I made a life changing decision recently. It's probably nothing earth shattering in your book but in mine it's pretty significant. I recently reverted to vegetarianism. I still eat fish, particularly salmon, but have sworn off forever, beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey.
The dish above is a tomato, zucchini, and eggplant Tian.
I can't imagine what took me so long. I very seldom eat beef, pork, or lamb anyway. The reason for the change is ethical. I accidentally stumbled on a "film". You know the ones I'm referring too. No doubt you have heard of them but you've hesitated in "exposing yourself" to them because you know how horrible they are. I did the same thing. Didn't want to know. But now that I do, how could I possibly go back?
The dish above is a roasted garlic and chickpea burger on pita bread.
Enough said. You didn't come here for a lecture and I won't give you one. But what I will do is offer you some meatless inspiration. The recipes are all available at Saveur online magazine. Click on the link I have provided and enter vegetarian in the search bar at the top of the page. The recipes are amazing, making use of lots of wonderful herbs and spices. These recipes have an irresistible meatiness that even confirmed carnivores appreciate.
The dish above is a black bean burger with guacamole and tomato salsa.
Ellen DeGeneres' personal chef Roberto Martin has a new cook book out called "Vegan Menu's for Carnivores". I checked it out on my last trip to the book store and it looks amazing. Another great one is Deborah Madison's vegetarian cook book. It's considered to be one of the best ever written.
The veggie burger above is served with a wonderful, mixed bell pepper relish. I would substitute the roll with something healthier than the one pictured above.
Mushrooms give the vegetarian lasagna above it's meatiness. These are the kind of dishes that satisfy most palates.
The vegetarian chili above is quick and easy and has a lot of protein. I love mine topped with sharp cheddar, onion, tomato, and chopped cilantro. Beans, cheese, eggs, nuts and salmon are my new protein mainstays.
Rapini, Orchiette pasta, and goat cheese is a great pasta dish for a weekend lunch. Rapini is like broccoli rabe.
Do we Americans ever tire of pasta? I don't. This one has a lemony sauce and is served with grilled artichokes.
The transformation is easier if made gradually. For me it was easy because I gave up purchasing beef, pork, and lamb years ago. I would eat it at parties so as not to be different. I only purchased turkey and chicken.
You don't have to cook elaborate menus for everyday eating. Keep on hand two or three types of cheese, organic free range eggs, a variety of beans, and several types of nuts. My one concession is that I keep wild salmon in my freezer. I buy it on sale and have it baked or grilled three times a week. Some say you can have salmon every day but I would get bored with it.
Now that I've made the switch I swear I don't miss meat a bit.