Here we are at Week 5! We’ve discussed how to use beans to replace meat, talked about tofu, increasing the amount of grains and greens and whether or not to include dairy and eggs in our regular eating plans. This week we’re going to talk about Going Full Flexitarian.
The key to eating the flexitarian way is to make sure you have ingredients, seasonings and equipment on hand that will help you succeed. This is true for any eating plan, whether it’s Clean Eating, Low Carb, Paleo, SeeFood ( 🙂 ), whatever.
To help you stock your pantry, create a list of five flexitarian meals your family likes and use them as your go to meals. Make sure you have the ingredients on hand and be diligent about restocking. On nights when everything conspires against you, you’ll still be able to pull together a meal that doesn’t compromise your principles.
Finding balance is extremely important. Personally, I have to work at it to make sure I don’t fill up on bread and potatoes (and let’s face it, wine) at the expense of eating enough veggies. The following examples all use at least one staple ingredient. While they’re not my go to meals, they serve as examples of some of the many items to be made from a well stocked pantry.
For example, the onion tart pictured above uses butter, flour, cream cheese, hard cheese, and caramelized onions. The onions take about an hour to caramelize, but they only need the occasional stir while they’re cooking. You can make a large batch while doing something else in the kitchen. The caramelized onions can be frozen until you need them. [Staples: onions and/or frozen caramelized onions, flour, butter]
Roasting vegetables and serving them over rice is a great way to use up the oddball bits of veggies that seem to accumulate in the fridge (it’s not just me, is it?). This particular batch was eggplant, onions and tomatoes seasoned with smoky paprika and cumin and served over lemon scented rice. I threw in a handful of chopped dates at the end of the cooking time, but I could have easily added raisins instead because I keep them in the pantry. [Staples: rice, seasonings, onions, dates/raisins, lemons]
Since we keep pasta and crushed tomatoes on hand, pulling together a pasta dish like penne alla vodka is easy. If I don’t feel like vodka cream sauce, I can still make any number of pasta dishes from simple ingredients I keep on hand. [Staples: dried pasta, crushed tomatoes, block Parmesan cheese, fresh basil]
In general, the staples we keep on hand are the ones we’ve discussed for the last five weeks: beans, eggs, grains (including pasta, flour and bread), and vegetables; leafy, root and otherwise. In addition, we use a lot of olive oil and a wide variety of herbs and spices both dried and fresh.
From these items I can make the vast majority of our meals. The choices expand greatly with the occasional addition of meat. As you can see, all it takes to Go Full Flexitarian is a well stocked pantry and a set of core recipes. Of course, a resource like this website helps a bit, too!