I realize only two weeks late that perhaps I should update you all on how our meat-free January went.
It went -- fine.
The beginning of the month and end of the month transition periods were more difficult and were rife with cheating for a number of reasons. First, it’s hard to quit something cold turkey from one day to the next when you still have meat in your fridge. I wasn’t about to waste food, so we consumed what we had and then shopped for more groceries that didn’t include meat items. The end of the month held the same challenge -- we weren’t about to go shopping to fill in three or four days of meals -- AGAIN -- when we had a freezer full of meat-based items we could make meals with to tide us over for a week or more.
Otherwise, it was a good practice in being creative with meals and meal-planning and consuming less meat. Did I feel a big difference in my health/weight? No. Am I becoming a vegetarian? No. Will I make consuming less meat a habit? Yes, but I was already kind of doing that anyway. January happened to be a concentrated effort. It was not an earth-shattering, eye-opening sort of experiment; it wound up being more a way for me to stretch my ideas on what putting together a “complete” meal looks like. And that doesn’t always have to include meat, seafood or poultry.
On that note, here’s a sampling of some meat-free meal ideas for you from both my blog and others around this here Internet!
at the red table
Goat Cheese and Tomato Omelets
Linguini with Tomatoes and Brie
Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Personal Pizza Rosa on Naan
Rigatoni and Goat Cheese
Roasted Veggie Fajitas
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Tacos (Joy the Baker) – must make these pronto.
Havarti and Asparagus Quiche (The Three Little Piglets) – havarti – with dill! – swoon. Also, on my must-make list.
Low-Fat Baked Ziti with Spinach (Skinnytaste) – I heart lower-fat, comforting Italian food. Sign me up!
Slow-Cooker Black Beans (Eat, Live, Run) – I made a version of this, too, but this was the original inspiration. So good. So easy.
Thai-Style Omelet (The Kitchn) – Okay, to be truly vegetarian, you’d have to skip the fish sauce, but doesn’t this crispy little omelet look divine?
Tomato and Baby Bell Pepper Tartlets (Eat Yourself Skinny) – I’ve made a version of this, too, but instead of fat-free mayo, I used reduced-fat cream cheese. The cream cheese, garlic and parmesan combo is killer. SO tasty. Also, I subbed crescent rolls instead of puff pastry. I have bad luck with that stuff.
Wheat Berry and Bean Salad (Oh She Glows) – I have made this salad, sans the beans. It is so refreshing and makes a ton for quick lunches. Super healthy and easy to make. If you haven’t tried wheat berries – do! They are chewy and good for you, a bit like brown rice or quinoa -- but not.