Tuesday is Vegetarian Night

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August 20, 2009 at 9:21 am

My husband and I are omnivores and we eat pretty much any type of meat and vegetable. We both grew up in the Midwest where our family meals consisted of a meat, starch and vegetable with a tall glass of 2% milk on the side. As I have learned to be more creative in the kitchen, I have worked on breaking these rules by incorporating more veggies wherever I can. Some may call this an attempt to be flexitarian but I can’t put a label on it especially with such a strong love for pork, especially bacon.

Every Tuesday night my husband plays basketball with a group of his college buddies. This is my time to experiment in the kitchen with a medley of seasonal vegetables. Sure, he welcomes the “no meat” meal every now and then but I crave it a bit more and would love to work on perfecting these meals.

For those that love to play in the kitchen here are my tips for creating some creative veggie-centric dishes:

  • A salad is not the only vegetarian meal. I cannot subside on lettuce and veggies alone, especially for dinner. Make the meal more substantial by incorporating a variety of beans, like cannellini or garbanzo beans, or potatoes.
  • One-pot wonders are a great way to pull all the veggies from the farmers market into one dish.
  • Start with sautéing garlic and/or onion in butter (I also like the combo of butter and oil) then begin layering your different flavors.
  • Zucchini, squash and some beans are good additions at this stage. Luckily, it is tomato season so I would chop up some and add next.
  • To add some moisture, add some vegetable or chicken stock (I guess this would break the true vegetarian rule but I don’t like too many rules in my kitchen).
  • Let the pot simmer then top with fresh herbs, kosher salt and your favorite cheese. Give it a little kick with some crush red pepper, too.
  • Too hot to sit over the stove? Try a cold soup like a gazpacho or sweet corn soup and some crusty bread. Cold soups are great for leftovers.

To add to your collection of recipes, Camille Kingsolver, daughter of Barbara the author of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, offers some great vegetarian recipes in the book and an interesting perspective on a period of her life as a vegetarian. You can also find these recipes online at www.AnimalVegetableMiracle.com

I would love to hear more ideas on how you incorporate all vegetarian meals into your diet. Any good recipes using seasonal and local produce?

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6 Comments

  1. Karen says:

    Carrie, I was reading your post and I swear it was something I would have written! I am so in the same boat as you – family and all. Sometimes for dinner, we do a tapas like menu – caprese salad, zucchini pancakes, seasonal apps, etc. I am waiting for my garden green peppers to turn red so I can make some quinoa stuffed peppers, a nice filling meal. This week I made a cold zucchini soup that ate up 3 zucchinis (always on the lookout for recipes that utilize more than one of those bad boys). It was in this past month’s Bon Appetite.

    • Carrie Becker says:

      Karen – great tips! I love the zucchini pancakes idea and was eyeing the same zucchini soup recipe in Bon App (glad to hear it worked out). On Tuesday I made a quick Italian bean soup with cannellini beans, tomatoes, leeks, garlic, stock, fresh herbs and cheese. Love when I can throw in whatever I have on hand and make a meal.

      • Here’s a good example of zucchini pancakes:
        http://www.thelocalbeet.com/2009/07/12/zucchini-latkes/

        I’ve been loving these all summer.

        • Carrie Becker says:

          Others must see these beauties. Tweeting this out for all to feel the hunger pains I feel right now. Nice photag, Michael!

      • kathy says:

        Hi, Carrie!

        I love your endeavors on Tuesday nites with the hubby out of the house and your experimenting in the veggie realm! Were your childhood meals that awful? It is too bad your mom stuck to the the tried and true menus of the 80′s. Hopefully she will experience some new healthy ways of cooking! Keep those ideas coming! I love veggies!

        Your Loving Mom

  2. Karen says:

    Carrie, the bean soup sounds yummy – especially on a cool day like today. I have an awesome recipe for the pancakes, although mine are more like tempura – with an asian dipping sauce. I might have to try Michael’s slammin’ looking ones though too, as I saw today about 3 more flowers on my zucchini plant.

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