Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I love how we're sitting on the edge between seasons this week. This past weekend I was basking in the sun on the beach in Ft. Walton, Fl (thanks to my friend Steph's lovely parents who let us use their condo!) and this weekend the plan is to go to my friend Jon's family farm and have a bonfire and make s'mores. Love it!
I'm also enjoying welcoming fall food back into my house. Currently there is an acorn squash and a bunch of fresh brussels sprouts sitting in my fridge, waiting to be devoured. Yum!
I found myself sending my mom a bunch of meatless dinner ideas today and thought I'd share the list here because it is a good one. (And in true flexitarian style (p.s. I actually hate the word flexitarian), I am also planning a post on roast chicken- just as soon as I roast one during daylight hours so I can take decent pictures of the process.)
But anyway, if anyone is looking for a little meatless inspiration, I hope my list will be helpful. Note: This list is, for the most part, decidedly non-vegan (I love me some eggs and cheese).

Lentils and brown rice:
Cook dried lentils according to package directions. I like to season them with garlic, onion, chopped tomatoes, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. I serve them alongside stewed okra and tomatoes (basically, you cook frozen okra with a can of stewed tomatoes) and cornbread.

Tex-mex rice bowls:
Black beans and brown rice topped with any of the following: cilantro, lime juice, salsa, chopped tomato, sauteed onions and garlic, mushrooms (sauteed or fresh), chopped green onions, avocado, cheese, or sour cream.

Black beans and saffron rice:
Saffron rice comes in packages at the grocery store, and is bright yellow and darn tasty. Top this combination with black olives, green onions, and chopped tomatoes or salsa.

BBQ bean bowls:
Black (or red) beans and brown rice topped with BBQ sauce, green onions, and mushrooms.

White beans and Kale:
This is my favorite winter meal. White beans sauteed with hot sauce, lemon juice, onion, garlic, Kale and topped with lemon zest, and Parmesan; served atop brown rice.

Roasted tomatoes, onions and white beans:
Toss a pack or two of cherry tomatoes (or any other small tomato or halved roma tomatoes) and some roughly chopped onion with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 30 minutes. Pour tomatoes and all their juices over a bowl full of warmed white beans. Add some basil (fresh is best but I also like to get the squeeze bottle of chopped basil at the grocery instead of having to use dried basil) and mix everything up. Serve this over toast- it's beans a la king!
Other quick bean ideas:
Garbanzo beans stir fried with Kale, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Baked beans on top of a microwaved or roasted sweet potato.
Baked beans on cheese toast (preferably whole wheat) with chopped tomatoes.
White beans mixed with diced green chilies, cayenne, and cumin make white chili. Top with cheese.
Black beans, salsa, and cheese in a whole wheat or blue corn tortilla.

Veggie Enchiladas:
Roast some chopped squash, mushrooms, and zucchini (and really whatever veggies you like- experiment!) at 400 for 30 minutes. Place cooked veggies inside whole wheat tortillas, along with some shredded cheese, and plain yogurt (or sour cream) mixed with salsa- be careful not to overfill! Roll the tortillas up (I find that 4 tortillas worth is plenty for 2 people), and top with enchilada sauce (you can get this in a can at the grocery store on the mexican food isle) and more shredded cheese. bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Kale, Eggs, and Potatoes:
I chop up red potatoes and toss them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme- them roast them for 30-45 minutes at 400. While that's going on, I simmer Kale in about a cup of water with garlic and onion, lemon juice, a little hot sauce, and lots of black pepper (this takes 15-30 minutes, just check occasionally to make sure the kale is done). I serve the Kale with a fried egg on top and the potatoes with ketchup mixed with hot sauce for dipping.

Kale Spaghetti:
Cook the Kale like you do above, then toss it with some cooked spaghetti and Parmesan or goat cheese. You can top this with a poached egg too. Poaching eggs is really easy. You add a splash or two of vinegar (you won't taste it, I promise) and a little salt to a small pot of water and bring it just to a boil, meanwhile, crack an egg into a small bowl (this is really important. You can't just crack the egg into the water or it will break). When the water is just boiling, turn down the heat, gently slide the egg into the water, then cook for 3 and a half minutes. Remove it with a slotted spoon to let the water drain off before you put it on your food.

Baked Eggs in tomatoes:
Hollow out a couple of tomatoes and throw away the tops. season inside the tomatoes with salt and pepper, then sprinkle in a little cheese (goat cheese is awesome here- but you can use any cheese or any sort of spices you like really, just don't add too much b/c you want room for an egg inside the tomato). Crack and egg on top, being careful not to spill it. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until the egg has set. Serve with toast or a side salad.

Scrambled egg tacos:
Fill either whole wheat or blue corn tortillas with scrambled eggs, salsa, and shredded cheese. Devour. :)

Scrambled eggs and portobello mushrooms:
Brush portobello mushroom caps (2 or 3 per person) with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and broil for 10 minutes, turning them over after 5 minutes. In the meantime, scramble 2 eggs per person. Put eggs on top of the mushrooms. You can add toppings like goat cheese or veggies to this too, but it's surprisingly good plain.

Veggie omelets:
My favorite omelet in the world contains, fresh spinach, fresh chopped tomatoes, and feta cheese. So fresh and delicious.

Tomato soup and grilled cheese. It doesn't get any easier.


  1. I'd probably cook vegetarian more often if I could convince my husband to eat like that. Sadly, he's one who thinks it doesn't count if it doesn't feature protein. Me? I could go most of my life without meat.

  2. Eggs are a protein! And beans and rice make a complete protein as well!
    You could always make tofu, but I seriously cannot do tofu properly to save my life.
    I really go back and forth on meat. The meats I love- boudin, prosciutto, duck confit.... are meats I eat *very* infrequently because they're not good for me. And I recently went through a no meat at all phase because I was so sick of the healthy lean white meat we eat at home (boneless skinless hockey pucks, anyone?). Lately though, I've been seduced by roast chicken. And while I don't think I'm awesome at cooking fish, I actually think I should eat more fish than I do.
    So I guess where I stand is that I don't like to restrict myself from any food, but I mostly limit myself to certain meats for my health, and limit the amount of meat I eat for reasons pertaining to my palate, the environment, and a desire to eat more ethically.

  3. Wow, these are some great ideas, Shelly! I'm especially anxious to try your roasted tomato recipe...if it'll ever cap out at less than 100 here. :P Are you a flexitarian, by the way? I linked to Oh She Glows from your website, and I find myself intrigued by her ideas. Merely shaving calories doesn't seem to be working for me, so I'm trying her approach. Not vegan, by any stretch, but avoiding processed foods, meat, and high-glycemic-index foods (white rice, potatoes, etc). I'm like you, not cutting out eggs! :) So far, I like it. And, with his insane work schedule, hubby eats away from home enough that he can get meat there if he wants it.

  4. Oh yeah, forgot this comment! Tofu is great in Japanese applications. As a straight meat substitute, however, I find it sorely lacking. I find I prefer beans and nuts and low-fat dairy as a better protein source. I've been interested in nutritional yeast, but I can't find the stuff around here!

  5. Lauri, I guess if you wanted to label it, you could call me flexitarian. But since I don't 'not eat' anything, I think I'm just omnivorous. I really try to eat a lot of veggies, very little processed food, whole grains, and lean meat when I eat it. And I think that Americans eat way more meat than we need and that it's good idea for a lot of reasons to at least eat less meat. When Benjy has been gone doing away rotations I've gone pretty much entirely vegetarian (it's so easy and quick to cook meatless meals) but now I'd say I'm kind of 50/50 about whether I eat the meat I cook for him or just plop an egg on top of my dinner. I've been wanting more meat lately (and also lifting more weights) so maybe my body just wants protein right now. I try to listen to it. :)
    I really love Oh She Glows. I think she has a great approach to eating and to working out as well as a great attitude towards life. I think I'll make a post with some other bloggers like her, they've really inspired me and changed the way I eat over the past year and a half and I really have the best eating habits and best level of fitness that I've ever had thanks to them.

  6. Going to stop commenting eventually, I promise! :) I had this for dinner last night (, and it was great! I cooked some steel-cut oats with chicken broth (in the rice cooker, believe it or not) and served it over that. Really tasty. Plus, it used some of the garam masala that's been languishing in my spice cabinet for ages.

  7. Lauri, that looks really good! I'll have to try that. (And try making steel cut oats in the rice cooker- that's a brilliant idea!)

  8. Apparently I'm not stopping commenting just yet. I forgot to mention that the sauce was a little thin in the dish from last night. So I threw in two tablespoons of chia seeds, and voila! Perfect consistency. They really are magical in that regard. :)

  9. You're using Chia seeds? I love it!
    Have you tried them in a dessert form yet? Chia seeds + sweetener + almond milk (or regular milk) + vanilla and topped with granola and bananas makes for an amazing mock banana pudding. Chia pudding made with cocoa powder and a sweetender and topped with walnuts is also excellent.

  10. That sounds delicious! How do you make Chia pudding? Just mix the seeds with milk of some ilk?

    I tried almond milk for the first time yesterday. It's a bit bitter to drink straight up, but I loved it in my oatmeal this morning. I cooked the oats till they were a bit dry. I chopped up an apple and sprinkled some cinnamon and ground cloves over the apple and microwaved it on high with a shot of water for 5 minutes. I mixed that in with the oatmeal, a few tablespoons of almond milk, and 2 tablespoons of chopped pecans. Oh, and a dribble of maple syrup. That was the best breakfast I've had in a long time!

    I came home with a grocery cart full of fresh veggies and fruits yesterday, and I'm on the prowl for new ways to use them. I'm planning on trying OSG's kale chips sometime soon. Also, I cooked a crock pot full of dried chickpeas last night, so some hummus and probably OSG's salt and vinegar chickpeas are on the horizon. (Sorry if I'm commenting too much! Hubby's not excited about the new approach to nutrition, and I guess I'm a bit overexcited and need to share. :)

  11. Share all you like! Benjy gets tired of me obsessing as well. :)
    I think OSG's pizza sauce chickpeas sound really good too.
    Here's a good link for basic chia pudding- you mix one part chia with 2 parts milk and stick it in the fridge. She says half an hour but I think it's done after 10-15 minutes.

    Also, you have GOT to try frozen banana soft serve. It's amazing.

  12. Thanks for the link! And yes, the banana soft serve is so on my list. I've got three bananas in the freezer as we speak.

  13. Found out it's much easier to peel bananas BEFORE they're frozen. Hrmph.

    Also, dinner last night (while not a weeknight meal) was amazing. Hubby, predictably, took one look at the recipe and said, "I'm not gonna like that. What else've we got?" Leftover pot roast being the answer to that question! Funny, though, he ended up taking second helpings. :)