Going meatless just one or two days a week can have a big impact on the environment and our health. But with picky eaters, sometimes the only thing you can get them to eat is ground beef. Not anymore!
There are so many great options now for plant-based meats I wanted to give you all some options and ideas to use them.
These plant-based foods are delicious, nutritious, affordable, and easy to use. You simply substitute them for ground beef in any recipe you usually would use ground beef, like spaghetti, tacos, and even meatloaf! I used these in place of ground meat (we do not eat beef, so for me it is in place of ground chicken or turkey) and I just didn’t tell my family. No one noticed! They loved it all, raved and raved, went back for seconds, and liked it even better left over. I loved the way they smelled cooking, too. I thought they smelled better than ground meats when they are browning, and my kids seemed to think so, too. I got several “MMMM….what’s for dinner?” comments each time I was browning up the plant-based meats. Do not be afraid to try these; they really mimic meats and you can just throw them into any recipe in place of ground beef. I was able to find all of these in the meat section at my local grocer, right there next to the ground beef — pre-pandemic, naturally!
I tried three different options that I found at my regular grocery store: Simple Truth Emerge, Pure Farmland Plant-based Protein Starters, and Beyond Meat Crumbles. I liked them equally; they all browned up easily, had a meat-like texture, smelled and tasted great. They are all affordable at around $4.29 per pound.
The recipes I’ve included below are easy, week night go-tos that are quick and require little prep. These are a win in my book, and I will use them interchangeably with my usual ground meat.
Meatless Monday Taco Bowl
Directions: Brown plant-based protein according to directions. Once cooked, add taco seasoning and a little water. Let cook 1-2 more minutes on low. Cook rice according to directions. Heat up garbanzo beans. Layer in a bowl starting with rice, plant-based protein, garbanzo beans, chopped spinach, sour cream, cilantro, and avocado.
- Plant-based protein
- Refried beans or black beans
- Flour soft taco shells (I used whole wheat)
- Shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend and quesadilla cheese)
- Spinach, chopped
- Onion, chopped
- Sour cream
- Taco Seasoning
- Cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Brown plant-based protein according to directions on package, add taco seasoning and water and cook 1-2 minutes. Sauté onions until clear, then add spinach and allow to wilt, about 2 minutes. Spray casserole dish with nonstick spray, put one layer of taco shells on bottom. Just rip them to fit dish. Spoon salsa and spread evenly. Add half can of beans, plant-based meats, onion spinach mixture, and top with cheese. Continue layers until dish is filled. Top layer should have taco shells, salsa, and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and sides are bubbly. Serve with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro.