Variety is not just the spice of life; it also helps you meet your nutritional needs! We advise eating as wide a variety of foods as possible. However, there are times when you need to avoid certain foods, either for religious purposes, allergies/intolerances, or other reasons. If you ever need to avoid meat, dairy, fish, or eggs, try these delicious plant-based options!
1. Vegetarian Chili over Rice:
This is a staple in our house, and I haven’t yet met someone who didn’t love it. It’s basically a very hearty minestrone-ish soup with lots of beans, which I serve over rice to make it more of a meal item instead of a soup.
Instructions: Sautee onions, diced carrots and celery, add tomato sauce garlic cumin, diced zucchini, canned corn or peppers or mushrooms if you’d like and then dump in as many canned beans as you can! You can use raw beans, but then you need to cook for longer. Cook a whole pot and freeze extra for a rainy day.
Note: you can add vegetarian meat to add even more protein and flavor.
2. Chickpea Pasta with Sauce and Grilled Veggies:
Walmart carries chickpea pasta, while Trader Joe's carries lentil pasta. Both are high protein, which reduces the need to have cheese. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and roasted veggies and olives and you will just be happy. If you can have dairy, add some parmesan or feta for extra flavor and nutrition.
3. Red Lentil Soup and Bread:
Here is a recipe for a delicious high-protein lentil soup that pairs well with bread. You can serve this with a dollop of silk soy (or regular) yogurt to add interest. Pair with a whole grain bread for maximal protein.
4. Falafel with the Works:
Take out your favorite brand of frozen falafel balls or venture to make your own – you can even bake them as patties for a change!
Then chop an Israeli salad, mix tahini paste well with lemon, water to make a thin Israeli techina (this is really fun to mix if you’ve never tried it before – it gets really thick before it gets thin). Serve with pita and hummus. If you don’t have store-bought hummus, you can make your own easily by putting a can of chickpeas in a container, adding oil, salt garlic and lemon and blending with an immersion blender.
5. Tofu Stir-Fry
If you’ve never tasted this versatile plant-based protein – now is the time! Tofu is NOT scary. Buy only the extra-firm tofu - It is found next to the dairy section in stores and looks like a block of feta cheese. Cut it into cubes and season with soy sauce, garlic, oil and honey. Add cornstarch to prevent it from getting soggy and bake on high until crispy.
6. Vegetarian Burgers:
For fresh refrigerated burgers, Trader Joe’s is the place to go. For frozen burgers try Heaven and Earth’s new veggie burgers. (They are soy-free).
I hope these ideas have inspired you to add something new to your meatless repertoire! But of course, don’t forget about your animal proteins if you can have them!