Recipes for Change

One of the things we can do personally to reduce our carbon footprint and to look after our own health at the same time, is to eat less meat. I was vegetarian at one stage but for the life of me I can hardly remember what I used to make! So I am trying to reeducate myself on what tastes best! Convincing my kids and husband may take a little longer. But I’ve got parents with open-minded taste buds so I am taking them on the taste bud education adventure too. 🙂

On this page I am sharing some simple ideas for making delicious meals for singles, couples and families that are vegetarian or can be made vegetarian. Cooking takes time and so does educating taste buds. When, like I do, you are cooking for a family of picky eaters, I want delicious meals that are easy to make. If my husband or my kids don’t want to eat my delicious vegetarian meals then I share them with my parents! 🙂

Scroll down past the picture for some simple but delicious vegetarian options.

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Image credit: Baehaki Hariri

MEALS

Recipe # 1: Chili con carne (vegetarian chili):
(Thanks to Rex Metcalfe for the recipe)
(dairy free, gluten free, wholefood)

Ingredients:
2 cans kidney beans
1 tin diced tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
touch chili to taste (Try ½ tsp chili flakes or one fresh chili chopped with seeds removed)
1 tsp olive oil

Heat oil in pan and fry onion and garlic with chili until onion and garlic are soft and browning. Drain kidney beans and add them along with tomatoes. Heat through or simmer for 5-10 min if desired. Mash the mixture a bit with a potato masher. Serve.

Serving options:
Serve with with jacket potatoes (bake in oven approx 1 hr @ 200 deg C or in microwave prick potato with fork and zap for 5 min),  simple salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato), avocado and hommus

Serves: me with a few frozen serves for my parents who are open to vegetarian food. So far I haven’t had any luck getting the kids or James to try it :/

Verdict: Delicious!!

Recipe # 2: Pasta bolognaise (meat lovers + vegetarian/vegie lovers version)

I cut of the vegies and prepare enough vegetables for both a meat lovers version and a vegetarian version. Then I can make two versions at once. Saving time and keeping everyone well fed.

Pasta bolognaise: I use Reguletto Venetian sauce. I make one version with beef mince for the meat lovers and one version with quorn mince (which is made from a nutritious fungus) for the vegetarians/vegie lovers.

a) Meat version:

1 1/3 jar Raguletto venetian pasta sauce (use the other 2/3 for the quorn version)
1 carrot
1 zucchini
1/2 onion
3 mushrooms
a little olive oil
500g heart smart or low fat beef mince
pasta / noodles of choice (for my little girls, I use shell pasta, James likes long spaghetti and I like rice/buckwheat pasta from Orgran).

b) Vegetarian version:

2/3 jar Raguletto Venetian pasta sauce (use other 1/3 with the meat version)
1 carrot
1 zucchini
1/2 onion
a little olive oil
3 mushrooms
1 300g packet frozen or refrigerated Quorn mince.
pasta / noodles of choice (for my little girls, I use shell pasta, James likes long spaghetti and I like rice/buckwheat pasta from Orgran).

Instructions:

1)  cut vegies for both versions at once. Dice onions, slice carrots and zucchini and then quarter the slices if required so that the pieces are small (a good idea if you have kids). Slice mushrooms. Thaw beef mince if required.

2) heat oil in pan and fry onion in a little oil. I use two separate large saucepans/stockpots, one for each batch, the meat and the vegetarian batch. You could also stirfry all the onion together and then split it if you like.

3) for the beef version, cook minice with onion, stirring in saucepan and breaking up clumps. Then add pasta sauce, and all of the remaining vegies. Stir through vegies, then allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes, preferable an hour, over low heat

4) meanwhile for the vegetarian version, add vegetables and pasta sauce to the onion, and stir through. Then add your quorn mince. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour over low heat.

Verdict: everyone is happy.

A few other meal ideas to make life easy increasing your plant-based diet portion:
(No guarantees of whether the packet sauces etc. I am suggesting are completely animal-product free but once you know what you like, you could make recipes from scratch).

Vegie fritters: taste.com has a great recipe for vegie fritters. They do contain one egg but its a good way to eat your vegies and to have less meat / meat products than a meat burger.

Vegetarian tacos: I use the Old El Paso Taco spice mix and then substitute Quorn mince for beef mince. Again, you can make a meatlovers version at the same time.

Vegetarian fajitas: I use the Old El Paso Fajita spice mix and I use two cans of red kidney beans instead of the 700g chicken/beef. Note: I don’t think this particular meal works with Quorn mince. I prefer beans. Probably because its not designed for mince but for strips. gain, you can make a meatlovers version at the same time.

Tofu/vegetarian burger sandwich: lightly toast two slices of wholemeal bread. Spread with hommus of choice. Slice one piece of soyco teriyaki tofu in half and put on sandwich. Slice half a tomato. Consider adding grated carrot or lettuce. Eh voila. One sandwich. If you don’t have soyco teriyaki tofu you can make some that is similar: slice and marinate some plain tofu with tamari (like soy sauce), lemon juice and a little honey for 10 min or so. Then fry on two minutes each side. You can save some for a future meal.

Vegetarian stirfry: You can use a marinade of tamari, honey and lemon juice to stirfry cubes of tofu with onion, garlic and a selection of vegetables (serve with brown rice or rice of choice). For my stirfries I like to use a stainless steel based frypan or an iron wok. This is because I like to cook over relatively high heat (medium and above) and non-stick surfaces don’t like me cooking with them!

I also like various Kantong stirfry/simmer sauces such as the sweet and sour pineapple, satay, cashew chicken and others. I just substitute cubes of tofu approximately weight for weight for the recommended meat. I can’t guarantee these sauces are completely vegetarian but its a good start to educate your taste buds and your are certainly lowering your meat intake through making vegetarian versions. With these simmer sauces its also easy to make a meat lovers version while you make a vegetarian version. I even got my husband to cook up the tofu version for me while he made his chicken version recently. I count that as a win. 🙂

BBQs for meat lovers and vegetarians / vegie lovers to get along:  James likes steak and sausages on his BBQs and I like soyco teriyaki tofu and bean supreme beetroot and blackbean burgers. And we both like sliced onion and sliced potato on the bbq too. Don’t forget a simple salad of lettuce, tomato and grated carrot. Then you have lots of left overs for sandwiches and quick meals too. I am not completely vegetarian so I dont mind mixing meat and vego options on the one bbq but if you are catering for vegetarians you can always cook theirs first if they really don’t want a touch of meat on their tofu. 🙂

SWEET HEALTHY(ISH) TREATS

Recipe # 1: Chocolate bliss balls – Heidi’s version
(dairy free, gluten free, wholefood)

High in fibre and fruit these should satisfy your chocolate and sweet cravings without containing refined sugar (which I personally find highly addictive!). Making this recipe can also save you money so you don’t have to buy bliss balls or chocolate bars.

I’ve based my recipe on this one (http://www.quirkycooking.com.au/2010/02/raw-cacao-treat-balls/). But I have modified it for a food processor and using a friend’s advice to use coconut oil to aid digestion:

Small batch ingredients (double quantities for larger batch):

100 g raw walnuts

110 g dates (chop them in halves to check for seeds)

20 g cacao (to taste – apparently cacao is less processed than cocoa)

30 g coconut (shredded)

a dash of pure maple syrup to taste (I used 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions:

  • Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix them together a little bit
  • Blend in food processor (I used a Kogan bullet which was very loud and my baby Lucinda didn’t like the sound – so I suggest making these when your baby is out for a walk with a trusted carer – update: works fine in a nutribullet or a multifoodprocessor too – much quieter). If using a small bullet, blend in small batches, about ¼ of the mixture at a time, otherwise the nuts won’t all grind up properly
  • Roll the mixture into balls with clean hands and keep the balls in the fridge.

Verdict: pretty much everyone will eat these 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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