Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Three Simple + Yummy Vegetarian Dishes

I like to cook for others, it's how I show I care, but dating a vegetarian has come with its own set of challenges. Not only will he never get to taste my baked chicken or juicy ribs, but my expertise in the vegetable department is severely lacking. Growing up in a Dominican home, our dinners consisted of our three major food groups: rice, beans, and meat. Any small amounts of veggies were either mixed in with the rice or the salad so as to ensure that consumption went unnoticed by us picky eaters.

Last fall, my weight had dipped back down to 76 pounds and by the time the new year rolled around I was barely clocking in at 79 pounds. I haven't been my baseline weight of 86 pounds (and even that just barely gets me into "normal weight" territory) since 2008, but just a couple months into the new year, I gained five pounds. I'd met with a nutritionist and started making my daily smoothies again. I was feeling happier, eating more overall, and stocking up on two of my boyfriend's favorite foods: eggs and avocados. We'd start the day with a hearty breakfast often consisting of vegetable omelettes, banana pancakes, and a homemade smoothie. We'd snack on fruits throughout the day (mandarins were my obsession as I began weening off of juice) and then have a variety of pasta, salads, rice, beans, and veggies for dinner.

Below, three tasty dishes you can whip up for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Breakfast: Quinoa is a nutrient-rich food, high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. And while I'd only ever had it once before this year, I've come to see it as a healthier alternative to white rice. Cook quinoa in a rice cooker or a saucepan according to instructions (typically one part quinoa and two parts water, bring to boil, reduce to simmer, and cover until liquid is absorbed). In a separate frying pan, sauté tomatoes and onions with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add in an egg or two and continue cooking until eggs are done. Turn off heat and mix in quinoa. Top with avocado.

Lunch: I don't see myself ever being able to say goodbye to bread. I could attempt to curb my sugar consumption in all kinds of ways, but bread will always have space in my heart and in my tummy. For a filling sandwich, try using eggs, avocados, tomatoes, greens, and sprouts. I love sprouts so much when I order Asian food, but I don't know why I don't keep them in constant stock. They add a fun texture to my sandwiches.

Dinner: Pasta! And green stuff? Apparently cooking kale properly is tricky. Sauté a washed bunch in a large pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper and cover for 30 or 40 seconds until it turns a deep green color. Then turn over and remove from heat before it overcooks and turns bitter. In a separate skillet, sauté diced tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix in kale and tomatoes to pasta of your choice like gemelli shown here.

Do you try to limit your meat consumption? What are some of your favorite vegetarian dishes?

1 comment :

  1. I was always the opposite to you. I was picky about meat, and even worse when it came to fish. As a child I went through what my brother calls "vegetarian phases" where I wouldn't eat meat for a while. About eight or nine years ago I gave up on trying to eat meat, and became a full time vegetarian.

    I know you're a creative person, so let me give you a tip: most of your favourite meat recipes can be adapted to be vegetarian friendly, and all you need to do it is a bit of creative thinking (and the ingredients you plan to use, of course). For example, a favourite of my family is toad in the hole (sausage, tomato and onion, cooked in batter) served with roast potatoes and peas. So, I substituted the sausage for mushrooms, and suddenly the dish is vegetarian friendly.


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