We’ve just returned home from Mazatlán, Mexico. Even though we consider ourselves to be (fairly) health-conscious and we (usually) eat and drink in moderation, all-inclusive resorts have a way of messing with any well-intended eating plan. Here’s a sample of some of our meals and refreshments from the past week.
Good thing we packed the Tums!
At home, I frequently cook meatless meals…which includes many chilis and stir-frys. Recently, with numerous reminders to reduce our meat consumption (both from a health perspective and an environmental point of view), I set myself a February Challenge to expand my vegetarian cooking recipes. Here’s a sample of some of our at-home dinners that resulted from this mission.
Recipe From: BBC Food Recipes
Being a huge pasta fan, this dish was Richard’s favourite. If you’ve never tried Puttanesca, you may have heard of it in such movies as Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. This recipe has a rich and colourful history. It is frequently called “Lady of the Night Pasta” (How intriguing is that?!) One origin story suggests that this meal was first prepared in the 1950s by Italian restaurant owner, Sandro Petro. As that version goes, customers came in late one evening. The only items that Petro had left for making sauce were “four tomatoes, two olives, and some capers.” Regardless of its beginnings, this ingredient combination is delicious!
Recipe From: This Savory Vegan
Although I also loved the Veggie Puttanesca, the ease and convenience of preparing these little pizzas (along with their great taste) made them my absolute favourite. I seldom follow a recipe exactly (understatement)! The original recipe that I used here was vegan. However, I couldn’t resist adding a few bits of feta, and sprinkles of shredded cheddar because, well…CHEESE!! We enjoyed this pizza so much that I made similar ones for breakfast, adding scrambled eggs and omitting the olives and yellow pepper. Both were delicious, but the non-egg version was my first choice.
What can be more perfect than a dinner that tastes good, looks good, and is fun to prepare and to eat? You could leave out the polenta in these skewers, but Richard and I both agreed that this ingredient took the meal up a notch (or even two)! You should be able to find tubed polenta at your grocery store.
Zucchini Pasta Casserole
Recipe From: Trial and Eater
I am a long-time fan of one-pot cooking. This casserole dish can be served alone, or as shown with a small side salad. As with most casseroles, this one is easy, time saving, economical, can be made ahead of time and leftovers can be stored in your freezer. It is also healthy and hearty. Now that’s a multi-win dish!
Meatless Shepherd’s Pie
Recipe From: She Does The City
Who doesn’t love Shepherd’s Pie? The Ground Vegetable Round makes a perfect substitute for meat in this dish. Try it — your dinner guests may never realize that there is not eating ground beef! In a hurry? You can also use pre-made, frozen or instant mashed potatoes….I’ll never tell!
Yves Veggie Ground Round Chili
Recipe From: Yves Veggie Cuisine
I know, I know! The goal of this exercise was to push myself out of my comfort zone and try some new-to-me vegetarian recipes. Chili is cheating. It is my go-to comfort food that I can make with my eyes shut. In my defense, I did use a recipe which I mostly followed. Okay, so maybe I did omit the brown sugar, some of the spices and the entire cup of vegetable broth. And I adapted this to my Slow Cooker. But I didn’t add tomato sauce which I usually would, so that was new.
Richard and I liked this “meaty” vegetarian chili so much that the following night we magically transformed it into ‘Sloppy Joes’ (just reheat, scoop onto warm hamburger buns, and add your favourite fixings). Delicious….and oh so comforting!
Recipe From: COOKIE + Kate
To ease the transition back from our Mexican meals, here was our ‘return home dinner.’ It had a wonderful Tex-Mex flavour. It was also substantially lighter (and a fair amount healthier) than our vacation dinners.
Do you have a favourite vegetarian recipe to share? If so, please include a link to it in the comments below. I look forward to expanding my meatless repertoire further with your recommendations!