When you are eating any meal, side dishes play a pivotal role in making it a tasty fare while giving it a sense of completeness. Despite the fact that meat is known as an obligatory component by many individuals, it’s possible to elevate a meal’s flavors and nutritional value by adding meatless side dishes that complement any main course. Here, at Creative Pea, we are greatly concerned about producing excellent meat alternatives and we offer to introduce you to the delicious world of meat free side dishes and products. In this article, we are going to tell you what meatless sides are all about, and share a tasty recipe you’re going to love.
Getting Started with Meatless Foods
Switching to a meatless diet requires careful planning to stay healthy. Vitamin B12, iron, protein─all three should be derived from alternative food sources, including fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, and supplemented sources. Great benefits can be felt if you are reducing meat in the diet as you get used to it, and it is always best to have a word with a doctor and a nutrition expert before going on a totally vegetarian or low meat diet – especially if you are new to this concept, it may seem slightly difficult at first. However, with some straightforward tips and guidance, incorporating meatless foods into your regular meals becomes quite manageable:
- Start Small: An adjustment to your entire diet is not necessary immediately. It begins with choosing one or two days during the week, such as ‘Meatless Monday’ in accommodating meat-free meals.This makes it easier to shift toward eating more plant-based foods gradually.
- Get Creative with Recipes: There are plenty of plant based recipes available online. Try some of the dishes to find ones you love thus making your transition to a meatless diet more delightful.
- Opt for Healthy Choices: Opt for such foods as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. These meals are not only delicious but also very healthy.
- Spice it Up: Spice up your plant based recipes with different types of spices and herbs. It will taste great and it will give additional health side effects.
- Nutrient Check:If you’re cutting out meat, you need to make sure you consume enough protein, iron, as well as vitamin B12, which are normally found in this product. Add some nuts, seeds, whole grain and leafy greens to keep a balanced diet.
- Patience is Key: Shifting to an entire new diet is a process and it takes time. Do not worry about small failures and if it is delayed a little more than was originally calculated. Keep at it! Each meatless meal is a step towards a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.
Benefits of Meatless Side Dishes
In addition to promoting better health and environmental sustainability, meatless side dishes can have significant benefits for the flavor and enjoyment of your meals:
- Diversity and Innovation: The varieties of vegetarian cuisine are enormous, a salad full of fresh crunchy vegetables to an oven baked vegetable delights and side dishes made of legumes and grains. By regularly trying out different products and spices you can open up the diverse palette of tastes and textures, thus making your cooking life much more varied and interesting.
- Improved Nutrition: There is a lot of good nutrition hiding in meatless accompaniments, such as fiber, antioxidants and key vitamins and minerals. For example, a plain, simple green salad on the side provides vitamins A, C, and K, while a single portion of quinoa contributes to protein and fiber content for the meal.
- Lower Saturated Fat: In most of the cases, the vegetarian meals have fats, which are not saturated as those found in the animal-based diets such as the beef and chicken. Minimizing the saturated fats in the diet is an important preventive measure for a heart individual.
- More Fiber: Vegetarian diets are rich in dietary fiber which helps in digestion and can help one cut weight. One of the best ways to have enough fibers on your diet is by incorporating the use of beans or whole grains in your day to day foods.
- Allergy-Friendly Options: The vegetable side dishes are well suited for all the different types of special diets that are recommended hence either being vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free among others. These recipes have the right products so they can be used for different groups of people.
- Eco-Friendly Choice: Opting for vegetable side dishes is more sustainable. The choice for vegetables and grains, rather than meat, has a reducing effect on the environmental footprint related to meat production.
Creative Idea for Meatless Side Dish
An interesting meatless side dish is a Knish recipe. This classic meal from Eastern Europe is an oven-baked turnover, which has a filling of mostly potatoes and onions sautéed together, and the filling is surrounded by a very thin dough crust. In contrast, the original version contains a meat filling complement, which is replaced in this recipe by Creative Pea’s BEEFFREE product.
Here’s how to make it:
- ¾ cup water
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (300 g) + additional flour for kneading/rolling
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes peeled and chopped (about 3 medium potatoes, 455 g)
- 2 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt + ½ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- ½ medium brown onion finely diced (155 g)
- 1 ½ cups vegan ground meat we use ½ package of Creative Pea’s BEEFFREE mix, rehydrated
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup soy milk
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar or 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
- Pour the water and vinegar into a small bowl and leave it.
- Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
- Combine the dry ingredients and the water-vinegar mixture into a food processor and process for a minute until a dough is seen, scraping the sides as needed.
- With the processor running, pour in the olive oil in a thin stream and engage it in the process for a minute or until the oil is incorporated into the dough. Avoid overmixing.
- Pound the dough onto a floured work surface. Transfer the dough from the processor to a flat surface and knead it for 2 minutes. If the dough is soft and sticky, sprinkle it with flour one sprinkle at a time and work it in until you are able to shape the dough into a ball.
- Cover the dough with cellophane wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
- During the time the dough spends in the refrigerator, you will be given plenty of time for the preparation of the inside of the knish. Remove the skins from the potato and slice them into 1- inch segments. Place them into a large stock ice, cover them with water and add one tablespoon of kosher salt into the process.
- When the water is at a rolling boil, reduce the heat to medium-high to maintain a simmer and cook the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes until fork tender.
- Finely dice the onion and then add it to a shallow pan with 2 tablespoons of vegan butter over low to medium heat, as the potatoes boil down. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the onions are tender and golden brown.
- So, you are now to place your minced meat in the pan and allow it to sauté with onions for about two minutes. Take it off the stove and let it sit.
- When the potatoes are cooked, empty them out onto a straining sack and pour them into a large mixing bowl.
- Mash the potatoes into 2 tablespoons of vegan butter and the other part of ½ teaspoon of salt using potato masher. Some chunks of potatoes are allowed, they should not be mashed smoothly.
- When this mixture is ready, add it to the bowl with potatoes and stir well to combine.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Halve the dough. Place the halves on a lightly floured working surface. Roll each out to a rectangle that is about 12-14 inches long and ⅛-inch thick.
- Divide the filling in half and fill each rectangle of dough with a 2-inch thick log of filling that goes the length of the rectangle. Avoid overfilling.
- Bast the long edges of the dough with an “egg wash” and then fold both sides of the dough over the filling and seal. Repeat for both halves of dough.
- Mark each log with the side of your hand, pressing down lightly and moving your hand back and forth, dividing it into 6 equal pieces, and then cut with a knife to separate.
- Place each piece with one cut end facing down and the other facing up on the lined baking sheet, leaving 1 ½ inches between each knish. Squish down the top, creating a squat ball and tuck everything into the center to form a round knish.
- Brush the tops of the knishes with “egg wash” and then place in the preheated oven to bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy hot, room temperature, or cold.
Tips for Preparing Meatless Side Dishes
Preparing meatless side dishes can be easy and rewarding, but it also requires some attention to detail. Here are some tips for making your meatless sides stand out:
- Experiment with Variety: Do not make yourself compromise to just a few vegetables or grains. The families of the plant kingdom are numerous, and each holds an altogether different taste and supplement profile. Discover various vegetables, legumes, cereals, and spices that can add variety to your diet and make it nutritionally dense.
- Spice It Up: When making meat free meals, spices will be your dear friends in the kitchen. They are able to change an ordinary meal into a tasty one. Do not be afraid to experiment with unusual spices, such as turmeric, sumac, or za’atar.
- Protein Focus: Also make sure that your protein portions are still sufficient even if you have chosen meatless side dishes. In addition, if you add any beans such as lentils or chickpeas or include tofu or tempeh to your meals, the latter will become more filling and healthy.
- Enhance Flavor with Fresh Herbs: They are a great addition to your plate of food for added great taste, but you shouldn’t necessarily worry about adding on extra calories or fat. Feel free to be generous with them to fully reveal the savory natural tastes of your products.
- Experiment with Cooking Techniques: Experiment with various methods of cooking, such as grilling, baking or frying. Every method adds specific flavors and textures to your vegetables, thus ensuring the meals are diverse and tastier.
- Presentation is Key: You will appreciate that the appearance of your dish is very important in the eating experience. Ensure that there is a good healthy appetizing arrangement and that your meatless meal plate looks colorful.
- Include a Variety of Textures: Do not shy away from combining various spreads in your meatless accompaniments.Mix soft and crunchy elements or combine smooth and chunky components for a more interesting dining experience.
- Try Different Sauces: Sauce can also add flavor to your food. Experiment with condiments such as tahini, pesto, or even a sweet and sour glaze for added taste.
A journey into new flavors, culinary traditions, and dietary choices awaits those who switch to a meatless diet and begin to try various vegetarian side dishes. No matter how long you have been practicing a vegetarian lifestyle, or even if you plan to eat meat-free food for a specific amount of time, Creative Pea’s selection of meatless products may make your diet more delicious and full of nutrition. By choosing to eat vegetarian meals you help in developing a more acceptable and compassionate food system while enjoying the many positive qualities of a varied and tasty cuisine. Thus, we hope that this article has fueled the desire to try some other meatless garnishes and learn more about plant-based cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions