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In the JOK Kitchen with Meatless All Day

meatless all day

Don't let the name fool you, this book is not just for vegetarians.  For our health and our environment all of us should be eating less meat and this is easier for some than others.  Meatless All Day aims at helping anyone out there trying to incorporate more vegetarian food into their diet with lots of flavorful recipes.While some of the recipes are vegan even more can be adapted and most of them are perfect for a kosher lifestyle as well.Dina gives tips on how to make your meatless meal more robust/meaty so that even the meat lovers won’t notice.  Give it a shot, we have three recipes to start with that Dina is sharing, read on.

When and why did you become a vegetarian?

I’m actually not a vegetarian; however, most of the meals I eat are meatless. I love cooking and eating vegetarian for many reasons. Among them, I try to eat healthfully and am passionate about designing meals around gorgeous, fresh fruits and vegetables. Plus, I absolutely love beans and lentils and global cuisine (and so many amazing dishes worldwide are vegetarian). Furthermore, meatless cooking is super-convenient, in that I don’t need to constantly run out to the store for fresh meat or fish. It’s also extremely economical. Finally, I feel good that I’m doing my small part towards the health of the planet.

Does your whole family eat meatless all the time? 

No, my family sometimes eats meat or fish. But, like me, most of the meals they eat are vegetarian. Even though my kids are the sons of a cookbook author, their favorite meals are quesadillas, pizza, macaroni and cheese, PB&J, and pasta. My husband tries to watch his cholesterol and eats black bean soup or chili for lunch nearly every day.

What is your earliest memory of cooking?

It’s a toss-up between my creating a chocolate banana smoothie recipe for a school newsletter in the fifth grade and my ransacking my childhood home’s pantry for any sweet ingredients I could find to make peanut butter or thumbprint cookies. I remember being frustrated by the bitter taste of a hunk of baking chocolate—I’d thought it would be as sweet as a candy bar!

Do you cook with your kids now?

Absolutely—whenever they’re up for it! I’m always trying to get them excited about food and to encourage healthy habits in the kitchen. A few of the recipes I make with them include Green Smoothies (a kale, frozen mango, and apple juice smoothie); chunky applesauce; brownies; banana bread; and quesadillas. Nothing too complicated—my boys are only 4 ½ and 6. But I can’t wait until they get older and can accomplish more complicated tasks.

Here’s the recipe for my Green Smoothie (it’s not from my book, so it is a bonus for you).

What is your favorite recipe in the book - can you share it with us? 

Truly, each recipe is like a baby. So it’s difficult to choose. Though, if I had to highlight one, I might say the Beet Wellington with Pinot Noir Sauce. It’s a play on Beef Wellington. My version includes roasted beets, mushrooms, and goat cheese—in a shell of puff pastry. Here's the recipe  and you can see it pictured above.

For someone who is meatless averse, which recipe do you recommend starting with? 

I would recommend the Whole Wheat Spaghetti with White Bean Balls. The White Bean Balls are more delicious than true meatballs—truly! Your family won’t be able to tell they’re vegetarian. I’m getting hungry just thinking about that recipe! And it’s very easy and healthful!

Most Jewish holidays are traditionally a very meat heavy time, do you have any recommendations of how to limit the meat?

So true—brisket is a mainstay for my extended family. I would go for the Seaweed-Crusted Tofu with Remoulade Sauce.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Meatless All Day published by The Taunton Press in 2014.  Photography by  © 2014 by Kate Sears

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with White Bean Balls

Beet Wellington

Seaweed-Crusted Tofu with Remoulade Sauce