Last year, as a casual sort of a New Year’s resolution, I decided to eat more vegetables. I figured that the only way to do it was to learn some more interesting vegetable recipes, so I bought Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and combed through it and some other favorite recipe sources.
I didn’t make any big promises or specific goals about vegetables. My plan was simple: if I made the vegetables the main event of the meal, instead of an afterthought, then meat would become secondary, and the vegetables wouldn’t be a chore to eat.
I don’t ever envision myself as becoming a complete vegetarian. There are too many meat dishes that I truly love. But I’m moving toward saving those as a special treat and skipping the meat when it isn’t anything special—for health and also because of a growing concern about how our meat is produced and what it takes to produce it. The family (husband, two kids) has been surprisingly flexible with the new recipe testing.
Besides How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (HTCEV) I’ve especially enjoyed the blog 101 Cookbooks and Foster’s Market Cookbook (sometimes altering FMC recipes to cut the meat content). Mollie Katzen’s Moosewood cookbooks are also a great place to start if you’re looking to reduce your meat intake.
The collage above includes our favorite recipes from 2011. Many of them I blogged about. Maybe they’ll inspire you.
From left to right, starting from the top:
2. Baked Rice and Red Kidney Beans, Jamaican Style from HTCEV
3. Spicy Baked Chickpeas from HTCEV
6. Curried Cauliflower with Cashews, inspired by 101 cookbooks but really I just followed the directions on the curry paste package and added toasted cashews.
7. Beer-Glazed Black Beans from HTCEV
8. Tuscan White Beans with Pasta from HTCEV
9. Pasta-Chickpea Salad with Tomato and Basil, my own creation
10. Falafel in pita, from a falafel mix, with Tahini Sauce from HTCEV
11. Tabbouleh made according to mix directions, with vegetables and Yogurt Sauce from HTCEV
13. Rustic Pine Nut Sauce from HTCEV
14. Pumpkin Soup (with chipotle/ adobo sauce swirled in) from the butternut squash soup recipe in the William-Sonoma Soup book
15. White Bean Chili from Foster’s Market Cookbook (minus the chicken)
16. Pa Jun (Korean style veggie pancakes) from HTCEV
17. Red Lentil Soup with Lemon from 101cookbooks
18. Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic from HTCEV