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An A-to-Z guide to vegetarian meal planning

Posted by Tara Burner 0 comments

An A-to-Z guide to vegetarian meal planning
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 01/1/06

* Caveat: Not all Vegan *


The new year is a good time to review some ABCs of cooking, eating and enjoying vegetarian cuisine.

By taking stock, alphabetically, of all the things we love in a vegetarian diet, it’s amazing to discover the diversity and scope of those foods. Take a few minutes and compile your own alphabetical list of favorite vegetarian foods. You’ll be amazed at how much variety you’re enjoying.

A: Aside from the avocados, artichokes, acorn squash and asparagus, and all types of Asian foods that fit the bill, there are some surprisingly good meat analogs or alternatives (veggie hot dogs, burgers, sausages and bacon).

B: Stock up on barley, a huge variety of beans, bok choy, basil, broccoli and broccoli rabe.

C: Capers, chilies, curry and cilantro add bold flavors, but don’t leave out the cashews, cauliflower, couscous, cheese and chickpeas.

D: Dates, dals (lentils), dipping sauces and dill are delicious.

E: Eggplant and eggs are two good staples, and both are versatile, too.

F: Lots of fruit and a little bit of feta go a long way.

G: We couldn’t live without garlic and gratins. And, a bit of garam masala (from India) adds spice to life.

H: One word: Herbs. Lots of them.

I: I love Italian food. Its rich flavors and textures won’t leave you wanting more, that’s for sure. But for a change of pace, Indian cuisine is nice, too.

J: Jalapenos rule.

K: Keep trying new recipes and ingredients.

L: Lentils cook up quick and are very nutritious.

M: There’s nothing better than the bold flavors in Mexican and Middle Eastern foods, but let’s not overlook our mangoes and miso, either.

N: Oodles of noodles and a few handfuls of nuts.

O: Oils are essential. Some add subtle flavors while others are nearly tasteless. My favorite is olive oil, which reminds me to include olives.

P: Some of the best foods start with P: pasta, Parmesan cheese, parsley, peppers, polenta, pilaf, pita bread and pizza.

Q: It’s got to be quesadillas — so easy and tasty. Perhaps you should try some quinoa, too.

R: Another topnotch list that includes rice, risotto, ricotta cheese and rosemary.

S: What variety — there are seeds, stir-fries, soups, saffron, salads, spinach, squash and sesame oil (and seeds) — but don’t forget soy, which is used in a seemingly endless array of vegetarian foods.

T: There are tons of Ts that are just too tasty: start with tomatoes and work your way along to thyme, tortillas, tahini (can’t make hummus without it) and then on to tofu, which is really quite good. Feeling adventuresome? TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) can be used to add texture to chili, spaghetti sauce and sloppy joes.

U: Aside from udon, a Japanese noodle, U will just have to stand for all those undiscovered vegetarian delights just waiting to be tasted.

V: Encompasses the entire vegetable world for its variety and versatility, but, let’s not leave out vinegars of all types that lend a helping hand in so many different cuisines and recipes.

W: Two of life’s long-time consumables: wheat and wine.

X: For all the (e)xcellent choices we make each day when we choose to create and enjoy a vegetarian meal.

Y: Yummy yogurt — flavored or plain, it’s a simple food with a large following.

Z: Last but not least, the lovely zucchini that finds its way into so many wonderful dishes.


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