Today is June 31 – exactly six months since New Year’s Eve and with that, exactly since months since I last ate meat. Yes, I was that person who decided go veggie on the first day of 2018 after deciding it months before, but you know what – sometimes new year’s resolutions can be a good thing and I felt like I needed a definitive cut off point. So, I thought I would reflect on how I’ve found vegetarianism so far and my reasons for deciding to take the plunge and finally cut out meat once and for all. Also be sure to read until the end for some of my favourite veggie recipes!
First off, I’d like to point out that I have never been a HUGE meat eater. Don’t get me wrong, I loved a box of chicken nuggets from McDonalds and I was a sucker for a sausage sandwich but some of my favourite meals have always been vegetarian and I’ve never been a fan of things like steak or brisket as I always thought these were ‘too meaty’ for me. Basically, if it was too difficult for me to disassociate what I was eating from the animal it came from I pretty much steered clear.
I have always been a huge animal lover so the thought of eating something I loved made me feel a bit funny, even though I did push this thought to the back of my mind for years because, well it tastes pretty damn good. About a year and a half ago my boyfriend and I decided that we’d do our bit for the environment and save a few animals in the process by restricting meat to weekends and eating purely vegetarian meals throughout the week. I realised when doing this that the meals that I enjoyed the most were meat-free so I felt that there was really no excuse to not try my hand at going veggie.
Six months on and I am so happy that I took the plunge – I definitely have no plans to go back to meat. I went into vegetarianism with the mindset that I wasn’t going to be too hard on myself and that I was probably going to slip up here and there. But surprisingly from day one I’ve managed to stay meat-free (even after a few drinks when I’ve been craving 20 nuggets!). Luckily for me, my boyfriend is an avid cook so enjoys experimenting with different ingredients and he has more than happily adjusted to mostly cooking vegetarian meals. He’s still a meat eater himself and is definitely partial to a steak or two, so I was very surprised to hear that he’s also made the decision to go veggie after our holiday to the USA at the end of July. I mean, the Americans know how to do meat!
So, for any of you that are thinking about trying the vegetarian diet, I thought I would share some of my favourite meat-free recipes and substitutes…
My favourite cuisine of them all, and my all time favourite meal: Tagliatelle with Sweet Tomato Sauce and Baked Ricotta. This is a Jamie Oliver recipe from one of his many cookbooks, and I’ve got to say that the pictures from the article I have linked do no justice to the meal – trust me on this one.
Forget your takeaway tonight – it’s all about this Sweet Sticky Honey Tofu. Pair with egg-fried rice for ultimate YUMS.
BBC Good Food, along with Jamie Oliver cookbooks, is our go-to for finding delicious recipes. It’s where we came across this Cauliflower, Paneer & Pea Curry recipe.
One of my favourites that our personal trainer actually recommended us is this Butternut Squash & Black Bean Tostada recipe. Packed with goodness too which is always a bonus!
Let me know if you would like any more recipes because I have TONS that I could share, but thought I would limit it to four for now. I just wanted to mention too that I have recently discovered Quorn chicken nuggets and they are an absolute game changer! I would not be able to tell the difference if I was comparing the two. Also their chicken burgers are definitely worth trying.
There we have it – my vegetarianism journey so far. I do still eat dairy as you will have picked up on from my recipe choices, but I am making a conscious effort to cut down where I can. I always buy free-range eggs because I don’t think people have an excuse not to, especially when the difference between free-range and battery farmed is only pennies, and I always opt for organic milk. I know how cruel the dairy industry can be so I am doing my best to contribute to it as little as possible.
I’d love to hear if you’re a veggie and your favourite recipes!
Photography by Dan Farrow
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