Vegetarian Moussaka

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My quest to fill my life with more vegetables continues. I’ve been doing fairly well. I’m a “pescetarian” (veggies and seafood) at home but outside of that anything goes. Hence the trip to a Brazilian steakhouse last week … and the braised short ribs I ate on vacation. (Oops.)

At home, I like that this way of eating is forcing me out of my comfort zone. I’ve had to experiment more with dishes that are hearty enough not to leave me hungry two hours later and satisfy that need for comfort food at dinner. I never realized that part before — a couple of nights ago my friends were talking about what we eat for dinner. Some just have yogurt or a sandwich or crackers. Others of us (like me) feel the need to make a full meal. That’s because, someone noted, dinner is such a comfort meal. So true.

Anyway, I lived for a couple of years in a Greek neighborhood in NYC. Those traditional dishes quickly became my favorite cuisine, and I dream sometimes about the authentic food I could get stumbling right out my front door: creamy hummus and baba ghanoush, Greek olives, lemon potatoes, pastistio and warm, fresh pita. I could go on and on.

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Mushroom Bolognese

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A few weeks ago I hit my breaking point. Everywhere I turned, I was reading something more and more frightening about the food we eat. I’ve always tried to cut out processed food, buy organic and walk the outer aisles of the grocery like they say is best, but bad stuff still seems to be everywhere.

The last straw was when I read about the dangers of eating cooked meat. I realized then that I ate meat in some form for every meal, at least twice a day. Chicken on my salad, turkey on my sandwich, a piece of pork/chicken/steak with vegetables and a starch for dinner. So, I decided then and there to stop. I don’t think I’d call myself so much a “vegetarian” now as a “pescetarian” or “flexitarian.” But I’m on a journey to cut the meat and up the vegetables … A girl’s still got to throw down a steak every once in awhile, though.

The challenge is finding hearty, filling — and meatless — meals. When I started, we were still in the throes of winter, and the last thing I wanted to eat was a chilly salad or one more bowl of soup. Those are the likeliest vessels for going all veggie, I’d found. Continue reading