Let’s get it out in the open – vegetarianism is NOT everyone’s cup of tea. Some people just eat vegetarian to transition to veganism. Others just want a new meat-free option for those Fridays in Lent.
When transitioning your favorite dishes to vegetarian, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- It is not going to taste exactly like the meaty dish of your dreams
- Some products contain soy which bothers people’s bodies.
- Not all vegetarian dishes are wimpy and filled with lettuce
- All vegan recipes are vegetarian, but not all vegetarian recipes are vegan.
- It’s not a good idea to feed cats a vegetarian diet. Cats have claws. Cats hold grudges against humans who give them lettuce.
Here are five ways to turn your favorite meal vegetarian:
In the winter, nothing is better than chili. For some people, it is a mortal sin to have a meatless chili. Cue the Ron Swanson references.
You can have a bean and veggie chili. It is possible. Still, bean misses that extra bit of punch. Places like MorningStar, Gardien, and Beyond Meat sell meat alternatives.
The “meat” resembles ground beef when you saute it in a pan. It does not taste like meat, but it provides extra texture. It adds protein to the chili. Most of these products absorb the flavors of the chili. The more flavorful and spicy your chili, the better the meat tastes.
Skip the meat. Add the meat. Use a meat alternative. Make the chili spicy AF, and you won’t taste the difference.
If you love this Italian dish, you love the chicken, the tomato, and the glorious vegetables. No matter how you choose to make cacciatore, it is delicious. If you make the switch over to vegetarian or just don’t feel like chicken, you have options.
Of course, you can always use tofu. Some people are not a big fan of tofu’s texture. Instead, opt for a meatless meat substitute. All sorts of brands sell a chicken substitutes. Target even has their own brand of meatless substitutes.
If the product comes with a flavor packet, ditch that and use the meatless product in the cacciatore. They absorb just the right amount of the garlic and tomato flavors to be deliciously perfect.
Let’s be real – not all veggie burgers were created equal. Some veggie burgers taste like raw earth slapped between two buns. Several companies make veggie burgers and fake chicken patties. You can eat those or you can make your own.
It is really easy to make your own veggie burger. You can use egg as a binding agent. To make it vegan, use garbanzo (chick peas). Mash the garbanzo beans in with veggies. Try carrots, peppers, onions, green onions, and any spice you desire.
Try grilling the veggie burger. Grilling on a charcoal or propane grill adds an authentic “burger” flavor to the dish. For a simpler alternative, some people prefer to grill portobello mushrooms. Portobello mushrooms have a “meatier” feeling.
There is more than one way to stuff a pepper. Meat stuffed peppers are a common dish. You can skip the ground beef and use the meat alternative we discussed above. You can also use quinoa. Quinoa is a great source of nutrients. It is also a great filler for stuffed peppers.
If you want a little extra texture in your stuffed peppers, try some bread mixed with egg, cheese, and veggies. You can fry the peppers or bake them to save on the calories.
Try different proteins
Instead of using meat, you can substitute in multiple proteins that act as a filler and a delicious ingredient.
- Soy: Many meatless products are often made of soy. Soy is a great alternative, but some doctors do not recommend too much of the protein.
- Tofu: Tofu is a long-standing vegetarian favorite. It is not everyone’s favorite, but it is good in many recipes.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is a grain that is nutritious. You can eat it in other dishes or as a substitute for rice.
- Seitan: Seitan is a versatile alternative. There isn’t much you can not do with it. It is made from wheat gluten, so keep that in mind when deciding on an alternative.
- Lentils: Lentils are not just great in soup. You can mash lentils and form them into anything you like. The protein benefits are not bad either.
- Beans: Garbanzo beans are a favorite of vegan and vegetarians. Recently, it was discovered that you can whip the juice of garbanzo beans into stiff peaks for use in meringues.
- Mushrooms: As discussed above, you can use mushrooms as a meat substitute. They are thicker in consistency and can be used in a variety of dishes.