Wednesday, April 3, 2013

help me

A week ago my seven year old looked at me calmly and announced "I want to try eating vegetarian for a while."

This has come out of left field.

We are a meat-eating family. Beef, pork, chicken, fish - Easter weekend I even roasted a leg of lamb, for god's sake. (I wasn't crazy about it, but the lamb biryani I made with the leftovers was fabulous.) We've tried duck, rabbit, deer. We do our best to buy locally-raised meat and we have always explained to our kids where bacon comes from and how it's important to us that the animals we consume were raised happily and slaughtered humanely.

Seven year old says this isn't an ethical issue; he's just curious about vegetarian food. OKAY THEN. We agreed that for now anyway he'd continue to eat what the family does for dinner, because it just doesn't make practical sense to cook separate meals for him. He's fine with that, but basically what it means is that I can't send any meat in his lunch anymore. Remember back a few weeks ago when I complained about making a zillion ham and cheese sandwiches? BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

So this has thrown a small wrinkle into lunch packing around here, because my middle son is still and forever dedicated to meat. Suddenly my nice assembly-line lunch making has been thrown out of whack, a little bit.

We've had lots of hummus & whole wheat pita, cut-up vegetables, fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs (Easter weekend and your supply of eggs, I thank thee), pancakes... suggestions, anyone? Seriously, I'm new to this - yes, I was a vegetarian for eight years, but with the clarity of my grown-up eyes I can see that I was a really bad vegetarian. (It was really a socially-acceptable way to justify horribly disordered eating, frankly.)

Oh, and he has expressed an interest in lentils, of all things. LENTILS. Please, internet - give me some lentil recipes that don't taste like hippies.



  1. Instead of ham and cheese - just cheese? Or is that too weird? My kids won't even eat grilled cheese so I'm just spitballing here. Hummus - best thing ever. God bless the chickpea. Lentils...maybe ask Beck for her lentil soup recipe? I'm not huge on them myself.

    What about pasta salad?

  2. PASTA SALAD!! You are a genius. I'll make up a batch this weekend.

  3. Will he eat curry? You could make a chickpea and potato curry. That's yummy and filling.

    My kids love guacmole and tortilla chips for dipping. If he's into avocado that's a healthy alternative, too.

    Good luck!

    1. He does love avocado and I actually gave him some this week, but making up a batch of guacamole would be good, too.

      And he does like curry, actually. Good thinking on the veg curry. I'd enjoy that in my lunch as well. :)

    There's my go-to lentil soup recipe. I fiddle with the spices when I don't add sausages, but I'm sure you can figure it out. It's tasty IF YOU LIKE SPINACH.

    M suggested a bunch of her favorite vegetarian lunch ideas: wraps with shredded cheese and refried beans, sweet potato soup with crackers and cheese on the side, bean-based dips with corn chips, and that's all I can think of right now. Good luck!

    1. Brilliant, he loves spinach. I'll try that for sure.

      And thank M for the suggestions. I've never made refried beans but I love them, and the more legume-type stuff I can get into him (and me, frankly) the better.

  5. Here's my go-to lentil recipe - super easy, and the addition of ketchup makes it popular for all ages.

    2 T butter or margarine (I use canola oil to make it dairy free)
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped celery (I omit)
    1 cup lentils (I use green)
    2 cups water
    2 tsp chicken boullion powder (or one cube - I use a veggie one)
    1/4 cup ketchup (resist the urge to add more!)
    1/4 tsp garlic powder

    Heat butter (or oil) in a medium sized saucepan. Fry onion and celery (if using) until soft.

    Add water and lentils. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer on med-low until lentils are tender, about 45 minutes. Add ketchup, boullion, and garlic powder, remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes or so before serving.