I am a meat-lover. I love steak. I love hamburgers. I love hot dogs. I love poultry. I love seafood. And I especially love bacon. Previous to this year, I would have laughed at the notion of becoming anything remotely close to a vegetarian.
So, when the JVC staff presented us with a fully-vegetarian menu during Orientation, I joked (with others) that JVC actually stood for the “Jesuit Vegetarian Corps”. Don’t get me wrong, the food was delicious and the joke was not a complaint at all, but it was definitely a bit different than what I was used to.
As some of you know, JV’s are given $75 per month for food. The vast majority (I think everyone, actually) pools this money with their housemates to maximize funds. Plus, that way, there aren’t four ketchups, five peanut butters, and six separate cartons of milk. That would be tragic waste of refrigerator space!
Because we pool our money, we also try to cook one meal each night for dinner, for everyone. One of my roommates is a vegetarian (since she watched Babe at age nine, actually) and we do our best to make dinners healthy and enjoyable for everyone. For that reason, on top of the relatively expensive price of meats, we’ve stayed with the largely vegetarian diet that the JVC staff introduced to us. Every weekend or so, we splurge a little with extra money left over from buying groceries and buy something like bratwurst and its vegetarian counterpart.
Like I said, I absolutely love to eat meat and it was a big part of my diet, but the switch to a largely vegetarian diet hasn’t been too bad. If anything, I’m eating healthier than ever before. We make things like tortilla-bean soup, baked ziti, vegetarian lasagna, sweat potato salad, and vegetable and bean fajitas. Our diet is full of rice, beans, fruits, and vegetables (not to mention peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches everyday for lunch. I feel like I’m in first grade again and I love it). Although it certainly helps that my roommates are pretty darn good cooks and willing to take risks in the kitchen, I’m thoroughly enjoying my time as a pseudo-vegetarian.
Plus, now, on the odd day that I can have meat, I enjoy it that much more!
Anybody know any good, cheap vegetarian meals that a cooking beginner could pull of for six?