With only hours left in 2012, you’re likely already looking ahead to the New Year and perhaps wondering how you can incorporate smarter eating habits into your meal routine in 2013. Instead of overhauling your current diet, cutting out entire food groups and committing to a fat-free lifestyle for the next 365 days, trying sticking to a healthy-eating resolution that allows you to take small, simple steps to a smarter approach to food. One way to kick off the New Year on a healthful note is to embrace Meatless Monday, a national movement that encourages everyone to eliminate meat from their diets just one day of the week, Monday or any other, for the sake of their own health and that of the planet.
In celebration of Meatless Monday, every week on FN Dish we share a roundup of vegetarian recipes — some made-over versions of classically beefy plates, others naturally meat-free, but all full-flavored, can-do dishes. Start 2013 on a healthful note by checking out a few of Food Network’s all-time-favorite meatless entrees below, and check back each Monday to find more simple vegetarian meals that will wow your whole family.
One of the easiest meals to make meatless is soup, a versatile, kid-approved staple that can be prepared in a flash. Ellie Krieger’s top-rated Minestrone Soup (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is packed with good-for-you vegetables like green beans, carrots and celery, plus hearty kidney beans and tomatoes and tender pasta. Before serving, she tops each bowl with a sprinkle of nutty Parmesan cheese and fragrant basil for freshness. Be sure to swap in vegetable broth for chicken broth to maintain a completely meatless meal.
Just like soup, pasta too can be customized to fit your family’s needs and favorite flavors. If you have a refrigerator full of leftover vegetables, saute them in olive oil, then toss in noodles and cheese. Cooking for picky eaters? You can always reduce the amount of garlic or herbs in a sauce to better suit their tastes. Food Network Magazine lets pasta shine in a creative take on a classic Italian-American entree: eggplant Parmesan. The Eggplant-Parmesan Sauce (pictured right) is a stick-to-your ribs supper that can be made with just a handful of ingredients. After coating chunks of eggplant in flour and Parmesan cheese, fry them until they’re golden brown and deliciously crispy, then toss with Food Network Magazine‘s Perfect Marinara Sauce and rigatoni for dinner in just 45 minutes.
Food Network Kitchens has eliminated meat from a classic Antipasti Salad (pictured left), replacing that hearty component with equally satisfying vegetables like marinated artichoke hearts, crunchy fennel, chewy chickpeas and sweet red peppers. These colorful bites are tossed with peppery arugula and dressed with a tangy orange-garlic vinaigrette before being finished with salty kalamata olives and shaved Parmesan cheese.