Monday, September 19, 2011

No Meat Monday Reinvention

Welcome to another addition of No Meat Monday!

Today I want to tackle another strategy for surviving meatless in this meaty world.

Let's talk about Reinvention!  Just because you are giving up meat for the day, doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite foods.  Go ahead, list them out...what are your favorite, go-to meals?  Here's mine:

Spaghetti and Red Sauce
Mac and Cheese
Stir Fry

Of course there are lots more, but these meals are repeater meals in my home.  They always tend to cycle through my meal plan.  For any ordinary eater, you can look at this list and imagine meatballs in the red sauce, ground beef in the tacos, dairy cheese with my macaroni and chicken in the stir fry.  But at the Vegan Faith house, we have a different vision for each of these meals.  And each one can be reinvented to fit a No Meat Monday profile.

Sometimes I become really concerned when Forbes and I are hosting dinner for meat-eaters.  I panic thinking they won't feel full, or won't be satisfied with my meatless meal.  What if they leave my house and wind up in a drive-thru because it wasn't enough for them!?  My worry takes over and I used to cave and cook meat for others.  Now, however, I utilize the reinvention tool to ensure my guests will be full and happy.
On Wednesday this week I had just the opportunity to serve a meatless meal to friends.  Andy and Wendy came over for a visit and I was so excited to cook for them.  We have so much in common, and while they are not vegetarians or vegans, they do believe in living a really healthy lifestyle, eating well and exercising.  We also all enjoy camping, music, hiking and apparently beer tastings!
Andy is an avid home brewer and brought a sample for us!  Not only that, but he made a delicious bread loaf from his spent grains!  I am currently urging Forbes to get involved!
That loaf did not last long in this house!  We are certainly bread lovers around here!

For dinner I played on the taco theme creating a Tortilla Pie with flavors that I knew would please!  The fall weather inspired the dish and I added a touch of chili and cinnamon to bring out the richness in sweet potatoes and beans.
On top of all the spicy layers in this dish I added a dollop of cool guacamole for balance.  Andy and Wendy enjoyed the dish, but I'm pretty sure I was its biggest fan!  I cannot get enough of the leftovers and want to make it again and again!  It was so easy, can be made in advance and will serve a small to medium size group.  It would also be easy to throw more than one together at once to feed a larger party!
Tortilla Pie
serves 4-6

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes


olive oil for greasing the pan
4- 8" whole wheat tortillas
2 sweet potatoes
1 can black beans
1/2 cup prepared salsa
1 can vegetarian refried beans
1 cup Daiya Pepperjack (or Cheddar) cheese
1 avocado
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon chili powder


Peel and dice sweet potatoes.  Steam on stove top or microwave until soft.  (I microwaved mine for about 4-5 minutes).  Mix together with cinnamon and chili, using fork to mash the sweet potatoes slightly.  Leave just a little chunky.

Grease bottom and sides of 9" glass pie pan.  Lay one tortilla on bottom of pan.

Spread 1/3 can refried beans on top of tortilla.  Layer 1/3 of sweet potato mixture on top of refried beans.  If desired sprinkle a little salt and pepper.

Layer another tortilla and 1/3 refried beans and sweet potato.

Again, layer third tortilla, the rest of the refried beans and sweet potato.

Mix together your drained and rinsed black beans with 1/2 cup salsa. 

Add salsa mixture to the top of the sweet potatoes on the third layer.  You may decide to only use 1/2 the mixture and reserve the other half of the salsa for topping or dipping for chips on the side.

Top everything with one final tortilla.  Spritz top of tortilla with olive oil and bake for about 30 minutes in a 350* oven.  During the last 10 minutes of baking time, add your shredded non-dairy cheese and continue to bake until cheese is melted and pie is heated through.

Remove from oven.  Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serve with mashed avocado and remaining black bean salsa. 
The pie won't last long, so grab your share while you can!

True to form, I forgot to snap a photo of Andy and Wendy.  Here's my best impression:
In reality, they are much happier looking than that (and their hair is a bit redder!)...but that might have been their faces when I informed them there would be no meat with dinner!  When they left, they were all smiles, however!  Although the smiles might have had something to do with dessert...
Two-Bite Brownies from Oh She Glows!  These were delicious and I highly recommend them!

So the moral of this story is...

No Meat Mondays will not leave you craving the drive-thru window if you learn to use a few simple tactics including the Umami principle and reinventing your old favorites!

Enjoy your No Meat Monday today!

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