a sucker with anything including the nutritional powerhouse, turmeric. However, I really ended up loving the creamy, bisque-like texture and the mellow flavor. For the family, I made sure we had plenty of sourdough for dipping. I ate it at my parents’ house and the roasted chickpeas really added a fun crunch!
I know, you are calling this one a cop out, but as an egg-lover I’m surprised how much I’ve enjoyed adding this into my breakfast routine. For me, I do oatmeal, a drizzle of maple syrup, cinnamon, flaxseed, and top with pecans from the freezer. For the girls, I put a scoop of peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon in a bowl, top it with the hot oatmeal and stir. Kaitlyn usually tops hers with raisins too!
Roasted Vegetable Bowls
Though I usually include a grain (this week, it’s farro), when I have extra veggies to roast, I load them all into one bowl, top with hummus and sprinkle on some seeds. I can’t wait to make this combo again: roasted butternut squash noodles, roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted onion, topped with spicy yellow lentil hummus, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Both kids were even snagging bites off of my plate during this lunch.
Snack plates are my weekday jam. For lunches or even dinners, piling a bunch of different finger foods on a single plate always equals a warm reception from the kids. I try to keep a basic format of a fruit, a veggies, a dip, a nut or seed, then fill in the rest. Pictured: Wheat crackers, Nut-Thin crackers, garlic hummus, colby jack cheese, cashews, blueberries, and orange bell pepper.
Simple Walnut Sauce
Another grain bowl: farro, mixed baby greens, roasted broccoli, roasted mushrooms, purple cabbage, pine nuts, and WALNUT SAUCE. I tried this one at my mom’s house and now I’m hooked. It’s made in a high-powered blender (though I’m sure a food processor would work too). It’s 1 cup walnuts, 1 Tbsp Tamari, 1-2 cloves of garlic, and water (1/4 cup- 1/2 cup based on your desired consistency). That’s it! I’ve eaten in on the thick side as a carrot dip and on the thin side as a dressing for grain bowls.
This dish does require getting out your food processor, but the kids really enjoyed helping chop the vegetables and loading them into the processor. I do believe getting the kids involved with the cooking encourages them to eat the meal, but this dish didn’t need much encouraging because it was SO good. It’s packed full of nutritional goodness (carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, and olives) and the secret addition of walnuts gave it a hearty, crowd-pleasing texture! In fact, David didn’t even know there was no meat in the dish until I told him afterwards. A dinner the entire family happily gobbled down, so it’s now on the repeat list.
There you have it: ten vegetarian meals that I will make again! I could add a few more because I love these freezer burritos for busy weeknights, this kid-friendly oatmeal smoothie on rushed mornings, and I make this sweet potato and black bean chili on the regular, but I have to wrap it up at some point. Like I mentioned, I’ve gotten some of my favorite dishes from you, so if you have a favorite, family-friendly recipe, please leave it in the comments!
My question for you:
Do you have a go-to vegetarian entree or side dish for entertaining?
I’m looking for some good ideas for the holidays!