Beans and Greens Vegetarian Meal
My family and I are cruising along on our new vegetable-based diet and loving it. For the first time in… ever, I have no meat in my refrigerator and only three small packages in my chest freezer.
In the past, when I started all of our meal planning with the meat, this would have been a problem. We have nothing to eat! Now I find it strangely liberating to push my cart right past the meat department. It has opened up a whole new world of flavors and a good amount of grocery money.
We haven’t gone hungry, and we haven’t missed meat. We aren’t vegetarians by any stretch, as we still eat meat if the craving hits or if it’s being served. Bacon and burgers still have a fond place in my heart, and my 4-year old daughter is currently on a ham sandwich kick. I’m totally cool with that. We made the switch to suit our personal preferences and to stretch our grocery budget, not for moral reasons.
If this lifestyle shift isn’t for you, it won’t hurt my feelings. If you are curious, here are a few ways we eased into a vegetable-based diet:
- Start serving meat as a side dish instead of the main course. Build a big salad with some grilled chicken on top. Serve a hearty grain with a smaller portion of beef.
- Think of meals you already make where you could easily substitute or omit the meat. Enchiladas, burritos, soup, spaghetti, or chili are all good places to start because the meat is only a small part of the entire meal. By swapping grains, cheese, beans, or vegetables for the meat, you are still serving a filling meal for a fraction of the price.
- Try serving a meatless meal and see how your family responds. I was convinced there was no way my meat-and-potatoes husband would go for a vegetable-based diet. I just eased into it, and he surprised both of us. No joke, he now requests Quinoa Patties on a weekly basis. So, give it a shot. Your family’s preferences might surprise you.
- Stop buying meat for a week and get creative. My refrigerator is currently packed with produce, and my pantry is stocked with dried beans and different grains. When meat isn’t an option, you get creative with what’s on hand. It can be a fun challenge.
Beans and Greens has become my go-to vegetarian recipe. It is fast to prepare and uses sturdy ingredients that last for a long time in the refrigerator, freezer, or pantry. I almost always have some combination of these ingredients on hand.
I also love how versatile it is. You can use any type of potatoes (white, red, sweet), greens (kale, chard, cabbage, or spinach), beans (white or garbanzo), or cheese (Parmesan, Swiss, goat) you prefer.
I have included amounts in the recipe below, but just use this as a starting place and toss in whatever vegetable or amount you desire. Unless you burn the potatoes while changing your son’s diaper (oops), this is a very forgiving, easy-to-adapt recipe.
I serve this with Artisan Bread, our crazy popular No-Knead Bread, or biscuits and a fruit salad for dinner and love the leftovers for lunch. If you want to serve this with meat, you could add cooked, crumbled bacon or turn it into a side dish for grilled sausages or meat.
Beans & Greens
Adapted from Heidi Swanson’s recipe, White Beans & Cabbage, from Super Natural Every Day
2 T. olive oil
2-3 c. cubed potatoes (1/2″ or smaller)
1/2 c. diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 c. canned or cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
2 c. finely shredded greens (cabbage, kale, spinach, or chard)
salt to taste
1/2 c. shredded cheese (Parmesan, swiss, mozzarella, or goat cheese)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cubed potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and mostly cooked.
- Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 5 more minutes. Add the garlic and beans; cook for 5 more minutes. (If you are using a large skillet, you should be able to do all of this in one batch. If your skillet is smaller, remove the potatoes and cook the onions, garlic, and beans separately. Things won’t brown and crisp if they are too crowded in the pan so smaller batches are the way to go.)
- Add the shredded cabbage and salt to taste. Cook and stir for a few minutes until the cabbage is slightly wilted but still has some crunch and color.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Enjoy!
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