Whether you or a family member are on a strict meatless diet or occasionally enjoy a meat-free meal, vegetarian cooking can be both inexpensive and healthy. The keys to vegetarian cooking are to make sure meals contain enough plant-sourced protein and that they are tasty and flavorful. Keep family mealtime interesting by incorporating a variety of flavors and textures into your vegetarian dishes.
Flavorful Vegetable Stocks and Broths
Replace meat stocks and broths with vegetarian versions to add flavor and body to your favorite meatless dishes. Make your own hearty broth by simmering a variety of flavorful vegetables, such as onions, carrots and celery, along with garlic, bay leaves and other spices. Strain the ingredients to create a clear broth that you can use as soup and stew bases, in gravies or in dishes such as risotto.
Replace meat with low-fat, high-protein legumes in a variety of recipes. Each type of legume, such as black beans, black-eyed peas, split peas and chickpeas, will add its own distinctive flavor and color to a dish. Buy canned legumes for convenience, or soak dry peas and beans -- typically a more economical choice -- before using them in recipes. Add the legumes to casseroles, chilies, soups and salads.
Healthy Fast Foods
Healthy vegetarian cooking can be fast and convenient as well. Bypass a high calorie-laden trip to a fast-food restaurant by preparing a quick and delicious meatless meal at home. Make quesadillas filled with canned black or pinto beans, cheese, and sauteed green peppers and onions in a matter of minutes. Other fast meals include grilled Portobello sandwiches with baked French fries; tofu stir-fry; and grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches with tomato soup.
Spice up a vegetarian diet by incorporating a variety of ingredients into meals. Just as chicken can become boring in traditional diets, tofu and beans can get old in vegetarian diets. Get creative by substituting other plant-based protein sources, such as tempeh and seitan, for tofu. Experiment with new vegetable dishes, such as sauteed zucchini lasagna or green bell peppers stuffed with a mixture of brown rice, chopped tomatoes and savory seasonings. Season dishes with flavorful ranch dressing mix or Cajun seasoning salt.
Like This Article? Let Us Know!
- Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images