Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

Going vegetarian by Kate Hardy

My youngest decided to turn vegetarian, this summer.

 No problems for a keen cook who doesn’t mind cooking different dishes for different people at dinner, right? (For example, if I do spaghetti Bolognese – DH and I will have that, son will have the sauce with home-made wedges, and littlest will have the pasta with roasted Mediterranean veg – before she turned veggie, there would be grilled mini chicken fillets as well.)

 Um – wrong. Because littlest hates tomatoes and cheese. Most of the veggie dishes in my repertoire contain a healthy dose of one or both – chilli, pasta sauce, ratatouille, curries (ha – I’ve managed to hide the tomatoes in curry), stuffed mushrooms/peppers/courgettes (zucchini) – and I absolutely refuse to let her live on quorn sausages 🙂

I’m trying to be supportive, so I’m sort of doing it with her (though not totally, because I function best on lean protein, lots of veggies and a few very small portions of slow-release starchy carbs). We’ve been experimenting. We’ve tried tofu in stir-fries (the first time, I discovered how bland the stuff is and it definitely needs marinating first). We’ve tried fish-free scampi (vile, vile, vile – she doesn’t mind it, but I hate the texture). Felafel went down well this weekend, but hummus (which I love) didn’t. Oh, and she’s a little bit finicky about sauces.

So I’m running out of ideas. (Doesn’t help that DH is off and we’re currently redecorating the house, so I’m a zombie from painting. And it’s been really humid at night for the last week in the UK – I would give an awful lot for one cool night so I get some sleep!)

This is where I hope, dear reader, that you might be able to help me – because the best bit of social media is being able to share ideas, right? 🙂 What’s your favourite veggie dish (which doesn’t contain either tomatoes or cheese)? Any links to recipes would be hugely welcomed!

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32 thoughts on “Going vegetarian by Kate Hardy”

  1. For lunch or dinner with added wedges – Falafel wraps. Spread Wraps with hummous and crumble in falafels (hot or cold). Add lettuce and haldved cherry tomatoes – OR other saled veg for tomatto haters and roll up. Yum.

  2. I have to say Kate, veggie without cheese or tomato – good luck with that!! I was vegetarian for a long while, but I’m pretty sure cheese and tomatoes were both staples of my diet then. As well as quorn sausages/burgers there is also the old favourite of nut roasts. Stuffed mushrooms – though as I actually am not a keen cook, I’m not sure what you could stuff them with, quorn, peppers, lentils… Sorry not much help really!

    1. Lori – I keep persuading her to try a taste, but she hates them both. Mushrooms would be good with quinoa. (I’d add blue cheese to mine, though – and she definitely doesn’t like stinky cheese! Note to self, try her with mozzarella.)

  3. Thanks for the idea, Phillipa – will try that with her. And thanks even more for that link. She *loves* yorkshire puds and garlic mushrooms, and I’d never thought about trying them together. (I could be immensely greedy at that restaurant. I like everything on the menu!!) As for the typos – hey, it’s social media and everyone makes typos. (Despite what my children think, I am only Chief of the Grammar Police if you ask me to be…)

  4. Ooh, that’s a toughie, Kate. I was thinking of stuffed green peppers with just rice, rather than the rice/meat mix I normally use. But that also has tomato sauce in it, so it would probably strike out with her. Does she like sushi? If so, maybe you can make it with just veggies rather than adding the fish. Brazilians eat a variety of bean and rice dishes, so if she likes those, you could substitute brown rice for the white to make it healthier.

    Will be watching to see what others come up with! Good luck, Kate!

    1. She loves sushi! (I can remember her being not much more than a toddler, asking for Sushi when we were in the supermarket – luckily it was quite a foodie one, and there were a lot of indulgent smiles from other shoppers!) Hadn’t thought of Brazilian food (I had thought of Jamaican re rice and beans – she likes spicy food) so thank you for the tip xxx

  5. I know you said you’d done the curries but I have a fab recipe for cauliflower curry I could share if you like. I know it doesn’t sound very appealing but everyone I know who has ever tasted it loves it- it’s a little bit spicy (or you can make it a lot spicy) but uses coconut milk so it’s creamy too.

  6. hmmm yes a tough one, I have a few veggie friends but I don’t think I could ever be a vegetarian, to be honest we are not big meat eaters anyway but love our chicken and fish. Does she like lentils? there are so many recipes that use lentils, unfortunately lots use tomatoes too 😦 Good luck with it. I am sure there will be lots of suggestions. Pop onto the 5:2 page on facebook you will get some great ideas there and they will be healthy. I am on that way of eating and have picked up some wonderful ideas there x

    1. Thank you – and I so know what you mean. I love fish 🙂 I have Kate Harrison’s recipe book and it’s v good. (Me, too, on 5:2, but I do the Michelle Harvie one – those extra 200 calories make a huge difference to my mood and ability to think. I was horrible to live with on the other version!!!)

  7. I second lentils(which are also quite lovely curried). Mostly without tomatoes, I’m at a loss too! We do grilled summer veggies+rice dish that is nice… but very simple. Peppers(green/red/yellow/any-or-all), onion, zucchini with rice cooked in veggie broth…

    Man, I didn’t realize how much we rely on tomatoes!

    Good luck!

  8. Try tempeh instead of tofu. It’s higher in protein, fiber and vitamins. I cut it into a small dice and saute it in a little oil. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt. It will turn crunchy and dark brown. I add it in a vegetable hash or substitute it for croutons in a salad.

  9. Kate, it sounds like cooking meals is turning into a real challenge at Chez Hardy! And add the whole redecorating thing you must be feeling stretched to the limit – we’re still in renovation doldrums here and I’m so over it!
    How about chick peas – the canned ones. They’re lovely lightly sauteed and added to a salad (I have to thank Rachel Bailey for this yummy salad addition). And I’ve also got a recipe for a vegetarian curry using chick peas that you might like to try. I know you’ve said she doesn’t like hummus which might make you hesitate to try the chick peas this way. I’m not a huge hummus fan either but still enjoy chick peas sauteed and curried.
    Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Sharon – I’d love to give it a try. (She does like felafel, which contain chickpeas, so I guess it must be a texture thing re the hummus.)

  10. Hi Kate!
    My condolences. I am always amused by teens who want to go vegetarian when they might be a touch picky. Brown rice and black beans make a complete protein. My husband used to brown his tofu with spray-on olive oil in nonstick pan to give it a bit of crunch, maybe add some garlic powder and sea salt?
    If she’s going to eat salads all the time, add garbonzo beans or kidney beans.

    Have had a look through my veggie recipes and, wow, it’s hard to find one that doesn’t have either tomatoes or cheese. I’m afraid I’m stumped. 😦

  11. OMG – I think our kids could come home and say they were gay, got God, were joining a commune and having a sex change and my husband wouldn’t bat an eyelid. If either of them announced they were vegos…..I don’t know what he would do 🙂 He’s spent their entire lives saying “eat up, we’re having dead pig tonight” or “mm, yum , get some dead sheep into you”.
    What can I say, he’s a farm boy……
    So I applaud you for your calmness, Kate. Is it a taste thing or a cruelty to animals thing?
    At the moment I am all about the meat and cheese and if someone took tomatoes away from me I think I would shrivel up and die (am actually eating a punnet of cherry tomatoes as I type!) or commit murder.
    I have absolutely no recipes for you, sorry…….
    Vego fail :-/

    1. Amy – LOL, my DH is a farm boy, too, so I know where you’re coming from. It’s a mixture of both – she hasn’t enjoyed meat for a while, and I’ve seen this coming for weeks. I just need to get her to like tomatoes!!! (Or hide them, as I have in curries.)

  12. How about quinoa? It’s a protein that looks like a grain and you can give it lots of flavors with garlic/herbs/spices etc- mix in some roasted veggies and dollop on some kind of dip- tzatziki is yummy (I prefer it to humus). Makes a nice lunch. Add in lemon roast potatoes and you’ve got something a bit more substantial. Or here’s a recipe from the NZ Vegetarian society with added fruit and nuts (currently I’m all about adding pawpaw to my meals because it’s so nice). http://www.vegetarian.org.nz/content/recipes/vegetables-and-grains/simple-delicious-quinoa-salad/

    Then there’s always eggs: omelets filled with fried potatoes/ red pepper/garlic- you can have that with baked beans and wedges… or frittata with courgettes and aubergine/ mushrooms

    I’m afraid the lack of tomato and cheese is limiting my repertoire! Good luck and hope you get a decent night’s sleep soon xx

    1. Louisa – I *love* quinoa! And thank you for the recipe 😉 She loves omelettes, and the fave at the moment is asparagus. Must try her with frittata.

  13. Oh- and there’s soup! You can make so many different types of soup with vegetables / cream etc (lite cream of course… 🙂 and hide tomatoes/lentils etc Add in a hefty chunk of bread….

    1. I love soup, but she’s not keen. (She’s always hated sauces, so the curry thing has been a big surprise – and a relief!) If I could get her to try soup, then eventually I could talk her into tomato-based sauces. (I haz a plan…)

  14. My husband and I have meatless Mondays but he is the recipe hunter. Also the one who tries to count the amount of protein we are getting.As you probably know you need a certain amount of protein each day. He makes a quinoa pilaf with pine nuts and herbs that is just wonderful.
    We also make a corn avocado and red pepper salad that is quite tasty and on meatless Mondays we add quinoa or amaranth to it. One of our standbys is a mushroom burger which you make by marinating mushrooms and then cooking them and using them in place of meat.
    Thanks Louisa for the Quinoa recipe. I will be getting my husband to read it. Plus he will be exploring the whole site. I also like his sweet potato frittata.

    1. I’ve had mushroom ‘burgers’ where portabella mushrooms took the place of the bread, and halloumi took the place of the meat patty – and that was scrumptious! Love the sound of the salad, and the sweet potato frittata. My daughter loves sweet potato, so we’ll give that a go – thanks!

    1. She’ll be 13 in a couple of months 🙂 I went through the same phase at that age. And yes please to a non-tomato recipe! (I tried her with arrabbiata sauce, hoping that she’d love the chilli and it would disguise the tomatoes… um, no. Yes to chilli, no to toms!)

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