For years now, I’ve been trying to do at least one vegetarian dinner a week. And failing miserably. At this point, I have one vegetarian recipe – Four-Cheese Stuffed Shells with Smoky Marinara – that I make for winter dinners with some regularity. I would be very happy to make vegetarian pizza all the time, but that won’t work for my carb-watching DH. I’m not sure where I came across press for the Meatless Monday movement (I think it was the Huffington Post), but I’m glad I found some impetus to do this!
I didn’t mention anything about it to DH until last night. The only meal he plans is breakfast which is easily made meatless, although ours typically includes some kind of pork fat. He readily agreed since we both know that while you should eat it while you can, we don’t want teenagers with cholesterol issues. I announced the idea to the kids this morning. No comment from W. Disgruntled mumblings along the line of “this is stupid” from B.
Meatless lunches were no big deal: peanut butter and marshmallow on wheat for W, cheese tortellini for B. I made a greek salad wrap with hummas on a tortilla for me and enjoyed it thoroughly. DH claims to have had a peanut butter sandwich, but I find this somewhat suspect since he has eaten very few sandwiches in the last 6 months and he knew I was making Panini (with my brand-spanking new Panini press he gave me for my birthday) tonight.
For dinner, DH and I made Garden Minestrone from Cooking Light and a Michael Chiarello recipe for Panini with Mozzarella and Tapenade from Food Network. I made a few changes – subbing vegetable broth for the chicken broth and adding pesto and tomato paste as recommended by some reviewers. Here is my slightly modified recipe for the soup:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chopped yellow squash
3 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup corn kernels
4 cups chopped tomato, divided
3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1/2 cup uncooked multi-grain macaroni pasta
1 (19-ounce) can Cannelli beans, rinsed and drained
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons pesto
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Stir in squash, zucchini, carrot, and corn; sauté 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.
Place 3 cups tomato and 1 can broth in a blender; process until smooth. Add tomato mixture to pan; return pan to heat. Stir in remaining 1 cup tomato and remaining 2 cans broth, pesto, salt and peppers; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
Add pasta and beans to pan; cook 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, and add additional salt and pepper. Ladle soup into individual bowls; top with cheese. Garnish with coarsely ground black pepper, if desired.
DH, W and I all really enjoyed our soup. B ate his reluctantly (a familiar theme?). All in all, I am declaring our first Meatless Monday a success!