In the past few years of doing this, we've built up a great little collection of meatless recipes that we love. We've also learned a lot. I am not even close to being an expert at healthy eating or vegetarianism, but I suspect that most of you aren't either. So before I get to the recipes, here are a few things that have helped us eat better as a family, from one carnivore-trying-to-go-meatless-occasionally to another!
- I plan our menu out at the beginning of the week every week. I honestly couldn't function and get good food on the table otherwise. It's hard to have healthy stuff if I'm winging it!
- Even on nights where we aren't having a completely meatless dinner, we try to use meat more sparingly. Soups, salads, pastas, etc. are all dinners we love that don't have meat as the star of the show. When I'm planning the week's menu, I try to be mindful of how much meat we're eating; I never plan a big piece of chicken one night, and a big steak another night, burgers a third night, etc.
- Since Christmas, we've been trying to start every dinner with a big, green salad. The kids don't necessarily like salad, but they like chopped raw veggies--salad minus the leafy greens! This habit has made a huge difference in how much of everything else we eat. We don't eat a big salad with dinner. We eat a big salad before dinner. Gone. Before we even dish up anything else. And the salad is just in addition to the vegetables we have with dinner. Does this require work? Yes. Is it totally worth it? Yes.
- Meatless doesn't have to mean skimpy or not filling. Meatless doesn't mean "Plan a meal and take out the meat." That leaves a hole! When we eat meatless, we have just as many courses or sides as usual, and the meals are just as hearty.
So, on to the Meatless Monday recipes! Here are a few of our favorites from all over the internet:
- Ratatouille--We are forever indebted to our friends Marcelle and Dave for introducing us to this casserole loaded with fresh, summer vegetables.
- Stella Blues Pasta--Spaghetti with a fresh tomato, basil, and garlic sauce
- Pizza--Infinite possibilities
- Quiche--This particular recipe contains bacon, but I've made it with spinach and caramelized shallots instead and it was wonderful!
- Zesty Ravioli Skillet from Pampered Chef--Store-bought ravioli and canned tomatoes make this a busy-night favorite
- Southwestern Hashbrown Bake--Breakfast for dinner=love
- Cheesy Vegetable Chowder--A cold weather favorite that's packed with veggies
- Crispy Bean and Cheese Burritos from Family Circle--Rice, avocado, black beans, salsa, and cheese in a toasty tortilla (we used regular rice, not boil-in-a-bag)
- Vegetarian Enchiladas from Word of Wisdom Living--So amazing. Seriously.
- Orecchiette with Roasted Broccoli and Walnuts from Real Simple--garlic, parmesan, delicious
- Swiss Chard Pancakes from The Splendid Table on NPR (thanks to Marcelle for this one)--If you're like me, you'll pile on the cheese, salsa, and sour cream!
- Lemon Garlic Spaghetti from i nom things--possibly my favorite thing to eat
- Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup from Ina Garten--As with everything Ina makes, this soup is sensational.
- White Pizza with Arugula from Ina Garten--Pizza crust covered in garlic oil and melted cheese, topped with a zesty green salad
- Minestrone--Pasta, beans, and veggies in a tomato-y broth
*If a recipe contains chicken broth and you want it to be vegetarian, feel free to substitute vegetable broth.
Readers, do you have any favorite meatless recipes? Feel free to leave a link or comment below!