Friday, July 16, 2010

going green

When the carnivore and I got married several years ago there were lots of toasts. In my sister-in-law's she mentioned the whole family's surprise when he brought home a vegetarian. Way back then it was hard to imagine how my manly meat eater was going to make it with me at meal times. And if I had told anyone that knows my carnivore that I could not only get him to eat a vegetarian dinner without complaint, but I could also get him to eat four green things without him noticing they wouldn't believe it. But it is true. Here is how I did it:

First, I went safe by going Italian. I always have greater success sneaking in veggies when it is in his favorite foods. I then picked a few green veggies that I know he eats. This cuts out complaints or up turned noses. Finally, I hid a few other green bits in the seasoning and stuffing. Keeping it small means it just might go unnoticed.

To make this dinner yourself start with your favorite ravioli. There are so many good versions out there. And whether you get fresh made pasta from your local Italian specialty shop or a bag of frozen ones from your big box store, get something that gets a veggie in your meateater. I personally love ravioli because it is one of the few ways I can get the carnivore to eat spinach. If it is chopped up finely, smothered in Italian cheeses and seasonings, and then wrapped in pasta even he can handle it.

As we are still figuring out how to cook and care for baby omnivore this night I used a frozen variety. I brought a large pot of salted water to boil. I then added in the ravioli and about a cup of frozen organic peas. Not only is this a time saver, but it also got me a second green veggie in the meal. At the same time I sauteed my garlic green beans. Find the recipe for green veggie number three here. Once the ravioli and peas floated to the top (about 5 minutes) I removed the pot from the heat and drained it. After returning it all back to the same pot (because I am all about less dishes these days) I added in a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, a pinch of garlic powder, and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan. I then started to assemble the plates with a generous helping of green beans. I then piled on the ravioli and peas. My final touch, and the last bit of green on the plate - a few pieces of fresh basil from my herb garden torn on scattered on top.

This is not only a great meal for getting in more green goodies, it is also a wonderful meal for new parents. You can keep a large bag of ravioli and one of peas in the freezer and pull them out any time. They even make giant bags of frozen organic green beans that are pre-portioned and ready for reheating. Plus, it is quick to make and easy to clean up after. When you consider all this along side all the vitamins and minerals it packs in, its not so hard going green.

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