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Vegetarian helpful hints

rockymtnhigh2rockymtnhigh2 344 replies5 threads Member
This is about vegetarian eating. We started this exclusively about a month ago and H, who is an excellent chef, is experimenting with different foods and seasoning. I thought I would limit the thread to vegetarian instead of adding vegan option as that is probably appropriate for another thread.

We watched The Game Changers (Netflix) and that really helped to propel us forward. We tried to go vegan but that at this point it is just too hard to sustain. The cheese and dairy products, (not so much eggs), is hard to refrain from. H has French cooking training and well that is impossible at this point to break from. We had been limiting meat products to eating lean chicken and fish and skim milk for years. Our lipids are excellent but there is always room for improvement. No red meat, so this is not a big jump for us. Among baby boomers I see not that many vegetarians. Is it possible that millennials are more likely to be vegetarians?

We have learned to look for grass fed milk and free roaming egg products. The beyond meat and lightlife are easy to cook with in Bolognese or tacos. The restaurant options are growing and it is easier to eat at one when socializing. I noticed we are buying more fruits and vegetables, too. H does not like sweet potatoes, any ideas on that?

Ideas or comments on vegetarian dishes?
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Replies to: Vegetarian helpful hints

  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 199 replies6 threads Junior Member
    There are a bunch of cookbooks from Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY. We aren’t vegetarians anymore but there are some recipes we still rely on. They aren’t vegan so there is a fair amount of dairy and eggs, but you seem ok with that. Lots of different ethnic dishes (African stews and soups), lots of different flavor profiles, as well as dishes that you can serve to guests. We love Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant, The New Moosewood Cookbook, and Moosewood Cooks at Home. You can check out their website because they have a ton of recipes posted there for free, too.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9909 replies538 threads Senior Member
    I eat vegetarian most of the time, but hubby loves meat. Last night, we were sick of Tgiving leftovers. I made a big mushroom pie because I had about 2 pounds of them. I seasoned the pie with the many fresh herbs I still have from Thursday. It would have been easy to add leeks, carrots, etc...

    Re sweet potatoes, I adore them. My favorite way to eat them is microwaved with hot sauce and sour cream, but I’ll cook up anything—a bit of leftover spinach, kale, onion, mushroom— and put it on a sweet potato. So basically, add savory stuff to the sweet potato, or roast it with other veg and your hubby can pick around it.

    I tried Beyond Burgers, and I honestly didn’t like the texture, so I’ll be sticking with Gardein burgers or some other veggie patty if I crave a “burger.” For my mince meat, I still prefer Lite Life Smart Ground to any others I’ve tried. Or Trader Joe’s equivalent is the same.

    I tried some Impossible meatballs. Gross. I dislike Boca and Morningstar Farm brands. Bubba brand veggie burgers are revolting.

    Other favorite veggie meals: curries are always good. Lasagne or pasta with smart meat sauces are standards. Mexican is a staple in my house and I make something vaguely Mexican at least twice a week. I love doing tacos/burritos because it’s easy to have a separate bowl of cooked meats. I make a dish called chilquiles, traditionally a Mexican breakfast meal, but my whole family loves it for dinner. I often use fried eggs instead of meat in that. Rarely do I even make that with meat, because I also use smart meat instead of ground beef.

    So many good veggie options these days.
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  • HImomHImom 35131 replies396 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Taro in varying varieties and found in some ethnic markets are a nice alternative to sweet potatoes.

    I was vegetarian and avoided red meat for two years of law school and part of college.

    Nuts and grains and beans and lentils were important in our diet. We baked our own bread and even made bagels a few times.
    edited December 2019
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  • deb922deb922 5881 replies197 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for starting this.

    One of my kids came home after watching the game changers and wanting to not eat meat during the week. My niece and nephew are already vegetarian and their dad announced he was going meat free also.

    My husband would be very resistant to being vegetarian but I’d like to try and eat more plant based meals.

    My D made a delicious farro salad for thanksgiving (our thanksgiving dinner was very plant based)

    This is the recipe (very loose and amounts don’t really matter)

    Farro, make it just like rice but drain after it cooks
    Put in bowl and let cool
    She then layered on top (think ingredients in a wheel)
    Feta cheese
    Kalamata olives
    Roasted chickpeas
    Red onion
    Cherry tomatoes
    Roasted red peppers

    Toss when ready to serve.

    Meat eaters and vegetarians all liked it
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  • abasketabasket 20202 replies892 threads Senior Member
    Re: sweet potatoes. One of my favorite dishes when my H isn't home (he is a meat lover) is to plop a sweet potato in the microwave for a couple of minutes (just to get soft enough to cut more easy), cube it, saute with kale, shallots, maybe some jalapeno for spice and then top with feta and let melt and get crispy. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Filling and delicious.

    The other way I've done sweet potatoes lately is to copy a Trader Joe frozen side dish. Basically cheesy potatoes but split the potatoes half and half, white and sweet.
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  • mathmommathmom 32777 replies160 threads Senior Member
    We are mostly weekday vegetarians, especially in the summer as we belong to a CSA and are drowning in vegetables. I highly recommend Ottolenghi's two vegetarian cookbooks Plenty and Plenty More. The first mostly has middle eastern flavors the second is more ecclectic. Lots of unusual flavor combinations. His roasted cauliflower hazelnut pomegranate salad is one of my favorites. https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/12958-roasted-cauliflower-hazelnut-and-pomegranate-seed-salad
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  • tkoparenttkoparent 308 replies6 threads Member
    edited December 2019
    I've been a vegetarian - not vegan - for many years. I've found eating out is pretty easy apart from French restaurants. Italian, Indian, Mexican, Chinese (if you can ignore a little Chicken broth in the base) usually work, and even at a French restaurant, I can usually order salad and a cheese plate with some nice bread. I generally prefer to work around the menu at a good "regular" restaurant rather than go to a vegetarian restaurant, and if I get to know the chefs, they are also often able to modify dishes by eliminating meat and seafood. I live in Asia, where vegetarians are quite rare apart from certain religions, but even here it's doable. In the US, there are many more vegetarians and there is almost always something on the menu that will work.
    edited December 2019
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 9255 replies83 threads Senior Member
    We are not vegetarians, but I'll be watching this thread for recipe ideas as we've been trying to increase our vegetable intake.

    A few years ago we got a Vegetti device to make "pasta" out of small zucchini. We use it for ad hoc saute meals with various sauces, leftover meat etc. https://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=DChcSEwjb0evAjJbmAhUC2WQKHcHOD-0YABAJGgJwag&sig=AOD64_2UNRxEn8AGpJgOQ-QEfpADadlpdg&ctype=5&q=&ved=2ahUKEwj97uTAjJbmAhXBu54KHbY-AewQ9aACegQIDRBS&adurl=
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  • great lakes momgreat lakes mom 3038 replies28 threads Senior Member
    I have been vegetarian or cooked like one for most decades of my life. Back when I was cooking for a family, my ideal was one night Mexican, one Italian, one Asian, and one soup. Then leftovers or eating out for the other night.

    Figuring out a staple protein or two was essential in those years, and we ate a lot of tofu. There are good recipes out there for baked tofu or tempeh. I tend to fry solid tofu with garlic and salt in a non stick pan. A friend marinates and bakes it. Tofu also holds up well in soup if allowed to simmer till in a more solid state and then it crumbles less easily.

    These days canned garbanzos or hummus are more standard protein items in my repertoire. Figuring out a good vegetarian broth mix or cube that you like is essential for good soups. I find vegetarian broth in boxes to be rather insipid.

    In recent years as a rather unmotivated empty nester cooking for myself, I eat a lot of whole grain tortillas or corn tortilla with a little chili cheese and sauteed vegetables or refried beans. I make a stew with zucchini, onions and garbanzos. Curried cooked lentils are a staple, as is a soup made weekly. Black beans and rice. In summer I make a cold marinated salad with potatoes, cauliflower or beets, and add that and hummus to greens and assorted vegetables.

    TThere are many good vegetarian cookbooks on the market. The early Moosewood cookbooks remain staples, though the new ones are certainly inventive in how vegetables and different grains are used.
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  • oregon101oregon101 5617 replies137 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    Moosewood--but look for the old, first versions. In fact most of my favorite vegetarian cookbooks are from the 70-80's. I was vegetarian for 35 years and still prefer. Tonight we had stuffed seashell pasta. I never even thought about the fact that we did not have meat. It is a great thing to make a double batch and freeze in portions. I am in love with farro and Contessa has a recipe with butternut squash that you can adapt. Mrs.T's Perogies (lightly fry to brown)are great to keep in the freezer.
    Yams and sweet potatoes are often confused. We only like the light yellow ones and can bake (or white potatoes) top with large curd cottage cheese and pesto. Another great back up meal. I make sweet potatoes --or is that a yam--our grocery store does not know the difference lol--gruyere au gratins.
    We have potato dishes as a main dish at times.
    Learn how to make fabulous tofu. And the way I learned to cook tempeh in the early 70's when we bought in a block and cut the mold off of--cut into slices, soak in apple juice, drain, fry to brown. great sandwiches! or cube for a stir fry.
    Have fun!
    edited December 2019
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9909 replies538 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    @colorado_mom , zucchini is my secret ingredient in a ton of dishes. Not because I love it, though it’s fine, but because I use a fine grater and grate zucchini into everything. I grate it into pasta sauce, stew, Thai food, curries, chilquiles, and everything I can think of. It’s a great thickener and it just disappears.

    Thai food is a big craze in my house these days, after going to Thailand last year. Making it vegetarian isn’t so easy for me, unless I use tofu, which no one in our house likes. I don’t find it substantial enough without chicken, but you can also put cashews in to add protein. I like Thai curries because they are really easy. I stock up on small jars of Thai curry paste, both red and green, coconut milk, and rice noodles (basmati or jasmine rice is fine too). I put lots of vegetables in the broth, anything I have on hand. My family loves it.
    edited December 2019
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  • Midwest67Midwest67 3376 replies13 threads Senior Member
    We were vegetarian for several years & many of the recipes in “Moosewood Cooks at Home” became staples.

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  • NJresNJres 6056 replies189 threads Senior Member
    I tried vegan but added fish to my diet for protein, so I am not even vegetarian. We eat lots of fish. I eat no meat and very little dairy, only grated Parmesan on pasta and the occasional cheese pizza. I like Gardein products, especially their meatballs or fake ground beef; when added to spaghetti sauce I really can't tell the difference between that and meat.

    My favorite dish to make is an Indian-style lentil curry, served over rice. Garlic, ginger, curry and other spices, coconut milk, canned crushed tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, lentils, anything else lying around the refrigerator....

    (I ate turkey on Thanksgiving this year. Please forgive me!)
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  • rockymtnhigh2rockymtnhigh2 344 replies5 threads Member
    @colorado_mom , what a great suggestion. Just ordered veggetti for kids and us. All vegetarians/ vegans in family.
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  • OhiBroOhiBro 514 replies6 threads Member
    My observation is that veggies tend to stick with it when the transition is slower rather than sudden. That is; build up a repertoire of veg recipes that, over time, replace the meat dishes.

    Also, books / sites dedicated to vegetarian dishes tend to have a lot of garbage you wouldn’t feed your dog, with maybe one recipe that sticks. If the picture doesn’t look good, it won’t be good.

    These are some of my favorites (tasty, filling, healthy):
    - Korma (Indian)
    - chickpea curry
    - spinach and lentil soup
    - black beans and salsa on rice
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  • LennonLennon 143 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2019
    I really like the website Food52 - they have a bunch of veg recipes that are lighter than traditional vegetarian food. If you visit the site, search Joy the Baker's Olive Oil Chick Peas. So simple but so good! Basically just a few cans of chick peas, olive oil, lemon slices, capers and feta in a baking dish but the length of time that you bake the chick peas does magic to their texture and makes them velvety, not grainy. Delish with cous cous or good bread. Or both. My husband was vegetarian for many years, now he eats fish. We cook on the grill all year round. I like to toss thick eggplant slices in bbq sauce and grill them-very good with a cilantro rice. I don't have a ton of time to cook, all week long, so I am also a cheater and will buy "better" box mixes (your mileage may vary) one that I like is Lundberg Parmesan Risotto, and it is gluten-free. I cook two boxes of the quick risotto in the pan, and then top that with either grilled shrimp (not veg, but very good with the creamy rice) or grilled portobello slices & veggie sausage. Breakfast for dinner is always a winner-I usually make a strata with eggs, swiss cheese, and either asparagus or broccoli. I also like something called a "Buddha Bowl" - I cook a pot of quinoa, and then fill my lazy susan with different things-chopped vegetable, chopped baked tofu or tempeh, sauteed greens, different nut/seed toppings, all sorts of different dressings, and some pickled things like cornichons, pickled beets, kimchi, and then we just pile on different weird combos. You can have separate spots for your toppings or mix it all up. We love this. I would do it more but we go through the toppings/pickled stuff pretty fast!
    edited December 2019
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  • MassmommMassmomm 4097 replies84 threads Senior Member
    @HImom I think taro is a wonder food. I have searched for it near me, but we are just too far from the tropics. And I am probably the only non-Hawaiian who likes poi.
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  • doschicosdoschicos 22816 replies239 threads Senior Member
    I think vegetarian food is fairly easy compared to vegan. So many possibilities, especially when you draw from a whole host of different global cuisines.

    Would posting favorite recipes or recipes as we make them be helpful? I'm not a vegetarian but we eat plenty of food that is vegetarian.
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  • Youdon'tsayYoudon'tsay 19411 replies462 threads Senior Member
    How 'bout gift ideas? Ds1's gf is a pescatarian and loves to cook and bake. They will be traveling so don't want to load them down with a bunch of stuff. Maybe a gift-of the month-type thing? Suggestions?
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