Chef Batali Goes Meatless- one day a week


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I usually have a meatless dinner meal once or twice a week. Sometimes a whole day happens but not through planning, just coincidence and mood.
Joined Sep 5, 2008
I try to eat less meat too. I LOVE meat, it's a passion of mine, but I've seen the movies, heard the arguments, and now realize that I consume way too much. I have a Thai recipe book where pretty much all recipes have something like 8 oz of meat for 6 servings. That's refreshing.

Even for a meat lover like me, you quickly get used to eating less meat or smaller amounts of it. I still love meat, still eat it frequently, but gone are the days of ordering the 32 oz T-Bone for two and eating everything or leaving half on the plate.

At home we got used to smaller servings. I also started to cook almost-meatless-meals. Sometimes an entirely vegetarian meal, but more often I'll use a bit of pancetta, some veal stock etc.... just very little, to give a dish flavor. For example the other night I made pasta for 3, using a 5 ounce piece of salmon. It was delicious, and although we didn't have big chunks of salmon, the taste was definitely there, and I didn't feel like I was lacking protein.

Sometimes we'll just have a hard boiled egg in a salad, or a slice or two of ham or prosciutto, or some dried cured sausage, etc...

But yeah, I still love meat, and I still eat too much of it. This past week end I bought a 10 ounces grass fed chuck beef steak at the Farmer's market. In the past I would have gulped the whole thing in one seating. This time I sliced it in two, ate one half yesterday, the other half is for tonight. That's still a LOT of a meat, but it's a bit more reasonable.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
I'm a meat lover, I have a hard time with veganism and even vegetarianism.  But alright alright, I know the arguments so we've done something about it at home.  We always go vegetarian on Mondays (following the Paul McCartney Meatless Mondays idea.)  It hasn't been hard at all although if you handed me a piece of meat on a monday I would eat it without thinking. 

Next I'd like to either incorporate a completely raw vegetarian day per week and incorporate a raw veggie on some other days as well.  It's easy with salad but I need to look into more creative things.
Joined Oct 9, 2009
Interesting. I'd not be very happy were I to walk in on a meatless day though I'd be curious to see what he offers on those days. I hardly ever cook meatless, unless it's pasta with tomato sauce. Would not mind doing more, but I'm not a big fan of "mush", and find most vegetarian things to resemble a side with the meat missing.
But with all the fantastic stuff at the farmer's market now, maybe I'll dig out the one vegetarian book I have and take a look.
It's not that I don't like veggies, not at all. I always have some with my meat :)
Joined Apr 24, 2010
You know, I'm not a big fan of meatless dishes too. I've just cut down on the amount per serving instead of cutting it out completely. That being said, because I've changed the ratio of portions, I've been cooking with more and more different foods, and I've discovered something: so many veggies and other things can be cooked as if they were meat! As an example, breaded eggplant makes a great focus for the plate.

All in all, I don't cut down on meat as much as some of the other people here have mentioned. Instead, I just try to go by what the accepted nutritional recommendation is. Instead of a 12 ounce steak, I'll half it. Things like that. I also vary my meat intake a lot. Really, it's not that hard to in Colorado, and in other places where game is plentiful.

Interesting. I'd not be very happy were I to walk in on a meatless day though I'd be curious to see what he offers on those days. I hardly ever cook meatless, unless it's pasta with tomato sauce. Would not mind doing more, but I'm not a big fan of "mush", and find most vegetarian things to resemble a side with the meat missing.
But with all the fantastic stuff at the farmer's market now, maybe I'll dig out the one vegetarian book I have and take a look.
It's not that I don't like veggies, not at all. I always have some with my meat :)
Joined Feb 1, 2007
...but I'm not a big fan of "mush," and find most vegetarian things to resemble a side with the meat missing.

I reckon you just need to broaden your horizens a bit, Oliver. While some vegetarian dishes can be like that, you might find that vegetarian cooking can also be just as diverse, just as creative, and just as palate-satisfying as any other cooking.

Check out, for instance, some of Molly Katzen's books for a view of the possibilities.

The real problem, as we discovered when we went through a vegetarian phase, is that producing such meals actually takes more effort than when cooking with animal proteins. I suspect that's really what's behind the anti-vegetarian stance many people profess (that and being blinded by the halos so many vegetarians seem to wear).

One of the problems with eating vegetarian is cultural. We tend to associate it with deprivation; having little or no meat when we were poor immigrants, and all those meatless days during WW II. Yeah, that was a long time ago. But it's had a long-lasting effect on our collective culinary psyche.

Joshua mentions game. The same sort of syndrome exists there. I live in a game-rich environment, thank goodness. But I'm also surrounded by people who won't touch it, because it reminds them of when they were poor. If they didn't have game to eat they'd have had nothing. So, now that they're financially more secure, they want no part of such poverty food.
Joined Apr 16, 2010
i like vegetarian food - when its done properly... soups are good examples of satisfying non meat meals!

i think sometimes we need to look away from changing our food from western culture and look toward cuisines that were built on vegetarianism - theyre used to making their meals satisfying without meat... indian is a good example! curries and dahl can be great with no meat!
Joined May 20, 2009
Good point about the soups...I've never realised them as the vegetarian dishes I take most seriously.
Serving much smaller portions of meat has become an economic reality but I'm comfortable we should be presenting less on all levels. shall we just leave the beans in and take the carne out? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
Joined Feb 8, 2009
We go meatless a lot, it makes my two Black Angus cows happy. I would eat Eggplant Parmesan once a week for the rest of my life, if I wasn't to lazy to make it.
Joined Apr 24, 2010
KYHeirloomer, I've never really thought about that point before, regarding game, but it really does make sense. As it is, I am fairly poor, and that is part of the attraction of spending only $50 on a tag for 500 or 600 pounds of meat! But to be honest, I think I'll probably still find that appealing if I'm ever not poor. ;) I can see what you mean though. People don't like to be forced into things, and once they have an option, they are likely to choose something other than what they already have a negative association with.

Billy, I'm with you 100% on the eggplant parmesan. I had a bad experience as a kid with eggplant and stayed away from it for a very long time. But I try to give things new chances, and more recently I stumbled upon eggplant again. My goodness, what I've been missing! I'm very much an eggplant enthusiast now.
Joined Mar 9, 2010
Well I am of the thought ....go with what works for you...I also have at least 3 days of only vegetable based meals a week and It works for me ....I don't judge anyone for their dietary intakes and frankly don't care. It is a way of cleansing the body the vegan/fruit days and my system needs it. So all you 7 day a week meat eaters ...o.k. that must be working for you.

Eating is very personal

Joined Feb 1, 2007
I grew up dirt poor, Joshua, but in the big city, so game was not an issue. But I always knew I was a hunter---while the other kids were out playing stickball, I was reading Field & Stream.

Thus, because it has no early-life connotations for me, I love game. But I wonder if it was an eat it or nothing thing, as with some of the people I know, if I'd still feel that way?

An interesting sidelight is that my kids grow up eating game, not because of poverty but because it was always in the house. Hunting was something that I not only enjoyed, but it was part of my work. So the freezers were always full, because I got to do a lot of it. I think my eldest was 16 before he knew what beef tasted like.

But note: to this day, they both enjoy game of all kinds. This, I believe, lends further credence to the idea. They didn't eat game because it was a matter of eating it or starving, but because it was just a normal part of our table fare. In fact, for a long time they thought it rather preposterous that many of their friends thought of game as a special-occasion meal.

Go figure!
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Mark Bittman (writer for NYTIMES) had a campaign going for people to eat  vegetarian at least 1x a's amazing the difference that act alone would make for our environment. 

Taking meat "out of the center of the plate" and using it as additions or garnish, has long been a way to save $ and depending on whatelse is on that plate, health.

I've got so many vegetarian friends and clients that there's always enough food on the table for them to be happy.  Things like risotto will be meat stock.   Tonight the baby greens will be dressed with shallot vinagrette and topped with cold beef tongue (caper mayo on the side)....
mustard greens will have lots of garlic & onions but no bacon.....bean salad will have lovage & radishes....asparagus will be as simple as possible.....quark with tomato paste from the freezer....shiitake mushroom pate (sans meat)....chicken get the jist..
Last week it was corny polenta with morel ragout running down the middle and wilted spicy greens mix, watercress salad, asparagus with bamboo shoots, ham with coarse mustard, multigrain bread, cheese coarse....local cheeses/crackers/kumquats, dessert was first of the season strawberries & rhubarb.   Leave off the minimal amount of meats and they are vegetarian.
Joined Oct 9, 2009
I think I'll have to pick up a good vegetarian book next time I have a coupon. I have tons of meat books, one lonely vegetarian from the bargain shelves. I use less meat than in the past as I want the kids to eat "the other stuff" too and they love curry, which always makes a delicious vegetarian dish, but I want to expand. I'll look at the author mentioned, thanks. While I'll never go vegan, a veggie dish with some nice cheese or eggs can be quite good.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Talking about curry, don't forget the vegetable sections in many ethnic cookbooks for some insights and inspiration. There are, of course, many cookbooks that explore the vegetarian aspects of various ethnic cuisines as well. For instance, Alkmini Chaitow's Greek Vegetarian Cooking, and Ken Hom's Asian Vegetarian Feast.

You'll also find, as you get more into it, that there are many cookbooks based on the main vegetable ingredient, such as beans, grains, squash, and so forth.

When you check out Molly Katzman, look under both her name and anything with Moosewood in the title.

A couple of others that go a step beyond: Barnes & Noble's Vegetarian, and Victoria Wise's Gardeners' Community Cookbook. I suspect they're out of print, as I found both of them in the remaindered tables. But you might still be able to find copies.

Why wait for coupons? Most libraries, nowadays, have extensive cookbook collections, and I'm sure yours will have several vegetarian titles. That's probably the best way to explore a new cuisine. It's certainly the least expensive.
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