It was a general Tuesday afternoon, and as usual, my kids were doing their indoor circus act while I was trying to figure out what's for dinner. Rupert, my sweet little tumbler had recently made the decision to go vegetarian, and Priscilla was supporting him wholeheartedly. I found myself needing to recalibrate my culinary skills to meet their growing enthusiasm for plant-based meals. Here, I am sharing some of the most popular, delicious vegetarian dishes and recipes that I have successfully tried and satisfied my kids.
Finding a suitable replacement for the conventional meat filling in a typical Mexican taco was a bit daunting - I'm not going to lie. However, remember we're thinking flavor here, folks. Crunchy shells, layered with a textured vegetable and black bean filling, topped with some melted cheese and fresh salsa - vegetarian tacos have now become a staple in my household. They bring versatility to the veggie realm, and believe me, when you add some tangy lime dressing to it, it opens up a new dimension of mouth-watering flavors.
After my daunting but successful venture into vegetarian Mexican cuisine, I was itching to bring more variety to our dining table, so I decided to teleport us to India with their traditional dish, Palak Paneer - spinach accompanied by smooth cubes of cottage cheese. Now, this is not just any spinach gravy, this dish is a hearty blend of spinach, tomato, ginger, garlic, and spices. It is mildly spiced yet packed with flavor. Paired with soft paneer cubes, not only did this dish bring a sense of adventure to our meal times, but it swiftly became a family favorite. I wouldn't be surprised if you heard Rupert explaining the intricacies of Palak Paneer to his friends.
Our taste buds, by now, were used to surprises, and next up was a Mediterranean classic: Spinach and Feta Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms. In this recipe, hearty Portobello mushrooms are stuffed with a savory blend of spinach, feta, onions, and tomatoes. Topped with more feta and baked until golden brown, this dish sends waves of warm Mediterranean flavor with every bite. The mushroom caps act as a tender casing for the flavorful and hearty stuffing, making this dish a vegetarian's dream. Not to mention, it also happened to be an excellent way to get Rupert to eat his spinach - a "Popeye Protein" tactic, as he likes to put it.
A well-made stir-fry is a testament to the beauty of mixing textures and tastes. And the best part about it is how flexible it is. You can mix vegetables of your choice and toss them around with your favorite sauce. I usually go for a medley of colorful veggies like bell peppers, broccoli, snow peas, carrots - the works! I then toss them in a homemade sauce of soy, ginger, garlic, and a hint of sweet chilli. Both the kids love this dish - Priscilla for its vibrant colors, and Rupert for the challenge of picking up the vegetables with his chopsticks.
Risotto has always been a deceptively simple dish. After all, how hard could a bit of rice be, right? But the magic of this dish lies in the patience and care that it demands. A well-cooked risotto, with its creamy richness is absolutely worth it though. Especially when you load it up with veggies and mushrooms and cheese. A perfectly made risotto is a silky delight, which, as you've already guessed, has found its special place in my vegetarian repertoire.
And finally, I present to you - the evergreen pizza, in its plant-based splendor. A good pizza, in my opinion, is one that does justice to its crust as well as its toppings. Using a crisp, hearty whole-grain crust, slathered with a velvety tomato sauce, and topped with a wealth of vegetables, this pizza will not let you miss your usual meaty counterpart. Factor in the gooey, freshly melted cheese and you have yourself a pizza that marries healthy with heavenly.
Let's not forget the sweet end to any meal. Desserts can definitely be filled with fruits and be absolutely licious. For those with a sweet tooth, I've got you covered. A personal kid-tested, parent-approved dessert in our home is the Baked Apple Berry Crisp - a fantastic medley of sweet, tangy and a crisp topping. I mean, who knew that throwing together fruits and topping them with a crispy crumble, could result in the perfect lip-smacking dessert?
On this flavorful journey through various delightful vegetarian recipes, I've learned that breaking away from the usual meal can open up a world of unimaginably tasty combos. My adventures, needless to say, are far from over. For folks like Rupert and Priscilla, who are sprightly vegetables in their own little garden, this is only the beginning. So here's to many more culinary awakening and adventurous dinners. Cheers!