The other day I was looking through my one million food pictures from the week, and it hit me–where was the meat? I realized that I had eaten almost no meat the past week.
This “vegetarian for a week” thing was purely accidental. I usually plan my dinners by figuring out what type of meat I have and then deciding how I want to cook it. Next, I pick two sides. Usually I just grab a can or bag of vegetables, with little thought except to heat them up and throw them on the plate next to my “main” dish, the meat.
However, a couple things happened this week. One, I have been inspired by some great recipes I’ve seen on fellow bloggers’ posts (some of whom just happen to be vegetarians).
Second, as some of you already know, I’m a little crazy when it comes to grocery shopping. For the things I buy regularly, I know how much they go on sale for, and I refuse to pay any more than that lowest sale price for them. And these past few weeks it has seemed like there has been NO good sales on meat. (Sadly, this is probably due to rising food prices, and in reality I may never see my standard sale prices again!)
Instead, I’ve been going a little crazy with the summer produce sales. And you know what, there are no complaints here. I love all of the fresh produce I’ve been eating, and I did not miss the meat at all (as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t even realize I hadn’t eaten any meat this week until I was looking at my food pictures).
Here are a few of the awesome no-meat meals I ate this week (and a couple recipes for you:).
A semi-failed attempt to make baingan bharta (an Indian dish with eggplant, yum), from Priyanka’s recipe. I say semi-failed because, although the eggplant didn’t come out quite like the recipe called for, the dish was still delicious.
Although I probably am not going completely vegetarian anytime soon, I am happy to know I can make some really awesome dishes that don’t have to revolve around meat. Sometimes I worry about getting enough veggies, so next time I do, I am going to whip out one of these dishes!
And now, for some recipes:).
Layered Eggplant Parmesan
1 large eggplant
2 cups Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
2/3 cup ground Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 tablespoon dried basil
1 jar spaghetti sauce
Directions: Peel and thinly slice eggplant. Sweat the eggplant by placing it in a colander in the sink and covering with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes, then rinse well and pat dry. Combine breadcrumbs and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the two eggs together. Dip eggplant slices in egg and then in breadcrumb mixture, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes (or until golden brown), flipping halfway through.
Then, in a casserole dish, spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce, layer with eggplant, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a small sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Repeat until you have filled up your casserole dish (I did three layers). Make sure to end with at least a small amount of sauce and cheese on top. Sprinkle the top with the 1/2 tablespoon of dried basil. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Summer Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa
1 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth (or water, if you don’t have either)
1/2 yellow pepper
1 can sweet corn
1/2 can black beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cilantro (fresh or the kind in a tube)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions: Bring 1 and 1/4 cups of broth (or water) to a boil. Add 1 cup of quinoa, lower heat, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, turn off the heat and let sit for five minutes, then fluff with fork. Let cool. Cube vegetables and mango and add to cooled quinoa. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, and cilantro together in a small bowl and add to salad. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss well.
What is your favorite vegetarian dish?