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Vegetarian Recipe for a Real Meat Lover - Please Help!

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I'm a long time reader first time poster, here's my dilemma:

I'm cooking for my girlfriend on Friday (3 days) and she is a vegetarian. I've never cooked a vegetarian meal that was actually a complete meal that wouldn't leave me hungry. I eat meat... A LOT of meat. Probably unhealthy, but I eat meat breakfast, lunch, dinner, no exceptions. I also eat a lot. Bloody and fatty meat. Not this Friday, and I need help!

All things spicy, all things fattening, all things strange, everything is great with me, I just need a full main dish thats lots of food, full of flavor, and vegi. (not vegan)

Any suggestions help!! THANKS SO MUCH.

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  1. I'd google for vegetable lasagna, I never miss the meat in that.

    1. What about meatless spaghetti sauce? Get a great parmesan ... the pasta, cheese, and wine should distract you ;)

      I assume that she doesn't object to the fact that you eat meat ... which means you could make the same thing for both of you in two pots, one batch of sauce with meat, and one without.

      PS Note the links to similar topics at the bottom of the page ...

      3 Replies
      1. re: foiegras

        "PS Note the links to similar topics at the bottom of the page ..."
        ~~~~~~~~~~
        the most pertinent ones:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/632602
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/622901
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/612575

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Try the mushoorm bourgignon recipe from smittenkitchen.com - it's easy, hearty and absolutely delicious.

          http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/01/mus...

          1. re: janeh

            Yum ... that looks fabulous.

      2. Giada has a very nice recipe for butternut squash lasagne with crushed amaretti cookies. That and a green salad and good bread should satisfy anyone.

        1. Ratatioulle, or Italian giamborta. Eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, muchrooms, potatoes in a hightly seasoned tomato sauce. Eat it with crusty bread. A wonderful dish that will fill you up if you use a good combination of eggplant and potatoes.

          1. I just saw a recipe here that used bulgar in vegetarian chili, supposedly resembles ground meat. I think whole grains would be more satisfying for you than just plain vegetables. I just bought some bulgar at the regular grocery, they were with the dry beans, and will be experimenting soon (I have some vegetarian and even one vegan friend, it's an adventure). Some chili, cornbread and maybe a little Spanish rice/beans on the side?

            1. What would your girlfriend like? You've gotten mostly Italian inspired suggestions, which would work great if she likes them too. What does she like? (Thai? Middle Eastern? Italian?)

              Look for suggestions within those categories ....

              1. My favorite winter vegetarian meal is root vegetable pot pie. Not difficult (unless you want to make the pastry...but why?!) and delicious.

                1. eggplant parmasan is great and I don't miss the meat in this dish, a nice salad and garlic bread - you're good to go. If you need an app - nice roasted veg bruschetta, or veggie and hummus.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lexpatti

                    As an avid meat-lover myself, but with a few vegitarian friends, I have found a great trick that seems to keep everybody happy. Make burgers, but substitute a protabello mushroom for the meat patty. It makes a great vegitarian meal while still appearing familiar to the carnivore in me.

                    It's also very versitile. I don't have an exact recipe, but you can go with the tradition lettuce, tomato and onion with ketchup, mustard and/or mayo...or you can get fancy with exotic relishes, dressings, blue cheese (assuming she will eat dairy) or whatever you feel like. Essentially, you can make any burger recipe vegitarian by simply substituting a portabello mushroom. You can also tailor this dish to any "level" of vegitarianism....if can be made entirely vegan if necessary, or for the less strict vegitarian you can include dairy.

                    No matter what other condiments and fillings I am going to use, though, I always marinade the mushrooms in plain old italian dressing before I grill them...works like a charm.

                    Good Luck!

                    1. re: jjmerf

                      I'm a vegetarian but my naturopath has recommended I don't eat funghi... so no portobellos for me! I know lots of other people who limit their intake as well. I find a lot of meat-eaters think mushrooms are some kind of vegetarian cure-all.

                  2. How much do you like to cook? I think one thing that helps veggie meals is to serve in courses. Other thing is to forget subbing for the meat - just highlight the natural vegetarian things. i am not veggie, but we have been before and love vegetarian food. Google "recipe Jeremy Fox". He is a fantastic chef who is not vegetarian but runs a vegetarian restaurant in Napa, CA. Many dishes are rich and full of flavor.

                    A few more hearty winter suggestions - mushroom risotto, or better yet truffle risotto. Serve a first course with protein (like bean and greens soup).

                    Veggie Paella works well - the smoked paprika and saffron and olive oil.

                    A favorite of mine is a good quality cranberry bean, with soft polenta, soft set egg with a nice flavorful topping - like sun dried tomato chutney, gremolata, etc.

                    Make a filling with black beans, dried fruit, chilis, onions for a roasted poblano pepper, top with a walnut cream sauce and pomegranate seed - veggie chilis en nogada.

                    Tamales with a nice mole or pipians. Pipians are super easy and full of flavor.

                    1. Plenty of suggestions already, but I'll throw in a few other recs...

                      Butternut Squash Risotto (or a butternut squash gnocchi)

                      Caramelized Endive Tart - i'd top this with chopped toasted walnuts and roasted pears
                      http://cookalmostanything.blogspot.co...

                      Three Beet Salad
                      http://books.google.com/books?id=ZPuY...

                      Mushroom Ragout with a Toasted Tarragon Brioche and Poached Quail Eggs

                      1. Trust me, you're eating healthier than she is. I'd go with eggplant parm (if she isn't a vegan) or ratatouille (if she is).