tim recently announced that he was becoming a vegetarian. for the past few years, he's been on a very-little-meat diet, so the announcement didn't come as a big surprise, but i'm not gonna lie . . . the news was a bit difficult for me to swallow. it's not that i'm discriminating against vegetables or vegetarians. i love all vegetables and was a vegetarian myself for part of college (i know, shock!!!). i own several vegetarian cookbooks and even have a couple of vegetarian blogs bookmarked, but i've come to love food - all foods - so much that it's hard for me to think of limiting my possibilities.
he and i eat out at least once a week together, and i love being able to share food, taste a little bit of this, a little bit of that (so if you don't want someone nibbling off of your plate, don't invite me to dinner!). as a result, we've now tailored our ordering at restaurants to vegetarian dishes so we can still share, and the truth is, i don't really miss the meat. sure, there have been times where i'm eyeing the duck or a plate of greasy potstickers on the menu, but i'm just as satisfied with the vegetarian alternatives that we choose.
it's meant a bit of tailoring of my own menus too. besides being a vegetarian now, tim also happens to be a bit of a exercise addict with now two ironmans under his belt so making sure he gets enough protein is key. we spend part of the weekends together up here in the city and before he heads back to his place on sunday, i pack up a week's worth of meals for him (the benefits of being the significant other to a part-time chef). so i've had to put my creative chef hat on to think of meals that are transportable, vegetarian and full of protein. one of my favorite has been this white bean and red pepper salad. it's quick, portable and incredibly tasty with my lemon-balsamic vinaigrette. it's not only perfect for feeding a vegetarian boyfriend but also a great starter to a meal, a side-dish to fish or chicken or spoon it on a piece of ciabatta for a great new take on bruschetta.
i guess limiting my possibilities isn't so bad.
quick and easy white bean & red pepper salad
serves 4 as a side
1 15 oz. can of white kidney/cannellini beans
1 red pepper, diced
a handful of parsley, chopped finely and some for garnish
1/2 teaspoon shallot, diced
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. white balsamic vinegar (white wine vinegar can be substituted)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
combine beans, red pepper and parsley in a bowl. in a smaller bowl, combine shallot, lemon juice, vinegar and salt. whisk in olive oil. toss with beans and red pepper. garnish with parsley if serving right away or pack up in some containers for an easy transportable meal.