Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pescatarian: An almost vegetarian with a dark penchant for brutality towards seafood

Last September, on impulse, I decided to give up all meat with the exception of seafood. I can eat shrimp pad thai, but not chicken pad thai. I can chow down on clam chowder, but not dumplings. The reasons I gave for my decision were several. Depending on who asked me, my answers were a) I did not want to eat any meat that I could not kill myself if I were stranded on an island, b) I had always wanted to become a vegetarian and was simply taking the first step in that direction and c) just because.

Through the past five months of limiting my diet, I’ve experienced several things. First, the most irrelevant and aggravating fact is that whenever I say that I am a pescatarian, some person will say “Presbyterian”? No. Presbyterian is a religious denomination while Pescatarian is not.

Secondly, a week into my change, I developed a sinking sensation when I realized how many foods had meat in them. Goodbye chicken nuggets. Goodbye steaks and fajitas and chicken noodle soup. The most tragic moment of my pescatarian experience was on a cold November day when I saw the Don Memo’s food truck between 38th and Sansom. I ran up to it, excited that I caught the elusive truck before it left for the day and then, realized that there was nothing I could order.

I have also come to understand that a pescatarian is a halfling of herbivore and omnivore. However, shifting into this position has helped me discover delicious alternatives to meat. Before, I was a strictly meat, carbs and vegetable girl. Now, I have learned about the beauty of beans. Chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, all of these members of the legume family add flavor and protein in place of meat.

While I am still adjusting to and contemplating about my newfound pescatarianism, I have learned to love beans. One of the best recipes I’ve tasted all semester is for vegetarian chili. My friend Melissa used a recipe from, and the chili was so good that sometimes, I dream about it. So even if you are not a vegetarian or pescatarian, give this recipe a try; you will love it.


* 1 (19 ounce) can black bean soup
* 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 (16 ounce) can vegetarian baked beans
* 1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes in puree
* 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 green bell pepper, chopped
* 2 stalks celery, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1 tablespoon chili powder, or to taste
* 1 tablespoon dried parsley
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 tablespoon dried basil

1. In a slow cooker, combine black bean soup, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, baked beans, tomatoes, corn, onion, bell pepper and celery. Season with garlic, chili powder, parsley, oregano and basil. Cook for at least two hours on High.

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