Ideas for reducing meat consumption

Do you scratch your head wondering what to make for dinner if you are committed to keeping some of your meals meatless? I first think of meals that we eat all the time that are naturally meatless such as Eggplant Parmesan. Next I think of meals that no one would probably notice if the meat was gone like spaghetti. I actually think it is kind of fun to substitute real meat with one of the many products on the market that mimic meat or even better, invent my own.

 

  • There is no piggy in this chorizo taco.

    There are so many great meatless items to put in tacos. Occasionally I try out different meat replacement products to go for a meat like taco. Now, I need to be gluten free, which limits me. As a result, I will not be commenting on products made with seitan. Last night I made chorizo style tacos with a pea based meat replacement made by “Beyond Meat”. It comes either refrigerated or frozen and I find it to be mildly seasoned. Since I was the only one in the household eating it I bumped up the flavors with garlic powder, chili powder, hot sauce and fresh lime juice. Before I heated the product in a pan, I sautéed some onions with little olive oil. I found the product just a tad dry so I added some salsa. The mixture was piled on a homemade tortilla with cilantro, avocado a little cheddar jack and homemade slaw. I served the tacos with beans and more of the slaw. Muy delicioso.

  • The less meat, more veg, grain free meatloaf

    Meatloaf is one of old standbys that can stand up to a lot of experimentation. Tonight I wanted to make a meatloaf that was light on the meat as well as grain free. My intention was to use coconut flour as the binder but low and behold, I was out. Oh well, re-group and try something different. I used almond meal and a little bit of chestnut flour as my binder. Just to be on the safe side, I added a tablespoon of potato starch. I could have added corn or tapioca starch instead but the down side to any of these starches is carbohydrates they add. However, the main point of this exercise tonight was to show that you do not need to have as much meat as you would think. This gives an opportunity to fill out your loaf with vegetables that blend in beautifully. I started by finely chopping up my vegetables in the food processor. I added a large onion, several carrots, about half of a fresh tomatoes and several softened sun dried tomatoes, and some precooked sweet potato. Then I looked to see what scraps of left overs I had that would add to this loaf. I had a few pinto beans and some left over faux chorizo. I really did not need much meat once all of that was in there. I bought a small package of organic grass fed ground beef. Normally I would need at least a pound but I got away with a little more than half a pound. The rest of it was the same as usual with eggs, spices, fresh herbs and Worchester sauce. One more little add- in for a little extra flavor was three dried shitake mushrooms that I ground to a fine powder in my spice grinder. I sauced it with a little left over spaghetti sauce and baked it until firm. The result was a little softer than I have gotten in the past with coconut flour, but it held up well enough to slice. If I would have been thinking I could have added about ¼ cup of flax meal, which really works great to bind baked products. The other carbo cheater in this photo is those silky mashed potatoes. There is actually only a little potato in them. The rest is a whole head of cauliflower, which was cooked until tender and then pureed in the food processor. They are creamy and good and a great way to reduce the carbs.