Making The Most of Going Meatless


Photos by (clockwise from top left) voxtheory, fotoosvanrobin, rick, and star5112/Flickr CC

To browse the recipes mentioned in this post, click here.

There's a space at the center of every plate in America where the meat goes. Unless, that is, you're a vegetarian like me or just a health- and ethics-conscious semitarian. What to do at the center of the plate can be challenging for the meat-eschewing food lover and downright intimidating when cooking for others.

The mainstream options for vegetarian entrées just aren't that appealing, and there seem few better ways to disappoint a date or drive down dinner party attendance than by replacing a juicy burger with a soggy portabello mushroom. Sure, there are ways to co-opt traditional meaty fare into meatless, which I've explored, but the recipes are often complex and time-consuming, if delicious.

There's a good reason most people think of tofu the same way they think of a trip to the dentist: healthy but dreaded.

To delight as well as nourish with a simple vegetarian entrée can sometimes feel less like a meal than an act of Spartan self-depravation, as if eating bland bean-based dishes were more about proving dedication to the cause rather than simple gustatory enjoyment. (There's a good reason most people think of tofu the same way they think of a trip to the dentist: healthy but dreaded.) But it doesn't have to be so. Here, I take the Rachel Ray formula for recipes that are delicious but also inexpensive and quick.

I've started with the staples of meatless center dishes--sponge-like portabello, little white cubes of tofu--and spiced them up a bit. Each is simple enough to be a quiet dinner on its own and is flavorful enough to be part of a more elaborate multi-course affair. What I love about these recipes is how easy they are, demonstrating that great vegetarian food doesn't require a lot of hoop-jumping. Click through to see five ways to solve the riddle of casual, interesting, fun vegetarian entrées. You won't even miss the meat.


Jump to comments
Presented by

Max Fisher is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

In a series of candid video interviews, women talk about self-image, self-judgment, and what it means to love their bodies

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



More in Health

Just In