- Meat substitutes aren't. Tofu dogs, soy sausage, textured vegetable protein crumble only seem like to meat to people who haven't had it in a long time. That said, I don't know any vegetarians who got through a transition to a meatless diet without it. I liked "chik'n" patties and the crumble but now cook without it.
- Beware the carbs and junk, if health is your goal. Fritos are vegan and ice cream is vegetarian. And I could eat rice or bread all day. It took me some time (and some pounds) to realize that I wasn't actually eating vegetables. As famous vegetarian chef (but not an actual vegetarian, though I think she was once) Mollie Katzen says about vegetarians, apparently, "tell me what you eat, not what you don't eat."
- Adapt recipes you already make, either by just removing meat or by making substitutions (vegetable for chicken stock, cooked beans for ground meat in soups and casseroles, etc).
- And remember that some of your recipes are already vegetarian: macaroni and cheese, various pastas (cheese ravioli, baked ziti), grilled cheese and tomato soup, breakfast dishes for dinner.
- Master a few easy vegetarian meals. Soups, fried eggs, and beans (not together, of course) are my go-to dishes (though, Cuban black beans with a fried egg are good!). Like beanbag soup.
- What about supplements? Talk to your doctor. Because I eat eggs (and am not a vegan, thus getting dairy calcium), this isn't as much as a problem. But I do take my multivitamin everyday. No problem with anemia or anything in 3+ years.
- Consider what kind of vegetarian you want to be--strict? practical? eggs or not? will you eat fish (and before people get all "fish is a meat", fish is not considered a meat in Asian which is why there is still oyster sauce and such in your veggie dishes sometimes)? I'm practical, which means I'll eat around chicken to be social, not sweat the stock or the crossover of spoons and dishes, even take fish oil supplements (for my back) and not worry about the fine print of gelatin or cochineal beetles as coloring (you'd be surprised where that can pop up!). And, in a pinch, I'll eat a fish sandwich. That doesn't mean I'm not a vegetarian; it just means I have lapses. In other words, don't worry about the label. Eat what you decide to eat.
- There are, these days, zillions of places to find vegetarian recipes, especially now with the "Meatless Monday" and Flexitarian/less meat campaigns. Some off0the-beaten-path sources I like (i.e. not obvious like Vegetarian Times, Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, or any of Mollie Katzen's cookbooks) are Robin Robertson's Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker (Judith Finlayson also has a similar book), Dean Ornish's cookbooks, Nava Atlas's cookbooks, and my Bloodroot cookbooks vol. 1 and 2.
5 cups water
3/4 cups lentils
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped canned plum tomatoes, with some juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 pound vermicelli, or small tubular pasta, or pasta mista
2 rounded tablespoons finely cut or snipped parsley
Optional: extra-virgin olive oil and hot red pepper flakes or hot pepper oil, for garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil, add the lentils, and cook, covered over medium-high heat, until nearly but not entirely tender, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic, the olive oil, the tomatoes, the salt and the pepper. Reduce the heat, cover and continue to simmer briskly for another 10 minutes, stirring a few times, or until the lentils are fully tender.
If using capellini, break it into 2 to 4-inch pieces and add them to the lentils. Cook, covered, at a steady simmer, stirring several times and scraping the bottom of the pot when you do. Cook until the pasta is just done, stirring more frequently as it gets closer to the point of being cooked. If using a small tubular pasta or pasta mista, cook the pasta at least halfway in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain the pasta, add it to the lentils and simmer to finish cooking the pasta.
When pasta is cooked to taste, remove the pot from the heat, stir in the parsley cover the pot, and let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Serve hot, passing hot pepper oil or the best-quality extra virgin olive oil for drizzling on top.
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo (plus more to taste)
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until soft, about 4 minutes. Add beans and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in chipotles and orange juice and zest. Cook 1 minute longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with cilantro and queso fresco.
Whole Foods website
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot (about 2 carrots)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-14.5 oz cans Great Northern beans (cannellini), rinsed and drained
1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
2 cups cubed Yukon Gold potato (about 10 oz)
2 1/2 cups water
2-14.5 oz cans vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry (she left this out--the right decision, I think)
Heat oil in Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes and next 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add spinach; cover and cook 5 minutes.
Weight Watchers Annual Recipes for Success 2003 (3 pts a cup)