Eating meat isn't as simple as it used to be. Last week a study revealed that almost half the supermarket meat sampled around the country was contaminated with the drug-resistant bacteria that causes staph infections. Huge meat recalls are no longer a surprise, and the health benefits of eating less meat and more whole grains and vegetables are pretty widely accepted.
So has this changed the way you think about dinner? Is meat still the focus of your plate?
Dinner changed for me a little over a year ago, when I decided to only eat sustainable and humanely-raised meat, preferably from the farmers market or other local sources. This is generally much more expensive per pound, which means meat has become a treat in my household, showing up at dinner once every week or two.
The rest of the time, I prepare a lot of meals around beans, pastured eggs, whole grains and vegetables, with herbs and some really good cheese for extra flavor. Not thinking about dinner as "meat plus two sides" took some getting used to, but I now appreciate the flexibility that cooking a near-vegetarian diet has given me.
Has your approach to dinner changed as attitudes toward meat have shifted? Or do you usually start with your protein and go from there?
Meat-Optional Dinner Ideas on The Kitchn:
• The Kitchn's Top Ten Vegetarian Dinner Recipes
• Vegan Dinners! 15 Vegan Dinner Recipes from The Kitchn
• Help Me Find Fresh Ideas for Flexitarian Meals!
(Image: Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan)