Have you heard about Meatless Monday? This movement encourages families to skip meat in their meals just one day a week in order to improve their health and help the environment. Perhaps you like the idea, but you don’t think your kids or spouse will go for eating tofu or veggie burgers, even if it is only once a week. Good news! There are tons of other family-friendly options that are not only easy to make, but are also so tasty that your brood may not even realize they are eating a meatless meal. Here are a dozen simple yet delicious dinner ideas to get you started.
1. Eggplant Parmesan. Pasta dishes are a wonderful resource for Meatless Mondays. Thick slices of eggplant complete with crispy breading are an ideal replacement for breaded chicken or veal. Serve with your favorite pasta, making sure you use pasta sauce that does not include meat.
2. Macaroni and cheese. A pan of creamy baked mac and cheese topped with crisp breadcrumbs, crushed potato chips or even bits of cheese-flavored crackers makes a satisfying meatless meal.
3. Pizza! Load up with meatless toppings. Anything goes from bell peppers and mushrooms to pineapple and pine nuts.
4. Burritos, tostados or tacos. Load tortillas with refried beans, cheese and veggies for a meatless Mexican feast.
5. Breakfast for supper. There are many meatless morning meals that you can enjoy in the evening instead. Eggs and toast, pancakes or French toast are all yummy and inexpensive to boot.
6. Ravioli. It does not get much easier than boiling a bag of frozen cheese ravioli and topping it with a jar of meatless marinara. Served with salad and a crusty loaf of bread, this dinner will get rave reviews.
7. Vegetarian chili. Cook up a batch with canned kidney beans, red beans, crushed tomatoes and your favorite herbs and spices. Serve with warm cornbread.
8. Loaded potatoes. Top baked potatoes with sour cream, cheese and chives, salsa, vegetarian chili or any other meat=free toppings. Make it even simpler by baking them in your slow cooker while you are at work.
9. Soup and sandwiches. Grilled cheese with a side of warm tomato soup is a classic meatless meal that adults and kiddos adore any time of the year. Experiment with different types of cheeses and breads for delicious gourmet sammies.
10. Quiche. Fill a premade pie crust with eggs, heavy cream, cheese, veggies and seasonings and bake to golden perfection. Try out different combinations, such as broccoli and cheddar, spinach and Swiss or bell peppers, tomatoes and asiago.
11. Red beans and rice. This Cajun classic is substantial and spicy. Buy the packaged variety and just add water, or make it from scratch with red kidney beans, chili powder and tomatoes.
12. Calzones. Similar to pizza, you can fill the doughy pockets with cheese, marinara and loads of your favorite veggies. Use refrigerated dough and jarred sauce for a Meatless Monday meal in minutes.
Chances are good that your family already loves many of these meals. Try serving one each Monday without making a big deal about it being meatless. Before long, they may be looking forward to the beginning of the week.