Meatless Monday - Meatless Meals for Carnivores

>> Monday, September 27, 2010

Ah...Meatless Monday!  We have been committed to the concept of Meatless Monday (though our meatless day is not always on Monday) for over a year now.  You know what?  It was an easy transition.  But what do you do if you are a committed carnivore who likes the idea of going meatless but are afraid that finding tasty vegetarian meals will be hard? 

Enter the cookbook The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook:  Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores Will Devour.  If you can't find good recipes on this blog ('cause there are a lot of great meatless recipes in the A Life Less Sweet archives - just do a quick search on Meatless Monday), then this is a great cookbook to turn to.

The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook is filled with recipes that made my husband and I drool.  The recipe organization is unusual, but it works.  There are 52 "menus" - each with a main dish and at least one side dish - divided among the four seasons of the year plus a few "wild card" menus that are great anytime of year.  I wasn't sure what I thought about this layout at first, but I find that I really do like the "menus" even though I'm just as likely to make a summer dish in winter as in summer.

Another thing I fake meat!  After all, if you're a carnivore, why bother with fake meat?  These recipes don't have to rely on gimmicks to be good.  They are delicious vegetarian recipes that will appeal to vegetarians and carnivores alike. 

Each recipe is keyed with icons for gluten-free, kid friendly, dairy optional, vegan, and leftover bonus.  The key is a quick visual that is nice for those with special dietary limitations, parents looking for some thing kid-friendly, or a busy cook that wants a meal that will stretch more than one day. 

For our taste test, I made three recipes from the book.  We tried one of the summer menus - Zucchini and Corn Studded Orzo, and Goat Cheesy Roasted Pepper - and supplemented with a side from another menu - Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce.  All were excellent.  The kids loved the orzo.  So did my husband who still waxes poetic about that dish.  The sides were excellent too, though my goat cheese hating son didn't appreciate the Goat Cheesy Roasted Pepper, and neither of the kids were thrilled with the cauliflower (the adults were, though!). 

Zucchini and Corn Studded Orzo, Goat Cheesy Roasted Pepper, and Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Sauce from The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook
All in all, I am very pleased with this cookbook.  The recipes we tried were easy to follow and very tasty.  There are many others in the book that will be going on our menu soon!

And now a couple of recipes from the book!  The Tempeh Hoagie-Letta is the amazing looking cover photo recipe and the Kale Chips are the accompanying side.  We haven't tried these yet, but if the sandwich tastes half as good as it looks, it will be a winner!

Tempeh Hoagie-Letta
From the book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donnel.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2010

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sesame oil
juice 1/2 lime
1 clove garlic, chopped, plus 1 whole clove
1 tsp hot sauce of choice (optional)
1 (8 oz) package soy tempeh (multigrain or flax is fine, too), sliced into thumb size pieces, about 1/2" thick
3 TBSP vegetable oil
4-6" hoagie rolls (look for something soft)
olive oil, to moisten the rolls
A few slices of smoked Gouda or provolone cheese per sandwich (optional tasty treat)

Fixins Salad:
1/2 medium size onion, cut through root in half, then slice into half moons
1 tsp dried oregano
2 TBSP olive oil
1 large or 2 small celery stalks, washed thoroughly, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2" slices
juice 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup good quality olives (green and/or black), pitted and roughly chopped
1/4 cup pepperocini or your favorite pickled pepper, chopped roughly
1/4 cup roasted peppers (1/2 to 1 medium sized pepper), chopped roughly (jarred is fine)
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
salt and ground black pepper

In a shallow baking dish, combine the soy sauce, mustard, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic, and hot sauce (if using) and whisk with a fork to blend.  Add the tempeh, making sure it's covered in marinade.  Allow to marinate about 30 minutes, turning to coat the second side after 15 minutes.

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the onion, oregano, oil, celery, and lemon juice and stir.  Allow to sit about 15 minutes.  The onion will mellow out a bit with the citrus.

Stir in the olives, pepperocini, roasted peppers, and parsley.  Taste for salt and pepper, and season accordingly (the olives and pickled peppers are salty, FYI).

Can be made several hours or day in advance.  The salad gets better the next day.

Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Remove the tempeh from the marinade and transfer to the skillet to pan-fry.  Don't crowd the skillet; if necessary, cook the tempeh in batches.

Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes.  With tongs, transfer to a paper towel to drain.  Sprinkle immediately with salt. 

Slice the rolls in half (but not all the way through; keep attached along one edge).  In a dry skillet or under the low setting of your broiler, toast the rolls, cut side toward the heat source, until slightly crisp on the inside.  Remove form the heat and rub the insides with the whole garlic clove.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on each roll half to moisten.  Add the cheese, if using, followed by 1/2 cup of salad, topped off with four pieces of tempeh.  Push the tempeh down to meet the salad, squish both sides of the foll, and dig in.

Makes 4 sandwiches

Kale Chips
From the book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook by Kim O’Donnel.  Excerpted by arrangement with Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group.  Copyright © 2010

1 bunch (4 to 5 cups) Lacinato kale (also sold as Dinosaur kale)
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

With a sharp knife, remove the stem and middle rib of each kale leaf so that all you have left are leaves.  Wash the leaves, then dry thoroughly, preferably in a salad spinner.  With a knife, cut the leaves into small pieces (ideally 3" long, 2" wide).

Transfer the leaves to a medium size mixing bowl and add the olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes (if using).  With your hand, coat leaves with the seasonings; the leaves will glisten a bit.

Place the kale in a single layer on a baking sheet, giving the leaves plenty of room to roast.  Cook for 8 minutes, maybe a few seconds more.  Remove from the oven and enjoy.

Makes enough chips for 4 sandwiches or a bowl of TV snacks.  Best eaten within 24 hours, stored in a paper bag.

Many thanks to Da Capo Lifelong Books for providing a sample copy of The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook for review.  All opinions held in this review are my own.


Kara September 27, 2010 at 3:57 AM  

I'm intrigued by this book - we eat meat, but we aim for at least 2 vegetarian or vegan dinners a week and it seems like every family we have over for dinner is veggie or vegan! Would you say there are a fair number of good-looking *vegan* recipes in the book, or do a lot of the good-looking ones have dairy?

cathy September 27, 2010 at 6:48 AM  

Kara - Just flipping through the book, yes, there do seem to be quite a few vegan recipes. And a lot of the vegetarian recipes could be easily adapted to a vegan recipe just by leaving an ingredient or two out.

Good is always in the eyes of the beholder, but I thought that a lot of the vegan recipes looked good. Like Slurpy Pan-Asian Noodles, Roasted Red Pepper Soup, Dino-Mash (mashed potatoes with kale), and Sesame Rice Noodles to name a few.

Kara September 27, 2010 at 9:31 AM  

Thanks, Cathy!

Lori September 27, 2010 at 11:06 AM  

What a great cookbook! I'd love to check this one out for some new meatless ideas. Our meals are largely meatless even though we aren't vegetarians by any means. I often struggle for creativity. So glad you reviewed it!

Amy September 28, 2010 at 4:08 AM  

I've heard of kale chips before from Dr. Fuhrman. I'll have to see if my kids will eat those. Thanks for sharing the cookbook!

Anonymous September 28, 2010 at 3:20 PM  

I eat meat because I do not know enough vegetarians recipes that would allow me to live healthy and eat tasty food at the same time... I need to check this book out !!!

Thanks for that !!!

Sagan September 29, 2010 at 7:50 AM  

I love that there is no fake meat in this book - that makes me oh so happy!

My boyfriend used to be a carnivore, until he started experimenting with vegetarian and vegan foods with me. Now when we eat meat, it's pretty much all local/free-range/organic meats. And we still eat vegan or vegetarian fairly regularly :)

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