I was watching an episode of The Biggest Loser and one of the trainers was showing the contestants how to make a simple quinoa dish. I was thrilled. Finally, mainstream TV is catching up to my way of eating. Then the trainer said, "This makes a wonderful side dish to any meal."
Wha--? The dish had quinoa, veggies, and beans, a complete meal in and of itself. Do we have to stick in a side of chicken with that?
I think, however, the one-dish meal is a big adjustment for anyone looking to switch over to a vegetarian lifestyle. My mom mentioned the other day that while she enjoys many of the meals I make, she misses having several things on her plate to choose from -- green beans at two o'clock, mashed potatoes at four, salad, meat, etc.
I hadn't thought about it, but it's true. Most of what I make are one-dish meals. The vegetarian recipes I use usually contain beans, greens, and a grain so it doesn't seem worth it to--I don't know--dump a can of corn or some other vegetable on the plate as a side. Not that I couldn't; it just never occurs to me to do so.
It's not always that way. This week for example we had veggie burgers with a side of roasted brussel sprouts. But last night I made a big spinach salad and after carmelizing the onions, toasting the walnuts, and broiling my own homemade bread crumbs, hell if I was going to put any effort into making a side dish.
How do you eat at home? Vegetarian or not, do you prepare a main course and side dishes for each meal or do you trend, as I do, toward more one-dish wonders?