Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Vegetarianism

Veggie Envy

I am excited to welcome Emily Wilson as a guest blogger. Emily is a trained chef who devotes her days (and I suspect many nights) to developing and testing delicious recipes for Cooking Planit.com. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Emily on several meals I put together for Cooking Planit, and it became apparent that we shared a lot of the same tastes, so this was a natural fit. I’ve asked her to share some of her favorite vegetarian recipes with us. Enjoy!

“You love food!”
“You eat out too often!!”
“You work in the food business!!!”

These are just a few of the reasons people have given me as to why I couldn’t possibly become vegetarian. Well, a few years ago I gave up meat for a health experiment and stayed away from it for over a year. Truthfully, it was still easy to enjoy great food, and while I’ve since returned to meat in moderation, I feel I’ve seen greener pastures. Being vegetarian is awesome!

 Whenever I get on an über health kick, I eat as many vegetables and high-fiber foods as possible. Veggies are naturally low in calories, and packed with satiating nutrients, so you can eat (almost) as many as you want and feel satisfied longer. It’s also amazing how un-gross I feel! I mean, if I eat steak nachos I feel a lot more stuffed and greasy than if I opt for black bean nachos, right?

 In other words, I totally “get” being vegetarian, and while I’m not faithful enough to live it full-time, I like to consider myself an honorary member of the club. That’s how I knew Lauren’s recipes would be right up my alley. Lauren shared some of her Gourmet Veggie dishes with Cooking Planit, like Roasted Beet Salad with Orange-Ginger Dressing topped with fiber-and-protein-dense Farro and Garlicky Kale with Creamy Polenta and Poached Eggs, so you can cook her recipes easily, following step-by-step instructions.

I actually went vegan one summer too (never felt better!). But I agree with Lauren, that cheese is just too delicious to live without. Plus, I love Mexican food too much to give up all the cheesy, creamy, salty, crunchy goodness. Have a hankering? Try one of my favorite recipes – Mexican Tortilla Pizza.

Mexican Tortilla Pizza

Like Lauren, I also love eggs. Poached, hard-boiled, fried or scrambled eggs are welcome at my table any time of day. I love to start the morning right with my favorite omelet recipe – Aunt Mimi’s Marmalade and Cream Cheese Omelet.

Marmalade Cream Cheese Omelette

Another popular recipe on Cooking Planit satisfies a beef-less burger craving. Try out these Chickpea Artichoke Burgers for yourself!

Chickpea Burgers

I genuinely envy people who dedicate themselves fully to a meat-free lifestyle, so I hope these recipes show you some love, from one veggie heart to another!

How we make it work

I’m often asked whether my husband is a vegetarian, too, and people are always surprised when I say he’s not. “But how do you make it work,” they ask. “Do you cook meat?”

The answer is, no, I don’t. Although he was initially resistant to me becoming a vegetarian,* the hubby has turned out to be very flexible, and eats almost exclusively vegetarian at home (unless he’s grilling burgers or something). He does eat meat when we go out, and that doesn’t bother me. Being vegetarian is a personal choice, and it’s fine with me that it’s not his choice. Besides, just deciding not to eat meat at home has a big impact in terms of environmental effects, reducing consumption from factory farms, and health-wise.

* I went vegetarian almost 4 years ago after deciding that I was too much of an animal lover to, well, eat animals. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years in my teens, too, but this time it seems to be sticking!

When I first became a vegetarian, we leaned heavily on the “make one meal, and throw some meat in at the end” strategy. I would have a meatless version of whatever hubby was having.** One cookbook that we found particularly helpful when we were transitioning, but which we hardy use anymore, was The Flexitarian Table.

** I know this may be shocking, but at the time, I was working 60 or 70-hour weeks, and hubby was primarily in charge of cooking around our house. Things change!

We already subscribed to a CSA, so we were largely planning meals around the veggies we had on hand, anyway. It wasn’t too big of a leap to go straight to planning vegetarian meals. The hubby says he doesn’t mind eating meat-free at home, although he does like to throw the occasional barbecue as an excuse to make ribs.

From what I remember from my omnivore (although admittedly still non-rib-loving) days, his ribs are really good, and they always get rave reviews. He uses the recipe from The Cook’s Illustrated Guide to Grilling and Barbecue.

As I’ve said before, we are letting Nora make her own choices on meat. She is almost completely vegetarian at this point, but occasionally she’ll have some meat from the hubby’s plate when we’re out and about.

Mostly, she prefers her veggies.

As an added bonus (and this is gross, so if you’re not a parent, be forewarned), vegetarian babies apparently have less disgusting poop that omnivore babies. I have confirmed this scientifically by (a) noticing that Nora’s poop is way grosser on those rare occasions when she does have meat, and (b) talking to other moms about how disgusting their toddlers’ poop is. True fact.

Once she’s old enough, we plan on letting Nora decide whether she wants to be a vegetarian or not. If she wants to follow in her daddy’s footsteps and eat some meat outside of the house, that’s fine with me… but I do want her to understand where meat comes from and the impact that her decision has. How exactly to make that last part happen, I suppose,  is another worry for another day!

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