Vegetarianism doesn’t have to be all about salad. In fact, that’s a wildly inaccurate stereotype. No sensible vegetarian goes without protein, fat, and carbohydrates — and, in fact, typical vegetarian diets have been shown to contain only slightly less protein than nonvegetarian diets. In other words: Vegetarian food is tasty too!
We’re collected our top-three favorite recipes for you to sample. In each case, the meal is intended to give the right balance of different food groups (as well as to taste amazing!).
Recipe Tip #1: Tofu Thai Curry
This one isn’t even specifically a veggie recipe. You’ll find it on the menu at many Thai restaurants, as tofu (a form of fermented soy protein essentially analogous to cheese) is a popular staple food in East Asia.
Drain and chop a half-pound pack of tofu into inch-sized cubes. Fry lightly in a teaspoon of vegetable oil for a few minutes with some garlic and onion. When the tofu starts to brown, add Thai curry paste (your choice: red, green, or yellow) and a can of coconut milk (low-fat if you prefer). Simmer the mixture for a few minutes before adding a handful of chopped bean sprouts, a chopped zucchini, some green beans, the juice of half a lemon, and salt to taste. Simmer for another three minutes and serve with steamed jasmine rice.
Recipe Tip #2: Spicy South-Indian Dhal (lentil soup)
South India is the world’s greatest vegetarian heartland, and their cuisine is known for being lip-smacking tasty — and as hot as the equatorial sun! In this recipe, we’ve cut down on the chilies to make it suitable for all palates, but if you like it hot, just chuck in a couple extra.
Chop a large onion, an inch-long piece of ginger, and three cloves of garlic. Fry in oil or butter for a few minutes before adding two tablespoons of Madras curry powder, a cup of red split lentils, a cup of water, a tin of chopped tomatoes, the juice of a whole lemon, one red chili (deseeded and finely chopped), and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a medium simmer for about 30 minutes or until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with hot basmati rice.
Recipe Tip #3: Chili Sin Carne (chili without meat, in case your Spanish isn’t too hot)
This delightful play on the popular dish chili con carne allows vegetarians to eat a true classic and join in the foodie fun. It uses soy mince, which can be found dried, fresh, or frozen at Asian supermarkets and larger health-food stores.
Begin by heating a frying pan with no oil in it. When the pan is very hot (test with a tiny drip of water), add a teaspoon of cumin seeds and toast them dry for about 20 seconds. Let the pan cool slightly; then add a tablespoon of olive oil and fry a finely chopped onion and two cloves of garlic (crushed) for about three minutes or until the onions turn glassy. Add diced bell peppers, mushrooms, sweet corn, and kidney beans (one can, drained and rinsed) and stir fry for about five minutes. When the mushrooms have darkened and shrunk to about half their original size, add three large tomatoes (quartered), a half-teaspoon of chili powder, the juice of half a lemon, half a cup of water, and a tablespoon of ground cilantro. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. To serve, put a heap of the stew onto a grilled fajita, top with grated cheddar and sour cream. Wrap it up and enjoy!