Last week I talked about reducing the amount of meat you consume on a regular basis. While some people may decide to embrace a vegetarian diet, there are many of us who still quite enjoy animal proteins. So the trick, then, is to balance our meals so that meat is not the focus. As promised, I found a few recipes that incorporate meat as an ingredient instead of the star. Enjoy!


Pan Roasted Brussels’ Sprouts with Bacon


This recipe calls for just 4 strips of bacon in the entire dish. The trick is to cook the bacon first, then pan roast the other ingredients in the bacon fat. This allows the bacon flavor to thoroughly infuse the entire dish, while cutting down on the amount of meat used. The recipe, courtesy of The Food Network, is ostensibly a Thanksgiving side dish – but feel free to use it year round!


Pasta With Prosciutto and Peas


This time, the meat is part of the main course – but a small part. The prosciutto provides a nice flavor kick, but still lets the peas, pasta, and cream shine through. The lemon juice and zest add some nice flavor notes, and the Parmesan cheese on top is the perfect finishing touch. Prepared according to directions, each serving will have 1oz of cheese – 60% less than a full serving of meat!


SuperFast Chef Salad


This recipe is fast to make and light on the calories – by using only one cup of chopped chicken for the whole recipe, you’re getting the flavor and protein, but not overloading on meat. The avocado adds in good fats, and the blue cheese crumbles give it a kick. Family doesn’t like salad? Make the whole amount, and take one serving in for lunch each day. Easy as that!


Almost Meatless Sloppy Joes


Mark Bittman is one of the country’s most respected food writers. His cookbook “How to Cook Everything” is a mainstay in many American kitchens. He also authored a vegetarian version that is just as hefty. This Sloppy Joe recipe uses some ground sirloin, but fills in the rest with carrots, red beans, onions, and tomatoes, thus transforming the sandwiches from meat based overloads into veggie-loaded 405-calorie meals.


I’ll keep looking for more meatless recipes to help you transition from carnivore to omnivore. Meanwhile, consider reading some of Michael Pollan’s books about food culture in the United States – they’ll change the way you look at food.