We ourselves are a "non-religious" vegetarian household, meaning that we cook vegetarian but we will eat meat if it's offered to us. One time when I mentioned we were having tofu for dinner, a friend commented with admiration, "Wow! How do you get your boys to eat tofu?" To which I replied, "I never said that my guys were going to eat it. Just that I was serving it for dinner!" Ha, ha.
But in serving my men-folk lentils and rice, beans of all types and, yes, tofu, day in and day out, I've learned that:
1. I have a 50-50 chance of my almost-five-year-old turning up his nose at pretty much anything I put in front of him (unless it's pizza or spaghetti) so I just need to have a thick skin;
2. repeat exposure changes attitudes (i.e. the first time I serve something new, often no one likes it; but by the third or fourth time, there are converts);
3. it doesn't have to be a big deal. There are so many ways to go veg that meals don't have to look "weird" or be obviously vegetarian.
I'll continue to share recipe ideas that have been a hit with my crew, but here are two to get us started:
If you don't feel like making patties, my mom made this recipe as a loaf. She boiled the sweet potatoes along with potatoes for another meal, then mashed all the ingredients together, including the breadcrumbs. Baked, and voila! Super tasty. (And it's also great as a cold sandwich filling.)
Another favourite was the Steamed Spinach Dumplings recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly book Vegie Food: Low-Fat & Delicious. (Yes, the Australian Women's Weekly --apparently they have the good recipe books, or so said the woman at the cooking paraphernalia shop where I bought this. And it seems they also spell "veggie" without the second "g.") The book is available on Amazon.
In short --and so as to not infringe on copyright-- you make balls from spinach, ricotta, egg, flour and seasoning and then steam them.
I served these dumplings with a tomato sauce over pasta. Though my pre-schooler declined, my two toddlers inhaled them. In fact, the dumplings were so good that even my non-vegetarian in-laws asked for the recipe!
I give two thumbs up for this entire cookbook. If you feel like your vegetarian repertoire is in a bit of a slump, Vegie Food gives some really fresh ideas.
Anyone else have vegetarian recipe hits to share?