Trying Out Vegetarianism

Are you a vegetarian? A few years ago, Alex and I challenged ourselves to be vegetarians for a month. At first, it was great—we were really excited about it—but then we got burned out on rice and beans. But this month, we’re giving it another go! We’ve been looking up recipes online for the past few weeks, and for inspiration, we turned to Blue Apron, the meal subscription service that delivers a box every week with fresh ingredients for three meals. Here are the vegetarian meals we tried…
The three delicious Blue Apron meals we got for the week were:
* Braised Carrots, Mushrooms & Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Polenta (you can see the ingredients above)
* Seared Halloumi Sandwiches on Focaccia with Roasted Vegetables & Fuji Apple Salad (FRIED CHEESE=YES)
* Chopped Asian Salad with Cold Noodles & Soy-Peanut Vinaigrette (this is something that I wouldn’t have thought to make, but it was great)

Here are a bunch of past recipes, if you’d like to see—and here are the recipes for this week.
Our favorite was probably the polenta, which was so easy to whip up—and sooooo delicious. We initially wondered if it would be filling enough for dinner (we’re always ravenous at night), but were both surprised by how satisfying it was.

Overall, here’s how Blue Apron works:
* Every week, Blue Apron delivers a box with ingredients for three meals.
* When you sign up, you can specify which foods you do and don’t eat. For example, you can tell them you’re a pescetarian or that you don’t eat red meat. They’ll be happy to accommodate.
* A box with three meals for two adults was $59.94 with free delivery, which averages out to $9.99 per person for each meal.
* There’s no commitment, so you can skip a week or cancel anytime.
* They deliver to most of the United States. Here’s a full map of delivery zones.
To my surprise, I’ve actually been enjoying the vegetarian meals this month more than our typical meals with meat and fish. And Alex really likes them, too, which is shocking (and awesome) because he is SUCH a carnivore—he always orders either a burger or hanger steak at restaurants. We’re thinking we might stay vegetarian for a while. Are you vegetarian? If so, what do you usually make for dinner?

And would you try Blue Apron? A bunch of my friends also order it and say it’s such a fun and easy way to cook together—they use it for at-home date nights! It would also make a great wedding present, or a sweet gift for someone who has a new baby, a new job or anything else big going on in their lives.

Bonus for all readers: If you’d like to try it out, Blue Apron is offering a 30% off discount for the first 250 people who click through and get a box.

Thank you so much!

(This post was sponsored by Blue Apron. Photos by Yossy Arefi of Apt 2B. Baking Co. for Cup of Jo. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that make Cup of Jo possible.)

  1. Sandy says...

    I went to their site. There are only a few item you can opt out of. There are a whole lot of foods I cannot eat.

  2. I always say it’s difficult to actually dive in 100%. So why say you have to label yourself a vegetarian, instead cool meat free at home and then go from there, it helps the process! My favorite is taco bowl, but no rice, ala Smitten Kitchen’s spaghetti squash tacos + a salsa fresca + hot peppers, it’s super easy and feels indulgent.

  3. claire says...

    This is great! I became a vegetarian about 3 years ago and I’ve been slowly eliminating most other animal products lately. My partner also recently made the switch to vegetarianism and we LOVE to cook, so we’re always finding new meals or making old favorites.

    Blogs I love: Minimalist Baker (Crispy Peanut Tofu), Oh, Ladycakes (Spicy Peanut Stew appeals to carnivores and herbivores alike), Love and Lemons, Cookie and Kate, Naturally Ella, Sprouted Kitchen, Food 52 (Lentil Walnut Tacos)

    Cookbooks I love: America’s Test Kitchen Vegetarian, Food 52 Vegan, Isa Does It (Ancho Lentil Tacos are now a staple), Thug Kitchen

    Whenever I miss sharp cheddar or crave fried chicken, I think about all the animals I met at Heartland Farm Sanctuary in Wisconsin (http://heartlandfarmsanctuary.org/) and I’m reinvigorated to continue choosing plant-based meals! :)

  4. I’ve loved your blog for years, Joanna! I was excited when I saw this post, because I’ve slowly but surely been transitioning to a vegetarian diet over the past couple of years. It’s fun to hear about others who are giving it a go too. I think it really helped that I started out slowly, rather than cutting out all meat abruptly – it gave me time to figure out what vegetarians actually eat :) I now find it to be quite easy – I still have similar food to what I ate before, but now I use beans, nuts and veggies for protein sources rather than meat. I especially love Indian and Middle Eastern vegetarian meals!

    http://orchardstreetkitchen.com

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. It`s looks wonderful, want to taste it cus I am in the way of vegeterian too.

  7. I became a vegetarian about 7 years ago, and never looked back!!!! A wonderful starting-out cookbook is the Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz — it’s technically vegan, but I “vegetarianize” the recipes. I’ve truly never been happier & healthier being veg (and bonus, it’s good for the environment as well!)

  8. Since moving to the UK my husband and I (meat lovers since birth!) have practically gone all veg (meat is more expensive here). What has helped is getting a box of organic and locally grown veg every week from AND River Cottage’s “Veg Everyday” cook book! I highly recommend it!

  9. I’m excited that you’re trying to eat more vegetarian meals at home. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 15, that was 16 years ago! My husband is vegetarian as well and we serve a completely vegetarian meal at our wedding this past summer. We had mushroom risotto,beet and goat cheese salad, quinoa salad with tomatoes, green beans and grilled lemon (yum!)corn on the cob and eggplant musaka! Everything was amazing and our guests raved about the food, some even saying it was the best wedding food they’d had.
    At home, one of our favorites is actually the walnut-mushroom veggie burger recipe you posted a little while ago from loveandlemons.com We also love shakshouka for breakfast or dinner, it’s eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. Oh and homemade pizza too, so easy and fun!
    Bon appétit!

  10. I’ve been a vegetarian for close to 10 years now. I have lots of recipes that I love, but one of my favorites is lettuce wraps/cups because they are easy and fast to make, the recipe is flexible, and the cooking is easy (basically chop, mix, and stir fry–anyone could do it). Here’s the abbreviated edition:

    Wash your lettuce and set out to dry. I like to use romaine because it is flexible and more flavorful, but a butter or iceberg is good too.

    Dice tofu and veggies into very small cubes (my go-to veg include carrots, kale, and spinach but add what you like) and add to large bowl. Add fried rice noodles (found in Indian stores) in small pieces.

    To the bowl add soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and a chopped green onion to the above and toss. Add more sauce as needed and don’t skip on these 3 ingredients–they are the core of the flavor.

    Stir fry this mix in a cast iron skillet on med-high with vegetable oil until toasted.

    Scoop into lettuce cups or serve as lettuce wraps.

  11. Hi Joanna,

    we like meat in our house and are by no means vegetarian, but we do like to cook veggie food. It’s cheaper, healthy, and we feel our meat consumption should be quality over quantity.

    I can recommend some nice cookbooks with lots of fast and easy meals and loads of inspiration: the BBC good food series ‘veggie dishes’ and ‘more veggie dishes’. Small books, with pictures for every dish, and prep times, calories etc. are all listed. The other books are by Simon Rimmer aka ‘the accidental vegetarian’.

    They’re all British books but you might be able to find them stateside (or ask your British family to send them over).

  12. J says...

    I recently began not eating meat, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER. Not only physically, but mentally. I have more energy and I’ve found I don’t even crave meat in non-meat dishes. My longterm boyfriend and I haven’t eaten meat in a couple of months, and life has never been better!
    Jaime

    “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”
    ― Leonardo da Vinci
    “By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.”
    ― Thích Nhất Hạnh

  13. Joanna, are you having the boys go vegetarian, too?

  14. I’ve been a vegetarian now for 6 years with a bit of vegan in the middle. I really love the Moosewood Cookbooks and ForksOverKnives.

    I find I eat a lot of bean and veggie soups with hearty bread and a great salad. I’ve also been on a bit of a lentil salad binge lately.

  15. Been a vegetarian for 18 years..can’t imagine having the luxury of a delivery meal service. The truth is once you figure out a few things its a cheap and easy way to eat!
    Need to be able to make a grain..rice, farrow, quiona, polenta, grits(on occasion yummy bread!)

    Roast whatev (this includes fruit..love roasted fruit)..laziest way to cook and the best! Everything benefits from some time in the oven..I mean have you eaten roast cabbage?

    I need crunchy too!..toasted nuts..crisp tortillas..bread crumbs..baked wonton crisps..pita strips..endless

    Sauce or Creamy something or other..thing cheese, white sauce, curry sauce, pesto, (this layer is why I’m not thin! Lol)

    This is how I think when I eat! No one else in my house is a veggie so I am a hell of a short order cook!

    Veggie cooking lends itself to bulk cooking and freezing so nicely!

  16. Here’s what works for us: we are “stay at home” vegetarians. This means that everything we prepare at home (which is most everything) is vegetarian with a skew towards vegan. THEN, whenever we go out for date nights or with friends, we give ourselves free reign to enjoy fried chicken, bacon, and burgers. We feel we got a lot healthier without giving up foods we love but didn’t need to be eating all the time. The “stay at home” thing gives us a super easy and flexible guideline to follow.

  17. You should try 101cookbooks.com. Heidi Swanson has the best vegetarian meals. I personally love her super orzo pasta salad. These recipes were the only vegetarian meals I can get my boyfriend to eat!

  18. You should try 101cookbooks.com. Heidi Swanson has the best vegetarian meals. I personally love her super orzo pasta salad. These recipes were the only vegetarian meals I can get my boyfriend to eat!

  19. I would recommend checking out http://www.thefresh20.com as an alternative to Blue Apron. While they don’t provide the ingredients, they do provide a weekly shopping list + recipes for the week & a schedule for prepping. Less wasteful and a bit more work but still someone else doing the hard part (planning!!!) for you. They also have a wide variety of meal plan options, including vegetarian & gluten-free. Blue Apron sounds great in theory but as many other commenters have said, so much waste with all the packaging!

  20. I grew up vegetarian, and my partner has been a vegetarian for years. I know that many people who grew up eating meat cannot imagine life without eating animals, but I cannot imagine a life that includes eating another sentient being. My mom always told me that our bodies are not graves. My daughter is 18 months and will grow up vegetarian until she is old enough to choose her own diet. There is a world of vegetarian cooking to be discovered – the old “beans and rice” idea is pretty outdated. Have fun on your journey!

  21. I have been a pescetarian for almost 2 years, and since I live in Kansas I don’t eat fish very often. My boyfriend isn’t a pescetarian, but we almost never buy meat. One of our favorites has been pita pizzas. Much healthier than regular pizzas, margarita is delish!

  22. I’ve been a veggie for 20 yrs…yikes seems like a long time. Don’t think I could ever turn back. Good luck you two! xx

  23. thanks jo, I try to cook at least 3 vego dinners a week. I’m trying to turn my family vego for ALL the reasons! ethical, environmental, personal etc. I think everyone should eat less meat.

  24. Coconut bacon!

  25. Joanna, I tried this exact challenge (30 days with no meat) about 4 years ago and I actually never went back to my meat-eating ways. Much to my surprise!

    One thing I’ve learned since becoming a vegetarian is the importance of being open-minded to everyone’s eating habits. Vegetarians have a rap for being preachy or holier-than-thou, and it can make others feel defensive.

    I wrote about my experience after two years of vegetarianism on my blog. The article was Freshly Pressed (featured on WordPress’ home page) and lots of people reached out to me to say they were going to try the challenge too. Very cool to have even a minor impact on others!

    Here’s the essay if you’re interested:
    http://themidwestmaven.com/2012/06/05/why-i-became-a-vegetarian/

  26. SL says...

    I said something similar in one of your sponsored posts about Blue Apron, but I hope the folks from Blue Apron are reading the comments – if they cut down on excessive packaging, they could make a good idea even better and maybe get some more customers who are currently turned off by the packaging. I had the same issue with Peapod – a great service but I couldn’t stand the TONs of plastic bags, even if they do take them back for recycling. Not creating the waste in the first place is better than recycling the waste.

    Though not a vegetarian by any means myself, my family has started limiting our meat intake to just several dinners a week. It was a big change that we made for health and environmental benefits. Though it can be challenging for us sometimes, we feel great when we are able to do it!

  27. Went vegan-at-home about six months ago. Meaning, my family and I can eat whatever we want, but the meals I make at home were going to be vegan.

    It took a great cookbook to help me make the transition – I was lost at first trying to make dinners w/out at least an egg or cheese.

    And, you’d be surprised how many opportunities one has to eat animal products outside the home: Work lunches, dinner parties, etc. Being vegan-at-home has made me more aware of obvious vegan choices while out of the home too.

    Now, animal products are a treat, if we’re in the mood for them. I still nosh on a burger once in awhile :)

  28. Being veg is awesome and actually not that hard! I would recommend Martha Stewart’s Meatless and GP’s It’s All Good – both are easy and interesting!

  29. I’ve gone vegetarian 3 time since I was 17 years old. But never worked for me, cause I didn’t make it well. I’ve always been very thin and all the three times I tried I lost 5-7, which is a lot for me, and I got anemia. Plus, the last time –which was 5 months ago– I was carrying with seriously health issues and my homeopathic physician, who is a vegetarian herself, told me to stop for a while. I’ve hated meat since I was 15 –but my parents didn’t allow me to be a vegetarian till 17– and I’m not a big fan of fish, but I’m eating turkey/chicken one day a week and fish another day. Dairy is just the dead for me, it gives me the worst mucus, but sometimes I eat a little of cheese and of course I use butter and cream when I bake –I know I can bake without these ingredients but my favorite treats recipes include them–. I eat some eggs too. In fact, I consider myself a vegetarian in spirit haha. I’m healthy now and in a few months I would give it a try again, I wish it will be the right one. Going vegan is more difficult but I think it’s a natural evolution of vegetarianism. But that includes avoiding honey and animal-derived items as leather shoes and bags and also wool. I think you have to be very convinced to do that.

  30. Yes, been vegetarian since I was 12, now attempting to go vegan. Blue Apron does not do vegan–I’ve contacted them and asked, and they suggested just “leaving the cheese or dairy out of the recipe” which seems wasteful since they would have already sent it to me and I would have already paid for it. Hopefully there will be enough demand that they’ll consider a vegan option in the future.

  31. Echoing suggestions for Smitten Kitchen, indian food in general, and Isa Does It. Isa’s book is really great for weeknights and you only have to get a can of nutritional yeast and a bag of cashews to be ready to go. I’m not a vegetarian, but my partner is. So I only really eat meat at restaurants and have no idea how to cook it. It’s actually fantastic. I feel good, it’s cheaper, I never worry about cross-contamination except for eggs, and its YUMMY.

  32. Joanna,
    Though not a vegetarian now, I was for several years. I had to teach myself how to cook really differently. For me, investing in a few cookbooks really made a world of difference. I love Moosewood’s line of cookbooks (and their new book of favorites is wonderful!) Best of luck to you and your family as you explore this world.

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. I went vegan a few years ago for health reasons, and honestly I’ve never felt better! I’ve recently been incorporating some seafood, and if I’m craving meat I’ll have a 2 ounce piece of steak (I’m assuming my body needs iron), but I love it. It’s also made me a better and more adventurous cook, and I’ve eaten veggies I’ve never tried before and ended up loving because of it!

  35. Yes Joanna!!!! I love that you’re giving this a go! My boyfriend was also a big carnivore which made me nervous about going Veg but now I’m really pleased with it and I think of it as an added bonus that he eats less meat. There are just so many good reasons to lower our meat intake. Good luck!

  36. Oooohh.. The food looks really nice. I am NOT a fan of veges. I love my meats but this might just turn the tide for me.. ^^

  37. It’s a neat idea, and I can appreciate their trying to make people’s life easier, but honestly I have an issue with the ingredients being delivered in the exact amount necessary for one recipe in individual PLASTC bags, in a box driven by a truck directly to people’s homes. So much waste! It’d be just as easy, and much more sustainable for one to shop for their own ingredients directly from the farmers market where they can get to choose their own fresh and organic produce in a quantity that makes sense and yields left overs! Better yet, CSA is always a good idea!

  38. I’m a pescaterian, but we rarely cook seafood. There are lots of good cookbooks–we never eat rice and beans! For easy recipes, we use Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian or some Moosewood books. Deborah Madison’s book is great for more complicated stuff, and we just got Plenty and Ottolenghi, which have several beautiful options.

    From blogs, Smitten Kitchen has lots of veggie stuff. Also try 101cookbooks by Heidi Swanson (for example, this is a winter staple of mine: http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/winter-pasta-recipe.html).

  39. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was about 8 or 9 – and I’m 21 now! My favorite thing to cook for myself (especially with my busy college schedule) is the simplest sauteed veggies. It is so easy and quick – chop up zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, onions, saute for a few minutes in Olive Oil (preferably garlic infused) and toss in some sesame seeds, sliced almonds, and season with salt and lemon pepper! SO glad you are trying out the vegetarian lifestyle. It is so delicious and so much better for the environment.

  40. Way to go for trying it out!

    I’ve been vegan for 8 years & have never looked back. I love, love everything that I eat. Going back to eating meat seems so strange & foreign to me now. And I love vegan baked goods. If you do it right, I think they’re superior to their dairy-based counterparts.

    Hope you stick with it! I believe it’s an awesome way to live & eat.

    • Jennifer says...

      do they have vegan options with this service

  41. I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years, and although my husband eats meat, we keep the house vegetarian and he eats meat whenever he’d like when we eat out. This is a much more balanced way of eating, rather than thinking meat should be at every meal!

    i recommend Heidi Swanson’s cookbooks and website, 101cookbooks, for inspired delicious veggie meals. So many vegetarian cookbooks are what you expect and things you dont need at recipe for, stir fry etc. but Heidi comes up with current, delicious meals.

  42. I, too, agree with the posts on how wasteful this service is. I tried NatureBox after reading one of your sponsored posts, and cancelled my subscription due to the many plastic bags- individually-wrapped items inside plastic bags- it was horrible. For those who challenge whether these bags are truly wasteful (and I loved the person who uses disposable plates and says she would use more water to wash them!) I encourage you to read http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/p/tips.html and learn about how your choices affect the global community.

  43. I was a vegetarian for almost 11 years. I loved veggie stir frys for dinner and they were easy to heat up for lunch the next day.

  44. I’ve been vegetarian for 4 years, but before that didn’t really eat a lot of meat. When my boyfriend also took the plunge, it made eating together so much easier. Our favorite things to cook include homemade deep dish pizza, pad thai, lots of Indian dishes, tofu scramble, sauteed Brussels sprouts with quinoa pilaf, sweet potato or black bean burgers…the list goes on and on. I was anemic before I became vegetarian, but with greater awareness of what composes what I am actually eating, I haven’t had a problem since.

  45. I’m a weekday vegan and weekend vegetarian. The most inspiring thing about vegetarian cooking is it challenges you to play around with spices and flavourings as you no longer have meat as the star of the dish.

    My quick go-to dinners are:
    -Honey roasted carrot, cumin and sweet potato soup.
    -Basil pesto brown rice with roasted cauliflower, broccoli and chickpeas.
    -Potato, pea and cauliflower curry.

    Oh! And for Toby try the traditional South African sweet snack Pumpkin Fritters. For a cheat’s version, just mix about a cup of cooked pumpkin with pancake mix, fry spoonfuls in the pan and then roll the fried fritters in sugar and cinnamon.If you want a more specific recipe, there are loads online :)

  46. I am a french vegetarian ans I usually cook vegetables of all sorts with a bit of olive oil, salt peper and fresh herbs and a lot of garlic and onions. I eat it with lentils/chickpeas or quinoa/bulgur and “soy steaks” or eggs.
    This is easy, healthy and really good AND you have room for dessert ;)

  47. I am 22 and have been vegan for the past 5 years, and vegetarian since I was 12. I definitely think it forces you to be more creative and orangised with your meals – however I’ll admit that when I get home after a very long day in the office, I often resort to a dinner of cereal and soy milk. Once you’ve been vegan for a while, vegetarianism seems crazily easy in comparison!

  48. At home we eat about 50:50 veggie and meat meals.

    For vegetarian meals we eat…

    Spanish tortilla with salad (I usually cook a big one on a Sunday and the left overs give me lunch for a week!)

    Mixed mushrooms with lemon, thyme and pine nuts served with pasta ribbons

    Roasted tomatoes with cream and basil, with pasta

    Singapore noodles with vegetables and tofu

    Courgette ribbons with lemon and pine nuts with pasta

    I would never go full time vegetarian but I do really enjoy these meals.

    I would like to get out of the pasta rut though, it does feel like we usually just do veggies with pasta!

  49. a says...

    Joanna, I would like to add my 2 cents here. I am an Indian and my community is completely vegetarian -i.e , we as a community have never even tasetd any sort of meat or fish dishes.

    Having said that, our cusine is one of the most diverse and flavourful…so much so that we dont feel leftout as far as our food choices are concerned.
    I request you to please try “South Indian veg receipies”. Most of them are very easy to make and will not be oo spicy for the western pallete.

  50. I wanted to become vegetarian a few years ago, which happened to be right as I was moving to South Africa. SA is such a carnivorous country that I found it really difficult. And then I fell in love and married a South Africa, so I’ve basically given up on it. Maybe one day I can get him to try it. :)

  51. please consider letting your readers know right from the start if a post is sponsored or not. thanks.

  52. lb says...

    Yay Joanna! Good for you for giving vegetarianism another go! I’ve been a vegetarian for seventeen years. (Gulp.) I had my last cheeseburger on my 15th birthday. The only think I really miss are BLTs. My husband eats meat (usually at lunch). Sometimes I’ll make fish or meat for him, but usually I make vegetarian meals. we eat a lot of beans and nuts. A House in the Hills blog is a good resource. I like both of Gwyneth Paltrow & Julia Thursten’s cookbooks, too. Good luck!

  53. The hubs and I tried it for a week. It was the longest week of our lives hehe We’re most definitely not vegetarian, but I have a lot of admiration for people who can pull it off!

  54. I think it’s great! I’ve been vegetarian since I was a little kid and vegan for the past 4 years so I have never really seen the appeal of meat anyway. There’s plenty of variety and deliciousness out there without bothering the animals :)

  55. Blue Apron is probably not a good idea for someone with a new baby. My husband got it for me as a *gift* and I’ve never been so angry. It is so.much.work. They give you the ingredients, but there’s a lot more chopping than I would ever do with a normal weekday meal! Sorry to say something negative about a sponsor!

  56. Indian food has wonderful vegetarian food. You should try out some of Anjum Anand’s recipes. She has a very wider range of recipes.

  57. I’ve been a vegetarian now for like 8-9 years and honestly, it came super natural to me, but I always tell people trying out vegetarianism to give Indian food a solid look. It’s so veggie friendly! SO many options!

  58. I have been eating vegan for about 4 years and it’s all
    I cook at home for my boyfriend and I (he is veggie but eats eggs and dairy when we go out). Don’t be dissuaded from what might feel like an initial lack of creativity! Blue Apron is a great way to get inspired but before you know it you’ll want to be cooking up unique recipes of your own. Tonight we made soba noodles with tofu and broccoli in a spicy cilantro sauce. Last light it was quinoa with chickpeas and mixed veggies and homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. There are so many wonderful meat-free options out there. Good luck and happy eating! :)

  59. Good luck with going vegetarian! The polenta recipe sounds delicious. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was a teenager and my former carnivore husband is now mostly vegan.

    Now that we cook more vegan recipes, I’ve found my diet is more varied than it was before and it’s helped us experiment with more recipes. We love making curries, anything with butternut squash (pasta, chili, tacos), and quinoa salads. I agree with the earlier recommendations for loveandlemons.com, cookieandkate.com and ohsheglows.com. I also just bought The French Market Cookbook and it has some amazing vegetarian recipes.

    Hope you continue to post about your vegetarian journey!

  60. Joanna, where did that flatware come from? I love it!

  61. I was vegetarian for a while until I found out I have celiac. After adjusting to gf living, I went back to being vegetarian. It’s been about a year and a half (Though I’ve cheated and had bacon now and then).

    I love it! I feel so much better. Seconding soyrizo, and we love cooking with chickpeas and mushrooms. Tofu and tempeh are great protein additions, and topping almost anything with a fried egg always works. I find recipes at Love and Lemons and Post-Punk Kitchen. Also love Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

  62. I’d like to eat vegetarian one night a week. I was raised on a dairy farm and my husband on a hobby farm with beef cattle and chickens, so we are both very used to eating copious amounts of home-raised beef and milk! I’m very grateful that I don’t have to wonder where my food is coming from and how it was raised. And while I LOVE meat and dairy and eggs (no temptation to go vegan for me!), I would love to try some vegetarian recipes just for the variety and for the introduction to new ingredients! No faux-stuff, though…I don’t want to eat meat-substitutes, I just want to eat meals that don’t rely on meat.

  63. If those of you chiming in about the wasteful packaging are meat-eaters (specifically factory-farmed) or consume dairy outside of local farms then I suggest you do some research on THAT before you complain about a few teeny plastic bags. No contest re: the profound negative effect it has on the environment vs recyclable plastic

  64. Just signed up. We are going through some stressful things at home right now, and have been eating out almost every night. I just don’t have the energy to come up with healthy recipes, shop for groceries, and cook. The fact that this service cuts out two of those obstacles is huge for me! I tried the similar service Plated, but it’s a lot more expensive. It was totally delish, but I’m not made of money! ;)

  65. Not a vegetarian, but we fast from meat and dairy for 40 days before Easter and Christmas and a handful of other times during the year, as well as every Wednesday and Friday. It’s hard to do because you have to put a lot of planning into your meals, but it’s totally doable. You might want to peruse realgreekrecipes.blogspot.com- because we fast so much, Greeks really know how to do vegetarian right!

    Good luck! Just curious: how do Toby and Anton factor into your plans? Are you cooking the same meals for them or keeping meat in their diet?

  66. We tried Blue Apron for a few months and loved it. I had to cancel over the holidays since our schedules were crazy and so many holiday get togethers. I’m glad to see that they are letting you choose more options, as we did only vegetarian and would add fish if we could this time around. Loved how everything was already measured out and it forced us to try new things. We live in Chicago and the food was always fresh except for a limp carrot once, which of course got some laughs. :)

  67. Thanks, I placed my order and am looking forward to it! A little pricy for my tastes, but my boyfriend and I thought it’d be cool to try. I recently went vegan and LOVE it. I feel so much better and healthier. I cook so my boyfriend has been doing lots of vegan meals too. Tonight we are having mashed potatoes with lemon and herb tofu, and steamed carrots. I love baking tofu, it’s way better. For dinner tomorrow I am making sweet potato fettucini. I follow lots of vegan blogs and read the book Becoming Vegan which I’d highly recommend! It’s been a bit of a challenge to find vegan recipes but I don’t mind and it’s worth it.

  68. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 10 years and I’ve never craved meat or been bored with my food options, mostly because I was forced to become more creative with my meals (and its really paid off!). Lots of veggie recipes I find require a lot of time, and I work more than the average amount of hours per week and am very athletic.

    At first, it was hard to find enough foods that were high in protein and iron, but I find that even when I don’t have much time, I have to be very specific about what I eat so that I’m not left consuming too many empty foods that are high in carbs and starch. Don’t get me wrong, I do eat carbs and french fries are my ultimate weakness, but for the everyday I find that anything with white flour including white rice and pasta just doesn’t do it. Throw in some tempeh and good vegetables and nuts, though, and you can make some great, filling meals.

    Normally, my “key foods” outside of regular vegetables include spinach, bean curd, tofu, quinoa, a variety of nuts (pine, sesame, almonds), avocados, eggs, chickpeas, yogurt, kelp (as in noodles), and tempeh. All very effective high-energy foods that leave you really satisfied.

  69. I’m a vegetarian South Indian. We don’t cook any meat at home. Our staple is lentils (tons of different kinds of lentils) and rice. We also make whole wheat roti and an assortment of vegetables. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything by not eating meat :)

  70. I’m not vegetarian, but I don’t eat a lot of meat (mainly because I’m a student and can’t really afford veggies AND meat). I rely on quinoa for my protein a lot. My go-to meals are probably huevos rancheros and minestrone.

  71. I’ve been vegetarian for 16 years. Stir frys, mexican burritos or tacos, pasta that’s either fresh or tomatoey and fancy roast veg salads are fairly staple in our house. risottos and soups too and yes polenta is awesome! Good luck! It really is possible to be very healthy as a vego (as we say in Australia) and it is so much better for the environment! *s*

  72. what a fantastic idea! I’m a sucker for polenta and those brussels sprouts look amazing. going to try that this week!

    good luck on trying out vegetarian! it’s so much more than rice & beans. ;)

  73. b. says...

    I use a similar service here in London, a company called Abel and Cole delivers fruit & veg once a week, but in a cardboard box, with paper round some of the veg like mushrooms etc, but otherwise it comes covered in earth, as it should be. Really shocked by all the plastic in your box – let’s cut down on air miles AND plastic packaging

  74. I’ve been a vegetarian for years and years, I don’t feel like I’m missing anything, getting burnt out can always happen, I’d try some of Yottam Ottolenghi’s cook books (Plenty, Jerusalem, or Ottlenghi) SOOOO many unique original veg recipies.

  75. I’m not actually a vegetarian, but my husband and two children (ages 3 years old and 20 months old) are and we do not have any meat/fish/poultry at home, so I only eat meat out at restaurants (and the less I have it, the less I want/need it). Raising vegetarian kids has actually been surprisingly easy so far, even though I didn’t grow up vegetarian myself.

    Some family favorites that our kids adore:
    – the meatball shop’s veggie balls recipe
    – sweet potato veggie burgers
    – black bean and sweet potato burritos
    – dhal

    I would love to share some vegetarian family recipes with you!

    http://www.minipiccolini.com

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  77. I’m sorry, but this post feels so un-genuine. The backstory about rice and beans sounds like something made-up to segue into a sponsored post.

  78. I tried Blue Apron before and loved it. But because I actually have time to cook and enjoy doing grocery (shocking!!, I didn’t get their boxes anymore. Now about the vegetarianism… that’s not for me! I tried, but I do like my meat, fish and all that :)
    Good luck! Xoxo, Fe.

    http://www.blogmeandthecity.com

  79. What a cool idea!! I’m not vegetarian, but my husband is, so our dinners are always vegetarian and sometimes vegan. Those dishes sounds great! We live in a great Seattle neighborhood with easy access to both a gourmet/natural food co-op and a new Trader Joe’s, so I’d have a hard time justifying the Blue Apron service, but agree it would be fun if we got in a rut or if I started working more hours. Here are some of our favorite go to meals:

    -Rice bowls: brown rice, edamame, toasted seaweed, shredded veggies (carrots/jicama) + marinated tofu from the deli. It’s out favorite!

    -Tostada pizzas: toasted corn tortillas, salsa for the sauce and whatever toppings you want. My favorite is beans, olives, onions and cheese. We have roasted sweet potatoes on the side. Super easy

    -Pasta w/ unusual pestos (edamame, white bean, or just the usual basil)

    -Roasted cauliflower w/ faux meat or even occasionally seared fish

    -Pizza, of course

    Have fun, enjoy! I love my veggie dinners and we are always full every night. Even my 6′ 3″ husband :)

  80. I tell people to think about going vegetarian the same way you thought about cooking when you first moved away from home or first were responsible for preparing meals – it was usually really overwhelming and you had no idea how to do it. But once you get a solid base of familiar recipes that you know everyone likes and provide all the nutrition you need, you are good to go! I tried a few Blue Apron vegetarian meals and they pulled me out of my comfort zone and were insanely delicious. That’s a great way to start the process! The only drawback is all the packaging – not eco-friendly at all! But have fun!

  81. Meh. I don’t understand why, just for the sake of it, you’d make the conscious choice to cut out meat if you don’t plan on doing it permanently. You can have a healthy diet with meat in it. Humans are omnivores. I’m all for incorporating new/different/healthier meals and more veggies into your diet, but why say ‘let’s not eat meat for X amount of time’? It makes things unnecessarily difficult. I like everything in moderation. I get that this post is sponsored, but to me, having a meal delivery service is pretty lazy. Then again I like to cook, so maybe for those who hate to cook this is a blessing.

  82. I want to offer a counter point to the wastefulness comments.

    When people have to drive to the store and get their groceries…..it’s pretty wasteful (gas, pollution, etc.). The time OMG the time it takes!

    Sometimes, depending on where you live, it’s just not possible to get high end ingredients driving around your stores.

    Maybe this is not the best service for you but it may be for another family depending on their situation.

    some people get all up on my business regarding the wastefulness of using disposable plates. But I don’t care anymore. It’d be the same with the waste of water and how much time it takes to do everything and arguing about who did it last.

    Whatever!

  83. I’ve been vegetarian for three years; I barely ate meat growing up, though, so it wasn’t a big change for me (it was a personal decision and preference, not because of my family). I strongly suggest you read Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran-Foer; he wrote it after he and his wife got pregnant and because he wanted to know about food and where it came from and what he would tell his kid.

    Blonde in this City

  84. I agree with the many people here that are posting about the wastefulness of the individual packaging. I wish people considered first world wastefulness more in these blog communities

  85. I’m not a vegetarian, but when I look at a lot of the meals I eat they are meat free (often times I’ll use chicken broth because that’s what is on hand, but veggie broth would be an easy swap). I’m not a fan of fake meats, because I like my meals to focus on whole, real foods. Some of my favorites meals are salads topped with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, a hardboiled egg (don’t leave out the yolk!), and balsamic. For a heartier meal I love curried lentils with sweet potatoes and broccoli, sometimes over rice, sometimes on its own. Scrambled eggs are always a good fast option as well!

  86. I tried Blue Apron last summer. The ingredients are supposed to last a week. I didn’t get around to cooking the first three days, but by the 4th day, all the fresh products (meat, fish, veggies) had gone bad! It was really disappointing :(

  87. I’m not a vegetarian, but when I look at a lot of the meals I eat they are meat free (often times I’ll use chicken broth because that’s what is on hand, but veggie broth would be an easy swap). I’m not a fan of fake meats, because I like my meals to focus on whole, real foods. Some of my favorites meals are salads topped with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese, a hardboiled egg (don’t leave out the yolk!), and balsamic. For a heartier meal I love curried lentils with sweet potatoes and broccoli, sometimes over rice, sometimes on its own. Scrambled eggs are always a good fast option as well!

  88. dc says...

    We aren’t vegetarians but most of our meals are vegetarian.

    Sunday night was black bean and cheddar burritos smothered in green chile with rice plus salad. Monday I made Thai green chili tofu and veggies with an Asian cucumber salad. Last night I made a Margarita pizza with a green salad. Tonight though, we’re having fish or chicken :o)

    I agree with those that think these meals are expensive, the meals I listed above probably cost about $5-6 and we had leftovers! But if you’ve got the money and lack the time, they do look healthy.

  89. animal protein is not harmful, why do you want to be a vegetarian for a month?

  90. I wouldn’t try this service because of the completely excessive and wasteful packaging.

  91. My husband and I are vegan. He’s a firefighter, and ever since we left animal protein behind, he has had much more energy and feels stronger/more alert (definitely needed for his profession)! When we are feeling stumped in the kitchen, we often go to Heidi Swanson’s website: http://www.101cookbooks.com/

    Being vegan, we never have to count calories because we feel “full” before we can actually eat too much, and we can feel good about contributing 7x less greenhouse gas emissions than meat-eaters!

  92. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 13 years now! Pinterest really changed the way I cook, and has really inspired me to look outside of the rice and beans realm of veggie dinners.

    You can check out my Pinterest board full of vegetarian meals here: http://www.pinterest.com/circastyle/yum/

    My husband and I love getting Blue Apron for weeks that lace inspiration!

  93. I’m going on month two of being a vegeterian, and it is fantastic. I still miss bacon burgers and probably always will, but I am three months post-partum and already weigh less than I did pre-pregnancy. Yay for healthy lifestyle changes!

  94. wow, how hard is it to find a recipe online and buy your own ingredients that don’t come in all that single use packaging. this is so expensive and pretentious!

  95. Yes, I am a vegetarian and have been for 5 years, my hubbie has been for 13 years – when we met, we were both vegetarians.
    We eat tons of different grains, cereals and vegetables… When we eat meat, we tend to always eat the same things to go with it: potatoes, some vegetables, rice, pasta.

    When we become vegetarians, we discover a huge variety amazing grains and cereals and legumes. We eat: lentils (3 or 4 different kinds and flavors), millet, quinoa (3 or 4 different kinds too), white rice, black rice, purple rice,savage rice, mixed rice, beans (there are plenty of different kinds), chickpeas, parsnips, pumpkins, leeks, potatoes, sweet potato, radish (pink and black), celery root, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, carrots, soybeans, green salad,different kind of tofus, tomatoes and lots of fruits too.

    You should get a good book of recipes and keep surfing the internet to taste different things! Actually my transition showed me that I was missing on zillions of delicious things that people are not used to cook with meat, so they don’t even try it out or know about it!

    And there are lots of easy recipes and some are a little more complicated, but so worth it! I hope you enjoy your experience!!!

  96. My boyfriend spent 18 months working for a charity that promotes animal welfare – we went vegetarian after about 2 months of his being there! It was challenging, at first. While we now eat meat (ethically and organically sourced), we eat very little. We both largely prefer the veg now! And, with his agreement, my ‘best’ dishes are the veggie ones.

    I’m a fan of anything with aubergines The current favourite is aubergine ‘meatballs’ with sugar snaps and a toasted sesame sauce. And I’m counting down the days for grilled veg, pita and a bit of pesto! And chickpeas, can’t forget them, so scrummy!!!

  97. Joanna, thank you for sharing what a great service! My husband & are both vegetarians and we love to eat, but we *(I) am a little OCD when it comes to ingredients and etc so we do a lot of scratch cooking.

    A few staples are
    – Veggie stir fry with tempeh
    -TLT’s(tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato) sandwiches-use this smoky tempeh recipe from my new roots! ( http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/04/smoky-tempeh-sandwich-with-sundried-tomato-pesto/)

    -Vegan Mac n’Cheese (cashew ‘cheese sauce’= 1C cashews, 1T dijon, 1or 2 garlic heads, 1/2c-1c water, a few dashes of red pepper all tossed in blender til smooth) throw over pasta (regular or gf) w/anything you’d like Bake 350 for 25min! It’s pretty incredible *kid friendly as well for the gourmand!

    – Trusty minestrone soup
    – Ezekiel sprouted tortilla homemade pizzas
    – Grilled Portabella Mushroom & red pepper fajitas

    My favorite recipe websites:
    http://www.mynewroots.org/site/
    http://ohsheglows.com/
    http://deliciouslyella.com/
    http://tarastiles.com/videos/

    HAPPY EATING!

  98. We have used Blue Apron for one week, and I really enjoyed the recipes. I definitely cooked things I would not have otherwise done, and it helped me get out of my ‘what to cook?’ rut. My only issue is the packaging. They do a great job with it, but I still wonder if there could be a way to streamline the little containers and such.

  99. When I first met my husband he had been a vegetarian for 15 years and I was used to having meat at every meal. I enjoy cooking so much – especially for my family and loved ones so in the beginning it was hard to just cook vegetarian meals for him, every dish I made tasted like there was something missing. But then I started playing with new spices, vegetables, grains, etc. and now I would take a veggie dish over a meat one any day. I even started a blog, earthyfeast.com, to share my recipes with my friends!

  100. My favorite dinner is quinoa (great source of protein) with sauteed veggies…..quick, easy and delicious!

  101. I’m vegetarian! A few favorites- lasagna, quiche, baked potatoes with baked beans and roasted broccoli, tacos with beans and guac, and indian meals like curried lentils. Yum! It’s so good for you, and for the planet. I’d recommend watching Food Inc, if you haven’t already.

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  103. LOL. I’m making a vegetarian dinner tonight for about $10 that will feed 4 people (linguine with roasted red pepper alfredo sauce)! there’s definitely a convenience factor here but that’s when i go for takeout. i try to eat vegetarian for most of my meals but when you are married to a serious carnivore it’s a little difficult.

  104. Gardein and Gimme Lean have great meat alternatives to incorporate into your veggie dishes.

  105. My husband is a vegetarian, which means our whole family is at home. I eat meat when we go out to dinner (let someone else cook my steak or prepare my seafood perfectly), and our girls eat meat at school, but other than that we don’t eat it. I love it now, but the early days were rough, boring meatless meals. Then I just committed to the process of creating good dinners, and everything changed. There are so many resources for great fulfilling recipes out there. Heidi Swanson is one of my favs, but so many food writers / bloggers have extensive vegetarian recipes.
    I love Blue Apron, and talk about them on my blog a lot (although they don’t sponsor anything!) We don’t get it every week, but it’s a joy to have fresh ingredients and recipes ready to go-no grocery shopping and meal planning for a few days. Several of the recipes were so good we make them regularly on our own. We always have leftovers for workday lunches.

    One thing that helped me was to start menu planning each week in earnest, and researching recipes that had some overlapping ingredients to reduce wasting produce/herbs. I summarize the week’s meals each week on my blog, recording for myself which ones worked, which were so-so.

    Blue Apron does have a lot of packaging, but I also like wasting less food (you get what you need). It’s allowed us to try new things with expensive ingredients without having to commit to buying a large jar of a certain rare spice or a hard to find grain or vegetable. There’s a lot of packaging in regular groceries too, and we are careful to recycle everything. My hope is that the concept takes off and regional distributors pop up, offering reusable/returnable packaging. Like a CSA, but with the recipes and extra spices etc. to make healthy, delicious meals. I love to cook, it’s the planning and shopping that take so much time.

    I love to eat meat occasionally, but I’m 100% convinced that a vegetarian diet is not a limited, boring diet, and is best for our bodies and the planet.

  106. My husband and I are both vegetarians. We eat lots of lentil dishes (Indian daals or soups), chili, stir frys with tofu or seitan, big salads, and often times I’ll just make a big bowl with a variety of ingredients like quinoa, roasted veggies, avocado, lentils–a little grains, veggies, and protein.

    Some of my favorite blogs/cookbooks for recipes are Oh She Glows, 101 Cookbooks, and Smitten Kitchen.

  107. We’re two vegetarians at my home and I feel like we almost never eat rice and beans!

    A recent favorite was a pasta from the Jerusalem cookbook with peas, yogurt, mint, and chile-fried pine nuts. Have been doing a lot of seitan dishes lately, and rich quiches are a rarer indulgence.

    Fresh Food Fast by Peter Berley is another good book if you need ideas for quick and easy (but still lively and flavorful) veggie meals.

  108. I’ve been a vegetarian for 8 years now, and I got so sick of people asking me what I ate all the time that I just started an instagram account that documents each meal I eat(@foodsetting) It is a great way for me to get creative in the kitchen and display my “creations”. Like has been mentioned above, I eat a lot of different beans, eggs, tempeh, tofu, whole grains, etc. Being a vegetarian has really opened my eyes to all the different kinds of foods and cuisines. I’m much more adventurous living this way. Good luck on your vegetarian journey!

  109. I prefer to eat vegetarian meals at home and I found what helped me get more variety in my meals was joining a CSA. Every week, we get a box of local and organic produce and it’s like Christmas at my house each time! Plus, it’s nice to know I’m supporting our local agriculture.

  110. I love this idea – especially as a way to switch up my recipe rotation! I also like the idea of giving this service as a gift. Hope you enjoy all your amazing new meals!

  111. I used to be a hard-core carnivore, but now I’m vegetarian. My husband isn’t, but he eats vegetarian at home with me (mostly because neither of us want to cook two meals every night!) We save so much money, and I feel a lot better.

    I’ve found it surprisingly easy to substitute fake meat (or no meat) for almost all of our recipes. Try the vegan brand “Field Roast”, their sausages are AMAZING (no, seriously). We also use ground soy in tacos, and have fooled many a dinner guest!

    Also, try http://www.OhSheGlows.com for awesome vegan/vegetarian recipes. Good luck! :)

  112. Usually in Greece we eat red meat once a week on Sundays.
    One day is white meat like chicken or rabbit.
    One day is sth pasta/rice.
    One day is cooked vegetables(and there are A LOT different recipes).
    One or two days is fish and one or two days is legumes.
    So I’d say that although we are not 100% meat free there are whole months that we will only cook just chicken on Sundays and the whole week is meat free.
    I prefer it that way!

  113. I tried vegetarianism for the month of February and decided to stick with it. So far so good. I’ve found a lot of blogs through Pinterest with great vegetarian recipes!

  114. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost nine years now and I’ve always been very happy with the decision! My favorite resource is http://www.vegetariantimes.com

    There are thousands of recipes available, many of which take little to no time!

  115. I’ve been vegetarian for about two years. Find enough recipes and it’s a piece of cake. My go to recipes blogs are cookieandkate.com and loveandlemons.com. Both make flavorful, inventive and healthy vegetarian dishes. Good luck! Your body and the environment will thank you.

  116. I’m pescatarian, and have been for about 2 years, prior to which I was fully vegan for a year. I love it – I never really felt comfortable eating meat. Just as an example, this week we’re having/have had:

    Polenta with Oven roasted Tomatoes
    Tofu Stir Fry
    Shrimp & Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing
    Pan Fried Mahi Mahi & Roasted Cabbage
    Taco Night with “Veggie beef crumbles” which are surprisingly delicious! I have oatmeal for breakfast usually and I eat eggs a ton for lunch! I love to cook though and will totally admit, I think you’d get stuck in a total carb rut if you didn’t!

  117. Vegan here! I LOVE not eating meat (dairy too, but esp meat) I never ever feel that “I’m so full I feel sick” feeling anymore.
    I’m more aware and thoughtful in my cooking and it’s just wonderful! It’s so much easier with all the new meatless products readily available.

  118. I got in a meal rut once and decided to become a “weekday vegetarian,” meaning I would only eat meat on weekends. This make going to parties and dining out a little less frustrating (it didn’t seem like there were as many vegetarian restaurant options back then!). I did it to challenge myself to try new foods and meal ideas. I no longer adhere to the meat-only-on-weekends rule, but I eat far less meat and learned to cook a wide array of tasty, nutritious dishes!

  119. Maybe it’s because I’m Dutch and a cheapskate, but I think 10 dollars for a meal is a lot of money. I could eat out for that amount and not fuss with the cooking and cleaning up afterwards(not fancy, but still, no cooking, no washing up).

    Anyway, I’ve been eating vegan for about 4 years now, ever since I moved out of my parents’ place.
    Today I had a portobello mushroom in puff pastry, I filled the portobello with some shallots, some button mushrooms, garlic, a bit of left over canned tomato and parsley. I had a side of salad with salad leaves, and grilled spring onions, bell pepper and tomatoes.
    Yesterday it was gnocchi with pumpkin ragu. The days before that I was eating out.

  120. Last year my husband and I ate veggie for about 10 months. I thought it was a wonderful experiment because we tried so many new recipes. I would say we are “flexitarians” now, but still eat veggie based meals at home. I’ve been wondering about that Blue Apron service. Sounds like some pretty tasty meals!

  121. this would be a great gift for new parents or a family with a sick loved one.

  122. I’ve gone back and forth with vegetarianism for years and was intimidated about trying raise my two little boys on that diet. But we’re 3.5 years in now and everyone is happy and healthy. It’s WAY easier than I thought it would be once I realized how much non-meat protein there is out there. Beyond the obvious (eggs, beans, nuts, tofu), many grains are packed with protein – farro and millet are favorites in our house. Good luck!

  123. I’m a vegetarian and even though my boyfriend is not, I cook most of our meals and rarely include meat in them. Some of our faves (when trying to get out of a pasta rut) are tacos (soyrizo is a godsend), thai or indian, which are usually naturally veggie!

  124. It’s a cool idea and the recipes are very tasty but has way too much packaging! So many plastic bags and bottles – creates too much waste!