Meatless Monday: Make it at home!

I'm lucky to live in a town that hosts many vegetarian and health-minded eaters. You're more likely to find a million salad options than anything fried as an appetizer. This makes it much easier to make good choices when eating out, which I've gotten used to. Having vegetarian options at every restaurant seems like the norm to me these days, but I was jolted back into reality this holiday season with a trip back to the Midwest.

Over the holidays I visited my boyfriend's family near Milwaukee. For the most part we ate meals at his parents' house, but on the occasion that we ate out I saw the following vegetarian options:

  • Deep fried cauliflower

  • Deep fried mushrooms

  • Onion rings

  • Fries

  • Cheese pizza

  • Iceberg wedge salad bar with ranch and blue cheese

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE fried mushrooms, pickles, jalapeno poppers, you name it. But too much of that just makes you feel sick. And although this food made me nostalgic for many of the other things I loved about the Midwest (family and friends), I was reminded of how hard it can be for vegetarians to find nutritious food while eating out. This only confirmed my New Year's Resolution: cook more, eat out less!

Making your own meals at home is truly the only way to control exactly what you are putting into your body. When I was a kid my Dad used to say "only brush the teeth you want to keep!" I think about this now and translate it to the kitchen: eat the way you want to feel. Personally, I'd rather feel like a spinach salad then a fried mushroom.

A few weeks ago I was eating at a vegetarian restaurant with a friend. We both spotted "sweet potato gnocci" on the menu and ordered the same thing. After paying $16 for a trendy dish with a pretty (yet unedible) garnish and 6 pieces of gnocci, I thought to myself "heck, I could make this!" It's just flour, potatoes, and eggs - three of the cheapest ingredients at the store. And sweet potatoes are loaded with calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamins A and C. Delicious AND healthy? Too good to be true.

So I made this recipe and it was amazing! My gnocci were not the prettiest things, but they tasted fantastic and there were so many left over that I froze them and was able to make three whole meals (two large servings each meal) out of this one recipe. I highly recommend doing a balsamic reduction to add some extra tart flavor on top of these, but they can stand alone with a bit of Parmesan as well.

Here we go!

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

And be sure to check out all of FunnySpoon's vegetarian recipes!

Erin Lizzo is a freelance writer and food lover - a perfect combination for She'll be contributing fabulous (and easy) vegetarian recipes that everyone can enjoy! We already promote going meatless one day per week, so we're looking forward to her fave suggestions!

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