The vegetarian/vegan experiment is in full swing in the Quest Kitchen this week. Being a meat eater, it’s still a work in progress as I figure this whole thing out. The vegan day was the roughest by far. Not from an “I miss meat” standpoint, that was a breeze. It was trying to eat enough protein and calories in general. One can only eat so many veggies and lentils without exploding.
The vegetarian days were much easier both on the stomach and also in getting protein and calories on track. Piece of cake… without eggs and milk, of course. 😉 Since I’m approaching this as someone who enjoys meat (sorry, veggie friends!), I still want to give my usual tips and hints on how you can make my recipes work for your family. To me, it’s no different than how I customize all of my meals.
Meat-free or not, The Kid has always eaten more carbs and lower protein than me just because that’s what we prefer. I’m not a short order cook so I’ve never made different meals for us. I’ve just learned to alter portions to fit what each of us like. I dump more chicken into my wraps and salads, and use more rice or pasta in hers. Tah dah. One meal for two different people.
- 1 medium (~120g) zucchini, sliced
- 1 cup (100g) yellow onion, diced
- 1/4 cup (36g) fresh cilantro, packed in the measuring cup
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 cup (130g) canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups chicken OR veggie broth
- Sliced jicama, lime slices, tortilla chips, avocado and other toppings for garnish, if desired
Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the zucchini, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Cook, stirring every now and then, for about 5 minutes until the veggies start to soften. Add the garlic, bay leaves, chili powder and cumin and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes to lightly toast the spices.
Add the can of undrained tomatoes, beans, and broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and divide into bowls. Garnish with any toppings that you like and enjoy!
Makes 4 servings at approximately 128 calories – 7g protein, 25g carbs, and 0g fat.
Soup is one of those meals that is a no-brainer to customize. You don’t have to be exact on the veggie measurements. If your zucchini is bigger or smaller, go with it. If you hate zucchini, leave it out and use carrots or broccoli instead. You can use all kinds of proteins here too. Sliced grilled chicken, shredded rotisserie chicken, browned ground beef.
For my protein, I added vegetarian “crumbles.” Yeah, that was one of those don’t ask don’t tell moments. I’m not sure exactly what a crumble is and they were better named “disintegrates.” One splash into the soup and they turned to crumble mush at the bottom. ROFL. I tossed sliced jicama on mine and had a few tortilla chips on the side for dipping.
You can use shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, lime. Get as crazy or as tame as you like. You could even make it “Make Your Own Soup” night for kid fun. So don’t fear the vegan and vegetarian recipes here. I’ll still tell you how to meat-ify it if you need to. 😉