Hmm. As a catchy title it’s not exactly working, because “vegetarian” has too many syllables, but there you go. If I wanted to be a vegan it would be better, but I don’t think I can give up dairy just for the sake of a better-scanning blog post title. Point is, and as I said to Jill of Proper Fud earlier this week because she’s an expert, I sort of wanna be a vegetarian.
I have nothing against meat; it’s delicious. But the wall-to-wall meat shelves of my supermarket depress me, and my children don’t want to eat animals. (They don’t want to each much else either, except pita chips and breakfast cereal, but that’s another issue.) I usually stick to either free-range organic chicken tenders (because Mabel will usually eat one if I bread it and fry it) or the grass-fed ground bison, because that sounds like they had a decent life. With forays into sausages (I know, I know, but they’re tasty) and pork chops and lamb sometimes because I’m a horrible person.
And then there’s the fish, which I like and is good for me, but it’s so confusing trying to buy sustainable fish when all the salmon is Atlantic (bad) and the tilapia is farmed but that’s okay except it’s boring, and I don’t even know if rainbow trout is good or bad but that’s all the fish I know. So I skip the fish counter, mostly.
Which leaves us with veg. I like vegetables. For a former greens-hater I’ve come a long way. I like lentils and chickpeas and black beans, and I enjoy cooking Indian but it takes a while, and I’m totally down with nuts and seeds but I’ve no idea how to use them in dinner, and salads are too chilly for this weather, and mac and cheese is not everyday grownup food. In general, I find that vegetarian dinners take a bit longer and need a bit more forward planning, which is something I want to do in theory but rarely get around to in practice. Still, I’ve found some really great veggie recipes lately that are making it into our rotation, so I’m going to share them with you here.
These were totally scrummy. You have to make the avocado/lime/yogurt sauce to go with them, so don’t start without being sure you have those ingredients as well as the sweet potato and black beans and soft tacos (or tortillas or whatever). I used feta for the cheese.
Shakshuka is basically eggs in spicy tomato sauce, and I’d made it before as a brunch dish. But adding chickpeas and feta really bulks it up and elevates it to perfectly excellent (note the pun I resisted there) dinner fare. Very delicious.
I’ve bought tofu in the past and put it in stir fries, but never managed to get that nice chewy texture I’ve enjoyed when eating out. Yesterday I discovered how to bake tofu and it was a revelation. Don’t skip the pressing, and don’t forget the cornflour step in this because I think that’s what makes it crispy. Also, mine marinated for 24 hours rather than “up to 8” and they were none the worse for it. (I don’t have sriracha but I used about half a teaspoon of chili-garlic sauce instead to give it a little heat.)
We had this with noodles and stir-fried veg, but I would happily have scoffed it all straight from the baking sheet without sitting down. (I did that with a few pieces too.) Many possibilities once it’s done.
I also made this a while ago, which was delicious, but it really needs the fried onions, and those make it all just a bit too fiddly for a regular dinner. It’s basically lentils and rice with nice spices.
I only have that one photo because the light is too bad at dinnertime now that it’s winter, and I’m not saving my dinner till morning just to take a picture of it. Sorry. Follow the links to see what they look like, which will be much more appetizing than my pictures would be.
Some other veggie dinners I’m still making in the winter are ones I mentioned in this post last summer – the kale and quinoa salad, sesame noodles, and bibimbap. And my go-to Indian dinner would be Smitten Kitchen’s dal alongside her chana masala.
Your turn. Hit me with your favourite vegetarian recipes.