Maybe this is your first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian, or perhaps you’re hosting your first vegan guests at a holiday dinner. Just because the traditional turkey takes center stage, it doesn’t mean there can’t be delicious plant-based options for both main dishes and sides that will satisfy you or all of your guests this year. I asked some top plant-based RDs how they navigate Thanksgiving and the winter holidays while still getting to enjoy festive foods. After all, isn’t that the best part about the season?
In North America, the pomegranate season runs from late summer until early winter, making now the perfect time to start incorporating jewel-like pomegranates into meals and snacks. This dish has just four main ingredients (not including oil, salt and pepper), gets a nutty crunch from the walnuts and a burst of tart juice from the pomegranate that complements the crispy Brussels sprouts perfectly.
September is synonymous with back to school and brown bag lunches. And even if you’re not going back to school, you may be looking to spice up your midday meal. As a vegetarian or vegan, you may think your lunch option is limited to plain peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but here are three creative lunch ideas to change your mind.
Cooking quinoa (which is considered a whole grain even though it’s actually a seed) is as simple as cooking brown rice, using two parts water to one part quinoa. An important step in the cooking process is to rinse the dry quinoa before cooking to help remove the coating of bitter-tasting saponins. Once cooked, quinoa can be used in a variety of recipes and interchanged with any whole grain. And because quinoa is naturally gluten-free, it is a great pasta substitute for those who cannot tolerate wheat.
There are three kinds of quinoa you’ll find at your grocery store: red, black and white, and all have a slightly nutty flavor and a texture much like couscous. Here are three of my favorite ways to enjoy quinoa.
On April 16th 2013, I gave birth to a healthy, happy, seven pound, two ounce baby boy named Zachary. Throughout my pregnancy, one of the most popular questions I got was, “Are you still going to be vegetarian?” I also heard a lot of, “Are you craving meat now?” and “If you crave meat, will you eat it?”
When you make the move to a meatless diet, one of the first things you may miss is that familiar sink-your-teeth-into-it texture you got from beef, chicken and even some fish. Fortunately, there are so many plant-based foods that easily mimic the texture of meat and are versatile enough to be used in a variety of recipes, whether you’re craving a burger or anything else.
Mushrooms: Mushrooms have a savory umami flavor, making them a star ingredient in meat-free burgers. I’m not talking about those measly veggie burgers at restaurants that have just one floppy portobello mushroom cap slapped in a burger bun. I’m talking about a thick, filling mushroom burger like the one above (photo courtesy of Oh My Veggies), which also contains lentils and oats.
Before I switched to a plant-based diet, I had never heard of nutritional yeast. Aside from it sounding like something you’d only find in a crunchy health food store, the name gives no indication to what it actually is or what it can be used for. It took some experimenting over the years, but I can now say nutritional yeast – oftentimes affectionately called “nooch” – is a staple in my kitchen.
Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast sold in the form of flakes (that look a lot like fish food) or a yellow powder. It’s vegan and a complete source of protein, which makes it a staple in many vegans’ diets. It contains B-vitamins and is oftentimes fortified with vitamin B12, which is absent from plant foods unless its been added in as a supplement. For more information on nutritional yeast, this post on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen is very helpful. Read more
A couple of years ago I posted about eight sneaky foods vegetarians should avoid because they contain surprising animal-based ingredients. Since that list was not entirely exhaustive, I’ve come up with a part-two post to help you avoid those foods that may seem vegan or vegetarian, but in fact are not. Most of these foods are found in restaurants, so be sure to ask before ordering so you know what you’re getting.
Vegetable soup – I know what you’re thinking: “How could a vegetable soup have meat in it?!” While there may not be hunks of meat, I’ve come across vegetable soups in restaurants that are in fact made with chicken or beef broth. Unfortunately not all restaurants make this known unless you ask. If you spot a soup on the menu that seems to be entirely vegetable-based, it’s worth a quick question to your server or the chef to be sure. Read more
I couldn’t agree more. I always say a healthy diet starts in the grocery store, where you get to choose the foods that will feed you and your family. If you don’t have nutritious foods that can be combined to make a well-balanced meal, you may find it easier to order pizza delivery or grab takeout on the way home from work. Having a well-stocked kitchen means you can get creative in the kitchen, even if you haven’t been to the grocery store recently. Here are my kitchen staples to help you get started: Read more