Tuesday, 19 January 2016

What's for dinner? ~ a menu of vegetarian choices

The sense of strength and energy, and indeed confidence, that comes from having eaten well is unmistakable, and yet the question of "What's for dinner?" can often be a source of worry and tension, especially when we are tired and hungry.  

A good substantial and sustaining meal is of central importance to all of us, regardless of what sort of food we eat, whether we are vegetarian or meat eaters, or adhering to any other kind of diet. 

I've found that having a list of all the meals I can prepare, grouped according to the protein part, has been a great help.  When I am in need of ideas and / or looking for inspiration casting my eyes over a list of my own recipes immediately increases my sense of choice many times over.    

I share my list here in hope of providing encouragement and ideas for others.  It's an incomplete list of course, but a good base. 

Grouping them according to protein helps me keep a broad range in mind.  I think that probably many people are like me in having a tendency to make a fairly limited range of meals, simply because that's what I've become used to, or it's the easiest thing I can think of.  Glancing over my comprehensive list I can see there are plenty of easy choices!

A balanced diet includes food we eat throughout the day so in this list I've included some choices that are not mains dishes, but which none the less contribute to a good range of protein-based nourishment throughout the day.  

For this reason I've added a list of vegetables and fruit at the foot of my list to remind me to shop for a reasonably wide range.  I find shopping arduous, and so generally have my head down and eyes on my shopping list, rather than taking a good look at what's on offer.  My list reminds me to include more than the usual more ordinary fruit and veg. 

With a few exceptions the choices listed below are those I am accustomed to making - and enjoying.  Most of them include dairy products and eggs, but some are vegan.   

Vegetarian food suitable for the frail and / or elderly is really a sub-group of it's own which I will write about at a later stage.  At the present time I am working to discover exactly what vegetarian recipes and foods work well for my mother, Ellen.  It's a complex situation and I'm learning all the time what works and what doesn't.  There have been plenty of surprises, but the most important thing in my life at present is that after an alarming weight-loss, Ellen has now begun to put it on again.  I'll keep you posted. 

In the list below I have included links to those of my articles which include the recipes.  As I publish more recipes I'll add links to them.  

Vegetarian menu choices – starting with the main protein ingredients:

Eggs, cheese and milk:


Chick peas:
  • Loaf 
  • Casserole with tomato (vegan) 
  • Casserole with coconut milk (vegan) 
  • Falafels


  • Snack on these (vegan obviously!)

Cashew nuts:

  • Peanut loaf 
  • Rissolenut coated fritters

Seeds – sunflower and pumpkin:

Baked beans: 
  • Beans on toast (vegan) 
  • Shepherds pie (vegan, if you skip the cheese from the mashed potato)

Chilli beans:
  • Nachos

Tofu and soy beans:
  • Tofu with stir fry (The link for tofu is about the best place in Dunedin to buy it) (vegan)


Kidney beans:

Nutolene: this is food described in the article about macaroni cheese

  • Mushroom toasties
  •  Sandwiches 
  • Left-overs

Accompanying veggies:

Aubergine / Eggplant
Capsicum / Bell peppers
Silver beet

Berry fruit

I've hardly mentioned baking and desserts...

A full list of my recipes, which include baking, preserves and food that can be frozen, can be found via the following link:
Articles about housekeeping and shopping can be found via the link below:
My articles in the Elderly and Dependent series can be found via the link below:

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