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Meatless Mondays

My family and I are carnivores. But we've decided to eschew all meat at the beginning of the work week for Meatless Monday.


Anyone else doing this? I'd love to talk with other Hounds who do it or would like to give it a try. And naturally, SHARE RECIPES!

Last Monday we did Le Puy Lentils with vegetables and Israeli Couscous for dinner. Thinking about doing something a little heartier next week.

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  1. Heartier than lentils???

    Perhaps a vegetarian shepherd's pie would be good. Frittatas are also good, as eggs are good replacements for meat if you're used to a meat-eating diet. Curried chickpeas are also going to fool anyone into being satisfied.

    2 Replies
    1. re: katecm

      Ha! I think the lentils seemed less heartier because they weren't in a rich broth. They were cooked in stock with some sherry vinegar but I wouldn't call that hearty. I think my husband wants to be able to really SOP up something with a baguette. ;)

      We were thinking curried chickpeas for this next Monday but I'd like to avoid a tomato base if possible. That leaves out traditional Chana.
      Vegetarian shepherds pie is a great idea...

      1. re: isadorasmama

        Nigella's sweet potato and chickpea curry doesn't have tomatoes and it's seriously yummy. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/283568

        So are these chickpea burgers which you can totally play with to suit your tastes, 3 of my friends and I make them all the time and ours all come out very differently but all good: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/...

    2. interesting.

      My grandmother used to do something similar. Mondays were always soup days. As she put it, "It helps wash out your belly from all the crap you ate over the weekend."

      1. Thank you for this endeavor! Vegetarian lifestyles can help change the world, even if it is only for one night out of the week.

        I think that a key issue to cooking vegetarian is to not make it necessarily feel like it's a vegetarian dish. I've been veg for over 10 years, and whenever I bring food to pot lucks and family affairs, people do not even seem to notice my meatless dish as something apart from the rest.

        Pastas are always delicious and a white wine sauce or creamy/cheesy sauce will give you husband something to sop up without feeling like he's missing out on a real dinner.

        Tacos and enchiladas are also easy to make familiar without the use of any meat. You can even buy fake meat if you want (Morning Star and Boca make some great options for "meal starters").

        Also, you can make a pizza with a salad and some garlic bread. I'm sure the kids will like this, and you can even have the whole family build the pie together with fresh vegetables and fun cheeses. (To avoid tomato sauce, you can use olive oil or a bechamel sauce). Or you can do one of my favorites: Asian pizza.

        I hope this helps! There are a lot of yummy, healthy options out there that do not require feeling hungry or uncomfortable!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Veggie Liv

          Keep the ideas coming!
          For what it's worth I was a vegetarian for several years. Macrobiotic for a stretch, too. My body really thrives on meat, though. But I adore vegetables and want to make an effort to incorporate them into my diet much more in 2011. For instance, I had hummus and pita with a side of stewed garlicy broccoli raab for lunch today. So good!

        2. Any chance you can grill some portobello mushrooms? They are really substantial, meaty.

          1. I have on deck Sarah Moultons recipe for falafel w/a shredded salad. i might even (depending on how my day goes!) make homemade pita!

            the recipe is in her 'everyday family dinners' book. it's not online but i just checked her site and there is another recipe for a baked polenta that looks great! I would make that w/some hearty sauteed veggies, like a mix of mushrooms or broccoli rabe

            13 Replies
            1. re: ediecooks

              That sounds fabulous. Did you fry or bake the falafel?

              I'm not sure what to make tonight. I had been thinking some sort of cauliflower curry but I might do something with pasta to appease the kids. ;) At least one of them, anyway. I have one very adventurous eaters and one that's....not.

              1. re: isadorasmama

                Sara's sauteed falafel patties from Sara's Secrets are really easy and tasty. Great with tahini sauce and some veggies in pita, and cook up very quickly since they aren't individual balls.

                They aren't authentic since the recipe calls for canned chick peas, but it's a snap for a quick week night meal.

                1. re: bear

                  bear, do you have link for this? i couldn't find sauteed falafel patties when i googled this. thanks!

                    1. re: toveggiegirl

                      Sara also has a recipe using canned chick peas. I don't have the book with me, but I'll gladly paraphrase it tonight. I can't seem to find it online, either, and I can't remember the exact name.

                      1. re: bear

                        I can't find it either.
                        The falafel recipe I like is from Joan Nathan's book, "Foods of Israel Today". It calls for dried chick peas but you can use canned and drained ones. You just have to make sure not to process the chickpeas too much. You want the texture to be chunky not mushy, so add them after processing all the other ingredients. The same adjustment could also probably work for Sara's recipe. Here's Joan Nathan's recipe if you are interested. You can use (much) less oil and just pan fry. If you are having trouble cooking them all the way through, you can finish them in the oven.

                        1. re: bear

                          Ok, i know the recipe you are referring to is in "Sara's Secrets", but she also has a recipe in "Everyday Family Dinners" for Falafel Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing (which sounds like a good combo to me) and you can see that recipe online on google books.

                          1. re: toveggiegirl

                            Yes, that sounds like the recipe that I used to make the pockets. Very easy, and tasty for a quick meal. She also has the more authentic one that you posted above, but I haven't tried that one yet. Joan Nathan's recipe sounds great.

                            1. re: bear

                              I just checked my copy of Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals and the falafel patties are the same recipe as in toveggiegirl's google book link, but here she calls for shaping them into four burger-sized patties. She suggest serving them in pita with tahini sauce, which I did. I also added lettuce, tomato and raw onion to the pita.

                              I served them with tzatziki instead of tahini sauce once and they were equally delicious.

                              1. re: bear

                                Sounds great! Thank you for checking the recipe and reporting back.

                                1. re: bear

                                  Patties! That's how you can saute them. Thanks for that info.

                                  1. re: funniduck

                                    I made her falafel patties the other night and they were excellent. I found an easy link here http://saramoulton.com/2011/11/falafe...

                  1. re: ediecooks

                    i'm all about polenta with a hearty wild mushroom ragout.

                  2. One of our recent favorite meals is a rice pilaf topped with a mixture of roasted vegetables. I include those sweet little tomatoes ("cherubs" as one brand calls them) to add a little moisture and sweetness to the vegetables.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: mandycat

                      How about crepes florentine or mushroom crepes with a cream sauce? That reminds me of mushroom stuffed peppers or mirliton. Which leads to "greens" gumbo, which sounds weird but is an old Louisiana tradition. Of course, Monday in Louisiana is traditionally red beans and rice day. A neighbor of mine made hers vegetarian, though it usually contains sausage or ham. I may have a recipe for it. Tomato rosemary soup with a roasted veggie muffaletto is a good one, too.

                      1. re: sancan

                        Not being from anywhere near NO, what would go into the veggie muff? I've always wanted to try one. TIA!

                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                          Really anything you want. Here's what I usually use. Olivetta, of course. You can buy it at Kroger or whiz up green olives, good olive oil, parsley, celery, pickled onions, garlic, capers, (leave chunky or not). That's your spread on a split, large round Italian bread. Good Italian cheeses, usually provolone and mozz at least. Roasted zuccs, roasted red/yellow pepper, grilled onions. You can add anything else you want. Wrap and press for a while (or a day) with a heavy skillet, if you want. The olive oil seeps into the bread and makes it wonderful. Obviously, it's an Italian thing, but go nuts. There are also hot muffs, and I like them, too. Oh, and this makes four sandwiches, quartered. I like to find mini-loaves, too, and make littler ones. Enjoy.

                          1. re: sancan

                            There's definitely no Olivetta near me, so I'll make the mixture. Thanks for this- it sounds awesome.

                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                              Your own will be much better than the olive relish in the jar, anyway. There are lots of specific recipes online, and here at CH (though I followed a couple of links and never got to a recipe, I didn't spend much time at it). Know that there are as many different recipes as there are Italian cooks in New Orleans. Even restaurants famed for their muffs disagree. So look at recipes but do it as you like it. I tweaked several people's recipes til I got it to our taste. All olive relish yummy, so do it your way!

                      2. re: mandycat

                        Mmm. YUM.
                        Do you use a long grain white for that?

                        1. re: isadorasmama

                          I assume you're asking about the red beans and rice, and yes, it's traditional to use a long grain white rice. I have to admit that ever since I was a little girl I've skipped the rice. When I do make rice I use the brown long grain.

                      3. Lots of pasta dishes in Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Cooking. Examples of sauces:

                        Smothered caramelized onions
                        Cauliflower (These last two have ground up anchovies, but that's hardly cheating)
                        Several tomato sauces
                        Eggplant ricotta

                        I make these all the time for dinner.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: sushigirlie

                          My picky eater wouldn't eat any of those sauces except for the tomato sauce...if it didn't have any noticeable pieces of vegetables in it.

                          And I've been assuming fish was ok for Meatless Mondays...

                          1. re: isadorasmama

                            OK--meatless Mondays, but one of your eaters doesn't want recognizable vegetables, and you'd prefer no tomatoes acc. to an earlier post.


                            Would your picky eater object to pureed butternut squash? It makes a lovely lasagna filling layered w/a parmesan bechamel sauce.

                            And if tomato sauce is on the table, a cheesy meatless lasagna or cannelloni is always good.

                            Any number of kinds of beans and rice is hearty.

                            Mushroom risotto (or mushroom sauce on pasta, in lasagna).

                            1. re: nomadchowwoman

                              Definitely would not eat butternut squash. He's a big fan of potatoes, rice, and pasta. You know...anything white. He'll eat red sauces and ketchup but no other condiments. He won't try new things so it's hard to know if he might like more variety if he'd only taste it.

                              All hope it not lost, though. Both my brother and I were very picky as kids and are now way more adventurous.

                              1. re: isadorasmama

                                I think your son is related to my 4 year old son. And it is frustrating. The worst is when I make something that I have made (and he has eaten) several times before and all of a sudden, he won't touch it.

                                But, one thing that is both vegetarian and he will eat are ravioli "lasagna". Basically a pyrex baking dish layered with sauce, 2 layers of store-bought ravioli, cheese, and, forgive me, but I also sneak in some pureed broccoli and carrots. The weird thing is that he acknowledges the broccoli and carrots in something like that (or in a baked ziti) but put broccoli or carrots on his plate and he won't touch them.

                                Also, I make turkey chili, but you could make a vegetarian chili. I mix it with some brown basmati rice (he will only eat the brown rice when he can't see that it's brown). Or lately I have been mixing the chili with pearl barley for a change. So far, he eats it.

                                Will he eat a sandwich? I make panini sometimes for dinner and the possibilities are endless. Unfortunately, my son won't even eat a grilled cheese sandwich, so panini won't work for him. Or, along the same line, quesadillas. Just not for my son!

                            2. re: isadorasmama

                              Just looked over the website you sent... and I find no fish at all.

                              I think Meatless means no animal protein except eggs.

                              I've chosen to only eat one animal protein meal a day. It's been fairly easy. And fairly delicious.

                              You might try a nice meatless Moussaka. Eggplant, bechamel sauce... yummy.

                              1. re: Jennalynn

                                I think I'm going to bypass that rule, then. My reasons for doing this are twofold -- to try and eat more vegetables and more nutritious foods overall. To move away from processed and towards whole foods, all the time. This isn't new for me. I was a fervent whole foods devotee...studied holistic nutrition and all. But I allowed time constraints and laziness (and gluttony!) to get the best of me. I feel like I've become a hypocrite and I don't like that feeling. So, here's my effort...

                                Anyway, fish deserves a place on MY Meatless Monday table if I'm able to find fish that's sustainable.
                                I can only do eggs in small amounts. I like them, they just don't like me!

                          2. Greens and beans over bowtie pasta tonite.

                            Saute fresh spinach in a frying pan with olive oil, frsh garlic and red chili flakes til wilted.
                            Set aside.
                            Saute finely chopped onions until transparent. Throw in sliced garlic for a couple of minutes and then a can of drained cannellini beans (white kidney beans). Then add 2/3 of a can of veggie or chicken broth. Add a pinch of granulated garlic, red chili flake, pepper and nutmeg. Cook beans til they split and release some of their starch and moderately thicken mixture. Once cooked, add spinach and warm. Adjust seasoning as necessary.

                            I throw over bowtie pasta and a grating of fresh parm. or romano.
                            Sometimes I;ll do a side of steamed brocolli or garlic bread.


                            1. Good for you for trying out Meatless Mondays! There are so many great vegetarian recipe out there; here are some of my favourites. I'll add more when I get the chance.

                              Marcella Hazan's Pasta With Smothered Onion Sauce http://www.food.com/40686
                              Mark Bittman's Pasta With Cauliflower http://www.food.com/356792
                              Orzotto With Zucchini & Pesto (Orzo Risotto) http://www.food.com/393870
                              Spinach & Cottage Cheese Lasagna http://www.food.com/435842

                              Chard and Onion Omelet (Trouchia) http://www.food.com/368595

                              Roasted Tofu With Mushrooms, Soy & Ginger on Baby Spinach http://www.food.com/335089

                              Spiced Lentil Tacos http://www.food.com/358813

                              Chickpea & Feta Veggie Burgers http://www.food.com/353709

                              Cheesy Stuffed Pumpkin http://www.food.com/332134

                              Nigella's Zucchini Fritters http://www.food.com/388301

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: toveggiegirl

                                So many of these look great. Bookmarking them! Thanks. :)

                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                  You're very welcome! Let me know how you like them. :-)

                                2. re: toveggiegirl

                                  Those chickpea and feta burgers look fantastic! I'm going to have to try those. I think my husband (who 'hates' feta) may even take an intrest since the feta is non recognizable.

                                3. A variety of cheeses to suit all, good bread, and potato and onion soup. Or if you think the kids would prefer it, make open-faced toasted cheese sandwiches. Add a salad and serve dessert.
                                  My mom taught me to always serve dessert on the nights you're pushing the limits with the family, either by serving a skimpy meal or something that might not go ever well. There's very little that isn't improved by pie. :)

                                  Cheese souffle.

                                  Pierogi, or any filled dumpling-type foods (empanadas, samosas...) with good sauces!

                                  Breakfast for dinner offers endless possibilities.

                                  Drain hot spaghetti, pour it into a pan of sauteed garlic and olive oil, stir in beaten egg and stir quickly so it doesn't form curds, add loads of fresh parm, sprinkle with pepper. We like to add peas, but anything goes.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Nicolette S

                                    Believe it or not, my kids don't like pie! My oldest loves ice cream, but she's my adventurous eater anyhow so she typically doesn't need the expectation of dessert to get her to try something. She's a huge savory person. My little one isn't much for dessert -- maybe I could ply him with a new Batman toy!

                                    We had pierogies last night. The kids will eat those!
                                    Do you have a recipe for a meatless empanada?

                                    1. re: isadorasmama

                                      I don't have a recipe but found these to get you started:



                                      Getting them in the kitchen with you when you have time can go a long way toward opening up their "likes".

                                      Good luck!

                                  2. We do tons of meatless meals here, not always on a Monday. Some of our favorites are: broccoli, smoked mozzarella and walnut pizza; white pizza; black bean and sweet potato burritos; butternut squash lasagna; kichree (red lentils and rice cooked with cumin, garlic, and tomato paste, served with a topping of fried onions and halloumi cheese), socca (crepes made with garbanzo flour and broiled with parmesan cheese); macaroni and cheese served over arugula; and red pepper and garbanzo bean frittata.

                                      1. If you have picky eaters, maybe Meatless Monday could also be don't-worry-so-much-about-getting-a-protein-rich-meal Monday. Make blueberry pie and ice cream the main course. Order take out pizza. Serve mashed potatoes, french fries and baked sweet potatoes. Roast a lot of vegetables and just put them on a platter on the table and say nothing. Meatless Mondays weren't meant to be punishment so maybe they should just be light hearted fun.

                                        20 Replies
                                        1. re: escondido123

                                          That sounds great escondido, except meatless does not mean low or no protein - a common food myth :)

                                          There are plenty of tasty non meat protein sources that should please even a picky eater, as the dozens of suggestions above show. Just how old is this picky eater (toddler?) and just how picky are they?

                                          The creative cooks on this forum are sure to find something to please them - where there is a will there is a way.

                                          1. re: Rasam

                                            I know that. But what I'm saying is that there's no need to focus on protein for just one day a week. Fact is, most Americans eat far more protein than they need, whatever the source. I think Meatless Monday should be considered the best day of the week for picky eaters, not one they have to suffer through.

                                            1. re: escondido123

                                              escondido123, great idea to make it the day to look forward to! Fussy eaters can be a challenge but these kids don't stand a chance against the collective wisdom of 'hounds. :)

                                            2. re: Rasam

                                              Yup, he'll be 3 in April. He's EXTREMELY picky. His staple is potatoes, in any form. But won't eat much by way of protein unless it's in the form of a nugget. :/ He'll eat red meat and pork, especially if accompanied by a tasty sauce.
                                              He does like thai chicken curry but will only eat the potatoes and chicken, not the peas or carrots.

                                              I'd LOVE ideas on what I can do for him in terms of getting him to try some veggies....

                                              1. re: isadorasmama

                                                Not even 3--I guess he probably is a picky eater, and may be for a while yet : )

                                                Does he eat beans/lentils with you?

                                                How about potatoes au gratin, nice and cheesy w/gruyere or swiss? Leek/potato soup (remove any green chunks before serving to your son).

                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                  Won't try beans. But he has mentioned that he MIGHT want to try red beans since red is his favorite color.
                                                  He has never eaten soup. Can you believe it?! We are a soup crazed family and he won't even try it. Very frustrating!

                                                  1. re: isadorasmama

                                                    Our toddler is almost 19 months and can't quite manage soup, dexterity-wise. So when I make soup I make a bowl of rice, and mix the one with the other to make sort of an oatmeal-y kind of texture. Sounds really unappealing when I put it that way, but it works. Sticky rice would be even better, bread would also work.

                                                    This is vaguely OT, but I read last night about doing a "pirate meal:" covering the table in newspapers, eating w/no utensils, plates, etc. Sounds messy but a lot of fun. Maybe a picky eater might be more likely to try new things if he got to smush them up with his hands, first!

                                                    1. re: darklyglimmer

                                                      That's a really fun idea! My son would love to play pirates. He's great at imaginary play so I should really try to incorporate it into our meals! Thanks for the tip.

                                                    2. re: isadorasmama

                                                      My 5yo niece is still a very picky eater, but she has always loved red beans (and recently has added both black and green beans to the short list of things she doesn't "hate").
                                                      And she has always loved hummus--hey, and it's white!

                                                      1. re: isadorasmama

                                                        Not even pototoe soup? Because i bet he would love that!

                                                        1. re: LaLa

                                                          I bet he would, too! Won't try it. :(

                                                        2. re: isadorasmama

                                                          Have you tried refried beans? Since they don't actually look like beans, he might be willing. My son ate them at that age and he was (and still is) super picky.

                                                      2. re: isadorasmama

                                                        Let him grow some vegetables. Not a short-term solution, but worth doing.

                                                        1. re: Nicolette S

                                                          Oh, definitely!! It would have to be container gardening, though, since we don't have a yard.

                                                        2. re: isadorasmama

                                                          There are some veggie pseudo chicken nuggets out there--not sure how good they are.

                                                          If you've got a Chinese grocery store near you, you can get (delicious, I think) mock duck in cans, and also pretty good mock chicken. Go ahead, make that Thai curry with the pseudo chicken--or pressed tofu.

                                                          Will you picky child eat a soy hot dog? Browned, in a bun, with whatever he likes on a hot dog?

                                                          Try a potato curry over brown rice (or white).

                                                          I wonder if you cooked some cauliflower really well and pureed it into the mac and cheese or potato gratin veloute, would he even really know? (it's white...)

                                                          If your kid eats burgers, hose boca burgers are not too bad.

                                                          1. re: femmevox

                                                            If it all possible I'd rather focus on whole foods, not processed. Since he's so limited anyway he's already eating more processed foods than I feel comfortable with.

                                                            He will eat potato curry -- he seems to like coconut milk based sauces.

                                                            1. re: isadorasmama

                                                              The canned mock duck is generally just wheat gluten seasoned with soy sauce and other spices, not heavily processed soy meat or something really weird / processed. You can also generally find good pressed / baked tofu, fresh, unseasoned wheat gluten, and other traditional soy and wheat gluten products at Chinese / Asian markets, all at much cheaper prices than you'd find them at the white people market.

                                                            2. re: femmevox

                                                              ps - While it's not heavy in protein, Jackfruit can make an interesting "meat" substitute in curries and other dishes.

                                                        3. re: escondido123

                                                          No, certainly not! I would never want to punish using food. My dad used to yell if I didn't eat foods I didn't like and I will not do that with my kids!

                                                          1. re: isadorasmama

                                                            I was the pickiest eater out of four kids. Wouldn't eat most vegetables, rice, onions--it was a nightmare for my mother but she basically let me pick what to eat out of what was on the table. As an adult, I became the most adventurous, loving most vegetables and lots of things the rest of the family won't touch. So there I was a very skinny kid and now, well skinny is not the word, but I'm certainly healthy.

                                                        4. One of our favorites from an old Burt Wolfe show we call this Nike pasta

                                                          1 tablespoon vegetable oil
                                                          2 tablespoons sesame oil
                                                          2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
                                                          2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
                                                          6 cups cut-up mixed vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, scallions, red and yellow bell peppers, zucchini, or yellow squash
                                                          1 cup bean sprouts
                                                          3 tablespoon hoisin sauce
                                                          1 tablespoon soy sauce
                                                          1 tablespoon water
                                                          3/4 pound spaghetti, cooked, drained, and tossed with a little vegetable oil, to prevent the strands from sticking together

                                                          In a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat, warm the vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

                                                          Raise the heat to high, add the vegetables, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the sprouts and stir.

                                                          Add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, remaining tablespoon of sesame oil, and the water. Stir to blend.

                                                          Add the cooked spaghetti, toss to combine, and serve.

                                                          Serves 4

                                                          1. This one is ridiculously hearty and filling, not to mention fast -- way under 30 minutes. Serve with crusty bread. I did tomato bisque as a starter last time I made this for guests.

                                                            Stuffed Acorn Squash
                                                            2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
                                                            1 medium onion, diced
                                                            2-3 cloves garlic
                                                            2 t. whole cumin seeds
                                                            1/8 t. smoked paprika
                                                            a pinch of red pepper flakes
                                                            1 can diced tomatoes, drained (SAVE JUICE)
                                                            1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
                                                            3 cups cubed stale bread (or 2 cups leftover cooked rice)
                                                            1 cup thawed and drained frozen spinach
                                                            salt and pepper to taste

                                                            shredded cheese

                                                            1. Place squash cut side down in a microwave-safe dish with 1" of water in the bottom. Microwave for 7-10 minutes or until tender.
                                                            2. Meanwhile saute onion in olive oil until light brown. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Stir in spices and remove from heat. Preheat broiler and place an oven rack in the center of the oven.
                                                            3. In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients except cheese. Taste, adjust seasoning. Add a bit of the reserved tomato juice if mixture looks dry. Arrange squash halves cut side UP in broiler-safe dish (Pyrex works for both microwave and oven). Using your hands, pack the stuffing mixture into the squash halves. Top with cheese and broil until the cheese is bubbly and the stuffing is hot. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a side.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: LauraGrace

                                                              I love squash done like this - only I don't have a microwave so it takes a bit longer to roast them. I've made the stuffed with ratatouille, with a Middle-eastern spiced lamb and aubergine mixture, and with sausagemeat, mushrooms and tomatoes (not meat-free, obv).

                                                            2. If you have some popular dishes that everyone loves, it can be interesting to just remove the meat and up the flavor in other ways. We love broccoli and sausage pasta--when we make it meatless we add more garlic, some lemon zest, pepper flakes and crushed fennel seeds. Same for creamy baked pasta or gratin potatoes that we usually have chunks of ham in it--peas or cauliflower (that has been sauteed or roasted until brown and nutty) fills in for the meat. For picky eaters, maybe familiar dishes tweeked slightly will do the trick.. But then again, you could just serve your normal meal without the meat and add a nice salad instead!

                                                              1. since the picky one likes tomatoes, how about oven-baked gigantes (Greek white beans) with tomatoes and oregano? you can serve it with spanakopita, and maybe some sauteed zucchini.

                                                                there's also the Turkish dish Imam Bayildi - braised eggplant with tomatoes & onion. serve with rice pilaf and a green veg or salad.

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  ghg, do you have a good recipe for <Imam Bayildi>?

                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                    sure do! :)

                                                                    GHG’s Imam Bayildi

                                                                    2 lbs (7- 8 small or 3-4 large) firm, unblemished eggplant
                                                                    3 medium onions (about ¾ lb), cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
                                                                    3 medium tomatoes (about ¾ lb), peeled, seeded and chopped
                                                                    4 -6 large cloves garlic, chopped
                                                                    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
                                                                    ¼ cup vegetable or chicken stock, divided
                                                                    ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (or 2 tablespoons parsley plus 2 tablespoons dill)
                                                                    Large pinch of sugar
                                                                    Generous squeeze of lemon juice
                                                                    Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
                                                                    ¼ cup water

                                                                    Using a vegetable peeler and working lengthwise (from stem to bottom), remove strips of skin from the eggplants, about 1-inch apart, to form a striped pattern. Halve each eggplant lengthwise. Make several deep diagonal slashes into the cut side of each half (but don’t cut all the way through to the skin!) and sprinkle with salt, working a little into the slashes. Set the eggplant on paper towels, cut side down, on and let sit for about 30 minutes to drain excess liquid. Rinse eggplant, and pat dry.

                                                                    Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy, lidded saucepan or Dutch oven over a high flame until nearly smoking, and sear the eggplant halves, flesh side down, until golden brown – about 4 minutes. Remove eggplant from pan and set aside on a rack or towel to drain any excess oil.

                                                                    Turn the flame down to medium, add 2 tablespoons oil plus 2 tablespoons stock to the same pan, and add the onions. Cook gently until just translucent, add garlic, and continue sautéing until onions are fully wilted and slightly golden, but not brown. Transfer the onions & garlic to a large bowl, and stir in the tomatoes, parsley and sugar. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

                                                                    Arrange the eggplant halves back in the pan, flesh side up, and spoon the filling over each half, being sure to stuff some into the slits; spread any remaining filling & juices over the top. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top of the eggplants, and drizzle with remaining tablespoon of oil. Add remaining 2 tablespoons stock plus ¼ cup water to the pan, cover, and cook over low heat until eggplants are tender and beginning to collapse (45 - 50 minutes). Check occasionally to make sure they’re not drying out, adding a little water to the pan if necessary. *If you’d rather do this last part in the oven, use a covered ovenproof casserole dish (or cover it with foil), and bake at 250 F for 45-50 minutes.

                                                                    Let cool slightly – it should be served at room temperature. Garnish with toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh parsley if desired.

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      Thank you so much! I will definitely be trying this. Should I wait until spring/summer for better eggplant? Have you ever made this dish using canned whole tomatoes in place of the fresh?

                                                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                        you're welcome! you know, i hate to encourage people to eat produce out of season, but i've seen some good eggplant in the markets here in LA lately so there's no need to wait if you can find decent ones near you - the smaller Japanese ones would work too, you'd probably just need to cut down the cooking time a bit. and i've never used canned tomatoes, but i don't see why you couldn't. i'd go for it :)

                                                                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    He's refused to try beans thus far. I'm working on it!!
                                                                    I don't mind if he tries something and doesn't like it -- I just want him to taste things. So that's the big hurdle...
                                                                    Right now he won't eat any food that's green or looks "weird". Yesterday I asked him if he'll ever try vegetables and he said, "You're a vegetable and I want to eat you!"
                                                                    He's quite the comedian.

                                                                    1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                      What about refried beans, or bean cakes? The difference in texture may help sway him, although these dishes would be less . . . red. ;)

                                                                      1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                        Possibly. Do you have a tried and true recipe for bean cakes?

                                                                        1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                          I like the recipe from Food and Wine for the crispy cakes, but it's for black beans, and black bean cakes tend to be a little spicier. With red beans, for the adorable but picky one, you would have to make them on the plain, but slightly savory side. But I think doing a breading is a good idea, even if only because it looks more kid-friendly.

                                                                          This is the recipe I use, and can easily be adapted for the sweeter red bean, I think.

                                                                          small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
                                                                          1 large garlic clove, minced
                                                                          3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
                                                                          1/4 teaspoon cayenne
                                                                          30 oz cooked and drained black beans
                                                                          1 1/4 cups plain dry bread crumbs
                                                                          Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
                                                                          1/3 cup all-purpose flour
                                                                          2 beaten eggs

                                                                          Cook onion and garlic until slightly softened, add spices, cook one minute more, and then let mixture cool. When cool, pulse in a FP (or use a potato masher) with one and one half cups of the beans until mixed, but still a bit chunky. Add remaining beans, salt and pepper, and a half a cup of bread crumbs to the mashed mixture. Shape into patties (this should yield a dozen), and then dip patties first into flour (brush off excess), egg, and then the breadcrumbs. Fry in oil over medium heat, 2-3 minutes per side.

                                                                      2. re: isadorasmama

                                                                        So hold thin carrot sticks between your fingers, fold yours back and tell him you're a giant carrot and "Don't eat my carrot fingers!" See what happens next. Honestly, try anything. :)
                                                                        He sounds cute.

                                                                        1. re: Nicolette S

                                                                          He will eat carrots! Sometimes. But not cooked.
                                                                          You know, I stopped trying because it just seemed so futile. But I do need to try more things -- and make it playful!
                                                                          He is really cute, if I do say so myself. It's a good thing, too. He's a bit of a devil. ;)

                                                                    2. Vegetarian lasagna is my go to as well as meatless spaghetti. Both are excellent. I really like the LightLife Smart Ground Mexican mix. Found in the health food aisle at a regular grocery store - used for tacos, burritos, nachos.

                                                                      Last option would be mac and cheese. Or baked potatoes w/ vegetarian chili.

                                                                      1. whoa, I did meatless monday without even meaning to. Crab cakes, garlicky sauted spinach & corn. Yum. It's Regina Schrambling's crab cake recipe and it is awesome.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Snorkelvik

                                                                          Meatless Monday doesn't include fish or shellfish...but it all still sounds delicious ;)

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            So what's the reason for it including fish? I need to go back to the Meatless Monday site when I have a second...

                                                                            Fwiw, we follow the guidelines put forth by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium.

                                                                        2. I was just reading about meatless mondays on Marcus Samuelsson's web site today: http://marcussamuelsson.com/category/...

                                                                          They are mixed in with his regular recipes but he's been posting Meatless Monday recipes regularly.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: funniduck

                                                                            The Flexitarian Table has some nice suggestions for meals which can toggle between being vegetarian or not, depending on slight changes to the recipes.

                                                                          2. My Mom's been vegetarian for forty years. Here are three of our tried and true family favorites.

                                                                            This Lentil & Barley Stew has tomatoes but is very tasty and quite satisfying, as well as being easy to make.

                                                                            Lentil and Barley Stew

                                                                            1/4 C butter
                                                                            1/3 C chopped onion
                                                                            1/2 C chopped celery
                                                                            2½ C skinned, chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
                                                                            2 C water
                                                                            1/2 C dried lentils
                                                                            1/3 C whole barley
                                                                            1/2 t sea salt or Herbamare
                                                                            1/8 t each rosemary and black pepper
                                                                            1/3 C shredded carrots

                                                                            In a large heavy pot, melt the butter and sautee the onion until it is tender.
                                                                            Add celery, cook 5 more minutes, and add all else except the carrot.
                                                                            Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently for 25 minutes or until done, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.


                                                                            Swiss Cheese Pie (Another favorite from Oma; this is the world's best quiche.)

                                                                            1- Roll 33 saltines into crumbs & mix with 6 Tb. melted butter. Then line pie dish with your chosen crust. (Or make a traditional pie crust.)

                                                                            2- Saute (but do not brown) 1 bunch green onions (chopped, tops included) in 4 Tb. butter.

                                                                            3- Spread cooked onions on top of crust in baking dish; then mix well and pour over them:
                                                                            2 eggs
                                                                            3/4 cup sour cream
                                                                            2½ cups grated Swiss cheese
                                                                            1/2 t. salt (I use Herbamare instead)
                                                                            dash white pepper or cayenne

                                                                            4- Sprinkle a little paprika over the top and bake at 350° for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

                                                                            serves 4-6... but it's very very tasty, so it's best to make two pies. Reheats very well


                                                                            Mushroom - Barley Casserole - by James Beard
                                                                            Absolutely wonderful!!

                                                                            3/4 cup (12 Tb) butter, plus a little for the almonds
                                                                            1/2 lb firm white mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
                                                                            2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
                                                                            1½ cups pearl barley
                                                                            3 cups stock (a bit more may be necessary)
                                                                            salt to taste (if using salted stock- like the Morga broth that I always use- this may be omitted)
                                                                            ½ cup finely slivered almonds (optional)

                                                                            Melt 4 Tb of the butter in a skillet and saute the mushrooms for 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

                                                                            Melt the remaining butter and saute the onions until they are soft and wilted. Remove from the pan and set aside.

                                                                            Add the barley and stir over medium heat until the barley becomes beautifully brown- this is important as it improves both the flavor and texture.

                                                                            Return the mushrooms and onions to the pan and combine well with the barley.

                                                                            Transfer to a two-quart casserole and add 1½ cups of the stock. Cover and cook in a 350° oven for half an hour.

                                                                            Add remaining 1½ cups stock and cook 30 minutes longer. If you're adding salt this is the time.
                                                                            If the mixture seems too dry, add a little more stock- the barley should be tender, not mushy.

                                                                            Toast the slivered almonds in butter and add to the barley just before serving

                                                                            1. I've been going meatless for over 35 years except an occasionally yearly in and out burger.

                                                                              Love making vegan patty melts on rye with grilled onions and swiss/cheddar cheese with a boca burger.
                                                                              Black bean/garlic/onion/jalapeno stuffed enchi's topped with cheese and sauce..served with Spanish rice and dollop of sour cream and avocado.
                                                                              Pita pockets stuffed with grilled veggies and a big salad.
                                                                              Guacamole tacos with side of refried beans and chips.
                                                                              Mushroom garam masala over a bed of jasmine rice.

                                                                              1. We've been having Meatless Mondays for more than 35 years only we call it Macaroni Monday. . It started when I went back to work after the children were in middle school and one or the other would start dinner. They had been cooking with me since they were quite young. They learned a simple marinara sauce and prepped that, set the table, made the salad, etc. Their father came home before me so supervised a bit but they were quite capable. Gradually the sauces became more complicated...putenesca, carbonara, alla Norma, as they started reading cookbooks. They really did quite well.

                                                                                We continued the tradition of a simple meatless meal to start the work week off after they left home. Then we added vegetarian meals to other days during the week and dropped red meat from the rotation. Feels so good...

                                                                                1. Are your kids pro-peanut butter? If so, these two go over fairly well in our house. I'm not sure either of them is heartier than lentils and couscous, but they're meatless and filling.

                                                                                  This is a Moosewood recipe, or was; I don't know this blogger at all, she just happened to have posted about it. It's a little strange, but the pineapple-y peanutty bits are a hit with my little one.


                                                                                  This recipe is a complete bastardization of sesame noodles, but it's good and easy. I throw in a handful of edamame, usually, or any other veggies that I have drifting around the kitchen. My local health food store has a brand of marinated asian tofu that has also found its way here more than once.


                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: darklyglimmer

                                                                                    Yum. Both recipes are right up my alley. I think the second one would go over better with the kids. I bookmarked them both. Thanks!

                                                                                  2. We started doing 1 vegetarian dinner a week and 1 seafood dinner a week last year and I've enjoyed it. And I have 2 little kids so I appreciate your difficulties. I have found the best way to do vegetarian that doesn't feel vegetarian is to branch out to more ethnic foods. Indian and Chinese have tons.Thai works well too (although since my husband is Thai and his parents own a Thai restaurant I tend to avoid cooking it). And personally, I'm Iranian and have found most Iranian dishes can translate very well into vegetarian - my brother's vegan and my mother makes all the old dishes but either substitutes mushrooms for meat or just adds more beans and I can barely tell the difference. There are some good Persian cookbooks - I like New Food of Life or Taste of Persia, both by Najimeh Batmanglij. And www.persianrecipes.net - look for recipes called "Pollow" (rice) or "Khoresht" (sort of like stews - served over rice).

                                                                                    1. I haven't ever really considered eating meatless one day. Not a huge meat eater myself, although the boys in my house love meat. I did, however make a fantastic, 15 minute, cheap, meatless meal on Monday. Barefoot Contessa's Capellini with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil. Absolutely loved it. Found here: http://www.abountifulkitchen.com/2011...

                                                                                      1. Just made Mark Bittman's faux zucchini souffle on Sunday, and it was soooooooooo good! Never made a souffle before, so doing prep and everything took me a little bit longer than it was supposed to, but the results were spectacular. Very filling, and very hearty despite the airiness. Leftovers were even better, 'cause it just tasted like a good quiche.

                                                                                        Meatless Mondays are such a good idea, bravo! :)

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: laethia

                                                                                          Oooh, I'm going to bookmark this one.

                                                                                          1. re: laethia

                                                                                            love this one. i've been doing something similar for years, and it's so versatile because you can use different vegetables, cheeses & seasonings.

                                                                                          2. Hey I was thinking...

                                                                                            What about a baked potato night? Big potatoes... plates of many different toppings... I'm making myself hungry.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Jennalynn

                                                                                              ooh, perfect for the picky one - tomato sauce & cheese!!! might even be able to convince him to try a sauteed mushroom in there...

                                                                                            2. This recipe from Lynne Rossetto Kasper landed in my inbox this morning. Sounds good to me. Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?!
                                                                                              Potatoes, Fresh Cheese and Slow Scrambled Eggs

                                                                                              1. I've never really understood what the big deal was about "Meatless Mondays", perhaps because we don't eat red meat to begin with (just poultry & seafood), & so have had meatless meals several times per week for decades now.

                                                                                                There's no need to make a big or special deal about it. Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce, bread, & a green salad. Spicy Tofu & Vegetable StirFry over Rice. Macaroni & Cheese (made with a variety of cheeses) & a big green salad. Plain Tomato, Cheese, & Basil (Margherita) Pizza. Big bowls of homemade Minestrone, French Onion, Split Pea, Black Bean, or other soup with some good crusty bread & a big salad. Start with familiar things like this & then branch out into other less familiar recipes that sound interesting. No need to send the family into a tailspin with unusual meatless stuff right off the bat.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Breezychow

                                                                                                  I believe Meatless Mondays goes back to the First World War- to conserve food resources in a time of shortages and rationing, three days a week were designated as days of voluntary abstinence;. one was "meatless". The other two were "wheatless" and "sweetless."

                                                                                                2. Lots of great ideas already! I'd also add Spanish tortillas, Indian or Thai coconut milk curries, roasted eggplant puree with pita bread (Mark Bittman has an easy recipe I think), bean puree (kids won't know) with a dash of spices with pita bread, roasted vegetables with couscous and harissa sauce, curried vegetables with Indian rotis or tortillas, vegetable stews with soba noodles, upma (south indian dish)...so many options!

                                                                                                  1. Hubby & I are die-hard carnivores, but I found this recipe in Cooking Light last year, and make it at least once a month...it's that good!!

                                                                                                    Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili.
                                                                                                    Serve a hearty salad, with nuts and cheese, and corn bread, corn muffins, or white tortilla chips on the side.

                                                                                                    Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)

                                                                                                    2 red bell peppers (if I'm in a hurry, I just use a jar of roasted red peppers)
                                                                                                    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                                                                                                    1 cup chopped onion
                                                                                                    2 teaspoons ground cumin
                                                                                                    1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I use the Mrs. Dash Extra Spicy)
                                                                                                    1 teaspoon paprika (I like the szeged brand)
                                                                                                    1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                                                                    4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
                                                                                                    2 cups organic vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
                                                                                                    1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
                                                                                                    1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
                                                                                                    1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
                                                                                                    1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
                                                                                                    1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
                                                                                                    1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (optional)
                                                                                                    1/2 cup ditalini pasta (or mini shells)
                                                                                                    1. Preheat broiler.

                                                                                                    2. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place pepper halves in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and chop peppers.

                                                                                                    3. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cumin and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add bell peppers, broth, squash, and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans; simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with green onions.

                                                                                                    At the end, I also add a half of a cup of ditalini pasta with the beans and cook until the pasta is al dente'. DELISH!!

                                                                                                    1. Dinner tonight:

                                                                                                      Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Garlic Chips

                                                                                                      I'm swapping (julienned) kale for swiss chard because I have kale that's about to die if I don't use it. Out of olives (bummer) and using gamelli rather than spaghetti. I'm also using fresh goat cheese rather than feta.

                                                                                                      1. Hello, Monday. It's bitterly cold here in my corner of the world so I'm thinking comfort stew for tonight.

                                                                                                        Cashew Vegetable Korma
                                                                                                        Served with basmati rice.

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                          is, have you tried this yet? It sounds delicious.

                                                                                                          1. re: bear

                                                                                                            No, not yet. Tonight. I'll report back. I'm glad I noticed that the recipe is for a large party so I can cut it in half for my little family.

                                                                                                            1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                              Thanks. I'll look forward to hearing. Hope you love it!

                                                                                                              1. re: bear

                                                                                                                It was really yummy, but I'd make a few changes with the recipe next time. First, I think I could eliminate the boiling of the veggies and just add them to the sauce after I made that. The vegetables could've benefited from simmering with all those flavors for much longer. I also would have eliminated the tamarind concentrate (a touch on the sweet side) and even though I don't need my Indian-inspired food ultra spicy, I think this could've benefited from a little more kick.

                                                                                                                I served it with this out of control delicious ginger-scented rice (I subbed white basmati)

                                                                                                                and Trader Joe's frozen garlic naan.

                                                                                                                1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                  Thanks so much for the report and the tips. I'll let you know how I make out when I make it.

                                                                                                        2. Try this tortilla pie from Epicurious, it is so easy! Definitely use corn tortillas, though. And no need to fry the tortillas before placing in casserole.


                                                                                                          Also, here is a great pasta recipe that is veery easy and delicious:


                                                                                                          1. Has anyone mentioned Smitten Kitchen's mushroom bourguignon yet? I just made it again after forgetting about it for a few months. Delicious!

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                                                              I think I mentioned it early on. It was a winner,

                                                                                                              1. re: magiesmom

                                                                                                                Oops, missed that! But yes, definite winner.

                                                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                  Well, I'm giving it a third vote. We really loved it this dish (though I made a few alterations: sauteing the tomato paste before adding the wine, and subbing rosemary are the ones are ones I'll keep).

                                                                                                                  1. re: onceadaylily

                                                                                                                    I cut a few steps and it turned out great anyway. I also didn't need to add flour at the need since the sauce had reduced enough.

                                                                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                      I thought I wouldn't have to add that either, especially since I was serving it with bread instead of noodles, and wanted it a bit thinner than what was shown on SK's website. But my guy doesn't like firm carrots (which I doubled, along with a few other elements), so I added enough broth to cover the additional simmer. It was still a bit thin at the end, so I added the slurry. The leftovers were a bit too sticky though, and I made a note to decrease the broth and leave the flour/butter mix out. I agree it would have been fine without it.

                                                                                                            2. Monday!
                                                                                                              I came across this recipe while perusing the Epicurious iphone app (love that thing) and am intrigued. It combines some of my favorite flavors and looks like a cinch to prepare.

                                                                                                              Spaghetti with Garlic and Cumin

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: isadorasmama

                                                                                                                We make something similar sans cumin. I can't quite imagine it but do want to try it! Will add it to The List and make it soon (hopefully). Please let us know if you do it.

                                                                                                                1. re: Nicolette S

                                                                                                                  REALLY yummy and easy. You could add any sort of protein to it (seafood, chicken, tofu, pork, etc) if not doing a Meatless Monday dish. I thought it added a nice zingy, unusual flavor that usual Italian-inspired pastas but my husband didn't think it tasted all that unusual. He just thought it tasted bold and very good.
                                                                                                                  I've been eating leftovers for lunch and it's held up well in the fridge, too.