Meatless Mondays: The Once-A-Week Vegetarian Challenge

If you have vowed to lose a few extra pounds this year you’re in luck. In my upcoming blog posts, you will learn how to make small changes in your diet that will help you lose weight in a healthy way.

Eat Less Meat, Eat More Beans

Choose one day per week to go vegetarian. However, be careful because vegetarian is not always synonymous with healthy. Chips, ice cream and Ramen noodles are all vegetarian but do little to improve your diet or keep you satiated. Instead, focus on including more beans, eggs, low fat dairy and whole grains. And of course, what would a vegetarian diet be without the vegetables? Aim to get a MINIMUM of 3 servings of vegetables per day.

Beans

Beans are a low-fat, cholesterol-free source of protein that are very high in fiber, which means they keep you fuller longer. Not only are beans cholesterol free, they actually help to lower the cholesterol in your blood. If possible, it is best to use dried beans versus canned because they are lower in sodium. If you do choose canned beans, be sure to rinse before using. Most dried beans can be soaked overnight in cold water, rinsed, and boiled for 30 minutes or until soft (with the exception of lentils, split peas and mung beans which can be used immediately). Beans are also full of folic acid, iron and antioxidants. Top a salad or a whole grain tortilla with ½ cup of any type of beans for a vegetarian, protein-filled meal.

Nutritious vegan and vegetarian reciple for Chickpea sandwhich in Milwaukee, WI

Try this delicious Chickpea “Crab Cake” Sandwich



Ingredients:
1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for about 8 hours and drained
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, roughly chopped (not quite 1 large onion)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro and/or parsley, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 soft hamburger buns or English muffins

Directions:
1. In a food processor, pulverize the soaked and drained chickpeas using the “pulse” function until beans form a paste that sticks together when you squeeze it in your hand. Be careful not to overprocess; too smooth, the batter will fall apart when cooking.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the oil) and combine using the “pulse” function approximately 12 times; batter will be somewhat grainy and speckled with herbs.
3. Shape into patties using a scant 1/2 cup measure (for large) or 1/4 cup measure (for sliders) and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
5. In a shallow 12-inch skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the oil over medium-high heat. Gently place the patties into the hot oil in small batches and fry the first side until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Gently turn onto the second side and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
6. Transfer patties to a baking tray to finish cooking in the oven for 8 minutes.
(Before frying the next batch, heat remaining oil.)
Serve on a bun with cocktail sauce or your favorite condiment.

Servings: Makes 8 entree-size patties or 12 mini-sliders
Nutrition per patty: 343 calories; 39g carbohydrates; 9g protein; 17g fat; 2g saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 5g fiber; 542mg sodium.

Excerpted from ‘The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook’ by Kim O’Donnel.

Katie Merriman is a registered Dietitian at INVIVO Wellness in Milwaukee, WI. She is a passionate foodie who enjoys discovering new ways to incorporate healthy foods into her cooking.