Meatless Mondays & Beyond: Healthy Eats Throughout The Week

How To Take Meatless Mondays Through Taco Tuesdays and Beyond
Stretching the healthy eats throughout the week

Eating Meatless isn’t just for Mondays. It’s a way to keep both your budget and your weight down as you stretch the concept out throughout the week.

You can also eat the foods that you already recognize, from meatloaf to tacos to pasta sauces, using a few basic plant-based ingredients.

Let’s begin with the protein-filled basic lentils, part of the legume family. Cooked lentils add fiber and nutrition as well as mimicking a meaty texture. In many preparations, they can be mistaken for hamburger.

Mushrooms also add that umami, meaty taste/texture. Always make sure mushrooms are cooked for maximum flavor and nutrition. Mushrooms exposed to sunlight during growth will also supply Vitamin D. Mushrooms also absorb bad bacteria in the gut microbiome and studies show they may be highly effective against breast cancer.

Cauliflower is a heavy hitter in the texture category, especially when minced or riced and makes an excellent dairy-free white sauce.

Beans, also members of the legume family, add in fiber, folate, and Vitamin B3 (niacin). Beans make excellent burgers and thickeners in soups, sauces, and meatloaf. All legumes stabilize blood sugar.

Even when not going completely free of meat, sprinkling additional veggies such as these into your meals on an ongoing basis will add to your nutrition and help with your food budget.

No Meat, Please Recipes

Roasted Cauliflower Steaks
(serves 2 per head of cauliflower)
Ingredients
1 head cauliflower
2 Tbl good oil
Quick BBQ Sauce

Directions
Cut away the stem and leaves of the cauliflower, leaving some of the stem intact to hold the steaks together. With a sharp knife slice off the two outer edges of the head and then slice down the middle, making two large steaks. Heat the oven to 400°. In a cast iron pan or another heatproof pan that can transfer to the oven, heat the oil until shimmering. Carefully place the steaks in the pan and cook until slightly charred on the bottom. Flip and cook for another minute and then transfer the pan to the oven to bake for 20-35 until the steaks are browned and soft.

Quick BBQ Sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 Tbl molasses
1 Tbl cider vinegar
1 Tbl yellow mustard
salt & pepper
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
Directions
When you place the cauliflower in the oven above, throw in the unpeeled garlic beside the steaks and let roast until soft, 20-25 minutes. Remove the cloves and squeeze the garlic into a blender or food processor with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and adjust the taste.

Meatless Tacos
(serves 4-6)
Ingredients
½ cauliflower head (this makes good use of the above leftover cauliflower from the steaks)
2 Tbl good oil
½ white onion, minced
½ green pepper, minced
1/2 c brown or green lentils cooked in water for 15 minutes or until soft
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chipotle powder or liquid from can of chilies in adobo
2 Tbl chili powder
1 cup tomato sauce
1 Tbl tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste

Directions
In a food processor, process the cauliflower until it resembles rice. Set aside.
In a large pan over medium heat, add the oil. Stir in the onion and green pepper and saute 5 minutes until soft. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring often, until the tomato sauce reduces down and everything pulls together, about 10-15 minutes. Serve as you would normally in taco shells or tortillas with your favorite toppings.

Mushroom Lentil Sloppy Joes
(serves 4)
Ingredients
16 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced (mixing it up will give it even more flavor so use whatever mushrooms you like, even the white button kind)
2 Tbl olive oil or grapeseed oil
1 Tbl fresh rosemary, chopped
½ c yellow onions, diced
1 c brown or green lentils cooked in water for 15 minutes or until soft
½ c tomato paste
2 Tbl red wine vinegar
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbl molasses
dash of Tabasco
salt and pepper
hamburger buns or gluten free buns

Directions
Pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped. Heat a large skillet on medium heat and add the oil. Stir in the mushrooms and onion and stir occasionally until softened, 4-5 minutes. Add the rosemary and cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid, maybe another 4-5 minutes. Add the lentils, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, Tabasco and stir until combined and warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on the buns.

Best Black Bean Burger
(serves 6-8)
Ingredients
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
4 tablespoons good oil, divided
1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 large green or red pepper, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup roasted cashews
1/2 cup finely crumbled feta or cotija cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
¼ cup sweet potato, cooked
1 whole egg
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cheese as desired, such as pepper jack, cheddar, muenster, or Swiss (optional)
6 to 8 hearty hamburger buns, toasted
Condiments as desired, such as Chipotle Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise (optional)
Toppings as desired, such as shredded lettuce, sliced onions, and pickles (optional)

Directions

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 350°F. Spread black beans in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven and roast until beans are mostly split open and outer skins are beginning to get crunchy, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
While beans roast, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
Place cashews in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until chopped into pieces no larger than 1/3-inch, about 12 short pulses. Add to bowl with onions and peppers.
When beans are slightly cooled, transfer to food processor. Add cheese. Pulse until beans are roughly chopped (the largest pieces should be about 1/3 of a full bean in size). Transfer to bowl with onion/pepper mixture. Add mayonnaise, sweet potato, egg, and bread crumbs and season with salt and pepper. Fold together gently but thoroughly with hands. Patty mixture can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days at this stage. The patties are easier to cook when cold.
To cook on the grill: Form bean mixture into 6 to 8 patties as wide as your burger buns and brush top sides with oil. Place on hot side of grill oiled-side down and cook without moving until first side is well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Brush tops of burgers with oil. Carefully flip and continue cooking until second side is browned, 3 to 5 minutes longer, topping with cheese if desired.
To cook indoors: Form bean mixture into 6 to 8 patties as wide as your burger buns. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add 4 patties and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until well browned and crisp on first side, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer, adding cheese if desired. If cooking more than 4 burgers, cook in batches, keeping cooked burgers on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet in a 200°F oven while second batch cooks.
Spread top and bottom buns with chipotle mayonnaise or other condiments as desired. Add toppings to top or bottom bun as desired. Place patties on bottom buns, close burgers, and serve immediately.

Quick Sauces for Pasta

Red Pepper Pumpkin
1 small jar roasted red peppers, drained
½ onion, chopped
1 Tbl good oil
1 Tbl fresh sage, minced, or ½ tsp dried
1 can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
salt & pepper

Directions
In a blender or food processor, puree the roasted red peppers until smooth. Set aside.
In saute pan over medium heat cook the onions in the oil until soft, 4-6 minutes. Add the sage and stir for another 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin puree and the pureed red peppers and mix well. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for7-10 minutes until heated through. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add water or veggie stock until the desired consistency.

White Bean Cauliflower Alfredo
1 /2 – 1 head cauliflower (depending on the size)
1 Tbl good oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can white kidney or cannellini beans, drained but reserve liquid
½- 1 cup veggie broth
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt & pepper

Directions
Separate the cauliflower into florets and place in a food processor. Pulse until the size of rice. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat the oil on low heat and add the garlic. Stir for 30 seconds and add the riced cauliflower. Meanwhile, add the beans to the food processor and puree until smooth, adding in the reserved liquid if needed. Add to the saucepan with the cauliflower. Start by adding ½ cup of the veggie broth, turn up the heat to medium and cook for 10-12 minutes, adding more broth if the sauce is too thick. At this point, if you want a smoother sauce you can either puree again in the food processor, carefully in a blender, or with an immersion (hand) blender. If you are taking this step, let the sauce cool for 5 minutes before proceeding with the food processor or regular blender. You can then put the sauce back into the saucepan and reheat, if necessary. Stir in the Parmesan cheese at the last minute and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed. If the sauce is too thick, add water or veggie stock until the desired consistency.

The following recipes can be found on my webpage at lifebalancehealthcoaching.wordpress.com

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Quinoa Meatballs
Pulled “Pork” Sweet Potato Nachos
Zucchini Fritters
And more

 

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