Vegetarian Meals for Rednecks - Sound Nutrition with a Little Humor Added
Redneck Food Pyramid
Good Ole Guys' & Gals' Vegetarian (Almost) Meals
These meal ideas and recipes are NOT vegan. They may or may not be vegetarian, depending on the products you use..
They come close to vegetarian, but no one will slap your paws if you have slight amounts of animal meat products in the foods. The purpose is to give good ole gals and guys ideas on how to use their comfort foods in combinations that are meatless (therefore probably less expensive), and provide the combination of amino acids to be substitutes for meat (more on this below.)
Baked Beans and a Grain
Make a huge pot of baked beans. I mean HUGE because that is going to be about one-half of the meal. If your family recipe calls for adding sausage, ground meat, bacon or other animal flesh – do not do that. This does not mean you can’t include one of those globs of unknown white fat such as are commonly found in store-bought canned beans. Just don’t add meat. If you make your baked beans from scratch, soaking your dried beans and all that, you may add one piece of bacon for flavor, but otherwise this is supposed to be meatless. (Read the title of this article.)
Options for the grain half of the meal: cornbread, corn chips, French or Italian crunchy bread, breadsticks, pretzels, rolls, noodles, or rice. Potato chips don’t qualify. Potatoes are not a grain.
You could do bagels, if you are of the Jewish redneck persuasion. Or oatmeal if you are a funky Scaw-ish redneck. Personally, I recommend something that is very crunchy or chewy to meet the need to be tearing and gnawing away at meat flesh.
Diet for a Small Planet - A Good Book
This book, published in 1971, proposed that meat parts (amino acids) in its protein. It stated that plants never contain all the parts, but by combining the right plant foods or plant and dairy foods in the same meal, you can mimic the important parts of meat protein.
You can agree or disagree with this. However, it is interesting that many people across the country and the world have made special dishes that seem to fit into this theory. An example is the famous New Orleans red beans and rice. Hmmmm…
The combination of baked beans and cornbread falls into the category of legumes (fancy name for the bean family) plus grain. Diet for a Small Planet claims that this is one of the good combinations that re-create protein like meat.
Mac 'n' Cheese
Macaroni and cheese does not mean the neon-orange stuff from a box that takes only 10 minutes to make. I don’t know if there is any real dairy product in that. The combination that makes this a good meatless meal is grain plus dairy. I would trust a frozen dinner macaroni meal before I would trust the day-glo mix in a box. If you want to make it a little different, use noodles other than traditional macaroni curved tubes. Try wagon wheels, alphabets, bow ties, or twisty rotini.
Also, think about a cheese-only lasagna. It meets the same grain plus dairy requirement. Whichever you serve, make a HUGE pan of it.
Breakfast Special: Rice Krispie Treats and Ice Cream
Hoo-wee! Who suspected that these could make a complete protein? Yes, they do. This is the grain and dairy product combination recommended by Diet for a Small Planet. It is the super-sweet version of macaroni and cheese. Just because you are going meatless does not mean you want to lose weight or anything silly like that!
If you and your family need more on the table than the main dishes, how about eating some green stuff? Or orange or red? I’m talking green beans, salad, carrots, peppers, and all that rabbit food. If you can handle raw or lightly cooked, these will give more crunchiness to be chewed in place of meat. Of course, a brew or two never hurts.
Git 'er done
If you can handle a meatless meal once in a while, you might save a buck or two and that is never a bad thing. Let me know how it goes!
Maren Morgan has not yet done the krispie treat and ice cream for breakfast. But, now that she has figured out its benefits, hold on to your Wal-Mart gift cards!
Photo and text copyright 2012 Maren E. Morgan