A Meatless Month

Gluten-Free White Bean and Harissa Stew

I’m not a vegetarian, but I am finding that as I get older, my inclination is increasingly inclined toward less meat, more veggies. My body feels lighter, less overfilled when I reduce my meat intake (particularly red meat). So I challenged myself to make a month of meatless meals.

The rules are simple: 1) Every recipe I cook must be vegetarian (or vegan); 2) I cannot make it too easy on myself by falling back on pasta dishes (not disallowed, but only one will be added to my menu); 3) The husband can cook meat on his nights in the kitchen. I am not cruel. Much.

Gluten-Free Spaghetti Squash Pizza Crust
This easy-to-make spaghetti squash pizza crust is perfect for low-carb and gluten-free people. Top it with your favorite roasted vegetables or pepperoni. It’s your pizza!

Doing math on my fingers, this means I’ll be making three to four vegetarian meals a week (and that makes me question my one-pasta dish rule). That is, give or take 12 to 16 meals. For a non-vegetarian, I think that represents a good number of meatless meals. I am very curious to see how I feel after this month.

But what am I going to cook? I haven’t nailed down all the dishes yet (I tend to only meal plan a week at a time), but do know several of dishes that I’ll be making. Okay, more than several. It strikes me that the list below is pretty much a full complement of meals for the month. I will note that some of these are just jumping-off points for other recipes / meals. I am a huge believer in using recipes as inspiration, rather than following them literally.

  • Black Pepper Tofu. One of the big surprises since we’ve been practicing Meatless Monday is how my husband has taken to tofu…as long as it’s crispy and delicious! I use cornstarch to help crisp up the tofu in either the oven or a skillet, and use it in stir fries like this one. Oh, and because of my gluten-free limitations, I only use one type of soy sauce.
  • Chickpea Flour Pizza. As noted a few weeks ago, I use chickpea flour a lot, and this pizza is one reason why. The recipe is simple and customizable.
  • Crispy Tofu Tacos with Avocado-Lime Crema . Confession: I used this recipe as a starting point for a salad. The crema is perfect for a dressing, and, ahem, excellent over fish tacos as well.
  • Lentil Bolognese. Serve over sweet potato noodles, as seen here. Or pasta. Or, heck, just eat it out of a bowl. That’s what I do.
  • Nutty Carrot Flatbread. This is a family favorite, and, yeah, not a meal (I don’t think it’s *quite* right for a sandwich). It is simple, delicious, and a bit addictive. I planned to use the leftovers with another meal…the husband finished them off when I wasn’t looking!
  • Spiced Samosa Patties. I love burgers, meatballs, patties…without the bread, of course! These patties are pretty simple, and can be prepared ahead of time. They make great leftovers, and, hint!, are perfect for one of those times you have leftover mashed potatoes.
  • Spinach with Chickpeas and Fried Eggs. Or, Friday night supper. This recipe features items I always have on hand, so it’s perfect for any night of the week, but Fridays seems to be day when I make this most often. Probably because ending the week with a perfectly fried egg is my idea of heaven.
  • Sweet Potato Quiche. File under: there are a million ways to customize this recipe. It’s simple, it’s elegant, and, if you’re like me, perfect to throw together for a party. I use the idea of a sweet potato crust in other recipes as well. Alternatively, I may make this amazing-sounding Spinach and Chickpea Crustless Quiche.
  • Vegan-Paleo Cauliflower Rice Salad . I served this salad for a birthday cook-out, and it was a huge hit. The dressing is light, the flavors are amazing, and people went back for thirds!
  • Vegetarian Dehli Dum Aloo. Basically, I’m trying to decide if this is a side dish or a perfect curry to go with rice or spaghetti squash. Either way, it’s the picture of comfort food!
Vegan and Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Quiche
This vegan and gluten-free quiche is certainly not traditional, but it is delicious. Nutritional yeast and garlic add lots of flavor to the chickpea flour base. Roasted sweet potatoes and spinach add even more flavor.

I have other recipes queued up as well, but I think the above are a great start to this particular challenge. What are you favorite meatless dishes?

Tip of the Week

If you plan to go meatless for a month, expect to engage in a bit more meal prep than you normally do. I’ve added an hour or so to my weekly meal prep day to do extra chopping, mixing, and set-up to make the weeknights go faster.

Gluten-Free Meal of the Week

This recipe! This recipe is amazing! I mean it, it is amazing. And, yeah, spicy. No way around that. But it’s amazing…

Seriously, this was so good. And the leftovers were even better. I managed to sneak enough for my lunches, despite the husband’s best efforts to hide this dish from me. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.

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