From February 2014:
We’re shocked. While I was making dinner last night I suddenly realized that the only meat we consumed all week was two chicken breasts in a quinoa casserole on Wednesday. It’s happened then. We’re Flexitarians. Quasi-vegetarianism has crept up on us by such slow degrees that our capitulation to it feels anticlimactic. (Last month I did think it was a little funny when, spotting an article entitled: “Cauliflower Steak–Better Than the Real Thing?” in a cooking magazine I not only read it but took notes. I put it down to stress at the time.)
It all started a few years ago, when I began trying to cook vegetarian at least once a week. That was a shift in thinking because I was used to planning meals by thinking first of what meat to cook: rotating chicken, beef, pork, fish, etc. Then moving to the UK helped me know how to reduce meat portion sizes within healthy limits, as meats are sold in these amounts. In the beginning of all this my main vegetarian recipe was an Eggplant Parmigiana, a version I developed after several years of soggy experimentation.
Over time we’ve added a few more, especially recently, but it’s a slow process. This week we’re having spinach and tortellini soup and caesar salad*, the chicken and quinoa casserole, tomato soup and cheese souffle and cauliflower with brown butter, eggplant parmigiana, and chickpea curry and rice. The problem is, my vegetarian repertoire is limited. We have a couple of really great no-meat recipes, but if we’re going to keep this up we need more. That’s where you come in.
Thus began the 2014 Part of the Main contest: Best Vegetarian Recipes. A periodic contest is all part of the main fun, and, unlike The Baby Name Contest of 2010 and The Baby Hair Contest of 2011, this one served a useful purpose at the same time. We spent the next six weeks reading, sifting, choosing, planning, shopping, and making a host of vegetarian recipes submitted by our small and faithful readership scattered across three continents. Then I posted our top eight–see links below. (Also, for more vegetarian recipes on this blog, try the category Dig for Victory.)
The Winner: Stuffed Acorn Squash
Number Two: Pasta e Fagioli
Number Three: Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Number Four: Vegetable Enchiladas
Number Five: Broccoli Cheddar Soup With Homemade Croutons
Number Six: Spinach Lasagne
Number Seven: Butternut Squash and Quinoa Stew
Number Eight: Sweet Potato Tacos and Loaded Sweet Potatoes