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By Jill Johnson Henscheid, CD, RD, Gundersen Nutrition Therapy

Find Healthy Recipes

How about a vegetarian recipe?

Ever find yourself in a food rut? Nothing sounds appealing, meal prep feels boring and no matter how hard you try to put the zip in your cooking, it just isn't working? That was my experience a few months ago so I decided to wipe the dust off my vegetarian cookbook.

A common misconception is that vegetarian is about never eating another morsel of red meat but just for just for clarification, vegetarian can vary from no source of animal products to including dairy, seafood or fish. I like all kinds of meats, poultry and dairy products and truly eat a wide variety of foods.

But when I couldn't muster up another night of chicken, potatoes and broccoli, I decided to work at improving my weekly menu for one month My approach would be moderate, not overwhelming, and would include at least a few ingredients I knew we already all enjoyed.

Here's how I did it:
1. Pick three favorite family meals.
2. Take meat out of the recipe ingredient list for each meal.
3. Review the "meatless" versions of the recipes and decide if replacing meat with a plant-based alternative would alter the recipe too much. Would it be worth a try just once?
4. Pick alternative plant product from list (see below).
5. Be prepared to experiment a few times with recipes to find the most flavorful combination.

I've included a couple of my favorite meals for you to sample. Remember – preparing a vegetarian or plant based meal can add some culinary adventure and health benefits, reduce your food budget and even fix a food rut!

Examples of plant-based alternatives:

  • Cooked or canned beans, lentils, peas
  • Nuts, seeds, nut butters
  • Tofu, tempeh, seitan
  • Quinoa, barley, brown or wild rice
  • Oatmeal, steel cut oats

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