Sunday, May 5, 2013

Turning Lunch into Dinner

May 5, 2013

Today was a beautiful sunny day. We spent the entire day outside which for us means grilling. I wasn't sure how we would be able to incorporate the deliciousness of the grill with our newly vegetarian lifestyle.

We found a recipe for black bean burgers on Food Network. It is a mixture of onion, garlic, black beans (half of the can left whole), cilantro, parsley, egg, cayenne, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. My hubby grilled the burgers along with a basket of red and white onion, mushrooms, yellow squash, and zucchini. We topped the burgers with cheese (I had American and he had Pepper Jack) and a tomato/avocado/cilantro/lime juice mixture. I also had a layer of spinach on mine. Lunch was awesome! We got the great grilling taste and I don't feel like I missed out on anything by not doing a beef burger. It still wasn't quite the texture of beef but it was definitely something we will make again. The kids didn't have lunch with us. Are you ready to hear what they had? McDonald's. Ew. I only allow them to eat it a few times a year. I did have them try a bite of my black bean burger to see what they thought though. They both liked it and said they would like us to make them again.

We talked about today being Cinco de Mayo and knew we wanted some type of Mexican food for dinner. My daughter heard my hubby and I talking about vegetarian and vegan. She asked what vegan was. I explained the difference to her (vegan does not eat any meat or any animal products such as cheese, sour cream, ice cream, or milk) and she said she wants to be vegan. WHAT?! How does my ten year old have more will power than I do? Who knows if she will really do it or how long it will last. Either way, I am impressed with her for wanting to give it a try. We all agreed that we should make fajitas. The ones we made last week were so good that we were craving them again already.

My hubby grilled up red onion, red and orange peppers, and portabella mushrooms. We also heated up the leftover black bean burger from lunch and crumbled it into our tortillas. We then topped the black bean crumbles with the grilled veggies, lettuce, avocado, the leftover tomato/avocado/cilantro mixture, more cilantro (because really is there ever too much), sour cream, and mexican cheese. We served it with a side salad of romaine lettuce, spinach, red onion, carrots, tomato, mushrooms, avocado, and sunflower seeds.

I was plating my meal and when I sliced the fajita in half a few portabella mushroom pieces fell out. I grabbed one and popped it in my mouth. I started saying "mmmmmmmmmm" before I realized what I was eating. I was focusing on getting the plate ready for a picture and "forgot" that we were vegetarians for a minute because it tasted just like a piece of smoky beef. It must have been the paprika we used. I was surprised that the mushroom had enough texture to it to make it seem like beef. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that you will be fooled into thinking that each bite of your fajita is beef. However, it really is a great substitute. Everyone really liked the black bean fajitas. My daughter made her salad and I handed her the bottle of Ranch dressing (it is the only dressing she eats). She hesitated and asked, "what's in this"? I told her milk. She decided to skip it and try Italian instead. She also skipped sour cream and cheese which are two of her fav's! Yay daughter!

Have you tried a vegetarian meal? We are a week and a half in and with all the flavorful food we have had I haven't really missed beef/pork/chicken. I hope the longer we stick with it the easier it will get to think of ways to change some of our favorite "meat" meals into vegetarian substitutions.

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