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a main that is not a meat, chicken, fish or pasta

  • j

does it exist?

i had a lovely french dinner last night (read: heavy). i am looking for something light as a main for dinner tonight, but i don't want to make a salad as a main.

is this a ridiculous question? if it is, i apologize.

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  1. Couscous; Grill roasted asparagus, dressed with olive oil, sea salt and lemon;

    Alternatively, grilled polenta with sliced tomato and balsamic syrup over a bed of arugula and shaved parmesan.

    1. I was thinking along the same lines - a vegetable stir fry...throw tons of stuff into your saute pan/wok, and you don't even have to use oil if you don't want, just the light spray oil stuff.

      1. How about fried rice? You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want. Dice up your favorite vegetables. You can add scrambled egg if you want. Dress it up with soy sauce or hot sauce.

        1. Soft polenta, topped with oven roasted ratatouille.

          1. Depending on your definition of salad, something grain-based can be very light. There are many variations on tabboulleh-ish dishes that can be very refreshing in summer heat and can act as good follow-up meals to the kinds of heavy dishes you probably enjoyed last night.
            Bulghur is my favorite(especially the coarse grind), but you can also use barley, quinoa, wheat berries, or any other firm grain. Israeli couscous(the larger kind) is also good ALTHOUGH it is technically pasta, but the true grains are better in my opinion. I like to make these herb-heavy affairs, with parsley, mint, basil, purslane, maybe a little lemon balm, watercress, etc. (great if you have an herb garden which at this point in the season may be a little unruly). To this i'll add a combination from the following: scallions, tomatoes, red or vidalia onion slivered very thinly, blanched peas or green beans, frizzled leeks, shallots, roasted peppers, cucumber, raisins, currants, pistachios, almonds, toasted mustard seeds, cumin, cinnamon, hot pepper, lemon juice, rice or champagne vinegar, verjus, sumac, and alot of black pepper and sea salt. You can serve this with yogurt and pita bread, a melon salad and be pretty content. A crisp, dry white or dry provençal rosé wouldn't be a horrible addition either.

            1. How about a thick, creamy soup or chowder (e.g., corn chowder or cream of broccoli soup)served in a sourdough bread bowl?

              1. didn't even think about omelets - if you make the classis french kind with not too much in it and pair it with a green salad (with a sharp lemon-shallot-mustard dressing) it can be very light, and they are rediculously easy to make. I recommend adding a 1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard to the beaten egg.

                1. When the "I ate too much" thing strikes here, we opt for vegetable (pea, asparagus, butternut squash, mushroom - depends on the season) risotto and arugula salad the next night.

                  1. What you're seeking is an everyday occurrence for those who eat no animal protein and don't depend on pasta to survive. Check out a good vegetarian cookbook, like the encyclopedic "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison. A strictly vegetable main course will not fill you up, in my experience, and then you'll crave chocolate ice cream or pizza in a big way. So you want protein in there someplace. Get it from beans/legumes. The variety is endless, for instance, tofu/tempeh, split or black-eyed peas, lentils, kidney/black/navy/northern/pinto beans, etc.

                    It's not time-consuming to make beans if you use organic, cooked beans in a can, like from Westbrae or another health food company. I like to combine several things in one pot, for instance, chopped sweet potato and broccoli rabe sauteed with olive oil and garlic until soft, and then add a can of black beans. Surprisingly delicious.

                    1. Two avenues strike my fancy:

                      1 - risotto. wild mushroom, roasted veggies, asparagus, tomatoes,
                      2 - bowl of soup. I like beans, in articular split pea and lentils, a great minestrone, or a wild mushroom and barley.