As we push ever more into the 21st century, there are more and more reasons to become vegetarian or at least embrace and incorporate vegetarian dishes into your meal planning a few times a week. Experts generally agree that if people even ate only 20% vegetarian meals, the effects on climate change and pollution would be reduced significantly, because to produce meat requires five times more land, feed and water systems than vegetarian diets.
Of course, another big reason is that vegetarian diets on the whole can counteract the obesity epidemic plaguing much of the western world today, and people are beginning to value locally organic vegetables with this greater awareness. Here are five top veggie recipes that will leave you salivating and wanting to try them tonight!
India is pretty much the vegetarian food capital of the world, as so many people there are Hindu, Jain or Buddhist, that all discourage the eating of meat. However, out of the literally thousands of vegetarian dishes to be found, Palak Paneer is a favourite. In Hindi it means simply Spinach (Palak) and cheese (Paneer). The cheese here refers to cottage cheese, but if you can’t get hold of any, you can make your own by buying full fat milk and adding white vinegar (or lime juice) and then squeeze all the liquid out through a muslin cloth and you will end up with home made paneer that is easy to prepare and make!
The other key ingredient is of course the spinach gravy sauce, which aside from spinach has tomatoes, ginger, garlic and typical Indian spices such as cumin, garam masala, cinnamon and cardamom. It’s a dish that goes well with anything, such as naan bread, chapati or rice.
Halloween has just passed, so you might be wondering what to do with the leftover pumpkins rather than just waste them. Well, you can in fact eat the seeds and they are very good for you. Simply fry them up with some salt and pepper to taste until lightly roasted and you can enjoy this healthy snack whenever you get hungry between meals. But as for the soup itself, gather the flesh together and cut into small cubes, add some onion and garlic, some vegetable stock and a dash of milk or cream at the end to make it super creamy and a fantastic choice as winter is quickly upon us in the northern hemisphere! This dish is perfect for those cold winter nights.
Vegetarian Pad Thai
The infamous dish from Thailand is just as good without any meat, if not better. The tofu added to the dish will absorb the delicious flavours of the other ingredients, chilli peppers, onion, garlic, lime juice and the much sought after tamarind juice, which can be a little tricky to find in many western countries. But a trick of the trade here: You can use pomegranate molasses in place of tamarind in a pinch, because the flavours are similar: Tangy and sour yet simultaneously slightly sweet. Just sprinkle some crushed up peanuts on the top to balance the flavours and bring the other flavours together nicely and you have a dish that actually requires little effort, making it great for either lunch or dinner.
Fresh Spring Rolls
Of Vietnamese origin, uncooked fresh spring rolls have slowly been making there way into the west now, because they are absolutely delicious and are quick and fun to make. All you really need is the spring roll wrappers which are found in most supermarkets these days, and add beans sprouts, cabbage, thin noodles along with any other vegetable you like. Carrots work well with it, and herbs such as Thai basil and mint give it that extra dimension. Wrap them up into small rolls and serve with a delicious peanut dipping sauce or sweet chili, and you have a dish that is one of the tastiest vegan dishes in the world.
Sweet Potato Burritos
This one is heavily inspired by Mexican food – hence the burrito shell it is all wrapped into -and is actually a vegan meal that is filling, quick to prepare and requires very little cooking. The avocado should be crushed by hand (pestle and mortar in a big bowl) and chili peppers, onion and lime juice added to it. This way it retains that nice crunchy texture, whereas if you cheat and put it into a blender you will be left with a paste with a very generic taste and bad texture.
For the burrito itself, simply fry up some chopped up sweet potatoes and then add peppers, cumin, paprika with black beans. You can jazz it up with jalapeños and some melted cheese, but it’s just as good without.
There we have 5 vegetarian dishes from around the world. Hopefully it will entice you into embracing vegetarian dishes a few times a week, and shows you vegetarian food is actually equally as delicious as any meat dish if done right.