Meal times can be a headache when we are cooking for multiple dietary preferences and being a vegetarian myself I had never even cooked a pork sausage let alone chicken from scratch until I met my Boyfriend-things you do for love eh! Over the past 3 years we have developed a few fail safe meals to please everyone, 50% of the time we do all eat vegetarian but if I try and sneak one too many souly veggie meals into the week I’ll start to get the ‘I’m not a rabbit/I can’t live on bird seed’ complaints! Although I choose to & have literally never eaten meat I do believe some people need it in their diet, I’d just hope they would buy their meats responsibly.
So I’ve compiled a list of our favourite ‘Dual’ Meals which I hope might help out multi diet homes or people just trying to eat more vegetarian meals;
1) Pitta Breads! These little pockets of joy are life savers on hectic/uninspired week nights! Perfect if you’ve already got some left over cooked chicken & if you haven’t it’ll take minimal pots and pans to prepare (even more reasons to love pittas-Less washing up!!) I always try and match the flavours for the meat/veggie options, for example- I loveeee grilled Halloumi so I’ll often use this as my meat substitute or quorn-So if I’m Flavouring the chicken with Cajun Spice then I’ll also use it on the Halloumi, I just like to think we are eating the same meal then haha! Couple of toasted pitta breads each, Big salad, Lemon mayo (I literally just squeeze half a lemon into a good 3 spoonfuls of mayo and mix it in) and you’re good to go!!
2) Chilli/Curry/Pasta sauces- These are all pretty similar in the sense that I always make the sauces vegetarian and then split half the sauce in the slow cooker for a couple of hours with the meat so they soak in some of the juices! It’s so handy to make a big batch of the veggie sauce/mix and have it pre portioned in the freezer for when you need a quick meal!
3) Homemade pizzas- These might sound daunting and a bit of a pain to make on a week night or as a Friday night treat when the take away is only down the road but they can be a laugh to make and a if you plan well they don’t take long at all. I generally try to get the dough made as soon as we are in from work and then leave it to rise whilst we are gyming&showering then its ready to use when we get home-pizza dough really is like 3 ingredients so its not as bigger procedure as you might think, I use this recipe https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/basic-pizza-dough . Alternatively or for a lower carb option sometimes we will use a tortilla wraps as the pizza base, they become soooo crispy its delishhh. The Passata takes minutes as well and if you’ve got a ninja bullet/bottle blender its even quicker/less washing up. I simply fry off 1 medium onion and 1 chopped stem of celery- pop it in the blender along with one tin of drained tinned tomatoes (reason being you don’t want the sauce too thin) 2TBSP Tomato purée, 1tbsp Italian herbs/mixed herbs, 1tsp olive oil and then optional-1tsp fennel seeds & 1tsp chilli flakes, blend it up and its ready to go! You’ll probably end up with a bit of excess sauce so just freeze it or save it for spag Bol sauce the next day! Always cook off your base for at least 10 minutes before taking out and putting on the toppings otherwise I’ve found they can remain quite soggy. I usually have a couple of bowls ready with cheeses, peppers/tomatoes/chillis already chopped and of course pineapple (we sit on that side of the fence I’m afraid) so everyone can get creative and make their own. For the meat Lee generally just gets a pack of chorizo or pepperoni (I don’t really know the difference they look the same to me) and pops it on so its not really a big deal but its a way for everyone to get the pizza they wanted!
4)’Fish and Chips’- luckily for me the furthest Lee ventures with fish is Battered cod which is perfectly fine with me as fish as healthy as it might be, its the worst smelling meat there is!! Potatoes are a godsend and definitely don’t get enough credit I will rarely have chip-shop chips over homemade chips I have this unpopular opinion that they are just too soggy?! I’d much rather chop up a few good sized potatoes and toss them in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning and leave them to crisp in the oven along with the fish. Whilst that’s going I’ll steam some peas (cant stand boiled peas they remind me of school dinners) and once cooked I’ll mash them up with a nob of butter, salt and a sprinkle of nutmeg. For my alternative I usually poach a couple of eggs (or just have a bigger helping of the chips mwahah) because whats better than a runny yolk and to dip your chips in?! Before plating up I’ll mix up a quick Marie-rose sauce (2 spoons mayo, 1tsp Woster Sauce, 1/2 a lemon juiced, tomato sauce-add until mix is pink) and then its all ready to go!
5) Burritos, Nachos, Quiches, Omelettes and Stir frys- All these are pretty self explanatory the only variation in these meals is adding the meat at the end or serving it separately so people can add/help themselves. Some people will probably be like yeah well we knew all of these why bother posting about it but a lot of the time I don’t think people realise they are eating veggie or how easy it would be to swap in/out a meat or substitute! I actually quite enjoy the challenge of finding new meals we can all eat but there are some days when I’m severely lacking inspiration and rely on these crowed pleasers!
Hope these little pointers help take a bit of pressure off meal times!