Vegetarian Cuisine Article - Allrecipes.com
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Vegetarian Cuisine

We have recipes and tips to make your meat-free meals magnificent.




Variety and the Vegetarian

As with any diet, the key to a healthy vegetarian or vegan diet is to eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and legumes.


Everyday Vegetarian


Combining prepared foods such as canned beans, veggie burgers, or pasta can significantly cut down on the time and effort needed to prepare the evening meal. All of these meals can be made in 30 minutes or less.


Meatless Substitutions

Turn any recipe into a veggie one by replacing the meat with a vegetarian alternative. Looking for a new stir-fry? Convert a chicken or beef stir fry to vegetarian by substituting tofu or mycoprotein (a protein derived from mushrooms) for the meat. Love your father's famous chili? Use textured vegetable protein (TVP) for the ground beef.


Kid-Friendly


Many kid favorites are vegetarian: think macaroni and cheese. Parents of vegetarian children have the same problems as any parent--getting the kids to eat their fruits and vegetables. Here are some family friendly main dishes that are packed with veggies.


Nutrition

Since there's no perfect food--one that's fully balanced with all the nutrients the body needs to maintain good health--the next best thing is to eat a rich variety of foods. A meatless diet can certainly provide these nutrients. Here are recipes to help vegetarians get enough protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin B12.

Protein


Tofu, tempeh, beans and peas, seeds and nuts, as well as mycoprotein (from fungi) are some of the foods highest in protein. Pasta and whole wheat breads are also good sources. Essential for cellular growth and repair, proteins play a crucial role in virtually all biological processes in the body. Plant-based sources of protein are lower in saturated fats--and often lower in total fat--than animal protein.


Calcium

Broccoli, some green leafy vegetables (collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, and bok choy), and almonds and brazil nuts are good sources of calcium. Tofu made with calcium sulfate is also a good source, as are dried figs. Calcium is essential to bone health.


Iron

Good sources of iron are spinach and turnip greens, whole grains (including whole wheat bread), black-eyed peas, lentils, peas, and some dried fruits (dried apricots, prunes, and raisins). Eating iron-rich foods with foods containing vitamin C can increase iron absorption: a few slices of tomato with your spinach salad can make a difference. Cooking your food in cast iron pans can also add iron to your diet. Iron is needed by the body for the formation of blood.


Zinc

White beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas, as well as wheat germ and pumpkin seeds are all good plant sources of zinc. Zinc helps the immune system function properly, and is estimated to be in thousands of proteins in the human body.


Vitamin B12

Eggs and dairy products are good sources of vitamin B12. Fermented soy products, seaweeds, and algae such as spirulina have all been cited as containing significant B12. However, the B12 present in plant foods may not be in a form usable to humans, and so these foods should not be relied upon as safe sources. For this reason, many vegan foods are supplemented with B12. This vitamin helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. It is also needed to help make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.


Healthy Cooking

Want to eat healthier? We have you covered.

Comments
holdyourcolor 
Aug. 16, 2009 11:55 pm
Just today I bought some veggie patties and was also concerned about the sodium content. As long as we don't exceed 100% of our daily value constantly (or 2400mg), we'll be fine. In fact, 50% of sodium daily value is all we need, but it's not realistic. There's not much we can do, except to minimize boxed foods and try to eat more home prepared foods.
 
Aug. 25, 2009 7:18 pm
Thanks holdyourcolor. Only one that replied - she's still 'vegetarian' but I've decided to skip the store-bought burgers and veggie chicken strips and make my own - at least I can control the sodium and sugar and try to help her lose weight (and myself!).
 
MJ 
Sep. 7, 2009 4:42 am
Have you tried the Quorn products? They appear to have less sodium than other brands. Good luck!
 
clenn 
Sep. 12, 2009 6:33 pm
Good suggestion -- Quorn is delicious and healthy, unlike many of the pre-prepared burgers.
 
dsperin 
Sep. 12, 2009 8:21 pm
You can make veggie burgers yourself... for much cheaper than the packaged ones. I suggest picking up some simple vegetarian cookbooks and go from there.
 
Amy 
Nov. 9, 2009 3:04 pm
Can anyone suggest some particularly good vegetarian cookbooks?
 
catmom 
Nov. 20, 2009 4:43 pm
I liked vegan planet by robin robertson a lot. I'm not much for following recipes, and this book really helped with so many of the basics of vegan cooking. Egg replacements, tricks with nutritional yeast, gravy variations, ways to sub for cream soups. Must try the banana swirl "cheesecake", no one will believe it's tofu! Good recipes to change up. World Vegetarian, Madhur Jaffrey was a great book for breaking down ways to use common veg**n ingrediants. It was very helpful for using the 8lb. bag of chickpea flour I bought on a whim! In the beginning she decribes common, and not so common foods, and their uses and recipes highlighting them follow. I got every veg book from my library and started a notebook with my favorites and what I've learned.
 
Jan. 14, 2010 7:35 am
I'm true vegetarian--no flesh nor eggs, but yes to dairy. The key is to mix your grains and legumes to get a complete protein. You can substitute one heaping Tablespoon of sour cream per egg in any recipe.
 
Jeanne Fontanarosa 
Jan. 14, 2010 8:07 am
Maria this is a great website let me know what recipes you want to try. and a list of ingredients i need 2 bye love Mom pollito
 
Jeanne Fontanarosa 
Jan. 14, 2010 8:08 am
Maria this is a great website . let me know what recipes you like and the ingredients need. Love Mom pollito
 
junglebug 
Jan. 14, 2010 10:14 pm
Another great vegan egg substitute would be 1/2 mashed banana= 1 egg!!!
 
Jan. 22, 2010 12:50 pm
My favorite vegetarian cookbook is "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" by Deborah Madison. Madison herself also praises a new book by Ivy Manning called "The Adaptable Feast." This one has 100 recipes, each one adaptable for meat-eaters or vegetarians. An ingenious idea and terrific recipes.
 
buba 
Apr. 1, 2010 7:14 pm
My guru is Nava Atlas - she's been writing vegetarian cookbooks for over 30 years (the original Vegetariana was my first purchase). She's become Vegan of late and has new cookbooks to reflect that. Never found a bad recipe, and they tend to be easy, fast, and don't use exotic ingredients.
 
teacurt 
Nov. 23, 2010 3:43 pm
Hi Jeanius,I am a Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, and Optician and Parent.(yes I am busy)I have read the reply earlier and am really wanting to correct some misconceptions with sodium. 2400mg is far far too much. My word you will lead to serious health problems with that amount. Sodium is needed by our bodies to regulate fluids and pressure. We need at very maximum for an adult is 1500mg of sodium. Do not confuse salt and sodium. 1 teaspoon of salt is 6 grams: and 6 grams of salt has 2400mg of sodium. Unfortunately North Americans consume over 3,000mg daily. Hope this helps. Most packaged foods are far over the recommended amounts. Low fat labeled foods has increased sugar and sodium. So food made from scratch is a great habit to have.
 
Michelle 
Jan. 6, 2011 9:08 am
Noted the excerpt about "Quorn" products.People have been having many gastric issues w/these products as well as allergic reactions. They are actually made from a made made fungis/mold. The effects can take time to build in your system. Since they are made from man made byproducts not found in the typical diet I would skip this product altogether.
 
Mar. 12, 2011 4:45 pm
Okay all I can say about this post is thank-you, thank-you, thank-you and thank-you to allrecipes.com!! You have no idea how frustrating it is when your vegetarian to look for sustainable, hearty meals for yourself. Everywhere I look there is always some kind of meat in a recipe that's filling. But thankfully, alrecipes has come to my rescue in the search for vegan and vegetarian meals! I also appreciate how these meals are healthy as I am trying to lose weight, being clinically obese and all.
 
Zory 
Aug. 29, 2011 9:55 am
A good cookbook to start with is Ten Talents, the latest full color version. You can find it on Amazon. I have a really good burger recipe to share but not sure how to share, not sure how we can exchange emails so that I can send it to you, if anyone knows, let me know, I can't submit it here since it is from a cookbook and not my own personal recipe. I have tried many burger recipe from here and other cookbooks,internet,etc, but this one beats all of them in simplicity and taste. I also stopped buying store bought veggie burgers for that same reason plus all the added preservatives and not to mention high cost.
 
Grandma 
Dec. 4, 2011 4:29 pm
My problem is finding recipes to fit doctors restrictions due to many health problems. I don't like salt substitutes. Does anybody have ideas for flavoring food without salt or substitutes?
 
Delia 
Jan. 28, 2012 1:29 pm
My husband has high blood pressure and he has been using Mrs. Dash and loves it. He has also been using more pepper on everything.
 
millifred 
Feb. 28, 2012 10:57 am
I have two suggestions; if you can find them and they're even sold on Amazon try the canned meat analogs by Loma Linda, Worthington, and Cedar lake. These are low in fat and sodium and easy to use. A great cookbook is Cooking by the Book by Marcella Lynch. As a longtime Seventh Day Adventist I have had a lot of exposure to and experience with healthy vegetarian cooking. Good Housekeeping also has a good new vegetarian cookbook out.
 
sharmin 
Apr. 7, 2012 3:05 am
Hi I've now join this site so hope to get some great recipes that my family wil like.It's going in 3yrs.now we've turn vegans.
 
pioneer_pat@yahoo.com 
Apr. 30, 2012 1:21 pm
I am interested in soy beans but I concerned about GMO. I am not interested in "GMO"
 
May 3, 2012 1:28 pm
The hubs and I are trying to go vegetarian throughout the week (meat only on weekends) and this is a great starting off point...especially all the recipes. Thanks!
 
esenoff 
May 11, 2012 6:42 pm
I am eating mostly vegetarian (fish, some chicken) because I have digestive problems I am following the Alkaline/Acidic diet. I only eat Ezekiel bakery products which means no whole grain but am finding it difficult when trying to add carbs to my diet. Other than quinua and pasta made from it is there anything else you all might suggest?
 
aliki 
Jun. 27, 2012 7:41 pm
Mark Bittman's how to Cook Everything Vegetarian is the BEST vegetarian cookbook I've ever owned. It covers everything from basics to meals. I use it 2x as much as my other cookbooks.
 
brajaharidas 
Apr. 18, 2013 7:45 am
The BEST vegetarian cookbook I have ever found is: Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking Here is the introduction to it: "If you can only afford to purchase one cookbook, you should seriously consider this one. Forget cookbook – try encyclopedia. More than just recipes, this is a veritable course in the art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking. With Lord Krishna’s Cuisine, Yamuna devi presents us with a feast for the eyes, for the tongue and for the spirit." You will not regret buying this book. It gives you thousands of great vegetarian recipes.
 
brajaharidas 
Apr. 18, 2013 7:46 am
Sorry, forgot to mention where you can buy "Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking." It can be purchased from the website, Krishna.com.
 
 
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