I have spoken to so many people who would love to reduce/eliminate meat from their diet but live in a meat-heavy home and don’t know how to go about doing so. AND I TOTALLY GET IT. Making two different meals every night downright sucks and eating the same meal without the meat isn’t ideal either.
It took a bit of adapting, but over time I have gotten into a rhythm with my family that feels pretty effortless. I have to give them tons of credit because they’re really good about sometimes having vegetarian meals without grumbling.
But a lot of the time when I’m not away at school, we adapt recipes into two versions; one with meat for the guys and one without for my mom and I; my family doesn’t exactly break any gender stereotypes when it comes to our meat-eating tendencies ha! That might sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not so bad. With all of the right ingredients out and prepped, it’s usually just a matter of making one extra protein and dirtying one extra pot.
Today I wanted to share a few examples of how we do that. Excuse the sub-par photos; I just did a quick scroll through my phone of ones I had on hand and was too excited to share this post to wait until I had better ones of everything!
Chicken Fajitas –> Portabello Mushroom Fajitas
We just divide the peppers and onions into two pans: one with chicken and one with mushrooms. You can season each with the same mix and voila! In this photo the mushrooms are marinated in the most delicious concoction from the Oh She Glows Cookbook (IMAGINE THAT).
Chicken/Pork Stir Fry -> Tofu Stir-Fry
When we’re making a stir-fry, we make two batches of the sauce and chop twice the veggies. We then just fry up some meat while frying some tofu and typically serve each respective version over rice or quinoa.
Pepperoni Pizza –> Veggie Pizza
Don’t really feel like I need to do much talking about this one other than umm.. PIZZA.
Beef Tacos –> Lentil Tacos
Very similarly to the fajitas, we just simmer some lentils in a spice blend while we’re cooking the ground beef and all of the other fixings are the same!
Beef Spaghetti –> Lentil Spaghetti
This is one meal that we seem to only make the vegetarian version of these days because it has the stamp of approval. You can just use your favourite spaghetti recipe and sub the ground beef for lentils. Keep in mind that lentils really expand as they cook so as little as a half cup goes a long way – even in a big batch!
Meat & Side Dishes –> Bean Patty and Side Dishes
Keeping veggie patties in the freezer is great not only to use as burger substitutes but also when you need a “main” to accompany side dishes. This one was black bean and zucchini, if I remember correctly!
And lastly, I wanted to mention a few go-to meals that are inherently vegetarian but that seem to appeal to everyone.
When we need something really quick, eggs are always our fall-back. We usually fry a bunch and then make our own breakfast-style sandwiches on english muffins. The misters usually include bacon but I go for tomato, avocado and salsa. So good!
As I said, I can totally relate to being intimidated by the thought of eliminating meat when you’re eating with a family that isn’t on the same page. But I can also promise that it’s possible to co-exist and to do so happily and healthfully.
Let me know if you have any questions!