I pretty much love all food, but slowly made the transition to eating only fish and seafood as my sources of animal protein a few years ago. As a college student, and even post-college, I didn’t cook much red meat or pork, but I certainly loved it when my parents would invite me over for a meat-heavy meal. Meat is expensive, and can also be difficult to cook if you don’t know what you’re doing, so for the most part I stuck with good old ground turkey, sandwich meat, and chicken breasts.
After watching a few documentaries, reading books by Michael Pollan, and becoming a more food conscious adult, I figured I’d cut out the steak and bacon I had grown up on. I wasn’t quite ready to cut our poultry as it was my main protein source, but I was fine with cutting out red meat. One of the main reasons I quit eating red meat at first was due to health concerns over the hormones that are fed to the animals, which quickly translated into money concerns. Buying meat every weekend at the local farmer’s market from vendors who raised their animals without certain antibiotics in lovely pastures over the mountains surrounding Seattle would have been totally fine with me if it wasn’t for the insanely expensive prices. I didn’t feel comfortable ingesting non-organic meat that was raised in factory farms, but I also couldn’t afford $15 steaks. My no-red-meat slowly morphed into no-meat-except-seafood-because-I-love-sushi-and-have-no-problem-fishing and so now my eating habits are technically defined as “pescetarian”, but that sounds stupid so I usually just tell people I’m vegetarian and then throw in the fish thing later.
Now I understand most of the United States still ingests quite a bit of meat and is in no way ready to give that up, but I believe everyone can get on board with eating meatless meals at least one day a week. Not only is it beneficial to your wallet to eat a vegetarian meal here or there, but it also benefits the environment greatly. So with all of that in mind I thought I’d start a Meatless Monday series cataloging a few of my favorite meatless dishes, and perhaps inspire you to try some out for yourself.
The first dish I’m bringing to the table (ha!), are some awesome vegetable enchiladas similar to the ones found here. They were super easy to make, relatively healthy, and can be thrown together with whatever veggies you have on hand. In the summer they are great for using up extra zucchini and tomatoes, and in the winter they can be made with butternut squash and kale or whatever else you have on hand. Adding beans provides a good dose of protein, and if you’re uber-health conscious you can make these with whole wheat tortillas, but be warned – they fall apart easily.
Vegetable Enchiladas Ingredients:
- 12 white or whole wheat 6 inch tortillas
- 1-2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup of zucchini, chopped (about 2 large zucchini)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1 can diced green chiles
- 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 1 bottle enchilada sauce
- 1-2 cups of shredded Mexican cheese blend
Vegetable Enchiladas Instructions:
- In a large skillet, saute the onion, zucchini, and mushrooms in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add the beans, corn, and chilies; cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish to prevent tortillas from sticking.
- Spoon 1/2 cup bean mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down the dish. Add cheese to the inside of the enchilada if you like a cheesier enchilada. Proceed through the rest of the mixture and tortillas until you have filled the pan with enchiladas.
- Top with enchilada sauce and cheese.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until heated through.
Yield: 12 enchiladas.