Meat-lite is my mantra. I don’t eat steak at every meal, and chicken graces our pot no more than once every 10 days. I’m hardly a vegetarian though, and my favorite cooking quiz show (in my head) is to see how little meat I can get away with in what’s otherwise a non-vegetarian meal. Buying meat in smaller quantity keeps your wallet full, while adding a bit of bacon, sausage, or brisket to your healthful, inexpensive meal helps the vegetables go down.
1. Quinoa, Avocado & Apple Salad with Crispy Bacon & Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette. Bacon is the cherry on top of an otherwise virtuous, vegan salad.
2. Chicken Soba Soup with Miso & Spinach.A skimpy piece of chicken to feed two or more? Unheard of, til you bulk out the poultry with vegetables, broth, and noodles.
3. Homemade Baked Beans on Toast. The Brits figured out how to make a meal of beans taste amazing: add bacon!
4. Brisket-Topped Burrito Bowls. In my book, refried beans are almost as good as brisket. This lunchtime bowl will last all week–if you add just a spoonful of brisket to each serving.
5. Arugula Salad with Chicken, Black Quinoa, and Lemon-Tahini Dressing. One measly chicken breast serves two when paired with arugula, carrots, black quinoa, and a killer dressing.
6. Healthy Chicken Chili. This chili makes the most of peppers and barley for bulk. The chicken’s just a flavoring, and a highlight.
7. Whole Wheat Spirals with Sausage, Lentils & Kale. Sausage stars in this easy weeknight pasta, even though it’s used in the same proportion as pasta, lentils, and kale.
8. Lemon Fettucine with Bacon & Chives. A bright spring pasta that just so happens to profit from a teeny tiny extra bit of bacon.
9. Pork Ramen Soup. All you need are two little pork chops (or even just one!) to cook up a bowl of hearty soup. Try subbing well-seasoned ground pork, if that sounds good.
10. Cous Cous with Sausage, Kale & White Beans. You know it: bites of whole vegetables, beans, and grains get punctuated by toothsome sausage.