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A Non-Vegetarians Guide to Cooking for a Vegetarian - 3 Great Meat Alternatives
I have always been a self proclaimed carnivore for the majority of my life. I have enjoyed eating all kinds of meat, even getting dirty while doing it; snapping bones, cracking open shells and finding meat gems in-between fat and cartilage. In retrospect, this really is horrible. Nevertheless, I did it and still enjoy eating meat now and again, although my taste for it lately has been going to the way side quite a bit.
It started with falling in love with a man who is a vegetarian. Now, before you start forming thoughts of how he made me feel guilty or looked down upon me eating meat, I have to stop you. It was actually quite the opposite, he held no judgement of my eating habits whatsoever, hmmm...possibly reverse psychology? Regardless, he never did and still does not criticize me for eating meat. I will be honest, I still occasionally crave it and when it is a strong one I will enjoy myself to a serving, therefore, I do not consider myself a vegetarian...yet?
The biggest challenge of spending my days with a vegetarian is what to cook for dinner? What can I cook we will both enjoy? I am not a big fan of tofu, at least not as of right now, and I get bored with just vegetables and grains, so I turned to the meatless products that are available.
It took a bit of time, in finding the right ones for both of us; however, I am more than pleased to say we found three so far we really like. His list is longer than mine; however, he has had years of forgetting what real meat tastes like, if you are a non-vegetarian cooking for a vegetarian here are three fabulous options of meat alternatives:
Amy’s Quarter Pounder Veggie Burger; enjoy the classic American burger, without the heart stopping grease. Add cheese, avocado, red onion and/or barbecue sauce to these bad boys and you won’t even realize that what you are eating is meatless. I prefer the quarter pounder because it has the “weight” of a real hamburger, but the regular patties are just as good in taste, but not quite big enough to fill a bun.
Tofurkey has numerous products available, I prefer there Italian style sausage, with sun-dried tomatoes and basil. These are great for grilling on the barbecue and a fabulous alternative to a good old fashioned hotdog. They taste great and are far healthier for you. Real hotdogs, are made of left over meat parts, full of fat, sodium and who knows what else. Hotdogs made of the real stuff can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Yikes!
Pasta, Tacos and Beyond
My favorite so far, drumroll please...Smart Ground by Lightlife. These veggie protein crumbles are amazing and come in original or Mexican flavored. I have only begun to experiment with them but they have been a hit every time. I even made a meatless bolognese sauce for pasta. Being Italian, the classic bolognese sauce is a must have and an absolute comfort food for me. Next I am going to try my hand at making some meatballs and lasagna with this wonderful new find. The Mexican flavored smart ground delivers just as good, they are a delicious meat substitution for tacos, burritos, nachos and quesadillas.
In short, cooking a vegetarian meal that is enjoyed by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians is quite possible, even healthier for all involved. If you are new to this I would highly suggest one of the three meatless meats above.
It has been an interesting new journey cooking vegetarian meals and I have only just begun. I am now on a mission to continue discovering great meat alternative products that give me the protein I still need and tricks my mind into thinking I am eating the real thing.