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The goal of Meatless Monday is simple: Inspire one day of meat-free eating each week for the sake of our health and that of the planet. The point is not to convert happy meat eaters into the most die-hard vegans, but rather to make even the staunchest steak lovers occasionally think twice before passing up a salad or scoop of vegetables in favor of meaty alternatives.
That said, we know how difficult — not to mention downright boring — it can be to fill up on a plate of veggies alone. So this week we’ve rounded up three of Food Network Magazine’s heartiest, most flavor-packed vegetarian recipes to please even the most demanding of meat eaters.
One of the easiest meatless meals to make, pasta not only feeds a crowd but can be tweaked to your family’s tastes and needs. Pictured above is Cavatelli With Tomato Sauce and Ricotta, a dressed-up version of typical noodles with sauce that can be made in just 30 minutes. Cavatelli isn’t your average pasta; it’s thicker, since it’s often made with cheese, so it’s naturally more filling than traditional spaghetti or penne noodles. Here it’s tossed with a simple but robust tomato sauce, laced with garlic and red pepper flakes for a touch of heat. Before serving, top each bowl with a spoonful of creamy ricotta cheese.
Just like pasta, risotto, too, is a warm, stick-to-your-ribs meal that’s filled with comforting tastes and textures. This Risotto With Asparagus (pictured left) is naturally vegetarian, though it’s not lacking in flavor, thanks to a homemade asparagus broth that replaces conventional chicken stock. After simmering in the broth, the starchy rice becomes tender, creating a finished product that’s deliciously rich. Mixed with lemon juice and mild Bibb lettuce, the risotto is finished with soft Robiola cheese and bright asparagus tips.
Not too spicy, but loaded with flavor, poblanos are large peppers that lend themselves well to being stuffed. To make these Stuffed Poblanos With Roasted Corn (pictured right), first fill soft roasted peppers with a fresh summertime mixture of golden corn, lime juice and crema, then top with a sprinkle of crumbly Cotija cheese. Let the prepared peppers cook for just a few minutes in the oven, so that the cheese can darken and the filling can warm.