I was a vegetarian for about 16 years. When I started a family I found it was easier to start eating meat again rather than cooking multiple meals. As a family we don't eat a lot of meat. It is not uncommon for me to take one chicken breast, dice it up, cook it up with some garlic, onions and broccoli and toss with some penne then add a salad and we have dinner for four people! We only eat grass fed and finished beef, and pastured pork and lamb that we get directly from the farm which runs our CSA - Community Sponsored Agriculture program. It is much more expensive than meat you buy in the supermarket so we eat much less of it. We eat it less often and in smaller amounts. The rest of our plates are filled with veggies and whole grains as much as possible. Some days we eat meatless meals. Since having kids, my ideas for meatless meals are pasta with marinara, pizza, veggie burgers, mac and cheese. I was stuck in a rut.
Earlier this month I started the Beachbody Ultimate Reset. Beachbody's Ultimate Reset is a three phased program designed to detoxify and restore your body. The Reset takes a total of 21 days. By week two, all the meals are vegan. I will admit, some are a little boring, but some are quite good and even kid friendly. Well, at least for my kids. My boys, to different degrees, are foodies.
Here is a meal I made based on a dinner found in the Beachbody Ultimate Reset and a recipe I love from Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Classics.
Garlicky butternut squash over brown rice and tofu
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
Small bunch of kale, (stem discared) chopped into small pieces
¼ cup water
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 sage leaves, minced (or more to taste)
2Tbs minced parsley
½ tsp salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 package of extra firm tofu, drained and diced
2 cups cooked brown rice
Heat some olive oil in the largest skillet you have over medium-high heat. Sauté the kale and one clove of garlic until the kale wilts. Remove the kale from pan and set aside in a large bowl.
Add a little more olive oil and sauté the squash for about 5 minutes adding a little of the salt to the squash. When the squash starts to get a little golden, add the garlic. After about 2 minutes when you start to smell the garlic, pour in the water and cover. Let the squash get tender but keep an eye on it since it can get mushy quickly. It may take about 5 minutes for the squash to cook. At this point add the rest of the salt, nutmeg, sage and parsley and mix well.
Once again, add a little olive oil to the pan and cook the tofu until it is heated through and golden. I usually don’t add more garlic since the tofu will pick up the garlic flavor from the pan. When the tofu is done, stir in with the squash kale mixture and add a little ground pepper.
Serve the squash mixture over ½ cup of brown rice. I have been using short grain brown rice. This stuff is wonderful. It has a chewier texture and is way more satisfying to eat than regular brown rice. This meal is quite yummy. It has your veggies and a fair amount of protein from the tofu and the brown rice. You can change it up a bit and add a different veggie rather than kale. The original squash recipe from Vegetarian Classics serves the squash over penne pasta, which is very tasty. I’ve also made this using a garlic Tahini sauce instead of just garlic. It adds a nice nutty flavor to it.