Monday, November 18, 2013

Your Meatless Holiday Handbook



As this Meatless Monday rolls around, I know what's occupying my mind, and I'm sure many of you. With a glorious week long break just around the corner, it's all we can do to crank out those last minute assignments, and finish up tests before we can all relax, and call it a day. 

And of course, one of the many exciting parts of this upcoming break will be sitting down at the family table, and sharing a meal to celebrate Thanksgiving. This holiday is known for many signature dishes including green been casserole, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and of course, the main star, turkey.
Which prevents am interesting problem for those us who cut back on meat. When the main star of the meal is meat based protein, what can we eat? 

Not to fear! As someone who only eats meat occasionally, as well as, someone who doesn't even like turkey, I've become sort of a meatless holiday expert. So, if you are choosing to eat meatless this holiday, sit back, relax, grab your vegetable peeler, and read on to find some healthy, delicious, and meat-free holiday dishes from my own personal Meatless Holiday Handbook. 

Meatless Holiday Rules:

1. Don't feel deprived! Just because everyone else is eating turkey, doesn't mean you should feel left out! Just because turkey is one iconic flavor of the holiday, doesn't mean that it's the only one! There are a cornucopia of other fall and holiday related flavor compositions you can add to your dishes! There's cranberry, pumpkin, squash, root vegetables, and greens, just to name a few! 

Tip! So get creative with seasonal produce from your local farmer's market, and whip up something festive!

2. Leave out the meat AND the fat! Too many meatless recipes rely on cheese, cream, and other high fat content ingredients to compensate for the lack of meat. But, you don't need unhealthy and fatty ingredients to "bulk out" your meat-free entrees. Stick with high protein, low fat ingredients instead, like quinoa! And, as always, never underestimate the power of the veg! 

Tip! See a meatless recipe you like, but it's full of butters and creams? Swap them out for healthier options! Fat-free or low-fat greek yogurt is a great substitute for sour cream, or mayo, and has twice the protein! 

3. Spice it Up! Skip the meat, but don't skip out on flavor! Add spices, and herbs to enhance natural flavors, and add new ones! 

Tip! Freeze fresh herbs so they keep longer, and you can have them out of season! Don't have any fresh herbs, dry ones works just as well! 

The Recipes:

Main Entrees:


Roasted Squash stuffed with Quinoa Salad: You won't even miss the turkey when see you this very pretty and delicately stuffed squash. Back with protein, and vitamins A and C, this is a Thanksgiving superstar! http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/roasted-delicata-squash-with-quinoa-salad


Black Bean Lasagna: This is a personal favorite of mine, that I have made for a few years. All the comforts of an italian fest, minus the meat! Fresh cilantro really makes this dish! http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/cheesy-black-bean-lasagne

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup: Nothing is more comforting on a cold Thanksgiving day, than a big bowl of hot soup. Add nutmeg to this soup to enhance the squash flavor, and add some richness! 
http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/roasted-winter-squash-soup/

Sides: 

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables: Perfectly seasonal, and perfectly roasted, these cozy and well seasoned veggies are a colorful option to accompany any dish! 

Roasted Garlic Kale and Quinoa Salad with Cranberries: I'm so excited to try this recipe this year! So many great flavor combinations, garlicky, and savory kale, with tangy cranberries make for one dynamic dish! http://www.foodrepublic.com/2013/11/04/roasted-garlic-kale-quinoa-salad-cranberries-recip



Garlic Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes: This is what I call a fake out! Enjoy the whipped, airy, and comforting flavors of mashed potatoes, but with half the fat, by adding mashed cauliflower! Guests won't even suspect they are being healthier! 
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/george-stella/mock-garlic-mashed-potatoes-recipe/index.html

Skip the meat, and not the holiday flair! Gives thanks this year to family, friends, good health, and delicious meatless holiday fare! 

Happy Holidays and Meatless Monday!
-Kat

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