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10 Ways to Eat Less Meat

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10 Ways to Eat Less Meat

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from Fine Cooking #106 (Aug/Sept 2010), pp.54-61.

There are lots of good reasons to eat a little less meat these days. But who knew that what’s good for the environment, good for your health, and good for your wallet could be so much fun for the cook, too? Once you cook with (and eat) less meat, you’ll find yourself adding a great new lineup of dishes to your weekly repertoire. Here are ten delicious stratagies with a half dozen recipes for each to help you get started.

Strategy #1: Use Meat as a Condiment
Sometimes all you need to turn a vegetable side dish into a satisfying main course is just a little bit of full-flavored meat, such as bacon, ham, salami, pancetta, or sausage. All add big flavor in small amounts. A seasonal gratin gets even heartier with the addition of bacon.

Indian Summer Gratin with Butternut Squash, Potatoes, Corn & Bacon Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Arugula & Prosciutto Yukon Gold Rush Grilled Pizza
Indian Summer Gratin with Butternut Squash, Potatoes, Corn & Bacon   Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower, Arugula & Prosciutto   Yukon Gold Rush Grilled Pizza

 

Warm   French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage Summer Corn   Chowder with Scallions, Bacon & Potatoes Creamy   Chickpea Soup with Crisp Chorizo
Warm French Lentil Salad with Smoked Sausage   Summer Corn Chowder with Scallions, Bacon & Potatoes   Creamy Chickpea Soup with Crisp Chorizo

Strategy #2: Have Breakfast for Dinner
Eggs have a lot going for them: They’re a great source of protein, they’re almost always in the fridge, and they’re the basis for many different dishes. An omelet of smoked Cheddar and sautéed leeks, a savory bread pudding with roasted late-summer vegetables, or a frittata with pasta and summer greens—do any of these sound like they should be relegated to breakfast? You get the point.

Spaghetti Frittata with Arugula and Fresh Herbs Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese & Artichoke Quiche Garlic & Herb Fried Eggs
Spaghetti Frittata with Arugula and Fresh Herbs   Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese & Artichoke Quiche   Garlic & Herb Fried Eggs on Toast with Prosciutto Crisps
Chive & gruyere Omelet Tuscan Poached Eggs Summer Vegetable Strata
Chive & Gruyere Omelet   Tuscan Poached Eggs   Summer Vegetable Strata

Next Strategies: Give Veggies Top Billing and Turn Salad Into Supper [[[PAGE]]]

Strategy #3: Give Veggies Top Billing
Change the way you think about portions and make a larger-than-usual amount of roasted or sautéed vegetables. This way, you can serve a smaller amount of meat and the plate will still feel abundant. Try using vegetables as a bed for that smaller portion of meat.

Corn, Sweet Onion & Zucchini Sauté with Fresh Mint Roasted Ratatouille Sweet and Spicy Roasted vegetables
Corn, Sweet Onion & Zucchini Sauté with Fresh Mint   Roasted Ratatouille   Sweet and Spicy Roasted Vegetables
Jewel Roasted Vegetables Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta Curried Chickpea & Summer Vegetable Stew
Jewel Roasted Vegetables   Grilled Vegetable Salad with Feta   Curried Chickpea and Summer Vegetable Stew

Strategy #4: Turn Salad into Supper
Dinner salads are, by their very nature, less-meat meals—and they’re incredibly versatile. The secret to making a dinnerworthy salad is a generous mix of interesting ingredients: lots of greens, plenty of satisfying add-ins (like nuts, cheeses, and avocado), and flavor-packed vinaigrettes. Then you need only a small amount of protein—a few shrimp or scallops, or several slices of chicken.

Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Tomato and Black Bean Salsa Spinach Salad with Chicken, Cashews, Ginger & Fried Wontons Watercress Salad with Steak, Sauteed Shallots & Stilton
Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad with Tomato and Black Bean Salsa   Spinach Salad with Chicken, Cashews, Ginger & Fried Wontons   Watercress Salad with Steak, Sauteed Shalltos & Stilton
Wilted Arugula Salad with Crip Potatoes, Feta & Warm Black Olive Vinaigrette Vietnamese Style Chicken Salad Romaine, Bacon & Tomato Salad
Wilted Arugula Salad with Crip Potatoes, Feta & Warm Black Olive Vinaigrette   Vietnamese Style Chicken Salad   Romaine, Bacon & Tomato Salad

Strategy #5: Discover Grains
Hearty grains are filling foundations for (nearly) meatless dinners. The grains section of your supermarket is packed with varieties you may not have tried, from wheat berries and bulgur to quinoa and millet. Many of these grains are good sources of protein, easy to prepare, and can be made ahead.

 

Provencal Wheat Berry Salad with Shrimp and Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette Risotto-Style Heirloom Farro Quinoa and Avocado Salad
Provencal Wheat Berry Salad with Shrimp and Mustard-Caper Vinaigrette   Risotto-Style Heirloom Farro   Quinoa and Avocado Salad

 

Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Gremolata Wehani Rice & Barley Salad Bulgur Salad with Wilted Chard & Green Olives
Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Gremolata   Wehani Rice & Barley Salad   Bulgur Salad with Wilted Chard & Green Olives

Strategy #6: Add “Meaty” Flavor
There are some ingredients with such satisfying flavor (what the Japanese call “umami,” or the fifth flavor) that they can make a dish without meat taste meaty. Use any of these with vegetables, grains, legumes, or pastas, and you won’t miss the meat:

• sautéed or dried mushrooms
• roasted or sun-dried tomatoes
• roasted eggplant
• toasted nuts and nut butters
• caramelized onions, leeks, or shallots
• miso

Broccoli & Shiitake Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce Miso-Mushroom Soup Eggplant and Tomato Gratin with Mint, Feta & Kalamata Olives
Broccoli & Shiitake Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce   Miso-Mushroom Soup   Eggplant and Tomato Gratin with Mint, Feta & Kalamata Olives
Oven-Roasted Eggplant Sesame, Snow Pea & Shiitake Pasta Salad Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions, Green Beans, and Fresh Corn
Oven-Roasted Eggplant   Sesame, Snow Pea & Shiitake Pasta Salad   Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions, Green Beans, and Fresh Corn

Strategy #7: Try Tofu
You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat tofu. Extra-firm tofu is meaty and filling, making it a fine addition to summer kebabs on meatless nights. The great thing about tofu is that it absorbs the flavors of the ingredients it’s cooked with. Try adding it to summer veggie soups, stir-fries, and grain pilafs.

Sesame-Ginger Tofu and Shiitake Kebabs Seared Baby Bok Choy with Tofu Thai Red Curry with Tofu
Sesame-Ginger Tofu and Shiitake Kebabs   Seared Baby Bok Choy with Tofu   Thai Red Curry with Tofu
Vegetables and Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce Udon with Tofu and Stir-Fried Vegetables Red-Cooked Tofu
Vegetables and Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce   Udon with Tofu and Stir-Fried Vegetables   Red-Cooked Tofu

Strategy #8: Be a Vegetarian By Day
Meat can sneak into every meal of the day if we let it, so try going meatless for two out of three meals. Make a yogurt, blueberry, and granola parfait for breakfast. For lunch, have an avocado, tomato, and Cheddar sandwich or a bowl of vegetable soup with croutons. Save the daily meat for dinner.

Artichoke, Leek, and Taleggio Frittata Grilled Portobello & Goat Cheese Sandwiches Toasted Pita and Herb Salad
Artichoke, Leek, and Taleggio Frittata   Grilled Portobello & Goat Cheese Sandwiches   Toasted Pita and Herb Salad
Open Face Brie, Apple, & Arugula Salad Autumn Vegetable Soup Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes
Open Face Brie, Apple, & Arugula Salad   Autumn Vegetable Soup   Black Bean Soup with Sweet Potatoes

Strategy #9: Consider Shellfish
When deciding what’s for dinner, shellfish is rarely the first thing that comes to mind. But since mussels, oysters, clams, and scallops are smart, sustainable buys, why not put a steaming bowl of mussels or a shellfish chowder on your menu?

Steamed Mussels with Bell Peppers, Watercress, and Herbed Toasts Grilled Mussels, Clams & Oysters Clams with Basil Broth
Steamed Mussels with Bell Peppers, Watercress, and Herbed Toasts   Grilled Mussels, Clams & Oysters   Clams with Basil Broth
Spicy Steamed Mussels with Lemongrass, Chile & Basil Seared Scallops with golden Shallot & Grapefruit Sauce Butter Roasted Oysters
Spicy Steamed Mussels with Lemongrass, Chile & Basil   Seared Scallops with golden Shallot & Grapefruit Sauce   Butter Roasted Oysters

Strategy #10: Keep it Varied
On meatless nights, have a repertoire of versatile recipes at the ready. Try homemade pizza dough with a variety of meatless toppings, or fried rice with a range of meatless add-ins. Baked pastas and simple fresh tomato pan sauces for pasta are also endlessly variable. Use FineCooking.com’s Recipe Makers to create thousands—yes, thousands—of your own custom recipes.

 

Frittata Pasta Salad Baked Pasta
Create Your Own Frittata Recipe
  Create Your Own Pasta Salad Recipe   Create Your Own Baked Pasta Recipe
Pizza Risotto
Create Your Own Grilled Pizza Recipe   Create Your Own Risotto Recipe  

 

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Season 4 Extras

Topping, VA (409)

Pete welcomes us to Virginia on this episode of Moveable Feast, where we meet skilled oystermen Ryan & Travis Croxton, as well as chef Dylan Fultineer. Dylan brings Pete to…

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