Throw away the boca burgers and toss out the salads, because there’s a whole world of veg-friendly food out there that won’t end up in complaining kids and Paleo sneers.
The days of artificial food and flavoring can be behind you. You just need to look far enough. So go exotic with your meals; don’t stay local. Parts of some cultures have been going vegan or vegetarian for thousands of years, and in this day and age, all of their tools and ingredients are at your fingertips. Get ready to write down these seven vegetarian recipes for the family, because you’ll want them in your head—and soon, on your kids’ plates.
1) Tofu Stir-Fry
Stir-fry is always a popular dish, and not just because it’s so easy to make. With an endless array of options before you, you can pick and choose exactly what you want to cook so as to best customize dinner for your family and kids.
I personally prefer going with tofu here, for example, but you can substitute any other protein if you’d like to experiment. Your choice of veggies is limitless, and you can always choose the carb—rice, noodles, pasta—that the family will like best.
2) Seitan Fried Rice
With the incredibly meat-like consistency of seitan, your family won’t even notice that they’ve been duped into eating this vegan-friendly protein.
The end result is as savory and sweet as any that you might find at a genuine Chinese restaurant, so don’t worry about your kids complaining. If they like the takeout from down the street, they’ll love this.
3) Chickpea Curry
Easy and convenient, this classic Indian dish has fed families for centuries, and there’s no reason it can’t feed your just as well. Chana masala, or chickpea curry, is a tasty, savory dish that will leave nobody disappointed, especially if you can pick up or make some naan to go along with it.
4) Homemade Macaroni & Cheese
What kid doesn’t love macaroni & cheese? This homemade version provides a rich, creamy base that you can build upon however you like. Add peppers to spice things up, or mix in some tofu or seitan to make it a bit more “meaty.” Serve alongside a salad (if your family’s inclined to eat it) for the perfect meatless dinner.
5) Spicy Indian Dahl
If you find the chickpea curry a little too mild for your taste, try your hand at this spicy Indian dahl. You can even store and reheat it as easily as snapping your fingers, and it goes absolutely wonderfully with some homemade naan. You don’t even need to add a meat substitute to have a wonderful meal so long as you give everyone a generous serving of dahl.
Those are just five ways to cook for your family that don’t require meat, and they don’t require broadening your budget—just your horizons. Remember that “vegetarian” doesn’t have to mean “inedible.” Vegetarian meals can be easier to cook, needing much less preparation than meatier recipes. So the next time you feel like there’s nothing to feed a non-vegetarian family, try a recipe on this list. You might find that everyone leaves the dinner table happily surprised.