5 Meatless Main Dishes

Here I go again... *deep breath*

Serious comfort food with serious health benefits - I'm making these all this week! #healthyrecipes

AND on the 5th Day of Christmas, FitCakes gave to me... 5 meatless main dish recipes!

As the countdown continues, I thought we needed some healthy/hearty meatless dishes to keep us warm inside, you know, to help get in more plant-based foods without constantly resorting to salads.  Just a guess buuut... if you can see snow outside/ it's less than 65 degrees in your house, you MIGHT be more into hot food right now.  Bonus:  These recipes seem more like comfort food than health food, so no feelings of "missing out" on traditional holiday indulging should occur.

On the topic of traditions, what could be more traditional to Christmas than decorating the tree?

It's been a tradition in my family for years to get ornaments for our Christmas tree whenever we go on vacation or do something really memorable together.  This translates to a really interesting looking tree.  

I've got a ton of Disney characters - most of which are Mickey Mouse; a sailboat from Sagatuck Michigan; a couple delft blue painted ones from Holland (yes, also Michigan); a clay ballerina from The Nutcracker; a saguaro cactus wearing it's own tiny Christmas lights; and a polished purple geode slice from the Petrified Forest that happened to have a hole in it so I thought it'd be neat to string a ribbon through it and call it an ornament - just to give you a flavor.  

For the last two years now, I've been sharing a house with a boy - and by "boy" I mean my husband - who has accumulated some of his own ornaments which now deck the tree.  Apparently the trend with his ornaments, though, is that they're all handmade by himself, and practically all before the age of eight.  It's pretty much adorable.  Case in point:  We have one that looks like an eensy picture frame with a miniscule red smudge inside.  Beneath it, in a teacher's handwriting, is the label, "Steven's Pinky."  Stinkin' cute.

(Oh, and speaking of fantastic handmade ornaments... you should have seen our first "angel" to preside over the tree.  It was an upside-down blue solo cup with a wine cork for a head, coffee filters for wings, and gold foil from a Champagne bottle for the halo.  I made it.)
Between my menagerie of Disney figurines and Steve's five-year-old pinky smudges and baked clay teddy bears, it looks like we're just a couple of kids.. or that we have a couple kids.  

While the first one is the truer statement for the time being, one day we'll probably complete the tree with a gagillion more cartoon figurines, handprints, and repurposed household items.  The tree might look less like a sparkling centerpiece to our home and more like a deranged fruitcake... but it signifies what I think Christmas means all the better.  Don't you think?  

Question:  What is your favorite holiday tradition & why?  Let's discuss!

1. Best Black Bean Burger

vegan, gluten-free

This burger gets nice and crusty on the outside, and stays moist on the inside - perfect burger texture.  Plus, they are always super easy to whip up, so I make these for all kinds of gatherings, where meat-eaters and vegetarians always enjoy these patties.  Don't worry, I would never give you a recipe that made you go out in the bitter cold to work the grill - I mean, you might flip a table or something - these are made on the stovetop!

[Want to really be impressive? Try: Homemade Whole-Wheat Buns + Chipotle Sweet Papas Fritas]

http://fitcakery.com/2013/6/12/best-black-bean-burger

http://fitcakery.com/2013/6/12/best-black-bean-burger

2. Hearty Wholesome Meatless Ragu

vegan, gluten-free friendly

This is what I'm talkin' about!  Comfort food, all the way, and yet not an animal product to be found.  I like taking myself off the animal-producing grid whenever possible, for environmental + health benefits, but I don't like sacrificing tastiness... ever!  This one is "meaty" with mushrooms, lentils, and chickpeas, and quite obviously not lacking in flavor.

[Always in need of pasta sauces on the fly, I also like this quick one: Laid-Back Creamy Tomato Sauce

http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/11/04/hearty-wholesome-meatless-rag/

http://www.coconutandberries.com/2014/11/04/hearty-wholesome-meatless-rag/

3. Pretty Purple Picnic Wraps

Pretty is an apt description for these wraps - as if you couldn't tell, right?  They are also BRIMMING with fantabulous ingredients.  While the instructions are somewhat long, it's just to make sure you get the absolute best wraps you can, and all without using any meat.  I'm sure it would be easy to make some of the components ahead of time to have ready to go for a spur-of-the-moment picnic (like I want to do in this gorgeous, 68 degree weather here in Tucson) or for a tasty fireside lunch with the fam.

[For an Asian spin + vegan option on wraps: Vegan Asian Lettuce Wraps + Slaw

http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/pretty-purple-picnic-wraps/

http://www.greenkitchenstories.com/pretty-purple-picnic-wraps/

4.  Tofu Scramble Breakfast Sandwiches

vegan

A hot, protein-packed breakfast, is practically guaranteed to get your day off to the right start.  I mean, if I've learned anything from all those breakfast food ads I've ever seen on TV, it's that having a complete breakfast can either A) turn you into a superhero or B) make one come bursting in through your front door to clean your house... or something.  Luckily, this drool-worthy dish is ACTUALLY a healthy and complete breakfast, as opposed to say, Pop-Tarts?  And you (probably) will still feel like a superhero.  Spandex outfit optional.

[Need another quick breakfast like this one? Try: Mini Frittatas

http://veganyackattack.com/2013/07/12/tofu-scramble-breakfast-sandwiches/

http://veganyackattack.com/2013/07/12/tofu-scramble-breakfast-sandwiches/

5. Black Bean Quinoa Chili

vegan, gluten-free

You know how I love my chili when it's chilly.  And no, apparently I don't mind being punny about it.  This is a tasty and easy variation on chili, yet more proof that vegan comfort food does exist and it is a thing!  Much like the ability to stay fit on vacation... unfortunately I cannot say the same for Bigfoot.

[For a slow-cooker chili you can get going before a day of shopping or family time, check out this yummy vegan dish: Hearty Slow Cooker Chili + if you want a cornbread to go with your chili...Cast-Iron Cornbread

http://kelliesfoodtoglow.com/2014/01/31/black-bean-quinoa-chili-super-bowl-supper/

http://kelliesfoodtoglow.com/2014/01/31/black-bean-quinoa-chili-super-bowl-supper/