Not quite a vegetarian, but you would like to eat more meatless meals? Flexitarians enjoy mostly meatless meals but do partake of meat some of the time. Eating meatless for even a few days can be beneficial. There can be cost savings too. Lentils, beans, nuts, and higher protein pasta can be considerably less costly protein sources than meat. Many of these items are pantry staples too, so they are easy to keep on hand.
In addition to the cost savings, there are great benefits to your health. Replacing meat with vegetables, grains, and fruits will increase your fiber and decrease your saturated fat intake. And limiting the amount of red meat per week may reduce the risk for certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
A few ways to incorporate meatless into your routine is to replace the meat protein with vegetables. Think of tacos, meatloaf, chili, hamburgers, all of which can be prepared with vegetable options. You can also use tempeh or tofu, which are soy-based products, or Seitan derived from gluten. The advantage of using these products is that they easily take on other flavors.
Portobella Mushroom Burger
2 T. Pesto
2 T. Mayonnaise
4 Portobello mushrooms
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
Kosher salt and Fresh Cracked black pepper ( or a steak seasoning of your choice)
Fresh Mozzarella cheese
Roasted red peppers, Grilled onions, Avocado
Season mushrooms with Worcestershire, Salt, and Pepper and set them aside.
Mix equal parts pesto and mayonnaise until well blended, set aside.
Blot mushrooms dry from excess liquid.
Grill mushroom caps on high for 4-5 minutes on each side, or roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes.
Place on a bun if desired, top with fresh mozzarella, pesto mayonnaise, and desired toppings.
Spicy Black Bean Burgers
16 ounces canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 cup of scallions
1/2 jalapeno pepper (optional)
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1/2 c. oats
salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse beans in a colander and allow them to dry.
- Using a food processor, pulse together the red pepper, scallions, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, eggs, and oats.
- When beans are dry, mash with a fork in a stainless steel bowl.
- Add the red pepper mixture and fold it together. If the mixture is too loose or wet, pulse together a few tablespoons of oats and add until you can form a patty.
- Using a number 8 disher, scoop 4 equal portions onto wax or parchment paper and press down to form a patty. Freeze for one hour before cooking. (Patties can be kept frozen until ready to cook)
Transfer patties to a greased baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 8 minutes on each side.
1 medium onion chopped
2 T. flour
4 T. clarified butter, divided
2 c. beef broth
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. tomato paste
2 packages exotic mushroom blend or
8 ounces of baby Bella mushrooms and 4 ounces shitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon of dried
1 ounce of dry red wine
1/4 c. sour cream
1 T. chopped parsley for garnish
1 pound of cooked chickpea pasta
- Heat 2 T. clarified butter in a large sautoir (saute pan with straight sides). Add chopped onions and saute until translucent.
- Add 2 T. more of clarified butter and dust with flour. Stir with a wooded spoon to create a roux and cook until smooth.
- Add Beef broth and bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and add Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and wine until well-combined. Add salt, pepper, and thyme.
- Add mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes or until tender.
- Reduce heat to low and stir in the sour cream and remove from heat.
- Portion mixture over the cooked noodles and garnish with chopped parsley.
Greek-style baked eggs with spinach and tomatoes
1 pound fresh spinach
½ quart crushed tomatoes
½ medium onion
½ c. scallions
1 clove garlic
¼ c. dill
3/4 cup crumbled feta
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
4 large eggs
- Heat the olive oil and add onion, and garlic, saute until tender.
- Add the spinach and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add the lemon juice and dill and half of the feta; mix well.
- Using a large spoon, make small four small wells in the tomato mixture.
- Gently drop an egg into each well and “splash” a little of the hot liquid onto the egg to help the egg set.
- Sprinkle remaining feta over the spinach and tomatoes and cover tightly with a lid for 8 minutes or until the desired doneness for eggs.
- Serve with whole-grain crusty bread.