Making Monday Meatless: Tasty Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

Posted on: August 11, 2015

Tasty Vegetarian Meals for the Whole Family

By Elisa Bremner

No question about it – a plant-based diet is the healthiest way to eat.  Eliminating or reducing our consumption of meat helps reduce our risks for many chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.  It’s good for the Earth; anything that cuts out the middleman (i.e. animals that need to eat plants to grow) is less taxing on the environment.  And don’t forget – it’s easy on the pocketbook.  So why not take at least one day off from meat each week?  With these creative and delicious ideas, Meatless Monday could make that dreaded day of the week something to look forward to:

Easy Falafel with Tzatziki

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained
½ small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
2-3 sprigs fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. flour
salt and pepper
½ cup canola oil
½ cucumber
salt and pepper
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp. lemon juice

Blend chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, flour and parsley in a food processor until smooth.
Divide into 12 equal portions and shape each into a flat, round patty.
Heat oil over medium heat. Shallow-fry the falafel for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden crisp.
Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

Scrape seeds out of cucumber and grate. Mix with yogurt and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the falafel.

Teriyaki Tofu Triangles

2 Tbsp. Braggs liquid amines (or reduced sodium soy sauce)
1 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tsp. Toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. Honey
2 tsp. Rice vinegar
½ tsp. Grated fresh ginger
one 16-oz tub extra firm tofu
1  scallion, thinly sliced

Combine marinade ingredients and set aside.
Cut tofu into ¼” thick slices.  Blot between clean towels.  Cut each rectangle into 2 squares; then cut squares into triangles.  Place in a shallow dish and drizzle with marinade.  Gently turn tofu over so both sides are coated and leave to marinate for at least 10 minutes.
Heat a nonstick skillet and cook tofu pieces over medium-high heat until tofu is browned on most sides.
Garnish with extra marinade and scallions.

Pasta with Summer Sauce

(recipe courtesy Casa Bianca, Tuscany, Italy)
extra virgin olive oil
1 eggplant
3 zucchini
3 carrots
3 ribs of celery
1 bunch of basil
1 onion
1 tsp. Tomato paste
2 cups of vegetable stock

Chop vegetables into small pieces.  Heat oil in a saucepan and brown the onion with finely cut basil.  Add remaining vegetables and saute until slightly soft.  Add stock and tomato paste and season to taste.  Recipe makes enough sauce for 2 pounds of pasta.  For extra protein, toss in a can of cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained.


Editor’s Note: Elisa Bremner, MS RD CDN is a Registered Dietitian at Northern Westchester Hospital