The Daley Question

Vegetarian meals: Ideas?

Exploring the possibilities of meat-free dining

  • Pin It

Looking for some vegetarian meal ideas beyond grilled cheese (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune / October 19, 2012)

Q: Hubby is dieting by eating vegetarian as often as possible. It's been a week, and he is getting bored quickly. Do you have any recommendations for some vegetarian dinner meals that are nutritionally complete, and are not simply variations of chili?

—Judy Greene, Huntington, N.Y.

A: Your husband's timing is impeccable, Judy, because there seem to be more and more cookbooks and magazine articles and newspaper stories these days about eating vegetarian, whether all the time or just once in a while. It's easier to go vegetarian now than ever before.

I just did a story about how a vegetable-centric diet continues to evolve called "Flex Time" that featured a Moroccan stuffed squash from Sara Forte's new book, "The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods" (Ten Speed, $25). Read the story here.

Forte, based in Dana Point, Calif., offers lots of good recipes and menu ideas. Take a look. Besides "The Sprouted Kitchen," other recently published cookbooks with plenty of dishes you can use include: "Grain Mains: 101 Surprising and Satisfying Whole Grain Recipes for Every Meal of the Day" (Rodale, $24.95) by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, both of Colebrook, Conn.; Seattle-based Michael Natkin's "Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution, With 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes" (Harvard Common Press, $24.95); and "Vegan Indian Cooking" (Agate Surrey, $19.95) by Chicago's own Anupy Singla.

Don't think everything vegetarian in your house must be something new — although there's a certain spark of excitement in the discover, I think. You can make some simple switch-outs in what you are cooking now. Replace the chicken in a stir-fry with pieces of extra-firm tofu (brush the tofu with some dark soy sauce or barbecue sauce for more oomph). Make your own pizza, replacing the sausage or pepperoni with assertive Greek black olives, sprigs of fresh thyme and caramelized onions. Swap out a hamburger for grilled whole artichokes with a chipotle aioli or jarred salsa on the side for dipping. Serve up bowls of tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches — just because.

Do you have a question about food or drink? E-mail Bill Daley at: Snail mail inquiries should be sent to: Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611. Twitter @billdaley.

  • Pin It

Search our recipe database:

Search Recipes  

Food Trends, Tips & Recipes

Season your turkey with Cuban flavors

Season your turkey with Cuban flavors

Give thanks for a turkey seasoned with memories.

Dressed in black

Halloween fare dressed in black

Set an elegant tone come Oct. 31 for a grown-up Halloween dinner with noir-hued dishes.

EATINGWELL: Healthy caramel apple needn't be short on taste

Healthy caramel apple that's not short on taste

This healthy caramel apple recipe has just enough caramel to give a nice hit of salty-sweet flavor in each bite for a tasty dessert.

Rich pumpkin tart without using dairy

Rich pumpkin tart without using dairy

A cheesecake-like pumpkin tart made vegan with tofu is flavorful and rich.