For the last decade or so, “Meatless Mondays” have been gaining in popularity. I’m more likely to go meatless on Wednesday, when the leftovers from earlier in the week are dwindling.
I have actually converted ground beef recipes into very good meatless meals… Recipes that call for both meat and beans can be made with just the beans. Some (but not all) recipes featuring ground beef are good with cooked lentils substituted for the beef. I have made Picadillo with lentils instead of beef with good results. Also, I converted a recipe I had for Curried Beef to Curried Lentils. (I use about 2 cups of cooked lentils in place of 1 pound of ground beef.) Recipes that call for beef broth or chicken broth can be made with vegetable broth instead. Most Mexican style dishes are good with beans in place of the meat. (I have made Mexican Chef Salad without the meat a few times- its just as good with the dark red Kidney beans as the only protein.)
Meatless Meals from Side-Dishes
Old Southern restaurants once had a feature on their menus called “Veggie Delight”; you were to create your own meal combination by choosing three side dishes to have together. The ideal (most nutritious) formula for this would be to include a protein, a starch, and something green or colorful. Cheese and eggs are good sources of protein. Beans, nuts, and legumes are also good sources of protein but should be paired with a grain or dairy food for maximum benefit. Below are some suggestions for meatless meals that consist of mostly side-dishes.
Baked Potatoes with Broccoli & Cheese
Simple Seasoned Beans, any kind of bread, green salad
Pasta Shells in Tomato sauce – with dark red kidney beans added in
Spinach Potatoes (fried potatoes with spinach and Swiss cheese)
Cranberry-Wild Rice Bake (with pecans added in), Spinach Salad
Scalloped Potatoes, Green Beans with Browned Butter & Pecans
Bean cakes & Green Rice
Cheddar-Macaroni Salad, Corn on the Cob
Mushroom Rice (with white beans or almonds added in), Parmesan Zucchini Sticks
Oven Fries topped with Mushroom Gravy, coleslaw
Macaroni & Cheese, Fried Okra