Monday, April 6, 2009

What you need to know when looking for Vegetarian Cooking Recipes

Before you can start making delicious vegetarian dishes, you need to know what to look for when you’re trying to find vegetarian cooking recipes. While you can survive by just removing the meat from any recipe you find that has meat in it, you’re usually left with something that lacks protein, doesn’t have enough vegetables, has an excess of carbohydrates, and won’t fill you up in the end, leading you to eat more unhealthy food.

When looking for healthy vegetarian cooking recipes, you need to understand that a well-balanced vegetarian diet consists of a large amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. It does not consist of potato chips, cheese pizza, and vegetarian fried rice from your local takeout restaurant. Again, while you can survive, you won’t be healthy, and you might even find that you start to gain weight if you use the wrong kind of vegetarian cooking recipes.

When looking for vegetarian cooking recipes, find some that substitute other protein-rich foods for meat. Look for recipes that are heavy in beans instead of beef and use tofu instead of poultry. A lot of times, you might even find meat recipes that look delicious, and you can make an easy protein-heavy, meatless substitution for whatever meat that the recipe calls for. For example, you can make tacos with pieces of marinated tofu instead of turkey, and you can just up the beans quotient in your favorite chili dish instead of using ground beef or pork.

Also, when looking for vegetarian cooking recipes, you might have to move outside of your comfort zone a bit and try some new foods. A lot of ethnic recipes, especially Thai and Indian recipes, are high on tofu and beans and light on meat. The only thing to be careful of is that a lot of Thai recipes call for fish sauce or oyster sauce, which are not vegetarian, so you’ll have to make a substitution to accomplish a comparable flavor in your final dish. Because so many ethnic dishes utilize so many wonderful spices, you might find that some of your favorite vegetarian cooking recipes end up being ethnic recipes because they are so much more flavorful than a lot of vegetarian American recipes.

Besides making sure you receive enough protein in your diet, you should supplement your diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables every day. Trying different fruits and vegetables and expanding your pallet will allow you to enjoy vegetarian cooking recipes a lot more than if you are afraid to try new things. The best fruits and vegetables are those that are in season and local, since as soon as it’s picked, fruit and vegetables not only start to lose their nutritional value, but their taste starts to disappear, as well. So, in the fall, keep your house stocked with squash, leeks, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and apples, and in the spring and early summer, keep your house stocked with peaches, arugula, melon, and baby carrots. Also, if you are afraid of trying new vegetables or you dislike a large number of kinds of vegetables, try making stir-fries with different flavorful sauces that will mask some of the vegetables in there that you don’t like and get you the vitamins you need.

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