This page could be subtitled, "Meatless main dishes even meat eaters love". That was my inspiration for creating these recipes, to add something to the body of vegetarian recipes already out there that would seem like "normal food" to people who were asked to eat it. This is especially true of new vegetarians, children, and meat eaters. Many people can't imagine what it is that vegetarians eat, and they think meatless cuisine is difficult to prepare, and unpalatable to consume. And, unfortunately, some vegetarian dishes are just that. I have been to more than one potluck dinner where I was hard-pressed to find anything that looked appetizing, and when I tried the food, I found out I was right.
I created these recipes to have quick, easy and delicious meatless foods to feed my family, and to prepare for guests. Now, you can do this the hard way, and everywhere I use onion powder and garlic salt, you can chop fresh ones. And I do that sometimes, on weekends when I am cooking for fun. But on regular, rushed days when I'm cooking because the kids are starved, it's dinnertime and I haven't even planned a meal yet, I like to do it the quick, easy way. (Of course, there's always time to run out to the herb garden, if you're fortunate enough to have one, and it makes a world of difference in the flavor).And I think these meals are quick, easy, and delicious. They are simply vegetarian versions of the old-fashioned food I grew up on, and I don't have trouble getting my kids to eat them. In fact, I serve them to my meat-eating friends and relatives all the time, and they don't run screaming from the room. They ask for the recipes.
These foods don't broadcast "vegetarian" to the world. You can serve them, and they look ordinary enough, and taste good enough, that their lack of meat is not an issue. You don't have to warn people ahead of time. This is a nice thing, because when I am offered something along the lines of the classic lentil-oatmeal loaf, I want to run screaming from the room. And I don't like to use mealtimes for proselytizing, but rather for socializing. I have tried to create vegetarian recipes with the flavor and pizzazz to achieve this goal. I hope you and your family and friends enjoy them as well.
Many of these recipes use textured soy protein (TSP), a dried soy flour product that can be used as a more healthful alternative to hamburger. Soy products have been shown to provide numerous health benefits, including the reduction of serum cholesterol. At the bottom of this page are links to two sites with great information about all sorts of soyfoods, including TSP. Soybeans are a source of complete protein, so there is no need to worry about protein complementarity in vegetarian meals utilizing TSP.
TSP is available in the bulk foods department at Sun Harvest Farms, a local grocery chain in San Antonio and Austin. You can also find it packaged under various brand names at a higher price in many health food stores.
For best flavor results, I recommend the use of Bolner's Fiesta Brand Spices, especially their chili powder.
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