Meatless May! (HELP ME)

After a chat in the car with the boys about Weird Al Yankovic, who looks like a teenager thanks to some hefty plastic surgery and a vegan diet, we decided that it may be interesting to go meatless for a month. I like meat occasionally, and I am not about to foresake it entirely, nor is anyone else in this house… but our repetoire is in DIRE need of expansion. As I explained to the boys, a vegetarian lifestyle is not healthier per se, but eating more vegetables is. 

Also, I must clearly have heaps of time on my hands because just what this family needs now is a food project that will require me to plan ahead, forage for unique vegetables not native to the Bronx, and spend heaps of time chopping them.

This morning, in preparation, I gathered the vegetarian cookbooks. 

The girls went at them with some post it notes. The boys, however, are never content to go with the flow. They have decided that vegetarianism is for wimps, and the real hard cores are vegan. I believe bets have even been placed (though not at school, I swear. Ok, maybe).

What I need now is some serious help. I don’t want to spend the month eating crappy Morningstar Farms meat substitutes that no doubt have been so genetically modified that my grandchildren will have three heads and eight fingers. 

PLEASE, if you are so inclined, post your favorite recipes here. Please do not have me mincing walnuts as faux meat. Also, no polenta. 

I hate polenta. 


Filed under food

10 responses to “Meatless May! (HELP ME)

  1. Veggie Moussaka (a favorite)
    1 large russet potato
    2 medium eggplants
    2 medium summer squash or zucchini
    15 oz chopped tomatoes (I like Pomi)
    1 red onion, cut into thin half-moons
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat oven to 350. “Sweat” eggplant–slice into 1/4″ rounds, salt, lay in single layer on towel. Leave for 15-30 minutes, then flip, salt, and repeat. This draws out some of the moisture so the eggplant won’t be bitter.

    Slice squash or zucchini lengthwise. I use my mandolin to get them pretty thin, but this is cook’s choice.

    Soften onions in saucepan with a few tablespoons of olive oil and salt. Add chopped tomatoes when onions are translucent, bring to simmer, remove from heat.

    Grease a 9″x13″ baking dish. Peel and slice potato into 1/2″ slices and lay in bottom of dish (base layer.) Layer tomato/onion mixture with eggplant and squash. Top with last bit of tomato sauce, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until veggies are soft.

    While veggies bake, make a basic roux with butter and flour, then add milk, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk until thick. Sometimes I cheat and thicken with corn starch when I’m impatient. Pour over bake veggies and baked uncovered for another30 min, or until beschamel sets. I like mine a little brown around the edges. Allow to cool for 10 min before serving. Great made in advance for Shab. lunch.

  2. A friend in Israel

    Cauliflower popcorn –
    You can try to spice with different flavors – chili powder, curry, etc. Let them get brown, make sure they are dry before adding oil – they will go quickly.

    Join this group on facebook, and ask the crew – you will likely get some good ideas – The Yotam Ottolenghi-inspired Cooking Housewives

    For a delicious candy thats healthy – melt few squares dark chocolate (70%+), add 1-2 T of coconut oil, mix well, in cupcake holders put some chopped nuts, pour some of the the chocolate/oil mixture over (can add more nuts or cacao nibs on top), put in freezer for 10 minutes…Walla! a ‘candy’ thats vegan, and good for them. You can also make a ‘bark’, by spreading mixture on wax paper and putting in freezer.

    Cauliflower soup:
    1 large bag (32 oz) frozen cauliflower (or fresh)
    1-2 onions
    2-3 carrots chopped
    1-2 potatoes chopped
    8 cups water
    1 tsp. per cup pareve chicken soup mix (or box of TJ veggie stock)
    combine, bring to a boil, simmer for 1 1/2 hours
    Then puree with immersion blender

    Hope these are helpful

  3. Wendy Bensussen

    In the Moosewood cookbook, I love the cauliflower potato pie, I change it slightly and make it for Pesach. The vegetable chowder in that same book is my go to soup for Shavout. I also love the pizza rustica in the vegetarian epicure. Good luck!

  4. Anonymous

    Good, don’t use all that modified crap. I often make a rice bowl. Brown rice. Then roast an assortment of vegetable but keep them separate if your kids are picky. I like to then season my rice with some olive oil, zaatar, lemon. And then everyone can add what they like into it. You can have bowls of the roasted vegetables, feta cheese, olives, etc.
    all kinds of bean stew are great too. Throw in whatever you have into a pot – onions garlic, herbs such as rosemary, thyme, white beans, canned tomatoes or fresh, sweet potatoes, carrots etc. And spice it up as you guys like. Again you can serve with rice and feta cheese, or any other cheese (as you can see begin a vegan would be difficult for me).
    Also I recommend looking at It’s a great vegetarian food blog.

  5. Melissa

    From the West, a family favorite of my husband’s invention (credit where it’s due):

    This is alternatively called Tomatillo Soup or Green Chili depending on whether tomatillos are scary or appealing to your audience. Either way it’s healthy, protein-packed and easy. You should be able to find the peppers and chilis fresh or canned in any Hispanic grocery in the Bronx (of which I know there are many!)

    (Note: this makes about six hearty servings so you might want to adjust for your larger family. It freezes beautifully as well)
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large onion diced
    2 smashed garlic cloves
    32 oz vegetable stock plus some water depending on your preferred thickness
    2 cans black beans
    2 cans black-eyed peas
    1 cup quartered cremini mushrooms (optional, not sure if your kids eat mushrooms)
    10-15 fresh tomatillos quartered (or two cans of green tomatillos)
    1 each green bell pepper, 1 Anaheim chili, 1 pasilla pepper, 1 jalepeno pepper (or you can do all canned chilis and peppers, but drain them well), roughly chopped except for the jalepeno which you should de-seed and dice if using fresh
    1 teaspoon each salt, white pepper, and cumin
    2 tablespoons (or to taste) green Tabasco

    Heat the oil, saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes, then add the broth, all the cans, the peppers and chilis, the tomatillos, the mushrooms (if you’re using them) and season. Simmer for a minimum of 45 mins, or you can throw it all in a slow cooker and leave for 2-3 hours.
    Top with cilantro and leave as-is for vegan, with cheese and sour cream for vegetarian, or add chicken for June and leave off the dairy toppings.

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