Saturday, March 17, 2012

Accidental vegetarian

Momentarily stymied by request to make vegetarian portion of my chicken bacon olive spinach tomato pasta dish. It's like: can you make banana pudding without the banana?
Someone on Twitter said it's possible: her grandmother used to make her cobbler sans peaches.
I stand corrected. And I did figure it out: I just had to re-order how I prepared the pasta dish and not saute the onions and chicken in a little of the bacon drippings.

Instead, I used heart-healthier olive oil and sauteed the onions and garlic before mixing them with the cooked pasta, sliced olives, feta, and grape tomatoes and set that aside as the vegetarian portion.

Then I continued as I normally would to saute the seasoned, diced chicken and garlic in a little bacon oil before adding to the pasta mixture with chopped, cooked bacon, and the sliced olives, feta, and grape tomatoes. I usually add a spinach chiffonade but didn't have any on hand this weekend.

The vegetarian guest ate all of the dish and was appreciative that there was another food option for her at the potluck. The bacon and chicken version were also well-received. I may start trying to substitute meatless version of family favorites. It's just a habit that needs tweaking. Although we start all meal planning with "What meat are we using?"I know the kids probably wouldn't notice one or two meat-less days each week. Sometimes they ask for just buttered noodles or rice without whatever topping we're serving for dinner (turkey spaghetti, seafood gumbo, etc.).
I even found a site with vegetarian meal ideas for kids:

I'll be giving some of those a try.

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