I remember when I was 17 and I declared to my mother that I was going to be a vegetarian. She said of course I was, and proceeded to ignore me. She wasn’t going to go out of her way, as she put it, “for a phase” and learn how to cook for a vegetarian. I would simply have to make do with what she deemed as appropriate food.
What this meant was she carried on as normal, but simply didn’t serve me the meat. It all came to an emotional head when she served me yet another singular portion of carrots. What it boiled down to? Because she wasn’t familiar with ‘vegetarian’ food, she thought it would be more complicated.
Skip forward 10 years and I had the luck of becoming a vegetarian chef in an Inn in the Southern United States. Full circle, as it was my turn to learn to cook for vegetarians, on a slightly different scale.
It was my first cooking job, and my most difficult. What really hit home was that vegetarian cooking was harder than cooking with meat, because you can’t rely on sauces. Sauces would overwhelm the subtlety of vegetables.
Also, you actually had to really think about the combinations of veg, the flavourings, even the style of cooking. But the thing about vegetarian restaurants is that they are out to give you amazing variety, over a series of courses.
Home Cooking is Easier
Thus said, that was for a restaurant. Home cooking vegetarian (and vegan!) is SOOOO much easier! I was put to the test when a vegan friend was visiting. It gave me the chance to search out new recipes, and the result was I discovered a whole new tasty world.
I always thought that vegan cooking was incredibly complicated or used ingredients that I had never come across before. Boy, was I wrong. I realised I had fallen for the gossip about veganism. But luckily and happily I was proved wrong and a whole new world opened up for me. We are definitely incorporating many more vegan (as well as vegetarian) meals into our week.
How to Cook Vegetarian
There are some absolutely amazing, easy, fast veggie recipes out there and these days with the internet there is really no excuse not to find them. My preference is to determine what I have in the garden, or fridge, that needs using up and do a search on it.
So for example on the vegetarian front; that lone courgette becomes a Courgette and Mushroom Tart. Dead simple, absolutely delicious, and so easy to make! Left over tomatoes that are going slightly mushy, not a problem. They become a Tomato and Zucchini Galette, another so very simple yet gorgeous tasting dish.
Oh, and there is always that question about what to do with cauliflower, besides Cauliflower and Cheese. How about Cauliflower and Sorrel Soup or Cauliflower Pakoras? Both of these dishes are stunning. (PS: I do love Cauliflower and Cheese, but I prefer mine with bacon.) And if you haven’t tried Celeriac Oven chips (that weird really ugly vegetable), you haven’t lived.
So whether you have invited friends for dinner who tell you they are vegetarian, or your daughter has just declared herself one, Don’t Panic! Just choose your veg, do a search and have a go. It really is that simple.
And to help you along, I include some links below to my favourite go to websites and YouTube vlogs of vegetarian and vegan recipes. Not all are pure vegetarian, so pick and mix as you need.
My favourite: Pick Up Limes (website for printed recipes) and Vlog – Vegan
For inspiration: Good Eatings (website for printed recipes) and Vlog – Vegan
Healthy: Clean & Delicious (website for printed recipes) and Vlog – Mixed
For Fun: Mind over Munch (website for printed recipes) and Vlog – Mixed
And simply to give you an idea on variety…
My Own Additions
I am a great advocate of eating healthy. Except I like to look at it as, I prefer my food made from scratch. It’s part of that whole slow living thing, but also I just know I feel better when I know what’s in my food.
So whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, prefer gluten-free or simply like to eat healthy…
Fast Healthy Snack (Vegetarian, Vegan, GF)
Lettuce Sandwiches (GF)
Of Eggs and Coffee (Vegetarian, GF)
A Love of Pumpkins (Vegetarian, vegan, GF)
Time Poor and Good Food (Vegetarian, GF)
Apple Compote (Vegetarian, Vegan, GF
Unusual Vegetables (Vegetarian, vegan, GF)
What to do with Broccoli Stems (Vegetarian, vegan, GF)
What to do with Walnuts (Vegetarian, vegan, GF)
All my writings : Vegetarian, Vegan or Gluten-free