I’ve recently learned a new word. Flexitarian. According to the web know-it-all with a grain of salt, Wikipedia: ‘A semi-vegetarian or flexitarian diet is one that is plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat products. In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year’s most useful word and defined it as “a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat”.’
That fairly accurately describes the way I eat on most days anymore. I grew up on a pretty standard Midwest diet, so for the majority of meals, meat was the star item on the plate. Over the years, I’ve come to desire meat less and less, and rarely want a meal where a slab of meat is the focus of the meal. I mostly enjoy meat on occasions when it is used as an ingredient in a dish instead. Why is that? Partially because of changing tastes, and also just listening to what my body wants and functions well on.
I also abhor much of the factory farming practice that is behind the majority of meat in the US. Conventional meat is given hormones and antibiotics, fed unnatural diets, and kept pretty inhumanely. Stacie speaks a little on the health downsides of conventionally produced meat here. When I do buy meat to fix at home, I buy grass fed or pastured with no antibiotics or hormones. I know that choosing whether or not to eat meat is a very personal decision that people feel very passionately about on both sides of the argument, but where I stand in the middle is, that if I AM going to make the choice to eat meat, it’s going to be in the most responsible way I can.
Finding protein in non-animal sources is surprisingly easy, and possibly in more sources than you may have realized. Nuts, seeds and beans are fairly well known for their protein content, but whole grains such as millet, quinoa, amaranth, fermented soy products like miso and tempeh, and also many vegetables contain protein as well.
If you have ever been on the fence about experimenting with some vegetarian meals, or cutting back on meat consumption, but are maybe a little worried about what that will mean for your dinners, I’m here to help. I’ve collected some of my favorite vegetarian recipes to share with you that are tasty and satisfying, so don’t be afraid to try the occasional meatless meal and see how it works for you!
Sprouted Lentil tacos with Arugula and Feta, from Tasty Yummies. Sprouting does take some forward planning, but it’s quite simple. I have a batch of lentils sprouting in my kitchen right now, it’s so easy and nutritious.
Lentil Kale Soup, or Dal aur Sabzi, by the Spice Spoon. Dal is warming and comforting, and quick and easy to make. Serve it with naan (Indian flat bread) or a crusty bread, it’s also good over a bed of rice.
1 Pan Vegan Enchilada Bake with Cauliflower Nacho Sauce, from Edible Perspective. Because who doesn’t love a dinner that can be eaten with tortilla chips?
Taco Stuffed Zucchini from Oh My Veggies. You would probably be hard pressed to notice that there was no meat in this one.
Black Bean Flautas with Avocado Dipping Sauce, another one from Oh My Veggies. So good. So insanely good.
Broccoli and Lentil Power Plate from Happy. Healthy. Life. Sometimes these types of meals are called Buddha Bowls also. Great for a hot summertime day lunch.
Melanzane alla parmigiana di nuovo by A Tasty Love Story. Even if you can’t pronounce it, it’s delicious. It’s a fresh, summery take on eggplant Parmesan. This is good served with a side of whole grain pasta if you want a more filled out meal.
I’d love to know… what are your favorite meatless recipes?