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The Part-Time Vegetarian

You won't miss the meat with these vegetarian recipes and meal ideas.
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More Meatless Dishes

Here are seven more meatless dishes to appeal even to the chronically carnivorous:

  • Bean there, done that! Beans make great meat replacements, probably because they're super-satisfying with high amounts of protein and fiber. You might not notice the meat's missing when you dine on chili bursting with beans. A bean burrito makes a fine meal, and vegetable stew can be quite filling when you add beans.
  • Veggie pot pie, featuring potatoes, peas, mushrooms and any other vegetables with a vegetarian gravy and a vegetarian pie crust (if desired).
  • Mexican dishes featuring beans and veggies instead of beef and chicken: burritos, nachos, enchiladas, etc.
  • Stir-fry up some Chinese entrées with veggies and tofu, and serve atop rice or noodles.
  • Stuff bell peppers with a mixture of rice with spices and vegetables. Add vegetarian sausage, tofu, or beans to make the dish more satisfying.
  • Layer your lasagna with veggies, not meat. Lasagna has so much going for it (sauce, cheese, noodles, spices, etc.) that you won't miss the meat. You can do the same with other pasta dishes, too. Macaroni & cheese doesn't need meat to pass muster. Neither does fettuccine Alfredo, nor cheese tortellini with pesto or marinara sauce.
  • Substitute hearty vegetables that have substantial texture and a rich, satisfying flavor (like eggplant, spinach, portabella mushrooms, zucchini) for the meat in your favorite dishes. Thick slices of broiled eggplant can replace chicken in eggplant parmesan, and spinach can stand in for ground beef in lasagna. Tofu can take the place of beef in chili. A grilled portabella mushroom served on a bun can even take the place of a burger.

Part-Time Vegetarian Recipes

Ready to give part-time vegetarianism a try? Start with a "meatless Monday," and work your way up to even more vegetarian meals each week. It might be easier than you think.

Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Vegetarian Sausage & Sage Gravy

Journal as: 1/2 cup "vegetables with 1 tsp fat maximum"
OR 1/4 cup "starchy foods and legumes with 1 tsp fat maximum"

You can use this gravy in all sorts of dishes, from vegetarian Shepherd's pie to vegetarian casserole to pot pie.

4 links vegetarian sausage links or patties, like Whole Kitchen brand from Whole Foods (about 3 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons Wondra quick-mixing flour (or all-purpose flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon dried ground sage

  • Heat the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan, then add the vegetarian links or patties and fry until done, crumbling into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable broth and the 2 tablespoons of flour to a small, nonstick saucepan and mix together to make a paste. Slowly whisk in the remaining vegetable broth.
  • Whisk in the salt (if desired), pepper, sage and cooked sausage pieces with oil. Bring mixture to boil and stir until it reaches desired thickness (about 2 minutes).
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