Meatless Mondays?

We are not vegetarians around here. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I don’t even like most vegetables that much.

Despite that, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of including a day of meatless meals in our weekly menu. Even a slight reduction int he amount of meat you eat is supposed to make a difference in the average American’s health, and will make a positive impact on the environment as well. There’s a whole “Meatless Monday,” movement going on (you can read more at www.meatlessmonday.com).

In his book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollen advised America to  “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” He has since cited Meatless Monday as a way to reach this goal. In April 2009 Pollan expressed the need for Americans to reduce meat consumption during an interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show: “even one meatless day a week—a Meatless Monday, which is what we do in our household—if everybody in America did that, that would be the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-size sedans off the road.”

That’s all well and good, but I grew up in America, and for me (and my husband) a dinner plate has a piece of meat, a side dish, and [hopefully] a vegetable. We’ve been eating healthier for about 6 months now, and have been doing well at it, but our menus do tend to follow that format. We’re on board with the Meatless Monday concept, for sure, but I’m having trouble coming up with meatless meals for picky eaters.

Here’s why:

1) We don’t like meat substitutes. No tofu, no boca burgers. They’re not good, and may not be good for you.

2) We’re not huge vegetable eaters, and the veggies we do like don’t tend to be liked by both of us. I like mushrooms, but not David. He’ll eat peppers all day long, but I pick around them. Etc.

3) We’re still trying to eat healthy here! I’m following Weight Watchers, and most of the satisfying meatless things I can think of are swimming in butter, cheese, and cream. Fettuccine Alfredo, anyone?

So I feel a little stuck. Anyone have ideas for substantial, tasty meatless menus? A couple of carnivores could use your help.

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13 Responses to “Meatless Mondays?”

  1. Nicole

    One of our favorite vegetarian meals around here is a sandwich. We buy Tuscan bread from Target, slice it up, and then we each have different ways of going about it. Heath likes the grilled cheese variety, with veggies of his choice(usually bell peppers and tomatos), and a splash of BBQ sauce.

    I tend to go the more Mediterranean route. I’ll either use some Tuscan bread, or a pita cut in half, smother it in hummus, top it with feta, throw on my veggies of choice(this would be a good way to accommodate your individual likes), olives, and sun dried tomatoes.

    Both are extremely filling, the Mediterranean version is quite a bit healthier though.

  2. Nicole

    A follow up to my own post. Weight Watchers has a really good recipe for falafel…we’ve made it before, and that’s another way to go the all veggie route. Basically take the mediterranean from above, throw it in a pita pocket, with falafel. *done now*

  3. Tami

    As a vegetarian and on-again-off-again WW member, I recommend the recipes on the Meatless Monday site. They really show that meatless meals can be more than just steamed veggies & tofu, plus they include nutrition info so you can figure out points!

    My biggest recommendation would be to try everything, even if you’re pretty sure you don’t like it. When I first went vegetarian I had no idea what to eat! I was raised on fast-food burgers & meat at every meal. I hated most veggies, so I started off with very limited options. As I started to get bored with my old staples, I’d try mixing in one new ingredient each time, just to see if I liked it. I now eat vegetables, beans & soy products that I wouldn’t have let anywhere near my plate two years ago!

  4. Kat

    We all know how much I can’t stand vegetables and never eat them. Needless to say I’m intrigued by this project. And since you and I tend to hang out on Mondays…we might have something here.

  5. Kat

    Oh, and you should be careful saying “I like mushrooms, but not David.” That could be misconstrued to humorous effect if I felt like being annoying. :-p

  6. Teri

    @ Kat

    I like mushrooms, but not Kat. 😛

  7. Teri

    @Kat

    Good point–you’ll be an excellent guinea pig!

  8. Teri

    @ Tami

    Thanks for the feedback. I know you’re right, and we’re just going to have to step out of our comfort zones a bit to make this work. I think it’s worth trying, for sure. My husband’s a bit pickier than I am, though.

  9. Teri

    @ Nicole

    Thanks! Both ideas sound great. I’m sure I can sell David on pannini, and that’s an avenue I hadn’t really thought of. And Leah loves falafel–maybe David will go for it sometime.

  10. Jennifer

    I’m wondering about soft polenta made with vegetarian broth, you could make a ragu for the top of it.

    I have extreme difficulty with veggies, most of them make me gag. This past winter, I made Ina Garten’s roasted brussels sprouts and really loved them. I also love her sauteed cabbage.

    Try doing a veggie plate. Carrots roasted in olive oil. You could also do a white bean puree, which is very good with a drizzle of olive oil. If you mash the beans really well, they look like an off colored version of mashed potatoes and are quite tasty.

    Best of luck to you!!!!!

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  12. Teri

    @Jennifer: These are all great ideas. I’m going to have to try Ina Garten’s brussels sprouts. I never thought I would like brussels sprouts, but I had an amazing roasted brussels sprouts dish at Stephanie Izard’s potluck. Even there, I had to be sold pretty hard, but they were very tasty. A total surprise!

    I love polenta, but that’s another thing my husband can take or leave. He needs to be less picky.

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