HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

vegetarian for a meat eater

Hello!! I am trying to incorporate more vegetarian cooking into our meals (may actually make a complete switch). Problem is the boyfriend. Not only is he an avid meat lover but he does not like tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, most beans and is picky about cheese (yes he is one of those people)

Any suggestions or am I doomed to make double meals????

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. i feel bad for your situation.... Pretty similar to mine. I eat fish (sometimes), no cheese... and boyfriend is a mac and cheese, hot dog, pizza, hamburger guy. Nothing that grows other than potatoes. I've tried very hard with many many different recipes. I'm stuck with the double meals. I'd say look up danhole's post about her husband and see if you can get anything from there...

    4 Replies
    1. re: kubasd

      Thanks! He DOES eat a good amount of veggies and from what I understand is lightyears ahead of where he was growing up but I am having a hard time digging up stuff he would eat that has no meat. He also won't do fish or tofu...may just start feeding him pb&j. HAHA

      1. re: Divadrea

        I did get some panfried tofu into him ONE time, and a japanese restaurant... and he said it wasn't bad, was actually ok. Other than eggs, it HAS to have meat. So at least he eats veggies, you're lucky in that. Try doing some tasty veggie stirfries. Broccoli, snap peas, onions, green beans red peppers, (mushrooms in yours)..... make a sauce of rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, sambal ooelek, toasted sesame seeds, soy sauce, and ginger. It's spicy, and really flavorful. For a protein boost throw in some edamame or light life makes delicious chick'n strips. Hmmm.... you can make some tasty veggie burritos with rice and grilled veggies with some good spices. pasta dishes are easy to make meat free, and also easy to serve some meatballs, sausage, chicken, etc on the side to make him happy without having to do a complete double meal. Grilled veggies are always good for everyone :-) Veggie burgers such as gardenburger brand are vegetarian without trying to fake the meat, they actually taste like the grains and veggies, so I've found they're more acceptable for meat-eaters. Hope some of these help :-)

        1. re: Divadrea

          Have you checked out "The Flexitarian Table", by Peter Berley? It was a COTM cookbook and is full of great recipes that can be prepared for a vegetarian or an omnivore.
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/514822

          Does your boyfriend like any ethnic foods? Some (such as Indian or Thai) can be easily prepared for a vegetarian without seeing intentionally vegetarian.

          1. re: toveggiegirl

            I was also going to recommend the Flexitarian Table. It's a very good book to look at if you are trying to prepare meals to satisfy both vegetarians and omnivores.

            For the original poster, I'd say you have a challenge ahead, as your boyfriend's dislikes rule out a lot of italian and asian meals which are satisfying and non-meat based. By ruling out tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, cheese and beans, you are basically ruling out most hearty and satisfying pasta dishes, soups and cassroles from the Mediterranean region. Other than that, you could try some egg dishes that don't involve cheese. Quiches and/or frittatas don't need anything other than eggs, a bit of milk or cream, and veggies to be delicious. Use broccoli or roasted squash, with a little onion and herbs, and you'd have a tasty entree. There are also great pasta dishes with sauces made from roasted red pepper, or broccoli/cauliflower, instead of the standard tomato-based sauce.

            I'd get my hands on the Flexitarian Table book if I were you. At least it will give you some ideas and options.

      2. Thanks everyone, a lot of great suggestions :) To clarify he DOES eat tomato sauce, just not chunks of tomato. It's a texture thing I guess.He also loves a curry dish that I make, and the other night I made it with his chicken on the side and threw in some chick peas. What I'm trying to do is to not have to make him some sort of side of meat at every meal (makes things a bit difficult). I am thinking of some spiny thai peanut noodles and pesto pasta with white beans to try. I think he may like those, and he may just have to get used to a few meals a week with no meat :-P

        9 Replies
        1. re: Divadrea

          Why should he "have to get used to...meals...with no meat" if he likes and wants meat?

          It's not necessary to cook meat from scratch for every meal. You could cook a roast so he can have some sliced, either cold or reheated, for other meals, or eat leftover roast chicken or something. Or he can quickly pan-fry his own pork chops or grill a steak, if you have them on hand.
          He's not requiring that you eat according to his taste, is he? He simply enjoys meat and there's no reason why he shouldn't have it.

          1. re: MakingSense

            Or a chicken or pork chops....cook them once or twice a week and add to the meal.
            He is probably shell shocked since you have decided to make a lifestyle change and bringing hom along....of course he could learn to cook for himself

            1. re: MakingSense

              well we don't cook together....and he does not cook much at all.We live in a tiny apartment with a tiny kitchen with room for only one. I do the cooking. I'm not saying there is any reason he shouldn't have meat, I have been cooking it for him all along but the problem I am running into is having to basically make two separate entrees. And actually, being the one to do the cooking when one person is very sensitive to a lot of certain foods I do not often get to eat thigns I love, therefor yes - I sort of do have to eat according to his taste. And thanks for chopping the sentance to make me sound like an asshole.

              1. re: Divadrea

                You should get to eat the things you love. That's reasonable. But if you don't want to prepare two entrees, wouldn't he "have to get used to...meals...with no meat" - at least some of the time?
                That's why we were suggesting that you cook a large batch of something. Then he can have your favorite as a side dish and eat some leftover meat if he chooses. Maybe he'll gradually eat less meat and find that he likes your food some of the time.
                For now, he's not demanding that you eat meat. He just likes it as part of his meals. That's also reasonable.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  well, I did say a few days, so I am not arguing there ;-) Cooking in batches is a great suggestion but unfortunately, I hit another roadblock in that he also does not eat most leftovers. Pot Roast and leftover chinese or pizza is pretty much all I've seen him reheat. He is more apt to throw away leftover food because, as he says, "I wont eat it, it will just sit in the fridge". Though given the choice, he may start chooosing leftover meat over a meat free meal if it comes down to it.

                  1. re: Divadrea

                    Ooooh, you really have my sympathies. That makes it very tough on you.
                    Sooner or later, you're going to have to have that "come to Jesus" talk because it's not right for you to be the full-time galley slave like that. Rejecting perfectly good leftovers is pretty spoiled rotten when you're obviously trying really hard to please.
                    There has to be some kind of communication/compromise over this if he is going to respect your dietary decisions yet still expect you to fix all the meals and respect his.
                    I think you've gone more than the extra mile. Time for him to grow up.

                2. re: Divadrea

                  I will second the recommendation for you to get your hands on the cookbook, The Flexitarian Table by Peter Berley. Here's the link from Amazon:

                  http://www.amazon.com/Flexitarian-Tab...

                  As toveggiegirl noted up the thread, this book was chosen to be cookbook of the month on a vote by all the cooking members of this forum, and many good cooks on this board experimented with it. To see their results, here's the link to the master thread from the cook book of the month for that month: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/514822

                  If you don't want to buy it, I got the book from my library, and it was a worthwhile read. No questions about who is right and who is wrong with their eating choices, just practical approaches to preparing meals where one person eats/wants meat, and one wants to eat vegetarian. It's a very practical book, and will probably give you much better ideas than some of the people here with their own personal agendas.

                  1. re: DanaB

                    thanks for the suggestion, I will definitely check it out :)

              2. re: Divadrea

                How about sausage? Sausage is pre-cooked, so all you have to do is heat it. You can put it on the side or cut it up and add it to a wide variety of dishes -- there are a lot of different sausages out there right now the go with different cuisines. They're inexpensive, no waste, keep for a long time in the fridge, can be frozen, etc. Chicken-based sausages are even fairly low in fat.

              3. Have you tried homemade falafels? Those go down well in my house. Also, healthy pizza can be adapted to either diet - of course that means he is still eating meat.

                2 Replies
                1. re: daily_unadventures

                  I've actually been looking up some pizza recipes, thanks. I don't think he eats much falafel (which is a shame because I happen to love it)

                  1. re: Divadrea

                    I would go ahead and try the falafel. You never know what he'll think. Try it with some homemade toppings, and if he doesn't like it, more leftovers for you.

                    You can always add a piece of chicken or steak to his meal. Often I make my husband a piece of chicken and myself tofu or seitan. If you're going to make a large pizza, freeze some pieces and take them out for him on a night you want to eat veggie.

                    Peanut noodles are a great idea- you can easily add more protein. Shred up a piece of chicken for him and chunks of tofu for yourself. I would even buy a single piece of grilled chicken if I were pressed for time.

                2. I'd place a spoonful or so on the side of his plate like a piece of bait, eventually he'll bite and get hooked.

                  1. Have you already had a brainstorming session with boyfriend as how best to ameilorate the situatuion?

                    You: (with big, loving smile on your face) Honey, you know how much I like to cook for you, but now that meat isn't really an option for me do you have any ideas on ways we can still eat meals together without me having to cook two separate meals each time we sit down together? How best can we compromise?

                    Him: Oh, honey! I love you too, and I would never expect you to cook twice a night - every night. Maybe I will:
                    -try some meatless options
                    -learn to deal with leftovers
                    -try my hand at cooking (I mean I am a grown man after all!)

                    I know I'm being a bit over the top and even optimistic at times :) but sometimes clear communication is often overlooked. If you've already been there and done that, sorry for being redundant. Also though, this may be the little push your guy needs to start experimenting a bit on his own in the kitchen.

                    1. Buy Smart Ground. Make Enchilada casserole.

                      Mix smart ground (or any tvp) with cumin and chili powder. Layer with corn tortillas, enchilada sauce, black beans (optional if he hates them), sauteed onion, green pepper and corn. Finish with lots of sauce on top and bake 30 minutes. (Boyfriend approved BONUS: top with crushed tortilla chips, seriously)

                      I just left this on another board too. It's so good, and an easy transition into meat free meals since it is just like having meat. You can also put tvp in lasagna, pasta sauces, tacos, anything that would use ground beef.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: hollyd

                        I have a similar issue with my husband who is super picky. I usually don't get to make the stuff I like because he won't eat it and I don't want to put all that effort into it for just me. He also discards a lot of what I cook for various reasons same as your bf (cheese is stinky, texture is strange..etc..). I am also trying to go veg (although have been trying for a long time:)) Usually I grill or pan fry a protein (chicken, fish or beef-I would get laughed out of town if I tried tofu or meat substitutes) with a carb and veg side (like orzo and roasted asparagus etc..) Then I eat only the sides and he can eat whatever he wants. That way I get to experiment with the sides I like and its not a biggie if he doesn't eat any. The other thing I do is make a bunch of veggie mezze salads (humus, eggplant salad, roasted beets etc..) and we eat those with a protein. Its really difficult to do one pot meals. The only thing that generally goes over well is soup, even without meat they are generally delicious, some crusty bread and everyone's happy. You just have to get used to him not eating some of what you make- just don't take it personally-its his thing its not about you or your "relationship." It seems like you get that though. Don't think of it as having to make a protein for him "on the side", think of it as making a balanced meal and each of you will eat the piece of it that you enjoy. may be tough in a small kitchen though. Good luck.