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Being vegetarian in a carnivorous family - possible?

(8 Posts)
NeeChee Tue 02-Oct-18 09:08:22

Anyone have experience of this?
I don't eat much meat anyway, and would love to go full vegetarian, but it seems impossible at the moment as its just doesn't seem practical. I don't really have time to cook separate meals just for myself.
My main reason for not eating meat is it is expensive (for what you get) and I don't really enjoy it. Also the ethical side, as I do love animals.
DP is the same as me mostly, he could go without meat all week, although he does love a bacon sandwich.
DSS however is very fussy. He dislikes most vegetables, hates onions. Seems to prefer beige foods. Changes his mind on a daily basis about what he will eat.
Does anyone have any ideas how I can slightly adapt the meat-containing meals I'm cooking for myself. We commonly have:
Chicken fajitas
Chilli or spag bol
Pasta and meatballs
Chicken and vegetables (but don't call it a chicken dinner or DSS will pitch a fit lol)
Tuna steak and vegetables

OP’s posts: |
WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Tue 02-Oct-18 10:43:06

Fajitas are relatively easy to do as a vegetarian - just cook the chicken separately to the vegetables.

Would he actually notice if you used lentils or soya mince in a chilli or spag bol? You could gradually reduce the meat and increase the pulses until it's completely vegetarian.

Sorry I'm not entirely sure how the other meals are cooked (lifelong vegetarian) so I don't know how easy they are to adapt. E.g. are the pasta and meatballs mixed together? Otherwise if cooked separately, you could easily have pasta with a different sauce. Even vegetarian "meatballs" if you fancied it. You can buy them, or make them. This Salam Hage recipe is absolutely delicious. (In fact her whole vegetarian recipe book is brilliant if you want some inspiration, but I'm not sure many recipes will appeal to your stepson!)

maxelly Tue 02-Oct-18 12:52:04

Yes it absolutely is possible (we have been a mixed meat eater/pescetarian/veggie) household for a while now. You do have to be tolerant of everyone occasionally eating different meals and this will mean either the cook putting in slightly more effort or someone (usually the DC!) eating more ready cooked/beige food than is ideal. Judicious use of the freezer and careful meal planning is also essential!

However to encourage you, I expect your DSS will get less fussy with time as well and perhaps you may even persuade him and your DH to try some veggie food occasionally too (my DH is a massive carnivore but I'm gradually bringing him around to the idea of a few veggie meals a week!). Leaving aside the environmental and ethical issues, veggie can be a really fresh and healthy way to eat and saves loads of £££ so I'd really encourage you to give it a go.

So for the meals you mention, here's what I'd do.

Chicken fajitas: everyone would have the same wraps and sides, veggies have some spicy beans or possibly quorn/tofu strips in place of the chicken (although we don't really like these so avoid them where possible!). I cook the beans/quorn in the same spice mix and with the same onions/peppers as the chicken but in a separate pan. This does mean two separate pans of filling but cooked at the same time so not much more effort.

Chilli or spag bol: meat eater have normal versions, veggies have three-bean chilli and lentil bolognese. To avoid lots of additional prep I tend to batch cook these, so e.g. if I've made a big pan of meaty chilli from fresh, the veggies will have 3 bean out of the freezer with the same sides, and an extra portion of the meat version will go into the freezer for next time, or vice versa. We do this with loads of family meals, curry, shepherds pie, lasagne, moussaka, tagine, stew, burgers to name just a few, all can easily be made veggie and frozen and then served with the same sides as the meat versions - happy to share recipes for both meaty and veggie versions if any of this floats your boat?

Pasta meatballs - the veggies would probably just have the pasta with a tomato-y sauce and lots of cheese TBH. Not the most nutritious as lacking in protein but tasty!

Chicken/Tuna steak and vegetables - I would probably do a pepper or a butternut squash topped with veggies, grains, nuts and cheese to replace the chicken/tuna here. Then serve with the same sides. Or perhaps for more of a treat/easy meal the veggies would have a slice of ready bought or pre-made and frozen veggie tart, quiche or pie. Or perhaps a nut roast or something quorn-y like quorn sauages or 'chicken strips' if you like them?

Hope this helps!

NeeChee Tue 02-Oct-18 14:30:08

Thanks for all the ideas! We do use Quorn, but DP is variable with it, sometimes he says he doesn't like it. But he needs to make his mind up lol!
We always cook the onions and peppers separate for fajitas anyway, as DSS hates onions (although he has recently eaten two meals without picking them out, which I think is good progress!) . I suppose I could just heat some Mexican beans for me to have instead of the chicken.
I do like the idea of freezing portions of veggie food. Two evenings a week I do eat separately as I don't eat until after I've returned from exercise classes at 8.30pm, which is too late for DC to eat. I could just defrost a portion for myself.

OP’s posts: |
HalloumiGus Sun 07-Oct-18 12:19:17

Your DS will adapt. It's harder when it's the DH who is the fussy one. Mine is going to have to start cooking for himself soon!

April2018mom Sun 07-Oct-18 22:34:40

This is possible. I’m the sole vegetarian eater in my family. Your DS is capable of adapting to the new lifestyle take my word for it. We buy a lot of Quorn.
My partner has vegetarian food at my insistence. Try it for a while and see how much you can save. Whenever there’s meat I make myself something else like jacket potato or a healthy salad etc. My favourite meal of all time is typically either vegetarian cannelloni or risotto. Have a look at the recipes on here and see which ones you like. Make sure that you replace meat with eggs cheese and beans. I consume a lot of dairy products too as part of my diet along with fruit, veg, eggs, cheese and beans. When I was pregnant I ate a lot of chocolate.
It is a challenge but totally doable. Just be careful with meal planning and using freezers. And chopping boards and cutlery. When eating out read the menus carefully too. My sole reason to be vegetarian is money related. That and environmental issues.

SummersB Sat 13-Oct-18 10:24:59

Yes it is possible, I am the only veggie in my family, been veggie since before DH and got together and we are now 17 years down the line with 3 DCs who are all carnivores.
It took a while for DH to adjust, he was quite fussy in the beginning! These days we eat pure veggie meals maybe 4 days a week.
I will often do a roast (meat) on a Sunday and then make another meaty dish with the leftovers the next day, eg chicken and leek pie, etc. Other times I might cook a big veggie stew or pasta bake or something like that for all of us, then have the leftovers the next day while the family eats a meat dish. I very rarely cook two separate meals on the same day! I also freeze single veggie food portions to have on „meat“ days.
I works because my family is happy to eat veggie too, so there is a bit of give and take.

I’m veggie for ethical reasons but I believe in live and let live. Everyone makes their own choice. I don’t mind people eating meat, however there is no way I could be married to one of those „If it hasn’t got meat in it it’s not a proper meal“ people!

VioletCharlotte Sat 13-Oct-18 10:44:04

I'm vegetarian. Teen DS are carnivores. I do lots of batch cooking of veggie meals so I can pull stuff out of the freezer for me. I don't really like cooking meat, but I do it for them. I wear plastic gloves to touch it!

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