This is common advice when it comes to lowering grocery bills. After all, no matter how much chicken is marked down, it's never going to be as cheap as dried lentils! Despite this, eating less meat is a hard shift for many people to make. Perhaps we just don't have many good vegetarian recipes. Maybe people in our families complain when we serve meatless meals. However, these obstacles can be overcome! Eric used to really be a carnivore, and after a meatless meal, he would feel as if he'd hardly eaten at all. However, now he's the one who frequently tells me we should keep cutting down on our meat consumption! As I've blogged about before, vegetarianism has many personal and societal benefits.
We don't plan to become vegetarians, however, we keep expanding our repertoire of meatless meals. Many of them also expand our cultural horizons! I love The Japanese Kitchen, and it has some interesting ideas on using tofu and miso and vegetables to put together great meals. I haven't read the book I've pictured above, but it looks right up my alley! Mollie Katzen, author of The Moosewood Cookbook, is also a great resource. In many cultures, meat is reserved for feasts and holidays--people rely on simpler and cheaper ingredients for their daily fare.
Beans and lentils are so versatile--you might want to try Moroccan Stew with Chickpeas over Couscous. Or make Black Bean Tostadas for a taste of Mexico. A simpler version is simply to top tortillas with salsa, black beans, refried beans, and other accompaniments. Vegetarian Chili Pie features both kidney beans and lentils--I like to make two of them and freeze one for later. This Lentil-Rice Casserole is straight from The Tightwad Gazette--incredibly easy and delicous. Another easy way to use lentils and beans is to use them in soups, such as this White Bean Soup with Rosemary and Parmesan.
Eggs are a great ingredient to build a meal around. You could make a Swiss cheese and mushroom quiche, or an omelet with cheese and tomatoes. Meatless pasta dishes are another option--how about spinach lasagna, or spaghetti with marinara sauce? Indian samosas can be made with a potato and pea filling, maybe served alongside a chickpea curry. Something as simple as tomato soup and grilled cheese is a good vegetarian meal. Rather than a deprivation, eating vegetarian can be a delicious adventure!
Even when we do eat meat, we can save money by using smaller amounts of it in casseroles, stews, and stirfries. We can cook up a whole chicken and make sure to use it all up in various ways. What about you? Do you make an effort to eat less meat? Any ideas to share?
Doing the impossible
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