Meatless Mondays? Try these firm family favourites!

Meatless Mondays

How would you feel about introducing Meatless Mondays to your family?
Going meatless for ten days was something my family never had done before. But we did it…
I had two favourite meals (among others) whipped up in the kitchen during this time. Here they are!

For a home cook like me, who is very used to cooking meat dishes, this is what I quickly realised:

  • Cooking meatless is pleasantly less taxing
  • The kitchen clean up is supremely effortless
  • There is no ‘defrosting’ or ‘marinating ahead’ to do

Basil Pesto Pasta with Garlic & Herb Mushrooms

First make the basil pesto. Pesto also freezes well and can be made ahead. In a food processor pulse the following:

  • 1 ½ cups sweet basil
  • 60g grated parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (toasted prior)

As the ingredients are pulsing, add in 70ml olive oil in a thin steady stream.

Remove cover, scrape down sides of processor, add in a good pinch of salt, give one last pulse and done.

Top tips

  • Be sure to rinse and dry basil leaves well. I use my salad spinner to do this.
  • Don’t over add the garlic or olive oil, as these can be overpowering.
  • Do toast your pine nuts first for 5 mins at 150C in the oven.

Cook some pasta in boiling salted water. While that’s going, cook the mushrooms.

Garlic & Herb Mushrooms

  • 200g button mushrooms cut chunkily
  • 30g butter
  • 1 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tbsp Italian herbs (you may use herbs on hand you have such as thyme, oregano, marjoram etc).

In a saucepan, add in butter. Once melted, add in minced garlic, mushrooms and let sit. After a bit toss around and add in herbs and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat.

Combine your pasta with the amount of pesto required and top off with the mushrooms. The thick green pesto should coat and cling to the pasta, while the chunky mushroom pieces provide a good bite to the dish.

Vegetarian Stir Fried Noodles

A meatless noodle dish never sounded enticing enough until I made this one! With the right textured noodle and some minimal seasonings, these noodles come together so perfectly well. Firm tofu is a star in this dish, as are grated carrots, baby spinach and the seasoning which brings it all together.

  • Mince a small onion, 2 cloves garlic and a small piece of ginger
  • Grate one carrot
  • Handful of baby spinach
  • Cube 2 blocks of firm tofu. I cube the tofu, pat it dry and put them in my air fryer for 5 mins at 180C.

Out they come, looking nice and browned with an almost crispy like exterior and soft inside. Otherwise, you may pan fry them in some oil.

In a small bowl, mix the following:

  • 2 tbsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sugar

Cook 200g dried noodles according to packet instructions and drain.

Let’s cook

  • In a saucepan, heat up some oil and add in the onion, garlic and ginger. Sautee for about a minute.
  • Add in carrots and spinach and a pinch of salt. Allow carrots to soften and spinach to wilt. Should take less than 2 minutes.
  • Add in the noodles and sauce. With a pair of tongs, toss the noodles in the sauce ensuring even mixing.
  • Add in tofu and dish out.

Top tips

  • Cook the dried noodles right before you start the stir frying process.
  • Adjust seasoning according to the amount of noodles cooked.
  • Eat right after noodles are cooked or they will become dry.
  • I used Guan Miau Noodles (thin) found in the dried noodles section of the supermarket.

These two firm favourites didn’t leave me less full (compared to a meal with meat) and were packed with flavours. Hope you try these recipes and let us know how they turned out!

If you’d like to support your child with exploring more vegetarian meals, have a look at our post here. Tons of great meals included as well.

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