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cooking for mixed (veggie/non-veggie) marriages

My fiance and I recently moved in together and are now trying to meld our respective diets. I eat seafood but not any other meat/poultry; he likes all meat and dislikes anything tofu based. Neither of us want to eat fish every night. I made a vegetarian chili and he was able to take half the pot, brown some meat, and mix up his own batch very easily. Any other ideas for similar (and relatively easy) dishes that can be split/doctored to suit both of us? I hate to think we'll have to cook two dinners every night in order for us both to eat what we like/are able to ...

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  1. Wow, good luck. I see whether or not one eats meat, or not...as a deeply basic; core issue.

    Or maybe not? It would be interesting to hear others speak on this. I once had the question asked asked as, "What IQ do you not eat above?"

    1. i'm vegetarian, but my s.o. is carnivorous, though much more lax - eats everything!! dinners basically come down to who feels like doing the cooking. if it's a joint effort, we'll stick with vegetarian things. mind you, when we started out it was nothing like this, and i ended up cooking (but not eating!) a lot of meats. it's been 9 years in the making, and we've got it down and live very happily side by side. we don't cook much meat in the house any more at all.

      - chili is also one thing we split up sometimes.
      - tacos, fajitas and burritos are very easy to have half-meat, half-vege.
      - pastas are great because sauces can be done much like your chili technique - split the pots, put meat in one (though my s.o. has actually come to favor my marinara, so back into one vegetarian pot it is!)
      - breakfast foods for dinner! tomato + fresh mozzarella + basil omelettes (or whatever your fave is - though something "normal" enough - don't scare the s.o. straight off with mushrooms!)... french toast... pancakes... waffles (topped with fresh berries!)... breakfast potatoes... yum!
      - making a meal out of appetizers, "football" snacks, and dips goes over really well. think comfort food (that is vegetarian): potato skins, spinach + artichoke dip, artichoke + crab dip, layered mexican dip (i do a cream cheese+sour cream layer, topped with a refried beans layer, topped by a homemade guacamole layer, topped with a fresh homemade salsa layer, topped with a cheese layer), creative bruschettas involving heavier toppings (pesto, creamy goat cheese and garlic is a fave!). with the high-fat content of most of these, it seems to satisfy meat-eaters well.
      - oh, and a lot of bread + butter goes a long way! or garlic bread. things when paired with a vegetarian meal help you feel STUFFED.
      i know, not the healthiest options (but that wouldn't be my style :) )

      1. A couple of other ideas :
        Salads with lots of whatever cheese, beans, veggies you want - easy to add chicken or steak to this
        Curries - make them veggie and then add some chicken sauted with a some of the curry spices separately
        Egg dishes of all sorts are good - I especially like fried egg sandwiches (he can put ham on his if desired)
        Mac and cheese - add cubed ham to his

        1. Actually, just your standard american-style meal is adaptable to the carnivore/veggie split. Make your side dishes vegetarian (we always had a carb and a veggie, i.e. rice and salad, or potatoes and sauteed spinach) and then prepare different protein courses. It's really easy if you have a grill -- you can do a steak and grilled tofu, or grilled chicken and fish, in a short time and both of you will be happy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DanaB

            I totally agree. Grilled steak, pork chops, chicken breast work great when you pair them with vegetarian side dishes like roasted root vegetables, cous cous, green salads, starches (rice, potatoes, pastas). Invest in a good indoor or outdoor grill (I grill outside in winter...in Michigan), or at least a grill pan dedicated to the meats. Round the meals out with wine, bread and dessert and you should be full enough, even if you don't grill a vegetarian option for yourself.

          2. Paninis are great options to tailor, and make together/eat together.

            Enchiladas/Burritos (esp breakfast ones)/Quesadillas/Tacos

            Stirfries/Stews that serve as bases for your respective proteins...

            Tempura

            I'd focus on creating side dishes or bases to which you can add your own source of protein... Ratatouille, stratas, quiches, fritattas, etc.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Emme

              Thanks, all. Particularly good recipes for quiches, fritattas, stews, etc. would be most appreciated!

            2. This isn't an idea for dishes, but maybe this way of thinking will help...

              My husband and I are both omnivores, but my husband always eats meat at lunch, so more often than not the dinner I make is vegetarian or fish/seafood based for nutritional variety. Would your fiance be on board with that thinking?

              1. Middle Eastern can work pretty well. Humus, pita, tabulie, taramasalata and a piece of grilled steak for the carnivore.

                1. I did this for years with my ex and it was never a problem. While he mostly ate his "big meat" meals out and was happy to eat my cooking the rest of the time (perhaps because I love to cook and he's not so keen), we found lots of ways to adjust.

                  Check out Peter Berley's newest book, the Flexitarian Table. He was already on of my favourite chef/writers, but this book is specifically designed for your predicament. Many of his suggestions are things I was already doing (e.g. risotto, with optional grilled seafood to top), but he goes into far greater detail, with meat&meatless options for every recipe. Particularly good for cooking for company.

                  1. I make lasagna in 2 smaller dishes instead of one big one. Sausage goes in his, spinach in mine. Same goes for pizza- 2 small instead of 1 big, we each get our favorite toppings.