Seriously, I’m going to try to post at least once a month from here on out. I lost my way for about a year there (over a year?), but things are working a little bit differently now so I’m getting back into it. Expect a new Post-Grad Life Update soon. Today’s post is about #MeatlessMonday.
What is #MeatlessMonday? Well, simply, we don’t eat meat on Mondays. Veganuary sounded like waaaay more of a stretch than we were willing to do but pulling meat out of our diets for one day a week sounded pretty easy. So far, it has been. Part of that is that living in Austin, it’s been easy to get plant-based substitutes. Though we don’t eat meat the entire day, the only time we really focus on having a fully nutritious meal is dinner, when we are together for the meal and have some time to prepare and cook together. Not only is the goal to cook full meals together, we are also trying to make food that is higher in vegetables and lower in animal fat/protein. Luke mentioned that he wanted to eat more veggies so here we are.
We started #MeatlessMonday on the first Monday of the year, January 6. We didn’t have anything planned very well at that point so we did a pretty basic ramen with fish cakes for dinner. Since then, we have decided that fish is not allowed on Mondays but may end up being another day’s specific protein, Friday. Since then, here’s what we’ve made (links will be at the bottom of the post):
This was an AMAZING grilled cheese. We, as usual, mostly followed a recipe found online, but made adjustments based on what we like better/what we thought would work better. One adjustment I made was to caramelize the onions before putting them into the sandwich. Luke doesn’t like raw onions but loves caramelized onions. Another thing that is different about this grilled cheese is that both sides of the bread are buttered and fried. This was not something that I ever did to my grilled cheese until Luke. It gives more crunch to the bread and the cheese melts a little easier. The last change that I made to one of the sandwiches is that I cooked the apple slices before putting them into the sandwich. I thought that the apples might be too hard/cold without being cooked first. Turns out, I was wrong. The crunch and freshness of them was welcome.
The quinoa salad was interesting but tasty. Quinoa is super healthy and full of protein but doesn’t taste like anything on its own. Luke and I are both big fans of curry and, if you didn’t guess by both dishes containing them, apples. We still have too many. The changes made to this dish were that I did not add raisins, almonds, or pumpkin seeds. I instead put in tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, and potentially some other vegetables that I can’t remember. It was more like a traditional salad with quinoa than a quinoa salad, but it was delicious and a very easy way to eat our veggies that night.
The only thing I “followed” a recipe for for this dinner was to make the potato pancakes. The most difficult part about it was the frying. I also did not remove any of the moisture prior to shaping, so the potato shreds fell apart easily but once they hit the oil, they stayed together pretty well. The Beyond Meat burgers were surprisingly good. They aren’t really seasoned so if you want a seasoned burger you’ll have to do that yourself. I will say that they don’t taste like meat but they feel like it. They mostly taste like Boca Burgers (if you’ve ever had one of those), but because they have the texture of a burger, they are much more palatable. Aside from the fact that they are much more expensive than ground beef, I could eat these regularly as a healthier alternative to cheeseburgers.
This last meal had no recipe followed. I looked some up but most of them just said to season with salt and pepper. We bought a cauliflower and cut it the way that you usually see cauliflower steaks cut. Doing this proved a bit difficult because the florets on the ends didn’t want to stay together. The ones in the photo here were the most steak-looking ones. Instead of seasoning with only salt and pepper, we marinaded the cauliflower overnight in Worcestershire sauce and Montreal Steak Seasoning, my favorite way to marinade steaks. The cooking process was fairly easy- steam the cauliflower steaks in the pan with a lid on then sear/saute once all of the water boiled away. I would have preferred a different side than rice, but we ran out of potatoes and didn’t have the foresight to buy more. The salad was great though because it had apples and an apple cider vinaigrette.
For this upcoming #MeatlessMonday, I bought a different brand of plant-based meatballs and spinach ravioli. I’m really excited to keep trying meatless meals and seeing how to affects us. So far, I think it’s been good.
If you have any meatless meals you like that we should try, please let me know! I love trying recipes from others and we’ll need many more in the future!