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Aug 29, 2013 09:50 AM

Switching from meat to veggie for dinner


So we are normally heavy meat eaters. Each mea (lunch and dinner)l has either meat or fish in it as a main ingredient and majority of my soups are made from scratch using beef / chicken / pork / fish home-made broth.
So, I have been thinking about it and would love to try vegetarian dinners at least once a week to start. I wanted to do Veggie Friday, and tomorrow is Friday, however – here is the dilemma – I have NO idea what to make for dinner so that it has enough protein and we are not reaching for steaks or sausages late at night. I also don’t want to feel hungry and fill up on bread…
I know that beans are an excellent source of protein but I really do Not feel like beans. I am ok incorporating some eggs in my meal for extra protein. Would you please kindly share the recipes? All I can think of for now is fried cabbage Russian style with addition of some egg or avocado-egg salad, but neither feel like a complete meal to me. Please help :)
Thank you

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  1. We also tend to eat a lot of meat and I am trying to make the effort to go meatless at least once a week.
    Here's what is making it into my rotation: frittata with whatever veggies and cheese I have in the fridge along with a salad, pasta, veggie stir fry (you could add tofu) over rice or noodles, tacos or enchiladas with refried beans. Pizza and Mac and cheese are so favourites in this house.
    Looking forward to other responses so I can expand our repertoire.

    1. We are also converting to Vegetarian dinners 3-4 nights a week. I am making the change for both health and economic reasons. The protein sources I am using are beans, lentils, and quinoa. I tend to cook a lot with those anyways, so I am just eliminating the meat from some recipes.

      I have been making a lot of bean soups and chilis. I even found a recipe that I love for lentil and mushroom bolognese.

      1. My initial thoughts were eggplant parmesan (if you like eggplant), or a hearty minestrone soup.

        1. Cheesymama, there you go – we can explore together! I have never cooked frittata, would you please share a good recipe or a link to one? Veggie stir fry over rice sounds like an excellent idea, especially with some egg and tofu in it. Thank you. I am not a big fan of pastas, pizzas or mac and cheese, unless these are made with quinoa – I am trying to keep it healthy and my husband gets stomach ache if he eats lots of wheat products.
          Nat8199, would you please share your favorite lentils recipe?
          Letsindlugle, I have some eggplant in my fridge now and that’s a good idea. What recipe are you using?

          7 Replies
          1. re: Allenkii

            I don't eat wheat at all anymore and very very rarely potatoes (once a year?) as well as eating very low carb but have found that there are all sorts of great recipes using cauliflower in place of those ingredients: cauliflower "mac" and cheese, fauxtatoes, cauliflower crust pizza, and more.

            Bobby Flay's grilled caponata could easily be turned into a dinner salad with the addition of mozzarella for some protein.

            1. re: Allenkii

              Red Lentil and Barley Soup:


              Lentil Minestrone


              Lentil Bolognese


              1 1/2 cups lentils
              3 cups veggie broth4 tbsp olive oil
              1 onion, diced
              4 cloves garlic, minced or chopped fine
              2 carrots, diced finely
              1 cup mushrooms, diced finely
              28 oz can diced tomatoes
              2 oz sundried tomato, chopped roughly
              1 can tomato paste
              1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
              1/4 cup red wine
              2-3 tbsp soy sauce
              2 tsp dried herbs of choice
              Dash of red pepper flakes or squirt of Sriracha.


              Cook the garlic, salt, onion and carrot in the olive oil until they are very soft.

              Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are tender (20-30 min). Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth.

              1. re: Allenkii

                I love eggs in most forms but especially frittatas. I usually throw in whatever is around in the house - usually a combination of some veggie with broccoli and asparagus being favorites, sliced deli meat usually turkey but sometimes chopped ham, with cheese eon top. Frittatas are incredibly quick and easy to make, saute your ingredients, add lightly beaten eggs with or without milk (your preference), let the bottom set and instead of flipping I just pop it into the oven until it's no longer jiggly.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  I don't work from any recipe for my frittatas. Just as fldh... said, add your favourite (or available) ingredients, mix up some eggs add a little milk and cheese pour into a hot pan. I also like to finish it in the oven to avoid the flip

                2. re: Allenkii

                  I think this is a pretty good lentils recipe. Great over quinoa or brown rice.


                  You can make most curries and stir fries with tofu instead of meat.

                  You should think about trying some of the new faux-meat products. There's a relatively new company called Beyond Meat that sells vegan "chicken" strips that some people say taste very much like chicken. Apparently it fooled Mark Bittman in a blind taste test.

                  1. re: Allenkii

                    I definitely recommend veggie stir-fries. I would give you a recipe, but mine are always what-do-I-have-in-the-fridge events. My favorites are broccoli, snap or snow peas, carrots (I usually julienne them, but bias-cut is good too), bean sprouts, cabbage.... Just about anything except mushrooms and bell peppers, really.

                    I normally use chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil for the sauce, but you could obviously just sub in veggie broth and be good to roll.

                    Even without a protein source like eggs or tofu, I find these stir-fries to be very filling. I normally eat one cup of rice with 1-1.5 cups of stir-fry and am satisfied.

                    1. re: Kontxesi

                      I did a stir fry recently and even threw in some aging iceberg lettuce :)

                      @OP: I love to roast vegetables. Almost anything. I put in a CI skillet, drizzle with oo, season as you wish, cover with foil. Roast at 425 for 30 minutes, remove foil, stir and roast about 25 minutes.

                  2. These are a few of my favorite things:
                    --cheesy polenta or rice pilaf or lemony quinoa etc. topped with any number of yummy things like:
                    -sherry mushrooms
                    -sauteed garlic spinach
                    -roasted asparagus
                    -poached egg
                    --quesadillas filled w/sauteed onions & peppers, black beans; served w/salsa, guac, sour cream
                    --tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
                    --veggie burgers
                    --paninis with roasted eggplant, portobella mushrooms, provolone, baby spinach, tapenade

                    Or mix-and-match a few things, like:
                    --chilled beets and greens with vinaigrette and goat or blue cheese; walnuts
                    --potatoes: cut & roasted or potato salad or blue cheese mashed or twice baked
                    --roasted sweet potatoes with butter
                    --roasted veg like cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus; olive oil, s&p
                    --corn on the cob in season
                    --caprese: sliced tomato, basil, mozzarella; balsamic & olive oil
                    --steamed artichokes with vinaigrette or sriracha-mayo-lime dip
                    --cubes of cheese and grapes
                    --carrot cake for dessert

                    ETA: I just saw this recipe for celery root soup that looks delicious: