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Old 08-09-2010, 08:13 AM   #1
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Favorite non-meat main dishes?

I was listening to NPR on the way to work this morning and they were talking about a new movement about people trying to eat less meat. This group of people are doing non-meat Monday's as a way to cut back. I feel that my family relies on meat too much and thought this might be a good thing for us to try.

Please use this thread to share your favorite non-meat main dishes. If you have a recipe to share that would be great, but even just your ideas are welcome.

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Old 08-09-2010, 08:36 AM   #2
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lasagna can be made without meat easily. One can add veg such as spinach, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms. Many pasta dishes can be made without meat. Eggplant parm is another related dish.

Tex-Mex dishes can go veg using rice beans and fresh veg such as tomatoes and avocado.

veg soups, stews, or chilis are all hearty mains that can be constructed seasonally with what's available and with the weather in mind.

Try a Roman meal with bread, cheese, oil, fruit, and various steamed greens with dipping sauces. Take this idea east with a Greek or Middle-eastern flavor adding hummus or falafel, or go north African with spicy veg couscous.

Ratatouille over rice is a fave of mine right about now with all the flavors of late summer.

Eat food, mostly plants, not too much!
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:39 AM   #3
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I love the Roman idea Robo! Not only is it delicious, but it is quick and easy too.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:53 AM   #4
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Some famous chefs you wouldn't expect are supporting it - Mario Batali for one. The real idea is not to give up meat a certain number of days per week, but to see it as a side or ingredient rather than the central component. An example might be BLT's or a big salad featuring roasted veggies and a bit of sausage.

It stems from the concept of slaughtering a large animal, eating cuts of tender meat for awhile, then utilizing preservation techniques to stretch the remaining meat over a long period of time. Throw local fish and birds in now and then, along with alternative protein sources combined properly to provide all the required amino acids.

If you think about it, most cultures developed in this manner - excluding those in extreme polar regions such as the Inuit.

We tend to eat in this way, with occasional meals centered around meat once or twice a week.

Some more examples...

Pizza, pastas, and sandwiches with a bit of really good preserved meat.
Soups and stews with tough cuts and supplemental protein sources.
A commoner meal - lot's of fresh bread, pickles, cheese, and some sausage.
Rice and grain dishes that include some meat as a component.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:51 AM   #5
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exactly! and eating this way is very season adaptable...hearty hot in the winter, cool with little cooking in the heat of summer, and of course making use of what is locally available.
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:08 AM   #6
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I've seen several TV shows/segments which feature Jose Andres. Most recently, last night on "60 Minutes". Andres does a lot with molecular gastronomy. It's fascinating and I'd love to sample it but I don't think it will be mainstream any time soon.

Aside from his fascinating food techniques, his belief is that the future of food is in fruits and vegetables. He states meats are too difficult and don't provide the flavor profiles throughout the consumption process as do fruits and veggies.
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:33 AM   #7
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I would disagree with Mr. Andres concerning "flavor profiles throughout the consumption process"... whatever that means...

While I certainly think the future will see less consumption of grain-fed livestock, I think consumption of locally raised birds and stocked fish (left to mature naturally and then harvested at a healthy rate) will continue to rise.

The need for sustainability will become more and more apparent as my generation progresses forward. It's my primary area of interest within engineering. Seeking green characteristics in design will eventually surpass absolute performance.

That said, I've yet to taste one of these grilled Portobellos that duplicates or surpasses a rib-eye...
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher View Post
...I've yet to taste one of these grilled Portobellos that duplicates or surpasses a rib-eye...


Neither have I. While a grilled portobello has a robust flavor, it ain't meat.
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:11 PM   #9
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Hello GB :)

You may like to try Tomatoes, goat’s cheese and salad leaves.

So simple to make; so beautiful to eat. Use a selection of firm tomatoes (red, green or any of the many shades and shapes available), fry them in sourdough breadcrumbs, then match with leaves and mild cheese to let the tomato flavours shine. I suggest baby spinach, rocket to add a nice peppery contrast… you could even use goat curd. I said “sourdough” because if you find a good baker, this type of bread tastes simply amazing.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little extra
1 tablespoon lemon juice
About 3 oz / 100g breadcrumbs
Salt and black pepper
2 free-range eggs, beaten
1¾ lbs / 800g assorted firm tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
olive oil, for frying
1 large handful mixed mild leaves (dandelion, frisée, mizuna)
1 small bunch dill, leaves picked
optional - scant 3 oz / 80g goat’s curd (or a young and creamy goat's or sheep's cheese)

Make a dressing by whisking together the oil and lemon juice with a pinch of Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper, then set aside. Green peppercorns for grinding make a pleasant change to the black.

Prepare two plates, one with the eggs, the other with the breadcrumbs, mixed well with garlic, salt and pepper. Top and tail the tomatoes, then cut them into slices at least ½ inch /1cm thick.

Put enough frying oil in a medium pan to come ½ inch / 1cm up the sides. Put the pan on a medium heat. Once hot, dip a few slices of tomatoes in egg, shake off the excess, cover well with breadcrumbs, again shaking off the excess, and fry in the oil.

It shouldn't take much longer than 30 seconds on each side for the crumbs to turn golden without the tomato disintegrating.

Transfer carefully to absorbent paper, using tongs or a fish slice. Sprinkle with some salt and gently pat the top with kitchen paper to remove more of the oil. Repeat with the rest of the tomato slices, making sure the oil doesn't get too hot. (You may need to sift out burnt bits of breadcrumb as you go.)

When all the tomatoes are fried and still warm, toss the leaves in with the dressing. Lay out the tomato slices and leaves on serving plates, scatter dill on top and dot with half-teaspoon-sized chunks of goat's curd. Drizzle with a little olive oil and serve at once.
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:12 PM   #10
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Here is a link to the CBS/60 Minutes site where you can watch the clip of his segment.


60 Minutes Video - The Culinary Miracles of Chef Jose Andres - CBS.com
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:42 PM   #11
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Chili Rellanos. I make a roasted vegetable omelet topped with hollandaise that is simply delicous! Vegetarian chili is good and you don't even miss the meat if you use beans.
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:45 PM   #12
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I think molecular gastronomy is fun, but I don't see it as the future.

MG rests on tearing food down and rebuilding it - an incredibly inefficient process that almost completely divorces us from it's connection with the Earth. I enjoy using chemistry and physics to understand the ingredients and the changes that occur in cooking processes. Brewing or cooking Sous Vide are examples. It can also be as "trivial" as examining how to roast chicken to ensure the thigh meat falls off the bone, and breast meat just tips 160ºF (with crispy skin all over).

Deconstructed classics served with components prepared by different techniques misses the best part of the original dish - the harmony of the ingredients made through flame and time.
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholas Mosher View Post
I think molecular gastronomy is fun, but I don't see it as the future...
In my earlier post, I cited his MG as fascinating food technique, not the wave of the future. I should have been clearer. I don't see the average home cook making MG a way of life anytime soon, nor do I think we should.

My reference was to his discussion in the clip about fruits and vegetables being the future over a meat based table. Also his comments about chefs in America taking responsibility for Americans' eating better.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
Please use this thread to share your favorite non-meat main dishes. If you have a recipe to share that would be great, but even just your ideas are welcome.
Quiche
Stuffed eggplant
Spanikopita
Hearty soups
Corn and black bean fritters
veggie ravioli (there are some great frozen ones)
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:50 PM   #15
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Lentil stew, minestrone, green bean and potato salad, shredded zucchini with a sour cream sauce, green beans with a sour cream sauce, Caesar salad.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:55 PM   #16
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GB, if you like Indian food, you're all set. There are many vegetarian recipes from India that are fantastic.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:11 PM   #17
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Years ago, we had dinner in San Francisco, of course it was a restrauant that served fish. I wasn't into fish so chose a dish that was rice with a tomato based sauce. I dug out all the shrimp and scallops, gave them to my son and had rice and sauce. Came home and made my own version of this dish, I added red pepper falkes cried all the way through it. My father loved it and often asked me to make it. Served with a green salad that is icy cold it's delicious. You don't miss fish or meat, The rice does the job. You can add shrimp or scallops but it's great just plain. If you like zucchini, fry it add diced onion and garlic,parsley when zucchini and onion is soft add 6 or 7 beaten eggs a little water, salt and pepper and parmesan cook til eggs are set this is so good add some bread and a salad your set.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:14 PM   #18
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Andy I love Indian food, but unfortunately my wife has not joined me in that yet.

Tonight I made couscous with steamed veggies. It was quick, easy, inexpensive, healthy, and did not have meat.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:26 PM   #19
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GB, have you looked at quinoa? I have a killer recipe for a quinoa salad that is filling, beautiful and tasty.

Also, I like to fill the protein gap with cheese or eggs if we are doing a vegetarian meal. My kids love the grilled cheese sandwich night, and a frequent request is the cracker/cheese/pickles/oysters plate for supper.

I do the tortilla pinwheels sometimes for dinner too and egg, a cheesy mixture one and tuna are the far and away favorites.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:28 PM   #20
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GB, I eat mostly vegetarian, so I have lots of great recipes. Here's a partial list of main dishes - will PM any of these recipes to you if you're interested:

BLACK BEAN PATTIES WITH CILANTRO AND LIME
VEGETABLE CHILI
VEGETABLE COUSCOUS PAELLA
VEGETABLE TEMPURA WITH HONEY-MUSTARD SAUCE
FAUX FRIED EGGPLANT (main or side)
CHICKPEA STEW

SWEET PEPPERS WITH PASTA
FARFALLE WITH SPINACH AND GARBANZO BEANS
SPAGHETTI ALLA CECI (Spaghetti With Chick Peas)
PASTA WITH GARLIC OIL AND TOASTED BREADCRUMBS

VEGETARIAN TORTILLA SOUP
CURRY-LENTIL SOUP

THAI-STYLE PASTA SALAD
CURRIED COUSCOUS SALAD WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES
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