Created on: March 23, 2010
No one needs to be a vegetarian to enjoy delicious, healthy and colourful meals which don’t include meat. Meat is becoming an expensive luxury item and it is a false economy to buy cheaper meat to save money, if it is of dubious origin. There’s no need to turn your back on meat but eating it every day is an expensive way to pump yourself full of unnecessary fats. A few meatless meals will save you dollars and could even prove beneficial to your waist line.
If you look to the foods of other countries you will see many dishes which are cooked without using meat and the recipes can be excellent. There are traditional dishes in many cuisines which don’t include meat, as at one time it wasn’t widely available.
Here in Southern Greece you could eat well for a week in local tavernas without even realising that meat hadn’t featured on your plate. Vegetables such as eggplants and courgettes are lightly fried in olive oil as tasty appetisers; saganaki is a fried cheese staple as is feta cheese baked in the oven with plump tomatoes and peppers. Briam is a rich vegetable casserole of onions, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers, cooked in olive oil and herbs, providing a rich sauce.
Lots of Indian cookery does not include meat but has wonderful curries with okra, cauliflower, or lentils. Serve them with chappati bread or poppadoms, and chutneys. Mushrooms are a hearty substitute for meat and can be cooked in a tasty sauce to go with pasta or rice. Potatoes are a filling cheap substitute to meat; roasted with garlic they taste divine; baked and stuffed with cheese; cooked as French fries with eggs; there are many options without having to search for substitute meat options.
Legumes also make filling meals. In Greece a hearty bowl of fasoladia is a thick white bean soup, easy to prepare. Filling meals can be made from thick homemade soups served with bread and cheese and cost practically nothing to make. Red lentils make an excellent soup base too. When salads are in season you can really indulge in delicious tastes without the need for meat. Fresh tasty corn on the cob can be cooked on the barbecue for extra flavor.
You don’t need to turn your back on meat to enjoy many meatless meals but if you cut down on the amount of times you serve it you will be sure to save money on your grocery shopping. There’s no need to miss out on protein either as eggs, beans, nuts and other foods contain enough to meet your needs. As well as saving money you’ll be giving your body a rest from animal fats and possible doses of antibiotics fed to the animal whilst it was reared. Don’t think of a meatless meal as an endurance test but instead check out some recipes you can enjoy which will be nutritious, healthy and tasty.
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