Some of our favorite Meatless Meals – part 1

We just had the fun of a visit from my sister.  She’s moving somewhat close to us to start a new adventure – Teach for America.  It’s a great program and we are all so proud of her.  And glad to have her somewhat close.  We spent some time talking about food while she was here.  She’s going to live in a place remote enough that makes our town look like a city.  So food shopping and planning will likely be fairly essential if the nearest store with more than bread, milk and butter is an hour and a half away (when you live here you describe distances in hours not miles).
She is going to be living with two roommates.  She’s a pro at having roommates and I think had a good routine of cooking some with her housemates in her prior house.  Here though, one of the two other people she will be living with is vegetarian.  So, I’m compiling a list of our current favorite meatless meals.

Lentil burgers
1 onion – chopped
1 TBSP oil
1/2 cup dry lentils (we typically use green lentils which are more readily available at the grocery store)
1 1/4 cup broth (I use vegetable broth made from Better Than Bouillion brand)
2 eggs
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I use Italian flavored Panko)
1/2 cup dry oatmeal (quick cook or old fashioned)
spices to taste (I don’t use any, just the Italian panko)
Add oil and onion to a medium sized sauce pan.  Cook until onions are translucent.  Add broth and lentils and cook 30-45 minutes.  Drain excess broth and cook (I don’t bother to cool).  Beat in eggs, bread crumbs, and oatmeal and spices.  Make into patties (probably 5 or 6?)  Cook in a fry pan until browned on each side.  I use a small amount of oil or cooking spray on the pan.  We add cheese to ours. 

The first time we made these they fell apart a bit – here’s how they look


Dakota Guy loves these although he prefers to call them lentil sandwiches.  He has issues with veggie burgers trying to pretend to be something they are not (meat) and thinks more people would like them if they didn’t have “burger” in their heads when eating them.

Black Bean Burgers from Annie’s Eats
Dakota guy prefers lentil burgers.  I made these with my home canned beans and did really enjoy them. 
Black Bean Burritos
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10-oz.) can Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 package (8-oz.) low-fat cream cheese
1 cup cooked white or brown rice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (Can easily substitute a small amount of dry or leave this out)
4 – 6 Flour tortillas
Optional toppings: sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped fresh tomatoes,avocadoDirections:
1) Heat a small amount of oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic; cook and stir for 30 seconds.
2) Add beans, Rotel, and cream cheese and heat through. Stir in rice and season with cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cilantro.
3) Wrap in a tortilla and serve with desired topping. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

The key with this recipe is it is QUICK.  From start to in our bellies in 15 minutes or less provided I make rice ahead or plan so I have leftover rice from another meal to use.  Even quicker if I chop the onion the night before as well.  I often have a chopped onion or part of an onion in an “onion jar” in my fridge.  I keep a few used salsa jars or other small jars to keep onions part used in in the fridge so our milk and other food don’t smell like onion.

Mac n cheese
Not quick or healthy, but oh so yummy comfort food
Veggie pizza
Veggie in any form (as a bonus can make multiple pizzas and have some meat on some for the carnivores) is a nice option.
This collection of 25 different veggie pizzas from Martha Steward is a good starting point.  I’ve newly decided making my own pizza dough is the way to go (or making a bunch ahead and freezing).  But, a nice alternative if you aren’t so inclined, M, is grocery store frozen dough.  Or bread machine pizza dough is awesome too if you decide to go that way so you can keep bread on hand for sandwiches and stuff if you end up not going grocery shopping weekly.  I did some research and apparently the “best” budget bread machine is apparently a sunbeam.  On amazon it gets fabulous reviews too and won’t even cost as much as a month’s rent 😉
Baked Ziti and summer veggies
Not sure if zucchini are as commonplace there as here (people joke that you shouldn’t leave your car unlocked in the summer because you might come back to find a bag of zucchini in it).  I actually love them and find millions of uses for them including putting them on veggie pizza.  Here’s another fabulous use.  Dakota Guy and Dakota Boy both enjoyed this.  I made used slightly different veggies (some mushrooms and things to use up our most recent bountiful basket).  Also, fresh herbs were great in it.  But I wouldn’t hesitate to just use a small amount of dried if I didn’t have fresh on hand rather than spend the money on fresh at the grocery store.

There’s a start.  Six meatless meals that are or will be part of a regular rotation around here.


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