When a Vegetarian Visits

Our daughter Kayla is a vegetarian.  When she first told us, Hubby and I were shocked.  For goodness sakes, we lived on a farm.  As part of Hubby’s job he raised cattle for meat.  Growing up, Kayla’s highschool job was milking cows for a neighbor.  We treat the cattle well…our neighbors treated their cattle well.  We just didn’t “get it”.  Admittedly, we were both a little “old school”.

For me, I went into a panic.  How was I going to feed her?  We are a meat and potatoes family.  How was I going to make something for her but still make things for the other kids?  I was flustered and worried how I could possibly be the mom that fixes the favorites and have vegetarian options too.

Time (a few years) have passed.  I’ve calmed down.  I’ve talked to Kayla and taken time to think it all through.  Kayla is really good about not being too picky when she’s here which helps too.  She tries to stay true to herself without making me feel bad if I don’t “make it completely right”.

Nowadays, I make chili with no meat…then have a bowl of meat on the side.  People just add meat who want meat when they scoop up their chili.  I do the same with spaghetti.  I do the same with fajitas.  If make brats or hamburger we buy a vegetarian option for Kayla.  It’s all gotten to be so much less of a worry.  The longer we do it, the easier it gets.

I don’t object to her food choices at all…I just didn’t know how to “be a good cook” for a vegetarian and as a mom cooking is one of the ways I love my kids.  It’s what my son Buck calls “a whole thing”.  If you’re a mom who purposely makes your kids’ favorite foods and enjoys cooking, I’m sure you can understand.  I felt like if I couldn’t cook “right” for her, I wasn’t being a good mom and loving her like she deserved.  (Oh my…how dramatic I am over food…but like I said, if you’re “that” mom, you get it!)

Kayla sometimes helps me out by bringing something we all can eat that she prepared.  One day she brought Big Mac salad.

Rather than putting hamburger in the salad, she cooked up lentils and spiced them.  She put all the ingredients in the canning jar and brought with a bag of lettuce.  PERFECT.  We all had some!  I’m sure kidney beans would have worked well too.

Anyway….I thought I’d share another recipe that I’ve tried when Kayla comes and has been a success.

I love ring macaroni.  When I was in the grocery store the other day I grabbed some.

I ended up making this….ring noodle, ham, cheese and pea salad.

Typically I use mayonnaise with some sugar and milk as the dressing….this time I used something different.  The dressing for a different pea salad I made this summer.

I modified that recipe to this…

1 box of ring noodles cooked and cooled
1 lb peas, frozen
Chopped ham
¼ red onion, diced
6 ounces cheddar, diced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
as desired salt and pepper

I’ve found I LOVE this mayonnaise…it’s found in the Mexican section at Wal-Mart.  I’m not sure where else as our local grocer doesn’t carry it.

I mixed everything together MINUS the ham.  I put some in a pyrex for Kayla and added the ham for the rest of us.  Easy Peasy.

I’d love some good ideas from any of you who have some good recipes that can be made both vegetarian and with meat….I know there are lots of great recipes out there that are vegetarian but remember I also have Hubby and there’s no way he’ll eat without meat.  I’d so love a comment section full of great ideas!!  As I said, it’s gotten MUCH easier but I still feel like I lack on variety…(Again, Kayla’s great and doesn’t care…it’s me the mom that wants to be a good cook for her!)  So please give me more ideas!!!

16 thoughts on “When a Vegetarian Visits”

  1. I have a vegetarian daughter also. One of her favorites is vegetarian lasagna. I make with a jar of Alfredo sauce, some par boiled vegetables, ricotta cheese or cottage cheese and mozzarella. Even the meat lovers love it.

  2. I’m not a vegetarian but I like to do Meatless Mondays. One of our favorites is a baked potato bar. You can have all kinds of choices from broccoli and cheese to beans to chili along with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Just bake the potatoes and set out the toppings and everyone adds whatever they want. This is actually a popular thing in our area and several churches use Baked Potato Bars as fundraisers.

  3. When I make my lasagna and a veg is coming for dinner, once my sauce has simmered nicely, I make a 5X9 breadpan for the veg. Then I add in my cooked hot italian sausage/ground beef/ground turkey mix, simmer a bit longer and make the large lasagna for everyone else.

    I do the same with my chili.

    This way all the flavor and hours of simmering come through, and the veg gets a great meal as well.

    Black bean soup is great for everyone. I don’t add meat later.

    Salad bars work great for everyone.

    You can grill burgers and do a veg patty or mushroom for Kayla. The sides for BBQs don’t need meat.

    Mac n Cheese is a favorite here. You can heat diced ham or diced chicken in a skillet and folks can add it on top. I toss in several cups of broccoli the last 3m of boiling my pasta.

  4. I had to look up ring noodles. I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in my grocery store. I’m going to look for the mayo also. pam

  5. I don’t have a recipe to share, but it’s Saturday night and you are in my heart and in my prayers.

  6. I follow a blog called the Chubby Vegetarian they have some great recipes. They have written a cook book and I noticed they don’t update their blog much anymore, but the recipes that are there sound good,

  7. We like to do a taco bar. I make up a batch of lentil tacos (tons of recipes online, including instant pot) in addition to regular taco meat. The spiced lentils make great tacos – even our meat eaters like them. The leftovers are great with scrambled eggs for breakfast burritos.

  8. My husband and I both grew up in Minnesota and both ate ring macaroni tuna salad–absolutely one of my favorite meals! (I know how sad that sounds!) Turns out that ring macaroni is only made by Creamette and most of the areas we have lived in during our years in the military and after don’t sell Creamette brand. I used to buy boxes of ring macaroni whenever we visited Minnesota. I wonder if it’s available on Amazon…going to check! You’re still in my prayers. Your family has been amazing through this long ordeal and you continue to have such a good attitude. I know you have hard days (probably part of every day at least!), but you are one amazing person! (You both did a great job with your kids, too!)

  9. Donna Pheneger

    My daughter is also a vegetarian as is her hubby though their kids eat meat when they like. She gets a lot of her recipes off Pinterest. I even have a pinterest section for Vegetarian if you’d like to take a look – I think she named it vegan by mistake ;-)
    Love and prayers

  10. We let a bag of 15 bean soup soak overnight and then add jalapeño peppers, salsa, carrots, peppers and onions. Also mushrooms and spinach if wanted. Yum.

  11. My oldest daughter is also a vegetarian. She became one in high school, and it kind of threw me for a loop, but we managed. School lunch was the worst. If I didn’t pack her a lunch, she just ate French Fries, which is Not Healthy. I do like you do with chili when the whole gang is here. Cheese potatoes are one of the favorites here in winter (for all of us!) and I just make chicken or pork chops or something for the meat eaters, plus a veg for us all. She’s a grown up now, with her own family. Her son is allergic to milk, eggs, and peanut butter, and her husband won’t eat beans, so you can imagine how tough it is to plan meals at her house!
    I’m thinking of you lots in these trying days. God bless you.

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