8 Meatless Dishes for Meat-n-Taters Lovers
I was born and raised in a meat and potatoes world. When I'm not making my own gravy or frying fritters, I enjoy looking for meatless alternatives to my signature dishes. (Buying meat for every meal is not only costly, but it is also unnecessary.) I've found these eight dishes to be delicious and full of that “stick-to-your-ribs” character that I've grown to love. (Note: I'm not a vegetarian or a vegan, so please consider the fact that these are suggestions for meatless dishes only. I've not excluded any other foods, including eggs and milk. Also, nothing listed contains soy.)
Black Bean Soup
Thick and filling, this is a favorite soup to make in the colder months. (A great recipe can be found at Care2.com) Garnish with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and a few jalapeño slices. Yum!
An easy dish to prepare, this definitely qualifies as a “meat-lovers” meal. Simply slice eggplant lengthwise thinly, dip in egg, and dredge in a combo of flour and Italian bread crumbs. Fry lightly in oil (I use canola or safflower) and then layer in a baking dish, separated by marinara, cheeses, and your choice of fresh Italian spices and herbs. Bake at 350 until crispy on the edges and bubbly in the middle. Serve over pasta.
There's not meat in this dish, and guess what? There's no pasta either! By substituting one baked spaghetti squash for your traditional noodles, you can enjoy a rich meatless sauce (like Alfredo or a creamy red) over the squash strands. (Use a fork to lightly scrape the noodles out of the squash shell.)
Peanut-butter Veggies n Rice
Made uber-filling by the use of chunky peanut butter, this stir-fry dish is a hit for kids and adults. Just cook your best veggies (baby corn, water chestnut, carrots, broccoli, snow peas, or whatever), your favorite rice (I like a nice basmati), and toss in your choice of peanut sauce. For some great recipes, check out Andrea's article, my peanut suggestions, or a great rendition from Myscha!
This is as simple as it sounds. Make your own pizza from scratch (or use a few hacks I came up with) to get the most out of your meatless pizza. Black and green olives, artichokes, avocados, and green onions are my favorite toppings. What are yours?
Broccoli Cheese Soup in a Bread Bowl
Soup can be a hearty dish — just pair it with a thick and comforting bread bowl! Make your own using or grab one from your local bakery. Then fill with your own homemade crock-pot broccoli-cheese soup. Perfect for a snow day!
I just had these for lunch (again.) A quick and crunchy snack or meal, these take few ingredients and taste heavenly. Layer refried beans, black beans, shredded cheese, and green onions (you can add fresh diced tomato, too) on a flour tortilla. Place another on top, spray with light cooking spray and flip it over so the sprayed side is down. Let it get all brown and toasty on one side over medium heat in a frying pan. Then flip. Put it on a plate, slice into triangles with a pizza cutter and service with salsa and sour cream. I always talk about this recipe because it is just so slick. Try it!
Thick Grilled Cheese with Creamy Tomato Soup
This is not your typical grilled cheese recipe. Using thick slices of french bread, create your biggest and best grilled cheese. I like using 3 kinds of cheese: provalone, mozzarella, and American. (You can use what you like.) For extra kick, sprinkle the cheese with a little basil, parsley, or oregano. Grill until gooey, and serve with your typical canned tomato soup (but omit the water and use half and half or whole milk instead.) For those who want to try homemade soup, here's a great link. (Note: As a reader pointed out, the linked-to crockpot recipe calls for one chicken bouillon cube. I already use a bouillon substitute for health reasons, so feel free to keep things 100% veggie by using a meatfree or vegan boullion cube. They are available anywhere natural foods are sold.) You can also play around with a variety of vegan sandwiches to dip in your soup!
So there you have it. Not the most elegant ways to go meatless, but definitely tasty ones. The next time you find yourself staring down a frozen block of mystery meat and nothing to make for lunch, consider leaving it out. You might be pleasantly surprised how little meat you really need!