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This Vegetarian Can Still Cook Meat

Growing up in a family where my mom’s side was Italian meant not only learning to make sauce, but how to make sausage and meatballs to go into said sauce. When I became a vegetarian, the ball game changed a little — I haven’t made meatballs from scratch in at least 15 years, and sausage for sauce in about 10.

Until Father’s Day yesterday.

I couldn’t (read didn’t have time to) make the meatballs from scratch, I did get some pre-made ones to add to my homemade sauce. I also decided to make the sausage the way my mom used to and add it to the sauce as well.

The best part was? It ended up coming out really good! Well, at least that’s what the people who ate the meat told me.

I know many vegetarians, who would be grossed out by this, but since I hate when people give me an issue about being a vegetarian, I’m not going to give other people an issue about being a meat eater. It’s a personal choice, and just like they make something vegetarian when I go to their house, I will usually cook meat if they are at mine. I did, however, take precautions not to mix the meat with the vegetarian food I was going to eat.

The menu included: homemade tomato sauce, meatball and sausage sandwiches and lasagna. Not insanely fancy, but my grandfather enjoys meatball and sausage subs, so since it was Father’s Day, the preference is deferred to the patriarch of the family.

My biggest concern was the sauce, because the meatballs and sausage had to cook in it, but I also needed to keep it vegetarian for the lasagna. I started it a little earlier than normal and cooked it until all the flavors blended together.

Once I felt the sauce was at a point where the taste was acceptable, I scooped about half out, put it in a different pot which I used to cook the meat in.

The meatballs were frozen, so I just dropped them in the sauce and let them cook. The sausage was a different story.

To prepare the sweet Italian sausage, I punctured several slits in sausage and put the links in a shallow pan with water, brought it to a boil and kept it boiling — flipping them twice — until they were cooked.

Once they were cooked, I put them under the broiler to get a little crispy, turning them once during it.

Once they were browned, I sliced them up, added them to the sauce with the meatballs and let them cook — stirring every so often — while I made the lasagna.

The scary part to making this was that since I don’t eat it, I wasn’t sure how it was going to taste — instead I just cooked it using the theory I was taught. Usually, I will ask one of the meat eaters I’m cooking for to taste it while it’s cooking to make sure it’s on track, but this time, that wasn’t possible, so I was kind of doing it blindly.

Although cooking meat is not my favorite, I was pretty proud of myself that those who ate it said it came great and that they really enjoyed it!

Oh, and just for the record, here is the vegetarian lasagna I made. 🙂

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