Thinking about going veggie? Check out some of my tips for new vegetarians.
My first full year as a vegetarian has come and gone! I’m happy to say that I rarely crave meat anymore. I did cheat – once. I was warned by other vegetarians and vegans, it’s just not the same after you’ve cut meat out of your diet, but somehow those warnings went right over my head until I tried it myself. I ordered a sandwich from a local restaurant and since I haven’t had one in five years, my go-to order had sliced ham. I couldn’t fathom the sandwich being any good without ham! Mistake. The first few bites were just okay but as I continued, it got continuously more gross until I had to stop eating it altogether and pick off the ham. It just had a weird texture and it was not appealing in any way. Consider that lesson learned – I went to Chipotle for the first time since I went vegetarian and tried both the veggie and Sofrita (tofu) options instead of cheating and going with my old steak order. I’ll probably stick with plain ol’ veggie. The Sofrita reminded me of taco meat seasoning which is not my fav.
Another lesson I learned this year is how to feed myself good food when I don’t want to cook or clean. While I’m a huge fan of cooking. delicious. food, sometimes I’m busy or tired or I just don’t feel like cooking or doing a thousand dishes. Here are some easy recipes I lean on during those times.
Banana Berry Smoothie: Classic or Tropical
- Frozen strawberries or mixed berries
- 1 Banana
- 1/3 c. Rolled oats
- 1 c. water, dairy or nondairy milk [Classic Recipe] or orange juice [Tropical Recipe]
- 1 handful Leafy greens
- 1-2 tbsp. Nut butter
Add everything to blender. Blend. Seriously, that’s it. In a rush in the morning or need a quiet routine? Make them a week in advance, store in the freezer using individual blender cups / mason jars / etc, and thaw overnight in the fridge to enjoy a simple and quiet morning routine. Consider adding frozen pineapple & peach instead of mixed berries with orange juice for a tropical blend. Rinse out the blender right away with hot water and if there are no food allergies in your home, you can reuse it all week before succumbing to washing with hot water and soap.
- 2-3 pcs. Whole wheat toast
- Butter or mayo
- 1 large Egg
- 1 leaf Romaine lettuce
- 2 slices Tomato
- 1 slice Swiss cheese
Who doesn’t love a breakfast club? Toss your bread in the toaster while you fry up an egg. Wash and slice the tomato and lettuce, add butter or mayo (or avocado!) to your toast. Stack everything into a sandwich using toothpicks to hold it together while you slice, serve, and enjoy. The only things you’ll have to wash are a pan, spatula/flipper, butter knife, cutting board, and plate.
- 2 Portobello mushrooms, julienned
- 1 large Bell pepper, julienned
- 1/4 Yellow onion, diced
- Fajita seasoning
- 1/4 c. Water
- Cheddar cheese, grated
- Roma tomato, diced
- Romaine lettuce, chopped
- Optional: sour cream, guacamole
There are a ton of recipes for fajita seasoning online that you can make in advance, or just cheat and buy the store bought stuff! Caramelize the onions in a frying pan first before adding mushrooms and bell peppers. Add fajita seasoning and 1/4 c. water and turn down the heat to low while you prep the toppings – lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc.
Vegetarian Slow Cooker Chili
- Dried black beans, soaked & rinsed
- 1 jar Plain pasta sauce
- 1/2 Yellow onion
- 1 Roma tomato, diced
- Carrots, diced
- Broccoli, diced
- Optional: sour cream, grated cheese, dinner rolls
Add all ingredients to slow cooker except optional ingredients. Cook on low-medium heat for 5-8 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Serve hot with sour cream and grated cheese as optional toppings and dinner rolls.
There are tons of simple recipes you can make if you take advantages of the flexibility of smoothies, salads, and the beloved slow cooker. Mix and match ingredients in your morning scrambled eggs or evening spaghetti. Spinach & mushroom is a favorite flavor combo I love to use in dinner recipes.