Photo by Bill Walsh

This isn’t a debate about vegetarianism versus omnivorism.

I recently decided we, as a family, eat too much meat. Wait, let me check that. Ross and I eat too much meat, Kale does not. This is how I build a meal at our house:

  • Go into the deep freeze in the morning if I remember, or at lunchtime if I forget.
  • Choose a meat – we eat a lot of fish, beef and chicken and pork here and there. I don’t really like pork.
  • Choose a starch – rice, quinoa, cous cous, potatoes.
  • Choose a veg. Cook lots of it. I love vegetables and I will eat easily more than half my meal in veggies.
  • The end.

Kale, however, isn’t a big fan of meat. He’ll have niblets of steak, and he’s pretty down with chicken and fish, but the bulk of his proteins comes from dairy, eggs and tofu, not meat. Kale also seems to prefer raw vegetables to cooked (see also: mushrooms). Of course, all bets are off if you wrap something in breading (like a nugget or a fish stick) and then deep fry that baby. Then he’ll fight you for it. Here, I made you a handy chart to visualize what a typical meal looks like at our house:


Mmm. Pie.
I heart me some pie charts. Mmmm. Pie.

We venture out of the round little meal once in awhile with pizza and sushi and the starch carb starch combo that are stirfrys, but for the most part, that’s about what we consume at your average meal. Kale, on the other hand, is generally something like: tofu chunks, rice cakes (which he still thinks are popcorn. Seriously. DO NOT WRECK THAT ONE FOR ME!) with bits of seaweed on them, dried fruits, yogurt, and maybe a few apple slices. The kid will nibble on a cookie and then “save the rest for later” and I have no idea where he gets that from because if kids learn by seeing he is not seeing what I am shoving in my cakehole, let me tell you.

Anyway, I started thinking that the way he grazes and nibbles is a pretty good way to have a lot of variety, eat light, and feel good. I started thinking maybe the adults in this house need to rethink the way we build a meal plan. And so I approached Ross about the idea of going meatless a few nights a week.

Today I put the word out on Twitter to my vegetarian and vegan friends (and holy cow I have a lot of them!) for some ideas. Ross and I have committed to going meatless two nights a week but I need an arsenal of recipes to pull from because I struggle enough with the “okay what am I going to do with this” blues never mind having to create well balanced and delicious things that don’t follow a formula that looks like a pie chart.

With that in mind, here’s what I got back today – I’m blogging it because both a few friends requested it. So here we go!

pfindling: sends out a Meatless Monday recipe every week that has great ideas.

marcyfight:  I just sent you an email [Jen’s note: see below], but I forgot one thing: pita pizzas! Thin pita bread and whatever toppings you like on pizza and oven.
stodmyk: Does this link work for you? Mmmm… channa masala.
wllws: green bean almondine with red peppers, black bean chili and avocado salsa, chick pea curry, veg. taco’s, fried rice oh and there’s a great recipe for quinoa stuff squash from I have a great savoury recipe I created for potato latkes as well as a farro salad I got from jamie oliver! Both great!
brigettemayer You could probably still manage this, but during the winter months, I loved roasted root veggies with a side of quinoa.
matthewlaird:  I did some szechuan eggplant last night too. You like spicy? szechuan sprouts, mopo tofu with rice are a pretty good and filling combo
recycledrats:  Roll tofu in cornstarch, fry in pan in a little bit of oil,add teryiaki sauce, veggies. Serve w. rice or couscous. Not really weekday thing but great on weekend.. home made veggie pizza.. crust and all… Zucchini on pizza is super yummy!
brigettemayer: We’re doing a veggie pasta and roasted cauliflower tomorrow. Yum.
I also had a few emails come in with lots of ideas:
From Marcy:
Chilli is super easy, you can use the seasoning packets they sell in the store or make your own using ground round (“chicken” or “beef”), one large can of diced tomatoes (the big one), one can of mixed beans, hot sauce to taste.
We make a lot of salads with parmesan cheese and those veggie chicken nuggets on top 

Tofu dogs with the pillsbury weenie wraps around them (and usually a piece of cheese inside), although come to think of it we haven’t had these in ages.

Stir Fry with tons of veggies, obviously, tofu (get the firm kind and fry it in a little olive oil first so that it gets a bit of a skin on the outside. It will hold up better) on rice/noodles

Curry and naan bread (pretty self explanatory, you can buy veg currys already made in the store or at the market, or make your own…unsurprisingly, I am lazy and usually buy it). Channa Masala is really yummy, and I think most people like it. I found a recipe pretty easy here [Jen’s note: I actually do this one using a market vendor’s mix – two cans of chick peas, a can of tomatoes, and DONE.]

We also do lots of cheese, crackers, veggies and dip sorta dinners with soup or something. A meal where you can kind of graze. Hummus is also super easy to make.

Burgers – this I actually have a recipe for!

3 tbsp canola oil (divided)
1 c. finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. (398 ml) chickpeas, drained, rinsed
2 tbsp each of chopped cilantro and parsley
3/4 c. quick oats
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp  of canola oil over med. heat and saute the onion and garlic 3 mins (set aside).
Puree the chickpeas, transfer to a large bowl and add onion and garlic along with all remaining ingredients.
Combine well and shape into 6 patties.
Heat remaining oil and fry patties for 4-5 mins per side (or until brown).
Serve however.

And from Simone:
One of my fav things to make.. very easy and super versatile… if you go easy on the cheese stuff it’s also rather healthy… It makes quite a bit so I often roll them up and stick them in the freezer and then just nuke it for snacks, works well. 

Combine: 1 pack of Yves veggie ground round, 1 pack of frozen spinach (or fresh if you prefer), 1 can of drained corn or about a cup or two frozen or fresh corn, 1/2-1 cup of medium hot salsa. Add a few tablespoons of cream cheese and let it melt until the sauce looks creamy.Add some grated mozzarella and/or cheddar and let it melt. Wrap in the tortilla wraps of your choice, such as whole wheat or cheddar chipotle. Put some mozzarella and/or cheddar on top, and put it in the oven until melted. For a lighter wrap you can use lettuce leaves instead of tortilla wraps. Can also be served as a dip with tortilla chips. Makes a lot of filling but you can freeze it in single portions for quick and easy snacks. For additional variations, in place of the Yves veggie ground round you can substitute, the Mexican or Italian flavored ground round, or cubed extra firm tofu. Non vegetarians can substitute cooked ground beef, ground chicken or cooked cubed chicken. You can also substitute or add other veggies such as chard, okra, sweet peppers or jalapeno or banana peppers. Whatever floats your boat. I like okra a lot. For a spicier wrap use hot salsa or for a milder wrap use mild salsa.

I’m feeling energized now! And also, I need to grocery shop.


  1. We do a lot of soup-salad-bread. Soups like leek and potato, black bean, salmon chowder, red lentil, and green lentil. We make large batches from scratch and freeze portions in yogurt containers. Instead of pulling meat from the freezer in the morning, I choose a mystery unlabelled yogurt container of soup. Salad could be tossed green, simple organic greens, or something grainy like tabouli, quinoa, or couscous (not a true grain, whatever). Bread and butter fills up any empty corners. Most of our weeknight meals look like this, and we will eat true meat socially on weekends.

  2. great post and recipe ideas from the community! here’s my go-to lately:

    roast a pan of your favorite veggies (I’m crazy for asparagus/mushrooms/red onion/yellow pepper combo lately) chopped large, rustic-style, at 400f for 15-20 mins. heat a can of baked beans. poach eggs (the best method at the last minute and toast some rye bread. Stack it – beans, veg, eggs. Add the side of buttery toast and voila! Liberally douse in Sriracha if you like.

  3. I know you don’t need gluten-free but Karina at has amazing vegan recipes. I also like for vegan recipes that are whole-foods based and super delicious. We do some meat here but I really don’t like it, much, and most of my kids hate it too. So I’m learning to cook new things (most meat dishes I make simply because they are familiar and thus, easy. Me no cook. Me baker.) Somewhere I have an awesome recipe for honey-baked lentils; will try to find for you (or you can Google.) 🙂 Also, Dreena Burton has GREAT vegan cookbooks, my fave being Vive le Vegan and I think you can find a lot of her recipes online.
    Also, never forget the power of a baked potato bar as dinner with young kids. 🙂

  4. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes or meal ideas, it seems like we always eat the same things. A typical meal at our house is meat (chicken or pork) or fish (salmon or haddock) with either rice or potatoes, and veggies. We are also fans of pasta, pizza, stirfrys. Since being pregnant, my palate seems to be all wonky, and I don’t find I’m eating enough variety. I will definetly be checking out some things you (or your friends) mentioned.

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