Technically, K and I are not vegetarians. We’re pesco-vegetarians: we’ll eat fish and I’ll eat shellfish (K just doesn’t like shellfish 🙂 ). We didn’t become pesco-vegetarians overnight. We started by getting rid of red meat, so no pork, beef, lamb, etc. More recently, we stopped making chicken at home (we seldom eat out) and then stopped eating it at all.

One of the more challenging things about changing your diet is finding food that is interesting and still meets your dietary requirements. While we’ll try new recipes when we find them, we’ve also done a lot with substitutions. This has gotten a lot easier with all of the new meat substitutes that are out there, but even without them, there are still some things you can do.

Tonight, we made Empanadas which are a type of Cuban pocket sandwich. We’ve done the a few ways over the years, including making the dough from scratch, but our basic recipe is even simpler than that. The original recipe was:

  • 8 large canned biscuits – flatened
  • 1/2 # of ground beef or lamb, browned in oil
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • some tomato sauce
  • some shredded cheddar cheese
  • sliced olives (not in the original recipe, but i like them)

You mix the browned beef with the corn, sauce, cheese and olives. Divide into 8 portions, put each portion in the center of a flattened biscuit, fold in half, press together to seal and then bake using the biscuit instructions.

Our first shot at changing the recipe was to use ground chicken instead of turkey.

We later switched to ground fake meat or even veggie hamburgers diced; but tonight, I tried something very different that was quite tasty. Instead of using a meat-like filling, we used spinach:

  • 1 package of frozen spinach (for this recipe, the frozen may be easier than fresh, but not as tasty) defrosted with the extra water squeezed out
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp of butter (we use smart balance)
  • 2-3 oz of (light) cream cheese

To make the filling, you melt the butter over low heat and add the garlic. Saute for a minute or so. Add the spinach, mix thoroughly and heat. After a few minutes, turn off the stove and mix in the cream cheese. Once it cools enough, fill the flattened biscuits and bake.


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