Welcome back to the Fluff blog! Today I'm talking about some of my favourite veg options (some are vegan, others vegetarian). I've been a vegetarian for thirteen years, so I've tried quite a few vegetarian marketed products over the years. I've compiled a list of my favourite ones. So whether you are already a vegetarian, just starting out, or simply looking to switch out some of your meat products, I hope you're able to learn something new today :) I've linked recipes to help you out (click on the underlined text).
I know, I know - very standard. But I actually went years without ever eating it because I thought it was gross. However, I've learned it's all about preparing it properly and testing out different recipes to see what works best for you and your tastebuds. One of my favourite recipes to use tofu with is Tofu Scramble. It's super simple to make, and tastes delicious! Tofu is also awesome when marinated with spices and served with rice.
Tempeh, similar to tofu, is very versatile and can be added to many recipes. Tempeh is a high-protein, low-fat food that is made from soybeans. Most grocery stores have tempeh that is already flavoured, and it cooks very fast. I like to add it into salads for a bit of crunch, but the possibilities with it are endless.
3. Nutritional Yeast
Next up, one of my favourites! If you don't know about the miracles of nutritional yeast - you haven't been living. "I put that sh*t on everything!" Literally, though. It's great sprinkled on almost any dish you make, takes popcorn to a new level, and makes a wonderful creamy "cheese" sauce that's pretty convincing. Nutritional yeast has a great umami flavour that helps amp up meat-free dishes, and it's pretty easy to find. Most grocery and health food stores carry it, and you can also get it at Bulk Barn if you're in Canada (it's by the spices/coffee). Check out its nutritional benefits here.
This one's a bit of a wild card, but similar to nutritional yeast, it has an umami flavour that can really make your meals delicious. Marmite is a British food item made from yeast-extract (a by-product of beer brewing). It's definitely not for everyone, as it has a pretty strong flavour. I, personally, put it on toast and love it, but you might want to ease into it to start off. A little goes a long way with this stuff! Add a bit to soups, stews, and stir-fries to jazz them up. It used to be hard to come by, but most grocery stores carry it now. Look for it in the Baking Aisle.
Quinoa is another food item that you may shake your head at, but it can be a really great veg option. I was recently at Ace Bounce's Bottomless Brunch in Chicago, and they served these teeny tiny tacos with quinoa "meat." I'm still not over them. They were delicious! Being vegetarian means thinking outside the box to avoid boredom, so don't just think of quinoa as a boring-old-wish-you-were-rice type of food. It can add amazing texture to recipes. It also makes for a tasty veggie burger.
6. Meatless "Meats"
These are pretty essential if you are new to being vegetarian. I don't eat these too often, but there is definitely still a time and a place. I've learned to cut my losses with certain products (i.e. anything claiming to taste like bacon - it's just never going to happen), but there are some "meats" out there that taste pretty close to the real thing. One of my favourite brands is Schneider's Oh Naturel, especially the Chick'n Burgers. Another brand that sometimes makes me question if it's the real thing (it's not!) is Gardein. They have a huge variety of products and can be found in most grocery stores. If you're in the U.S.A., check out the brand Quorn. They make the best fake turkey. I had it while I was in Florida for Thanksgiving and it knocked my lil veggie socks off.
7. Non-dairy Milk
This one is very much trial and error. I prefer coconut and almond milk, but you'll usually have to try out different ones to find your preference. When I stopped eating meat, I also stopped drinking milk. I originally switched to soy, but then moved on when I found out the issues with it.
For any recipes, make sure you buy the unsweetened version of whichever non-dairy milk you choose to buy. For cereal, go with almond or hemp milk, as coconut milk can be a little watery. If you have been struggling with what to replace your coffee cream with, I've got the answer ;) Silk has almond coffee creamers that come in three flavours: caramel, vanilla, and hazelnut. They are possibly even better than real cream. For almond milk, try to find the brand Califia Farms. It's SO good! They even have cold brew beverages with the almond milk already in them.
8. Beans & Legumes
Beans and legumes are simple, easy to find, and delicious. They also contain a ton of protein - 4oz of black beans contains the same amount of protein as 4oz of ground beef (tell that to people when they bug you). Some of my favourite recipes are chickpea salad, and refried bean tacos. I also love eating baked beans in the winter time. There's something so comforting about them!
Thanks for taking the time to read. This is just a guide, as there are so many amazing vegetarian/vegan options these days. Let me know what your favourite veg products are!