Bon Appetit – More Veggies Less Meat


Trim The Fat From Your Grocery Bills

by Andrea Moya – February 16th, 2010

veggie basket-cropped 2

After an embarrassingly short stint as a vegetarian, I am now happily back to being an omnivore. I admit it, I love meat. And in my opinion, vegetables are not and will never be as delicious as meat to someone who is a TRUE meat lover. And that’s OK. So, it might seem odd – given my carnivorous tendencies – that I still tend to eat vegetarian a lot of the time! Beyond the fact that eating less meat is good for you, my choice ALSO involves my BUDGET.

When I stopped buying meat, I realized I could get twice as much food for my money simply by buying mostly vegetarian. I’m not saying “don’t eat meat”— I didn’t come back to the dark side for nothing.  I just want to make a case for giving veggies and other plant based foods a fighting chance in your shopping cart…if for no other reason than because you will save money!

Make Your Veggies Meatier

A friend of mine eats vegetarian once a week and describe those days as “painful” because he misses the texture of meat. “You can’t really chew vegetables,” he noted. “They kind of just melt.” Not all vegetables are created equal. Meatier produce like potatoes, squash, mushrooms, beets, and artichokes will give you something to chew on and they have really bright flavors. You may want to steer clear of steaming or boiling (unless you’re preparing a side) since these cooking methods tend to soften vegetables. Roasting beets brings out their sweetness, braising cucumbers gives them a deeper flavor.  Give my Favorite Fried Eggplant recipe a try to see how frying eggplant (and summer squash) makes them crisp on the outside and creamy inside.  Notice that these techniques are common to meat cookery, but work deliciously with vegetables as well.

Fake It To Make It

It also doesn’t hurt to “help” your vegetarian food by adding tougher ingredients like seitan (a meat substitute made of wheat gluten), extra firm tofu, or legumes like chickpeas and black beans. black-bean-burgersEven putting vegetables on bread or mixed in with pasta makes them a meal.  I was watching a special on Thomas Jefferson the other night and they described his penchant for asparagus on buttered toast.  I never thought to do it, but I want to try it!

If you like veggie burgers, Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods line that includes some killer veggie burgers and veggie chicken, which taste great and are cheaper than ground beef or frozen chicken.  But for an even more Fab & Fru alternative, try my recipe for making your own Black Bean Burgers – easy and delish!

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