Honestly, this week’s challenge felt like a breeze, but that's because my lovely husband, Darrick, is a vegetarian and so I am used to meals without meat.
The keys to success in our house at meal times are a little something called vegetarian proteins. You can buy them at most grocery stores (although they can be pricey) or you can make them from scratch (although it can take a long time).
Or you can do both--which is how we roll in the Phillips-Wood house!
At the beginning of this week, I packed my freezer and fridge with veggie proteins, cheeses, fruits, and tons of veggies.
We also have a pantry full of grains, nuts, condiments, and broths.
Having food in the house means we cook more, and if you are eating all vegetarian you're gonna have to do some cooking at home!
(Also, I know my freezer looks like a commercial for Morningstar, but all of that was on sale, so I stocked up!)
Most meat substitute brands have prepared breakfast sausages and “bacon." I love the sausage patties from Morningstar, the sausage links from Quorn, and the bulk sausage from Lightlife. As far as the “bacon” goes, I make my own using tempeh.
For three breakfasts this week, I whipped up some eggs and breakfast "no-meat" meat. We also had fruit and yogurt one morning and pancakes another. On Saturday we treated ourselves to coffee and croissants at our favorite coffee shop. And on Sunday we each enjoyed a sprouted buckwheat, walnut, and fruit power bowl.
To kick off the week, I ate a "turkey" club sandwich. I just can't get enough of the Lightlife cold cuts. I piled my sandwich high with avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, and a little bit of mayonnaise. Lunch was ready in a matter of minutes!
Here's how the rest of the week went:
I made homemade almond butter this week so all snacks consisted of pink lady apple slices and almond butter!
Darrick made dinner twice this week. The first night was peanut satay, miso greens, and spicy noodles, and the second it was Quorn patties with roasted asparagus.
I love when he cooks!
I contributed to the effort by making three different meals: roasted veggie pot pies with almond crusts, sloppy joes with a kale slaw, and cauliflower walnut veggie burgers served with roasted green beans.
We also went out to eat twice. We find that ethnic restaurants tend to be the most vegetarian friendly, so it isn't surprising that both restaurants we visited served international dishes.
At Nam Nam, a Vietnamese restaurant, I had a DELICIOUS salad with seared tofu.
We also picked up carryout from Kashmir, one of our favorite Indian restaurants, and had a picnic in the park with friends.
That picnic turned into a walk, which turned into patio cocktails, which turned into karaoke, which lead to a late night impromptu corn dog party in our backyard!
And if you're unfamiliar with them, let me tell you that veggie corn dogs are identical to regular corn dogs. No one can tell the difference and also no one cares. Serve them with every condiment you can find in your fridge you'll find that you've instantly whipped up a good time!
So you can see, I didn’t go hungry. Or eat salads for a week.
More than anything, vegetarian eating is just about planning, switching up habits, and buying some prepared proteins to make the transition just a little bit easier.
I’ve added the recipe for the lentil salad below. It's a flavorful, easy, high protein vegan dish that works as a side dish or entree!
Lentil, Carrot + Seared Olive Salad
- 1½ cup dry brown lentils
- 3 cups water
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup olives, pitted + sliced in half lengthwise
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 sweet onion, julienned + caramelized
- 1 cup roasted carrots
- ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Rinse the lentils in cool water and pick out any broken ones. Add them to a medium sauce pan along wight he bay leaves and garlic and cover them with three cups of water. Bring them to a boil over medium high heat and then reduce the heat to medium low and cook them at a simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- while in cast iron skillet heat up the vegetable oil. Add the olives and sear on one side until the olives starts to caramelize, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- When the lentils are tender strain off any excess water, remove any large spices and add the lentils to a large bowl. Add the olives, parsley, caramelized onions, carrots, and green onions. In a separate bowl whisk together the avocado oil and vinegar and pour it over the lentils. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 to 2 hours.