Meatless Monday: Great Sites for Vegetarian Recipes

http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/vegetarian-recipes-zb0z1202zglo.aspx

Whether we care more about the environment or animal rights, most conscientious consumers can agree that today's factory farming practices are unhealthy for humans, animals and the planet alike. While animal rights activists often choose to forgo meat entirely, others, known by the term flexitarians, eat meat, but only if it's produced on farms where animals have the chance to live outside the confines of a small pen. Flexitarians often opt to eat frequent vegetarian meals to free up their dietary budget to buy healthier, well-raised meat (read more about flexitarianism). Lucky for them (and anyone interested in joining their ranks), tons of vegetarian recipes are every bit as satisfying and delicious as meat-centric ones, and there are hundreds of resources available to find amazing vegetarian recipes. Among them are a number of veggie blogs where veg-enthusiasts share their most fabulous recipes. Here are just a few of my favorites. Check in with them for inspiration as you plan meatless meals.

1. Herbivoracious

Written by longtime vegetarian and father of two Michael Natkin, Herbivoracious' incredibly varied recipes have been featured by everyone from Saveur magazine to The New York Times. Natkin's adventurous recipes span the globe and will leave even the most meat-loving palate missing nothing when it comes to bold flavor. If you're looking for a variety of recipes that promise never to bore, visit this site frequently (or subscribe to the e-newsletter).

What I want to eat RIGHT NOW:  

Coconut Rice 

 
Maybe I am craving an island getaway. I will settle for this Coconut Rice with Black Beans, Plantains and Mango Salsa.

2. Vegan Yum Yum

I'm not a vegan (I just love cheese way too much), but Vegan Yum Yum always leaves my tastebuds watering. Written by home cook (and now cookbook author) Lauren Ulm (Lolo), Vegan Yum Yum gives helpful pointers on cooking techniques, a slew of traditional recipes-turned-vegan and a healthy serving of desserts and pastries along with tons of recipes for just plain amazing-looking food. Visit Lolo if you're on the hunt for just-as-good-as-regular (try them!) vegan versions of classic dishes such as cinnamon rolls, pancakes and mac 'n' cheese.

What I want to eat RIGHT NOW:  

Tofu and Kale 

If you're a big meat eater, maybe you just don't get tofu. I happen to love it. And I LOVE Lolo's tips for cooking it here, which can be a challenge. With satisfying noodles and supernutritious kale, Pan Fried Tofu, Kale and Stir-Fried Noodles sounds like dinner tonight.

3. The Chubby Vegetarian

Memphis-based photojournalist Justin Fox Burks and his wife, Amy Lawrence, team up to bring us vegetarian versions of soul-food classics at The Chubby Vegetarian and in their upcoming book, The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook (March, 2013). The Chubby Vegetarian doesn't focus on whole foods and extreme health like many veggie sites, but it gives you a mix of guilty pleasures (I'm looking at you Southern-Style Cheese Dip and Miracle Mushroom Gravy over 3-2-1 Drop Biscuits) and dinner mainstays like Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice with Andouille Eggplant and Simple and Easy Porcini Mushroom Veggie Burgers. I like the site because it feels down-to-earth and homey, and I always feel welcome here. 

What I want to eat RIGHT NOW: 
 

Chickpea Sandwich 

Justin tells us that in Sicily, simple chickpea fritters are called panelle and are served as street food on a bun with a scoop of ricotta (um, yum!). But in this Fried Chickpea Sandwich + Blue Cheese & Tomato, he uses them as a stand-in for fried chicken, then dresses the sandwich with spinach, tomato, blue cheese and shallots (also, yum!). As he says the recipe makes enough fritters for about six sandwiches, I would probably have to just try them both ways.