Meatless Mondays at Our Little House

When I posted the other day on Living Large’s Facebook page that it was Meatless Monday, one of our friends there asked what this movement is all about.

I’ve been doing it for so long, I had forgotten where I read about the movement. I looked it up and found out Meatless Mondays was an initiative actually started during World War I to help conserve resources for that war effort. You can read more about that here, as well as get some recipes:

I just know it’s a good idea for us for 4 main reasons:

  • Animal welfare: If I had my way, we would be vegetarians everyday here at Our Little House. The reality is though, that Dale will not go vegetarian. He likes meat and as much as I hate to admit it, there are some meat products I not just like, but love. I know things would be different if we had to raise and kill what we ate and that’s the basis for my strong desire not to eat meat. I went to a limited vegetarian diet, only eating fish and chicken, for 9 months. The hassle of making two meals each night was driving me nuts. I settle for two vegetarian meals a week, and sometimes I sneak in some others! In the city, a major retailer sold products from Good Natured Family Farms, a co-op of small family Kansas and Missouri farmers that pledged to raise their animals naturally grazing and chemical and antibiotic free. Strangely enough, the closer we got to nature here, the harder it is to find places that sell free range, natural meat. This is even more of a reason for me to shy away from what we have to purchase here. The documentary Food Inc., if you’ve never seen it, will forever alter the way you look at the meat on your plate. The way factory farm animals live and die leads me to the next reason:
  • Environmental impact: The environmental impact of raising so many animals for our eating pleasure is almost unfathomable. Everyone should read this article on how the planet would benefit if each household made a commitment to go meatless just one day of the week. One of the most startling statistics from this article: We could save greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as produced by all of France. Or, the author’s favorite: “According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads.”
  • Health benefits: Many studies have shown that a diet high in red meat puts us at risk for all sorts of ailments including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer. If that isn’t enough to make you shudder, consider the antibiotics and other chemicals that go into the animals that produce our meat. Unless you’re buying free-range, all natural meat, it is filled with all sorts of stuff that would make you squirm. If each household went meatless just one day a week, the U.S. could save 33 tons of antibiotics!
  • Money Savings: Most of the time, I can save money by going meatless. For example, buying an organic, vegetarian can of refried beans, lettuce and cheese for tostadas is much more frugal than eating any meat dish I can think of, even when adding in the ingredients for making our homemade sauce, as well as cooking rice. This article says the average family could save $50 per month by going meatless just one night.

Here are some of the Meatless Monday ideas I use each week. Please feel free to share others. I have a hard time cooking on these nights, as Dale won’t eat most vegetables:

Lasagna with grilled portabella mushrooms (I even sneak in fresh spinach with this one. Great cool weather meal)

Bean tostadas

Cheese and onion enchiladas

Potato or some cheese soup

Navy bean soup

Pasta with mushrooms

Cheese stuffed shells

Fresh salads (summer)

Vegetable fried rice

Grilled portabella sandwiches with horseradish dressing

Eggplant Parmesan

Stuffed potatoes (with guacamole, cheese and Ranch dressing)

*What’s your favorite meatless dish?

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44 Responses

  1. Victoria Gibson says:

    Ours is potato lasagna. Layer sliced potatoes, sliced (slightly cooked just til translucent) onion rings, and cheese. I add garlic oil, salt, and pepper, and let it cook in the oven on 400 for about 1 hr. 15 mins. for a giant pan of it. Never had any complaints, and my family LOVES meat!!! lol

  2. Frugal Kiwi says:

    We eat a lot of vegetarian mains as they are often tasty! Even have half a cow in the freezer hasn’t changed or veggie dinner loving ways. We don’t have a particular night for it, but it usually more than once a week.

    • Kerri says:

      I wish my husband thought they were as tasty, Frugal. As soon as he notices no meat, he makes a comment, no matter how good it is!

  3. mat says:

    Next time I get one, I’ll try to get the recipe for the World’s Most Incredible Veggie Grinder. For those who don’t know, a grinder is a hot hero/submarine/hoagie, generally topped with melted cheese.
    I’m a red-blooded, meat-searing carnivore, but I always get the veggie grinder at Lenny’s in Conshohocken, PA. I know it’s got tomatoes, onions, carrots, spinach, and pickles (which TOTALLY make it), but I don’t know what they marinated it all in. It’s also stuffed into one of God’s own rolls. I could definitely eat one of those once a week.

  4. Donna Hull says:

    My family always had a meatless day – usually on Wednesday – when I was growing up. My mother did it out of necessity. We lived on a tight budget. I can’t say that I always appreciated an all vegetable dinner. Now I love them in the summer when produce is fresh.

  5. I agree with all this in principle and eat very little meat. Still, I don’t think I could ever make the jump into being a vegetarian.

  6. Merr says:

    Such a good practice. I eat meat on occasion, though not often. I’ve been, for the past few years, switching over to “meatless” clothing (vegan leather, so to speak). I thought it would be difficult to find a purse I liked that was not leather, but now I can’t even imagine using a leather purse! Many of my shoes are not leather now, either, though I do wear Ugg-like boots from Costco to walk the dog in the morning. I no longer wear leather clothing (jacket, coat) or use leather accessories. We do, however, have a leather chair. Hmm. Progress, but certainly not perfection in this area for me.

  7. Alfredo says:

    Bean Tostadas are one of my favorite things. I buy corn tortillas that are about 2/3 the size of regular ones. Crisp them up in a little oil then smear them with fat free refried beans. I sprinkle on some shredded cheese and a couple of slices of pickled jalapeno, they are not that spicy, then pop them in the oven to melt the cheese. Once out of the oven I top each with half a teaspoon salsa, a tiny dollop of greek plain yogurt (he or she won’t know it’s not sour cream!) and garnish with some cilantro! They are awesome!

    • Kerri says:

      They sound awesome, Alfredo, thanks for sharing that. I will have to do this the next time with ours to give a little variety in those tostadas! We buy our corn tortillas from a local ethnic place in Kansas City, bring them home and freeze them. There’s no tortillas better!

  8. I don’t do Meatless Mondays per se, but we do try to do at least one meatless meal a week. For our family, it’s about variety not necessarily skipping eating meat. Did you know that October is Natl Vegetarian month? Next week I’m doing all veggie posts.

  9. Sheryl says:

    I have not eaten meat for about 30 years. Don’t miss it, either. Love any kind of veggie, especially mushrooms and eggplant, and can easily make a meal out of any kind of combination. Unfortuntely, I’m outnumbered in my household, which does make it a bit more of a challenge.

    • Kerri says:

      That’s great, Sheryl. I thought that you might be a vegetarian, being a health writer and all. 😉 I applaud your effort in your home, too. It’s tough when different meals have to be prepared.

  10. Kerry Dexter says:

    some of our favorite vegeratarian meals:
    pizza, with all sorts of topping, cheese included or not.
    butternut squash, bean nd onion stir fry
    lentil soup
    pasta primavera with all sorts of different vegetables and/or beans, sometimes topped with walnuts or pumpkin seeds
    homebaked bread with fruit, cheese, or grilled squash, onions and peppers mix

  11. Olivia says:

    I was vegetarian for many years, so many, in fact, that I didn’t learn how to cook meat. DH will tolerate some vegetarian dishes but I have celiac disease and we are both lactose intolerant so this presents a challenge. I use a gf pasta but DH is not big on pasta so many of your meatless meal suggestions, unfortunately, would be impossible for us and with our weird digestive systems, too many beans result in severe gastric distress.We both love soups and vegetables are my favourite food of all. We both enjoy fish and I have learned how to cook some meats although I categorically refuse to eat baby animals (lamb, veal).

    My frail digestive system manages best on the so-called caveman diet of meat (not a lot), fish, eggs, vegetables (mostly) and fruit, although I am not a big fruit eater since I don’t have a sweet tooth. I eat very little grains since I don’t really like them and they don’t sit well in my stomach, either. **sigh**. I wish that “I” could decide what to eat but my body decides that for me.

    I once decided I would only eat “fruit” – i.e. any food that was dropped to the ground or did not involve my wrenching it from the ground (i.e. killing the plant as I felt that plants might not want to die on my behalf!) but try that in a climate that is mainly winter. When you have OCD on top of all the digestive issues I learned I could easily starve to death trying to avoid harming anything. Since I am already extremely underweight I have to shut all that out of my mind and just try to get something down.

    Good for you, though.It must be a challenge with a veg hating hubby.

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, my, Olivia, just reading about your stomach problems has me spinning. I’m so sorry. I’m with you on the baby animals. I will not eat “baby” back ribs, veal or lamb.

  12. We eat meatless most of the time and usually my husband is okay with it. However, if I go too many days with meatless meals, he will eventually protest and I have to throw him a chicken breast or fix a hearty stew. That usually keeps him satisfied for awhile, until he once again feels deprived and demands “real” meat for dinner. We also eat salmon or other type of fish, once or twice a week.

    I try to stay away from most of the imitation meat products as usually they are chock full of preservatives and artificial flavorings and coloring. A few years ago, my daughter told me about “Quorn.” It’s actually made from a fungus similar to mushrooms, which might sound terrible but it’s actually VERY good. When I heat it up and put it in a sandwich, even my carnivorous husband can’t tell it isn’t sliced turkey or chicken. Unfortunately, it’s only available at Whole Foods or other organic grocery stores, and we live in the country. But, when I’m in the city, I always pick some up for sandwiches. It’s also a great substitute for turkey at Thanksgiving.

    • Kerri says:

      Fish is something else my husband will not eat unless it is deep fried. I love grilled salmon and will get that when we go out. Thanks for the info on the Quorn. I’ve never heard of it!

  13. Those of you switching to the faux soy meats – just be careful not to overdo it, since they’re still processed and eating too much soy can have some not so healthy side effects for both sexes. (Hey, I eat ’em too – I personally love the Morningstar Farms buffalo wings when I need that junk food fix!)

    Kerri, I didn’t know Dale was also veggie-averse like my husband. I had some luck with yellow sweet potatoes last winter – not as overly sweet as the orange ones, and can be gussied up with a little fontina or other creamy cheese. Have you tried those yet?

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for the reminder about soy, Casey, very good point. I haven’t tried yellow sweet potatoes, I don’t think I’ve ever even seen them! I will have to ask at the organic grocer next time I’m in town. Thanks for the tip. It is terrible living with someone who has such an aversion to veggies. His mother is the same way. She lives on hamburgers, fried potatoes and ice cream. Oy.

  14. Peter says:

    We eat very little meat from an entirely different perspective. It’s too bloody expensive! When we lived in a city, we had access to all the organic/natural food we could want, we also earned way more money then too.

    Now that we’re homesteading it (bit by bit) in the middle of nowhere we only have regular access to a local grocery store and a Walmart within comfortable driving distance.

    We get the same blank look when we start asking about non-soy meatless products in both places, probably because it’s very meat and potatoes here; veg is a side, not a meal :/

    • Kerri says:

      Your story reminds me of the first time I went into our local grocer and asked if they had any “free range, organic meat?” He gave me the blankest look, like I had two heads and said in that lovely southern drawl, “Nope, but we’ve got it processed the REGULAR way!” It’s sad when factory farming is considered the “norm” or “regular” way. We’re still looking for a local farmer willing to sell us some meat that is grown the “natural” or “irregular” way! 😉

      • Peter says:

        I wrote a small bliki (blog within a wiki) post which kind of touches on just that point. Local sources of food reduce the impact, but more people would have to become farmers to make it work.,_but_avoid_the_soy_noid

        • Kerri says:

          Good post, Peter, and thanks for the linky love to Living Large! 😉
          We’ve had many of the same experiences, here in rural America. That post reminded me of the time I was in Wal-Mart (try to avoid that, but sometimes I have to settle and we NEVER buy meat there), and a woman eyed me looking at avocados. “Excuse me,” she said. “Could you tell me what those are like and what you do with them?”

  15. Becky says:

    Well as hard as we are trying to go GREEN in our house we have never done Meatless Mondays.. and not sure I would spring this on my hubby as such.. but I could however just put dinner on the table and call it DINNER. I love the idea of potato leak soup and toasted cheese sandwiches.. to start.. Gota start somewhere.. I will check into some recipes today.. thanks for the info…

    • Kerri says:

      That’s probably the best PR campaign, Becky, and brings up an excellent point. I do not call it Meatless Mondays to my husband either! 😉 I just cook and if it has plenty of taste and is filling for him, he doesn’t complain about the lack of meat. 🙂

  16. Alexandra says:

    I serve very little meat at meals, so do it more often than once a week and feel more healthy to know I am not consuming all those antibiotics, etc. My favorite meatless dinner is from Lebanon. We used to have it in a restaurant in Paris when we lived there. So easy! Hummus, stuffed grapevine leaves (dolmas), sliced tomatoes from the garden, if possible, and pita bread.

    • Kerri says:

      That sounds like a wonderful meal, Alexandra. My husband was just asking me about hummus. I’m going to have to learn to make some for him.

  17. Kerri says:

    These are the veggies “burgers” from Morning Star Farms, Brian? Great idea!

  18. Mama J says:

    Our family of 5 cooks “Meatless Monday” 7 days a week. 🙂

  19. Brian says:

    I use Grillers, found in the freezer section, often in the breakfast area. The ground meat us pretty good in pasta, chili, etc, especially with spices.