October 1 is World Vegetarian Day, which kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month. When it was created in 1977, vegetarianism was still a fringe thing. Today, 40 years later, vegetarian diets are mainstream. Most restaurants across the country offer vegetarian options on their menus, and grocery stores pack their shelves with packaged quinoa dinners, multiple brands of tofu, and other soy-based meat substitutes.
In honor of Vegetarian Awareness Month, October is a great time to think about adding more vegetarian dishes to your rotation of meals. If you're not doing it already, try Meatless Mondays for the month of October.
Are Meatless Mondays already a tradition at your house? Then add another day of the week this month — say, Thursday — and have 2 meatless dinners per week!
Mostly or entirely vegetarian already? Commit to trying some new dishes. Explore a new vegetable or grain this coming month, and have some fun with it.
Here's one of my new favorite vegetable side dishes, which can easily be made vegan. You'll need a spiralizer, a sharp knife, and a large sauté pan. If you don't have a spiralizer, go click on the below linked photo to check out the one I use (affiliate link).
Make it Vegan
Substitute olive oil for all of the butter, and you've got a great vegan side dish that's packed with flavor.
Spiralized Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Dates | #SundaySupper
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes peeled
- 4 Fuji apples peeled
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 navel orange juiced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage not ground
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 12 dates pitted and quartered
- Garnish with parsley
- Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, and continue to cook until a light brown color. Whisk in the oil, and add the sliced onions. Sauté until caramelized, about 30 minutes. For best caramelization results, do not be tempted to move the onions around a great deal while they cook. Tossing them around every 10 minutes is generally enough.
- Using a spiralizer, use the smallest blade for noodles. Place one end of a sweet potato on the round metal core that holds the vegetable in place, and press the prongs into the other end. Turn the crank to create piles of luxurious amber noodles. Do the same with the apples. The center core should remove all the seeds. Toss the apple noodles with the lemon juice.
- Heap the sweet potato noodles in the pan with the onions. Using tongs, turn sections of the noodles over to coat them with the butter/oil and caramelized onions. As they cook, the pile will reduce in size very quickly. (About 10 minutes.)
- Measure the orange juice and add enough water or vegetable broth to make 3/4 cup of liquid. Add to the sweet potatoes, toss with tongs, and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, and add the apple noodles. Replace the cover over the pan, and continue to cook.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, and all of the spices including the salt and pepper. Pour over the sweet potatoes and apples, toss, and continue to cook until the sweet potato noodles are tender. (About 10 minutes)
- Add the dates and toss.
- Garnish with a spray of parsley.
- Serve warm.