Red Sauce recipe below– skip there if you don’t care what I eat!
I seem to get the question a lot. Including once today from my mother. I’m sure I’ve said it before… I’m a picky eater. In general I don’t eat beef or pork or lamb or seafood (exceptions for a VERY occasional burger or pepperoni pizza or bacon). In general I don’t eat cooked vegetables (exceptions for potatoes, corn, peppers, and onions). And I absolutely hate sweet sauces.
For all of that strangeness, the meat thing seems to baffle my family the most. My dad doesn’t feel he’s eaten a meal unless a dead animal was on his plate. Over the past 10+ years I’ve gone through phases of vegetarianism. I was for a few years, then not, then was, then not. It was partially because I feel really bad about eating animals, partly because its healthier not to eat meat, and partly because I don’t like meat that much anyways. But– as with most things in life being all/nothing on meat is pretty challenging. It was hard to find stuff I liked to eat when I went out to dinner, especially since I don’t like most cooked veggies. It was hard to eat over at someone’s house.
I’ve pretty much evolved into a person who just doesn’t happen to eat meat often. On average I’d say I have maybe 3-4 meals per week that include chicken, and the rest is vegetarian. Which led to the following conversation this afternoon with my mother:
me: I made an awesome red sauce last night
her: Oh yea? what was in it?
me: just tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, and basil. i served it over cheese ravioli and it was really really good
her: and b was okay that there was no meat?
me: yes… he knows i don’t cook any meat but chicken and that took some doing. i didn’t cook any meat at all before him. but still probably over half the meals i make don’t have meat
her: but…. what do you eat??
Ummm lots of stuff! I never really know how to answer that. Pasta, pizza, salads, stuffed peppers, fajitas, veggie burgers, chick’n patties, quesadillas…. there are a lot of things that don’t require meat! I need to do better about posting recipes on here both so people can see some healthy (and often meat-free) options, and also so when I’m trying to think of what to make for dinner I have a go-to list.
As means of example though, this was my dinner tonight:
This is extremely typical, especially on nights b is not here. Black bean veggie burger with provolone, mustard, and lots of pickles; frozen soft pretzel; watermelon. I have all my food groups covered and I didn’t miss meat at all. If you haven’t tried Morningstar’s spicy black bean veggie burgers yet, I demand you do so immediately. They are so good, even my dad will eat them!
And without further ado, my awesome red sauce (that I forgot to take pictures of– sorry!)
Basic red sauce:
1/2 chopped (medium) onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tbspn EVOO
1 tbspn butter
2 cans diced tomatoes (or 8-10 chopped fresh tomatoes)
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn pepper
1 tspn italian seasoning
1/4 tspn red pepper flake
1/4 cup julienned basil
Chop onion and garlic. Heat EVOO and butter over medium heat, and add onion. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add garlic. Saute for 2-3 minutes (don’t let it brown). Add 2 cans diced tomatoes. You can certainly use fresh tomatoes if you have them (especially if you have home grown tomatoes!), but I think the canned ones taste great and they’re a heck of a lot cheaper. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flake, and italian seasoning. Make sure everything is stirred together really well, and let the sauce come to a low boil/strong simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2-4 hours, stirring every half an hour or so. Just before you serve, add julienned basil and stir to combine.
Now, you don’t HAVE to let this simmer for hours. I have made it and eaten it as soon as everything is warmed through. It is wonderful that way, and tastes very fresh and raw. The longer you cook it, the more it will taste like a real sauce, rather than just a hot tomato mixture. Because I was serving it with ravioli, I wanted it to really cook down and be more like classic red sauce, and about 3 hours got me there. Enjoy!