Are you a vegetarian, but live with family members who are meat eaters?
Or, maybe you are a meat eater, and you have to cook for a vegetarian in the family as well. One might tend to think that this would be cause for a lot of arguments. It can be difficult in the beginning, but there are many delicious meatless meals out there that it is easy to cook for the entire family, whether they are vegetarian or meat eaters.
The most important thing is that you are able to prepare something for everyone, and you get to spend some quality time together at the dinner table.
Creating a meal for everyone can be easy, if you are willing to compromise, and can be creative in the kitchen. Read on to learn more about how to cook for a “blended” family, and some delicious dinner ideas for vegetarians and meat eaters.
HAVE AN OPEN MIND
One of the biggest problems for families with both vegetarians and meat eaters is that not everyone has an open mind when it comes to trying new things. Obviously, vegetarians are not going to eat any food that has meat in it, or certain animal products. The thing is, you need to have an open mind to what the rest of your family likes.
Just because you don’t eat meat, it doesn’t mean that you should start preaching your lifestyle to them. Yes, this does tend to happen in the beginning, because you are excited about something new in your life. But, you need to be able to tone it down, and have an open mind when it comes to what they like to eat and learn how to be a vegetarian in a meat-eating family.
At the same time, meat eaters also need to have an open mind about what you believe, and why you have become a vegetarian. They shouldn’t be teasing you, or flaunting meat in your face.
They need to be willing to learn about vegetarianism, which is going to help them to understand you better, and you will all be able to have open minds towards one another’s dietary preferences.
BE WILLING TO COMPROMISE
You have to be willing to accept the fact that there is going to be meat cooked in your kitchen, and from time to time, you could end up eating something that has been cooked in the same pan as meat. There are plenty of ways that you can compromise. First of all, it isn’t going to kill you if your meal is cooked in the same pan as a meat meal. But, if this is something that really bothers you, instead of getting angry about it, compromise by either buying a second set of pans, or by buying pans that can easily be sanitized in the dishwasher.
On the other hand, meat eaters don’t always realize just how satisfying a meatless meal can be. They should be able to compromise as well and give your meals a try once in a while. They shouldn’t be arguing about not wanting this or that. They may even find that they enjoy a lot of the same foods that you do, and they will start eating healthier as well. Some people may say that they will try things, but they don’t want to know what they are eating until after they have finished. That’s fair enough. Sometimes just the sound of a certain type of food is a turn off, when it actually tastes really good.
get creative in the kitchen
A lot of people think that a vegetarian diet is very limited, and that there aren’t a lot of meal choices. The meat eaters in your life may be quite surprised to learn that there are thousands of meatless meals you can make, and that they are likely to enjoy a good percentage of them. This is your opportunity to get really creative in the kitchen and shine as a cook.
If you have only recently become a vegetarian, or you are a meat eater who is cooking for a vegetarian, it is a good idea to get yourself a few good vegetarian cookbooks. You can also find thousands of delicious recipes online.
BEST VEGETARIAN RECIPES FOR MEAT EATERS
There is only one restriction with a vegetarian meal: It can’t have any meat. Depending on the degree of your vegetarianism, it may be that it also cannot include any eggs or dairy products.
But, when you look at all of the foods that vegetarians can eat, you will see that you are not restricted in the least. In fact, when you use foods like tofu and bulgur wheat, you can even make meals that have a similar flavor and texture as meat. This is great for new vegetarians who still enjoy the taste of meat, but no longer want to have it in their diets. Here are some of our favorite meatless meals that most meat eaters will love.
Most people love pasta, and it is a staple in a vegetarian’s diet. Pasta by itself is so filling in the first place that it is not always necessary to add meat. Just look at Kraft Dinner (not a good choice as it is processed and requires milk, but you get the idea).
Millions of people in North America eat it every day, and it doesn’t have even the tiniest amount of meat. You can get creative with sauces, vegetables and other toppings for pasta and make delicious meals that the whole family will enjoy.
Try spaghetti with marinara sauce with mushrooms, cheese tortellini in cheesy sauce, or a filling spinach lasagna.
This favorite stand-by meal is not just for meat eaters. Most pizzerias have vegetarian options, and you can easily make your own.
Later in this article you will find a recipe for a budget pizza that the whole family will love.
You can save money by making your own dough for the crust, and you have a huge selection of toppings to experiment with, including mushrooms, green peppers, onions, pineapple, red peppers, chili peppers, tofu (a good meat substitute), and a whole lot more.
Another alternative to meat that is filling, high in fiber, and high in protein, is beans. Now, we’re not talking canned beans in molasses (although there are many delicious vegetarian options available).
It is quite easy to make your own homemade beans, and they are so much more delicious than anything that could ever come out of a can.
Of course, there is going to be one difference between your recipe and your grandma’s: Yours won’t have any bacon fat.
Vegetarians and meat eaters alike love salads, and there are so many different types of salads you can have. If you want to make something filling that is high in protein, make a potato salad or a pasta salad.
A tossed salad is always an option, but you need to be careful with dressings. For instance, Caesar salad dressing has anchovy paste as an ingredient.
You can get quite creative with salads, adding nuts, seeds, croutons, cheese, and other interesting tastes and textures.
Meatless Meals on a Budget
One thing that scares a lot of people off becoming vegetarians is that they think it is a much more expensive way to eat. Sure, there are times when the price of some produce is practically out of this world, especially when something isn’t in season. But, there are just as many times when they are reasonably priced.
Also, there is a lot more than fruits and vegetables in a vegetarian diet. Here are a few of our favorite meatless meal recipes that the whole family will love, and they won’t cost a lot to make.
HOMEMADE PIZZA Ingredients
Mix yeast, sugar, and ½ C warm water in a bowl, and allow to sit for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is foamy. Add flour and salt and mix until a dough forms. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, cover, and let rise for an hour. Spread onto pizza pan.
Spread sauce on top of dough, followed by the cheese. Then, sprinkle the veggies all over the pizza. Place in an oven that has been preheated to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the crust begin to brown and the cheese is melted.
VEGGIE & bISCUIT cASSEROLE
Spread vegetables in a glass baking dish, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Mix remaining ingredients until you have a biscuit dough. Do not over-mix, as the biscuit portion of the casserole will be too tough and chewy.
Cover the cheese and vegetables with the biscuit dough. Bake, uncovered, in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
Spaghetti with Meatless Tomato Sauce
Place stewed tomatoes in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Add the tomato paste and seasonings, and blend until completely mixed. Pour into a saucepan, and add the bouillon powder, mushrooms, peppers, and celery.
Bring to a slow boil, and then simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Cook up the spaghetti in boiling water and drain. Serve spaghetti with tomato sauce, and sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top.
PICNIC PASTA SALAD
Boil pasta until done to your preferred tenderness. In a bowl, combine whipped dressing, sugar, sweet pickle juice, soya sauce, teriyaki sauce, and mustard, and mix well.
Rinse pasta well in cool water until it is no longer hot. Stir in dressing, vegetables, cheese, walnuts, and sprouts.
Even in a family with meat eaters and vegetarians, meal times do not have to be one huge argument. There are plenty of options available, as long as you are willing to compromise with one another and be more creative in the kitchen.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let them enjoy their meat, and you can enjoy your meatless meals. And, as you can see, there are plenty of meatless meals that you will all enjoy.