When I posted a recipe for Hearty Vegan Chili two weeks ago, I had a couple of readers ask me the secret to getting my husband to eat vegetarian meals. The sad truth is that I have no secret and it can be a struggle for me, too. I think most of us are taught when we’re kids that a meal isn’t a meal without some sort of meat. Some people won’t consider eating a casserole because the protein, vegetable and starch are all mixed together. Forget passing off a salad as a meal to my Dad. We all have our food aversions and have to make dinner work for us.
In our case, Marc gets a weird reaction when eating chicken and turkey. Early on in our marriage I tried different sorts of poultry dishes to see if it was truly something he could not eat and we discovered it just doesn’t agree with him. Without those two proteins, I knew we needed to broaden our palate. Fish and vegetarian options became regular features at the dinner table.
Marc favors beef, pork (preferably ribs or bacon) and tubed meat filled with either of those meats. Replacing these preferences for meat-free dishes is a challenge. The vegetarian recipes I make for us need to have a hearty protein that replaces the meat. When we both really enjoy a vegetarian meal together, that’s when I get excited and share it with you.
If you have a husband that feels a meal isn’t a meal without meat, maybe he’ll be swayed by the health benefits and agree to it once or twice a week. If your husband is more frugal, let him know how much less your grocery bill will be when you go easy on the meat. For the environmentalist, go the planet-friendly route. If he’s a hot sauce aficionado, it tastes delicious on veggie meals, too. Be your most charming self for best results.
For this recipe, the traditional beef in Shepherd’s pie is replaced with green lentils and I added worcestershire to create a meaty flavor. It is a comforting meal to take steaming out of the oven on a chilly day and it reheats quite well for lunch. Serve with a side salad and maybe a crusty loaf of bread. See if anyone misses the meat.