According to a 2014 survey from the Vegetarian Resource Group, a third of eight to 18-year olds say they eat vegetarian meals at least once a week. Whether it’s once a week or every night, having a vegetarian at your dinner table when everyone else eats meat can pose a mealtime challenge … or a delicious opportunity!
Check out my five tips below for pleasing everyone, whether they’re vegetarian or not.
As a busy parent myself, I suggest you either prepare one meal for everyone that’s meatless yet still appealing to everyone in your family or choose recipes that can do double duty. Read on for my tips…
Make Soup: Soups like bean and veggie-filled minestrone are hearty, so the meat lovers at your table will feel full and satisfied after a steamy bowlful. But don’t stop there. Give my Peanut Butter & Chickpea Soup a try or cook up my Lentil Alphabet Soup made with legumes, vegetables, and pasta.
Offer Meat-free Burgers: Frozen veggie burgers are a hearty alternative to beef or turkey burgers. Topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, and ketchup and served on a whole grain bun, they’re an ideal stand in. Grilled Portobello mushrooms—which tend to have a ‘meaty’ texture and flavor— are another mouthwatering swap.
Make Steak … with Cauliflower: This is one of my favorite veggie “hacks” ever! If you slice a head of cauliflower into “steaks” and then bake them, you’ll end up with hearty veggie steaks that mimic the mouthfeel of an actual steak. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the texture is comparable and oh-so satisfying. Learn how to make cauliflower steaks and get my recipe for Cauliflower Steaks with White Beans here.
Use Meat-free Grounds: Faux ground beef “crumbles” can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. Hearty and substantial, they look like ground beef and taste like it too. Use them instead of beef or turkey in tacos, sloppy Joe’s, and lasagna.
Make-Your-Own Pizza or Taco Night: Pizza and tacos are easy to adapt to individual taste and diet preferences. For pizza, set out a bunch of toppings—broccoli, mushrooms, sautéed bell peppers, shredded mozzarella cheese, cottage cheese, fresh herbs, and lean chicken or sausage—and let everyone create their own pie … some with meat and some without. Do the same for tacos with beans, shredded cheese, corn kernels, diced avocado, salsa, and sautéed ground beef or turkey.
Do you have a vegetarian in your family? What are your tips for preparing one meal that satisfies everyone in your family?