Eating Together When You Don’t Eat the Same Thing

As a vegetarian married to a meat-eating husband, I get asked the same question a lot

“How in the world do you guys make dinner?”

I think most people totally over think it. They think of dinners like meatloaf or pork chops and wonder what in the world we do. So I thought I would write a little about how an herbivore and a carnivore dine together in peace. Make sure you read about how we make dinnertime less stressful. You should also take a listen to our podcast about how we survive and enjoy family dinner.

(Also, for those wondering, Mac is allowed to make her own choices in this area because we don’t make food a fight. She is offered some of everything and decides for herself what she wants to eat. But right now she is a picky eater, so we are just happy when she eats anything. Read about how we are dealing with picky eating.)

As a vegetarian married to a carnivore, I frequently get asked how we eat together. Here are the really easy ways we are able to eat dinner together every night.

Customizeable Meals

There are tons of meals out there where meat is an ingredient, but not the main dish. In those cases, everyone is able to make their dinner the way they like it. Those are dinners like:

  • Quesadillas or tacos
  • Stir Fry
  • Pasta dishes

Every single one of those dinners can be eaten as is by me. (You don’t have to have meatballs in spaghetti or chicken in your quesadilla.) Every single one can also have meat thrown into an individual dish of it. Andrew frequently cooks up a chicken breast to stir into his pasta or stir fry.

Protein Meals

About once a week, we have dinner we call “protein meal” which means we each make a protein source of our choice along with a side dish. So Andrew may make something simple, like some frozen chicken tenders, or something a bit fancier, like some meat he got at the butcher counter. I usually have fried tofu or, in a pinch, a frozen veggie burger. Every one feels like they have a substantial and tasty meal and we are still able to eat together.

Meat Substitutes

In this day and age, there are plenty of meat substitutes. Some of them are fancy enough that they even look like chicken despite being made of soy. Now, I totally understand not wanting to just eat a plain piece of soy chicken, but let me tell you that using the meat substitutes in a dish is totally different. We make a lot of hot dishes or casseroles using fake meat. Andrew admits that he can’t tell much of a difference. If you make tator tot hotdish, I can guarantee you that the meat or nonmeat flavor will be covered up by the flavor or tator tots and cream of whatever soup.

What are some other tips you have for eating together as a vegetarian and a carnivore?

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