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1 vegetarian in family, rest eat meat- plans, tips

(15 Posts)
Nutellanjam Fri 20-Sep-19 13:16:45

Hope am in right place! My DD, nearly 12, is keen to be vegetarian, also no fish (has never liked anyway). I’m fine with this as have been keen for us all to eat more veg dishes. She’s a fairly fussy eater but I’ve said she needs to eat egg, lentils, nuts etc if no meat and she’s very keen.
Generally we’ll just eat veg dishes but my 2 other children won’t want to miss out on eg roast chicken, sausage toad, meat lasagnes. So I will need to make some extra variant of some meat dishes. Is vegetarian sausage toad ok ?? Also - tofu ? What to do with, I’ve just bought some as we’ll be having some chicken noodle, veg, coriander dish and I thought to swap chicken for tofu in one. Do I just slice a bit up and fry it? Does it need extra flavoring ? Sorry for ignorance !!! All tips and ideas for meals/ planning v welcome ! Thanks v much

OP’s posts: |
maxelly Fri 20-Sep-19 14:59:12

Hello, definitely the right place! Quite a few families on here including mine who have a mixture of meat eaters and veggies! I find the best approach is to do a mixture of:

-Some nights everyone eats veggie meals you all like

-Some nights you use meat substitutes for DD (or even everyone) e.g. quorn mince, soy sausages and burgers etc. These are generally good although you may need to experiment a bit to find which ones she likes e.g. I really don't like the quorn 'chicken' pieces but do like their burgers. Using the substitutes is nice and easy as e.g. you can just throw a few veggie sausages in your toad in the hole alongside meat ones for others. However I try not to rely on them everyday as (a) worse for the environment than using pulses/beans for protein and (b) expensive.

-Using batch cooking to be able to 'alternate' veggie and meat options. So e.g. one day I cook a big veggie curry, some gets eaten that day then several portions go into the freezer. Next week I will cook a big chicken curry, some gets eaten by meat eaters, veggies have last week's veggie curry and the remaining chicken goes into freezer ready for next time we have veggie curry. You can do the same with lots of dishes, chilli, spag bol, shepherd's pie to name just a few.

Re tofu, yes in theory you slice it up and fry it - it's nicer if marinaded beforehand in some garlic, ginger, chilli etc. I'll be honest with you - I don't like the stuff much and don't use it at home anymore. I find it hard to cook with (always seems to disintegrate), and even when cooked well, quite bland and dry. But since you have it give it a go and see what DD thinks grin .

One thing I'd say which is a bit controversial is to not be too paranoid about her protein levels and ensuring she has lots of protein with every single meal - it is harder for veggies to get protein in than meat eaters but I think in general as a population we over-eat protein and under-eat veg. 10-15% of your diet as protein is enough for a normal adult (not a bodybuilder or someone trying to do keto diets etc ofc), not sure about a child. But if for instance she's had eggs for breakfast and baked beans or hummus at lunchtime, she's probably OK to just have noodles and veggies at dinner with some fruit/yoghurt or cheese for afters on some days. Obviously if she puts on too much weight, loses too much weight or complains of hunger then you may need to think again!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Fri 20-Sep-19 15:03:12

I make a big toad in the hole with dd's veggie sausages down one end and normal ones for the rest of us down the other. The batter stops the meat tainting the vegetarianism.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Fri 20-Sep-19 15:07:00

Another thing we do is deconstructed salads, eg deconstructed caesar salad where the ingredients are all just in bowls on the table and you take what you want.

Or leaving out the meat ingredient and serving it separately, eg with carbonara. It's not ideal but it works well enough.

30to50FeralHogs Fri 20-Sep-19 15:10:59

I was going to say like Countess that some meals the meat can be an add on, like risotto or paella with mushrooms, peppers, peas etc then some chicken thighs cooked separately for those who want them.

Last night I made a pea and broccoli risotto with feta thrown in at the end. It was pretty good and nobody missed the meat that I was going to cook alongside it.

I often do a veg version of whichever main I’m making anyway, this week I’ve done a meat and a veg chilli, using Quorn mince, and we’ve had Kievs, some veggie, some not. And curry. Each meal has had some leftovers so the veggie ones can have it the next day if they want. But it’s also meant that the rest of us eat more veggie meals too. I bought DS and DD some supplements to make sure they don’t miss out too.

30to50FeralHogs Fri 20-Sep-19 15:13:22

The Linda McCartney sausages are apparently nicer than quorn.

I also buy in some veggie ready meals eg lasagne etc so that there’s a choice when I want to make a roast or something. They can still have some veg/potatoes/Yorkshires if they want them but it means I’m not trying to shoehorn an alternative into a meal where there isn’t a good one.

Coffeeandchocolate9 Fri 20-Sep-19 15:19:01

Batch cook and freeze veggie versions - eg veggie lasagne, so you can make a meaty one and whip one of out of the freezer for her - or get some ready meal versions in for cheating sometimes!

My parents and grandparents generation had meals that worked well for one veggie and meat eaters - meat, veg and potatoes. So e.g. sausage, mash, carrots and green beans (maybe with gravy) becomes pork or veggie sausages for individuals no drama.

Delia smiths curried nut roast is a winner in our house, and can be sliced and frozen for when the rest have roast chicken etc.

Coffeeandchocolate9 Fri 20-Sep-19 15:20:57

Oh and I'd suggest leaving tofu off the menu for now - it can be tricky to get right. Ireland's fake chicken pieces or Quorn's are useful for curries etc.

BiddyPop Fri 20-Sep-19 15:21:30

DD doesn't like much meat, so I often end up doing veg versions for her - things like pasta with tomato sauce and roasted Mediterranean veggies (I make the veggies in big batches and freeze portions for us all to enjoy), and adding in nice sausages or fried bacon bits for DH and I after taking DD's from the pot.

Or mushrooms in a creamy sauce with pasta/rice, adding chicken pieces to it for DH and I.

Stir fries are great for getting loads of different veg in. You could make it mostly using veg, and then take out her portion to another pot almost at the end and add in meat to the main pot before serving.

When we make curries, as we enjoy lots of different ones, I make large batches as much as possible and freeze these in single person portions - some are veggie, others are fish or various meat ones - it means we can all have curry for dinner but DD's can be a veggie one, just reheating the sauces in 2 different pots and freshly cooking enough rice for all.
The same principle can work for veggie chilli and chilli con carne.

Nutellanjam Fri 20-Sep-19 15:53:22

Wow these are very useful responses, thanks very much everyone - I see lots of people have same situation!!

OP’s posts: |
Ricekrispie22 Fri 20-Sep-19 17:13:27

When it comes to cooking for vegetarians and meat-eaters at the same time, there are a few different ways you can do it. The route you choose to go down will probably depend on what sort of meal you’re making.
The first options is to cook vegetarian side dishes, then just serve a different protein for the vegetarians and meat-eaters. You’ll all be eating 90% the same, so there won’t be too many additional pans to wash. I know a lot of vegetarians aren’t fond of meat substitutes, but they’re really useful for this kind of meal. Veggie sausages, soya ‘chicken’ nuggets, grilled Quorn ‘steaks’ – they can all be used as one-for-one replacements for their meaty equivalents.
I’d do this for roast dinners, burgers, hot dogs, bangers and mash.

Another option is to cook a vegetarian meal, and then scatter some kind of meat or fish on top for those who want it. I sometimes find it helpful to do a roast/pulled chicken or roast/pulled pork once a week so that we have some cooked meat on hand for adding in at the end. You can add pulled chicken right at the end to: enchiladas, fajitas and stuffed peppers. Roast chicken can be added at the end to a chickpea and couscous salad or tagine. I add the cooked pork at the end to dishes like curries and stir fries. It's also useful to have bacon lardons for frying and adding right at the end to egg fried rice, carbonara, risotto and lentil casserole.
Make a bunch of beef meatballs and keep them in the freezer, so that a veggie tomato sauce for pasta can get a beefy boost when needed. Also, lamb meatballs are great to throw into a chickpea and vegetable tagine over some couscous, or can be part of a tapas or mezze dinner.

Another option is to use two separate pans, which might sound like the equivalent of making two separate meals, but it’s not! If you’re making a stew or casserole, you can make the exact same thing in two different pans, with barely any extra effort. Chop all your veg, and rather than dumping them into one pan, separate them into two. All the other ingredients can be added to both pans, with meat added to one, and some kind of veggie protein added to the other. Sure, you’ll have two pans to wash instead of one, but there’s otherwise the same amount of prep work and cooking time. It's easy to make two small toad in the holes from one batter mix and just use different sausages. This oven-baked frittata is a good veggie dish if you fry the bacon separately and use two separate oven dishes, leaving the bacon out of one of them
It’s worth making a big batch of these kinds of meals. By the time you’ve started prepping, it’s not really any extra effort to make a larger amount. Stews and soups freeze really well, so you can freeze any leftovers in portions, to make for a quick and easy dinner another night.

Coffeeandchocolate9 Fri 20-Sep-19 19:14:32

I did of course mean Iceland, not Ireland, upthread blush

Bouledeneige Sat 21-Sep-19 11:58:26

I agree with the suggestions here:
- some nights we eat veggie only
- some nights the sauce is cooked and meat added separately to a separate pot
- some nights it's meat version and a veggie options - eg burgers.

Mine was different because my DD ate fish and seafood. But some ideas:
- pasta with pesto and creme fraiche and asparagus (chicken added for meat eater)
- roast vegetables and couscous or toms, beans and red pepper with feta added for DD and chorizo or chicken for DS
- meatballs and a creamy mustard sauce - made with sausages for DS and Linda McCartney sausages for DD
- ditto toad in the hole
- bolognaise made with quorn mince
- veggie curries or stir fries with noodles
- risotto with peas and asparagus
- macaroni cheese
- cauliflower cheese with gammon steak for DS
- Caesar salad with chicken for DS and tuna for DD with baked potato

Mine both really like salmon and sea bass and prawns which also added variety but I realise that's out with you.

30to50FeralHogs Sat 21-Sep-19 13:30:53

See my kids cringed when I took a photo of the dinner I’d made the other night, saying “don’t post that on Instagram” - I knew it would come in handy at some point grin

One on the left is a veggie one, the right has chicken and chorizo in it.

I bought a paella packet mix for flavouring, which I split between them, but put more of it in the veg one as the chorizo had already added lots of flavour to the meat one.

I then used chicken stock in mine, veg stock in theirs. Otherwise exactly the same so it’s just a case of chopping twice as many peppers etc. Then DS took the leftover veggie one to work and I had the leftover chicken one for lunch smile

30to50FeralHogs Sat 21-Sep-19 13:32:00

Actually left is chicken. Not that it matters grin

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