Thursday, April 7, 2011

Meatless Dinners

In late high school and college, I flirted with being a vegetarian. I didn't really like eating meat and when there was an option, I chose veggie, but I didn't go out of my way to be consistently vegetarian. Eventually I came to like meat and became more comfortable with preparing it so that meat is often consumed at our house. However, there are many people who believe you can't really be a yogi and eat meat (it goes against the principle of ahimsa or non-violence). I'm not ready to ditch the meat entirely, but it's not a coincidence that I planned two meatless dinners for us this week when coming off of a weekend spent at yoga teacher training. Here are those two meals:

Pasta and Kale and Olives
1 box whole wheat pasta cooked according to package directions
1 bunch kale
1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
1/2 onion chopped
2 garlic cloves
small container of pitted green olives from the grocery store olive bar, chopped
Parmesan cheese
olive oil

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add rinsed and chopped kale, tomatoes and olives. Steam covered until kale is softer and a more bright green color. Season to taste with salt, pepper, dried basil, red pepper flakes. Add cooked, drained pasta to pan, drizzle with olive oil and toss to combine. Top with grated cheese.

Verdict: Chris and I loved this one! So yummy and so simple. If you want more veggies, you can double the amount of kale. Milo happily ate a large serving of this and then asked for meat. He's a carnivore, that one.

Black Bean and Rice Enchiladas

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 can black beans or 2 cups cooked dried beans
1 cup taco sauce
1/2 cup salsa
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
Any desired add ins: frozen spinach, onion, corn
Flour tortillas
Cheddar cheese

Combine rice, beans, taco sauce, salsa and sweet potato (plus any add ins) in large pan. Cook until potato is tender adding liquid as needed, about 20 minutes. Spoon filling into tortillas and place seam side down in baking dish. Top with more taco sauce and desired amount of cheddar cheese. Bake until cheese is bubbly about 15 minutes.

Verdict: This is a hit here: we've been eating it almost once per week throughout the winter. I love that I can up the nutritional value by adding various ingredients and it keeps the dish from being the same each time. I've done this with corn tortillas also, but they don't stay together as well in the pan. The key to this recipe is having the rice already cooked. Typically if we have a stir fry with rice on Monday, it means we are going to be eating this on Wednesday because I just cook extra and save it.

So two nights of eating meatless this week means we're having cheeseburgers on the grill tonight!

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