Oh, Koukouvagia! There are so many wonderful things to eat without meat which your body and your soul will never feel as deprivation!
Without planning it, without consciously thinking (let's not have meat today), we often have meatless meals. For me, a meal with meat is when i DON'T feel like cooking, season something up and put it in a hot oven or on a hot pan. Wash some leaves for the side.
But meat is also pretty expensive here so much as i love it, I don't buy all that much of it.
But i want you to eat GOOD meatless meals. So where to begin?
Pasta, pizza and risotto are fundamentally meatless (the few meat variations are not that common, at least in Italian cuisine). Pasta with cauliflower, with zucchine (grated or cubed), (recipes that i've posted before) and with peas, same things with rice. Soups made of lentils or minestrones that are either poured over toasted dry bread rubbed with garlic, or with pasta or rice or barley in them, pasta and ceci (chickpeas) - start with a good soffritto of lots of garlic and onion, celery, carrot, and then add the chickpeas and water (even canned, just cook them some more to get them flavored) - boil the pasta separately - puree half the soup when it's done and then mix them all together - extremely satisfying.
Escarole soup (just boil escarole with onion and if you like, cut up celery and carrot, with water, salt and pepper until very well cooked. Serve with boiled rice in it and lots of parmigiano. You can't believe how satisfying.
Warm Quinoa salad with peas, string beans, asparagus, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, avocado (all or some of the above) with lots of lemon, and roasted chopped carrot, celery and onion.
Rice salad (or yummy black rice if you can find it) with all of the above.
Stringbeans with chopped crunchy almonds or if you like them, hazelnuts in browned butter with grated shallots in them (nuts and beans make full protein, as do legumes and grains, seeds and grains, grains and nuts, etc, not to mention any of the above and cheese greatly increases the useable protein of each)
Broccoli just barely blanched then tossed with fresh hot pepper, garlic, oil and a little sugar and then grilled.
Most vegetables like peppers, zucchine, eggplant, roasted with some sort of stuffing of breadcrumbs and garlic and whatever else you like
Slice eggplants and paint with olive oil with a brush, then roast in oven till browned, pour on top a mixture of buttermilk or yoghurt and garlic and mild herbs
boil cauliflower and crush with fork, add egg, a little flour and seasonings galore of your choice (hot pepper, garlic, onion) and more subtly, indian or morrocan or mediterranean whatever herbs, and cook in a little oil in a nonstick pan as sort of soft croquettes.
Mashed potatoes with milk, cheese and egg, coated in breaqdcrumbs under and over and baked in the oven
... need i go on?
And for greens, there are so many kinds. I got used to buying huge shopping bags full of greens here, and there's usually a nice big dish of them, either plain with lemon and oil, or tossed in the frying pan where you've lightly sauteed crushed garlic and hot pepper and olive oil.
How can anyone lack for vegetarian recipes.
not a hint of tofu or fake meat of any kind. bla!!!!!