In the back of my planner I keep a running list of our favorite dinners. The list includes baked chicken parmesan meatballs, minstrone soup, a sesame salmon soba salad, and plenty of other things, and I am constantly looking for new favorites to add.
I’ve had that in mind as I’ve done our meal planning throughout this pandemic, and a few weeks ago I decided to add a new layer of challenge- healthy, satisfying dinners that are also vegetarian. I’ve done vegetarian weeks in the past but was thrilled to get a commitment from Mark this time too, and off we went.
We started on Sunday night, and I made a vegetable lasagna extremely loosely based on this one. I quadrupled the amount of vegetables I used, didn’t puree the filling, and baked it in a 9×13 pan instead, and it was delicious and decadent. Most surprisingly, Eddie ate this for days and requested this “pizza” at every meal.
On Monday I kept it simple and light and we had this Southwestern Kale Power Salad with Sweet Potato, Kale, and Avocado Sauce. Later on that evening Mark told me he was “coming around to sweet potatoes,” so even if we had ended our vegetarian adventure right there, it would have been a strong win in my book.
Tuesday I turned to Yotam Ottolenghi and made his lentils with eggplant, tomato, and yogurt. Sadly, this was the biggest flop of the week. I think my food temperature and texture were off, and I even tossed the leftovers instead of eating them for lunch (which I never do. I love leftovers.)
Wednesday was a huge hit- Ottolenghi’s pea, Zatar, and feta fritters and gorgonzola and spinach-stuffed baked potatoes. The fritters were reminiscent of falafel, but lighter and fresher. I loved these and ate them for lunch and even breakfast for many days to follow.
Thursday night I had a school board meeting so I prepped and baked our black bean and sweet potato enchiladas early. I didn’t follow a recipe, just essentially made rolled tacos and stuffed them all together in a 9×13 pan, topped them with enchilada sauce and cheese, and baked them. I think that this was the meal that could have most easily fooled a hardcore meat-eater, if that’s what you’re looking to do. They were delicious and hearty.
On Friday I kept things super simple and we had spaghetti tossed with arugula microgreens and burrata. It was also finally warm enough to eat outside.
On Saturday, for our final night, I made easy black bean, corn, and sweet potato tacos served with a mango and avocado salad.
Honestly, I could have kept going indefinitely. I’ve been thinking a lot about from where we get our meat, how much of it we eat, and the environmental and health impact, and, while I recognize my privilege in even having the flexibility to simply dabble in vegetarianism, I’m doing what I can to have a positive impact on our world and on my family’s health.