Day 1: Pineapple Coleslaw and Potato Bread

Sometimes with cooking I can get stuck in a bit of a rut. I excitedly try out a few new things and inevitably fall back into the same few standbys. I want to get out of that habit and force myself to try something new. I am going to make 60 new to me dishes and hopefully find myself a whole new list of favourite foods.

Day 1: Pineapple coleslaw served with potato bread

I’ve been wanting to try a potato bread for a while now, so I improvised a recipe of my own, and it turned out so delicious. It was a nice accompaniment to the coleslaw.

Potato Bread

2 cups mashed potato, cold
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 egg
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together until a dough like mixture forms.
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Divide the dough into portions and place them onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Flatten each piece.

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Bake at 425F for 15 minutes

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Serve warm.

Pineapple coleslaw

1 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (I used a mix)
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup vegannaise (or mayonnaise)
1 tin pineapple cubes, drained
1 tbl curry powder

Combine the cabbage and carrots in bowl. Add the vegannaise and curry powder and mix thoroughly.

Add the pineapple and serve.

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The 60 Day Vegetarian Challenge

One of the most common problems I hear from fellow vegetarians is that they don’t always know what to cook. Maybe that is you, maybe you’re a long time vegetarian stuck in a rut with your current meal rotation,  or maybe you are just looking for some inspiration for adding more meatless meals to your diet.

Over the next 60 days I am going to post 60 different vegetarian meals. I will include ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner,  and hopefully offer up some tasty treats!

Transitioning To Vegetarianism Part 1

Becoming a vegetarian can be a little overwhelming at first, especially if you don’t have the support you were hoping for from family and friends. It is a lifestyle change, but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one.

Choose The Type Of Vegetarian You Want To Be.

Lacto Ovo Vegetarians eat dairy and eggs, but no meat, fish or poultry.

Lacto Vegetarians eat dairy, but no meat, fish, poultry or eggs.

Vegans do not eat any meat, fish, poultry, eggs or dairy.

If you are just starting out as vegetarian, I would recommend starting as Lacto Ovo, at least while you transition to eliminating all meat products from your diet. It can be a little intimidating to immediately go cold turkey on everything.

Learn To Read Labels 

As well as the obvious foods that are meat, you will also need to eliminate the foods that contain meat products. That includes all meat stocks, fish stocks, anchovies and gelatin. You will need to get into the habit of checking the label of everything you buy before it goes into your shopping cart (or mouth if you are still buying meat for family members or roommates). And I mean everything! I have found sugar cookies with beef fat. Borscht generally contains beef stock. Caesar dressing contains anchovies, as does Worcestershire sauce. Marshmallows and most jellied candies contain gelatin, as do some yogurts. And just because the product didn’t contain meat products the last time you bought it doesn’t mean it is vegetarian this time. Always check!

Consider The Vegetarian Foods You Already Like

You probably have more vegetarian meals in your current diet than you realize you do. At the beginning of your transition make those foods regularly, to help you get into the habit of cooking vegetarian. It will feel a lot less like going into the unknown.

Grilled cheese sandwich

Baked potato with various toppings

Macaroni and cheese

Pasta with tomato sauce

Tomato soup

Beans on toast

Forgive Yourself The Slip ups

Everyone has had it happen from time to time. There have definitely been times where I have been happily tucking into a yogurt and on checking the label halfway through discovered it changed gelatin. In the beginning, you won’t always remember to check a label, or you won’t notice your favourite brand of cookie has changed the ingredients to add beef fat until you’ve finished the pack. Mistakes happen, don’t beat yourself up. Even people who have been vegetarian for years make them occasionally. You haven’t failed, you will just remember next time to double check before you eat it.

Other People’s Reactions

Everyone you know will have an opinion on your new choice, and you will hear it whether you want to or not. Don’t make your change a HUGE deal, and instead become a silent role model. If people ask questions answer them, but don’t feel the need to get defensive about your choices. Understand that your choice has made them feel defensive, as if they have to defend their choice to continue eating meat. Show them that are still the same person you were before, and whatever you did with them you can still do, and that is better than any argument about the merits of meat vs veg.

Stay tuned to Vegetarian Deliciousness for tips and recipes to help your transition to vegetarian!

Turnip Fritters

Turnips are sometimes a forgotten vegetable, but they used to be considered a staple well before the potato ever was. The turnip is an excellent source of vitamin C, and just 1 cup of cooked cubes of turnip contains 30% of the daily recommended amount.

Turnip fritters are one of my favourite ways to enjoy turnip. It is relatively quick and easy, and doesn’t take away too much of the flavour from the turnip itself.

What you will need:

1 cup turnip, cubed

1/2 red onion, diced

1 sprig of mint, roughly chopped

Boil the turnip until it is relatively soft. It wants to be soft enough that a fork can go into it easily, but not so soft that it falls apart.

While the turnip is cooking, fry the onion in a saute pan with a little oil. When the onion is cooked add the mint for the last couple of seconds.

Remove both from the heat. Drain the turnip and combine with the onion and mint mixture. Mix everything together so that it is evenly combined.

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With your hands, roll the mixture into balls. If the balls aren’t forming easily, try mashing some of the turnip with a fork.

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Once you have made enough balls, bake in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes.

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Yaya’s Kitchen (Tomato Keftethes Recipe)

From a very young age I remember learning to cook alongside my Yaya. She spoke in Greek with a few words of English thrown in every so often. My Yaya, which translates as Grandma, was born in Athens, Greece, but moved to Canada to marry my Grandpa, and although she could speak English she usually fell back into her native tongue (especially when she was talking fast). I’m not convinced she even knew she was doing it.

Without a doubt, Yaya’s favourite place to be was in her kitchen. It was a small pokey room, and 2 people busily cooking away could make it feel very small indeed. But she was proud of her kitchen. She could spend every single minute from the time she woke up until the time she went to bed cooking away in her kitchen.

You only had to step up to the driveway and you could already smell the fresh baked bread coming out of the oven. Her house was always well stocked with delicious baklava, loukoumades, galatopita and bougasta, just in case a visitor happened to stop by. Her passion was to feed people and you couldn’t walk into her house without having had a full cooked meal by the time you left. Hers was the house that every kid in town would descend on and warm welcomes were always guaranteed (along with a thick slice of bread smothered in homemade jam).

It is from Yaya that I inherited my own passion for food. Her life was cooking and feeding anyone who came through her door. Now as I cook I can still hear her giving me instructions in Greek, or see her rolling out pastry or kneading dough, or stirring a nice warm stew on the stove.

I was lucky enough to inherit Yaya’s handwritten recipes, even though I had already made the transition into vegetarianism. The first dish she taught me to make was keftethes, which is a Greek meatball. Yaya’s recipe has ground lamb in hers, but I have adapted her recipe to make my own vegetarian and delicious.

Tomato Keftethes

5oz grape tomatoes, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

2 tsp tomato paste

1 sprig of mint, roughly chopped

2-6 tbl of all purpose flour

Fry the onion in the saute pan, until cooked. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and mint. Stir until everything is evenly combined.

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Remove from the heat and let cool enough so that you can touch it.

Add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time, until you can form the mixture into a ball. Add the flour as you need it. You want to be able to make the balls easily, so mix in the flour until it is a workable consistency for you.

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Once your balls are formed bake in the oven at 400F for 15 minutes.

This mixture was enough to form 4 fairly large keftethes.

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That Protein Question

Anytime the topic of my vegetarianism comes up, the question I am faced with the most is that of protein.

Where do you get your protein?

How can you get enough protein?

It is a common misconception that you can only get the protein the human body needs from meat.  I remember being a small child and being told by my mother and stepmother that I needed to eat protein so that I would be healthy and strong. And the more protein I ate, the healthier I would grow up to be.

So what is protein?

Protein is an essential nutrient that is critical in building and repairing muscle tissue, as well as the maintenance of a lot of important bodily functions. Proteins consist of 20 different amino acids, 11 of which can be produced by our bodies naturally. The remaining 9 (known as essential amino acids) come from food. So it not the protein we need, but those 9 missing essential amino acids.

Are those 9 essential amino acids exclusive to meat?

They are not. The essential amino acids the human body needs are produced naturally by plants, and are found in meat because the animals we eat eat those plants. Not every plant contains all of the essential amino acids we need, but with a balanced and varied diet, it is more than possible to have all of them in your diet.

How much protein does a person need?

The World Health Organization recommends that just 5% of the calories you eat in a day should be protein. For an adult woman this translates as 29grams of protein assuming the 2300 calories a day is being followed. So what does 5% translate as? According to the World Health Organization, a single serving of potatoes contains 8% (9% for sweet potatoes) which is more than enough to fulfill your daily recommended intake.

Where can I find protein?

Protein can be found in most vegetables, specifically the leafy green variety such as kale or spinach. Legumes, beans, lentils, nuts are other fantastic sources of plant based protein, and are all more than sufficient to fulfill that daily recommended intake.

In short, my plant based diet is in no way lacking protein.

Here is a quick protein filled recipe for you to try:

Red Bean Sloppy Joes

What you need:

1 can of red beans

1/4 cup indian marsala powder

1/4 cup curry powder

1/4 cup tomato sauce

Bread Buns

Drain the red beans, and quickly rinse. Cook in a pan on a medium heat.

Add the spices and tomato sauce and stir in thoroughly.

Serve on bread buns.

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Why Vegetarian Deliciousness?

I have been a vegetarian for almost 8 years now for a variety of reasons, and every time the topic of my diet comes up I am faced with the same couple of questions. Why? And what do you eat?

A common idea among anyone calling themselves carnivores is that you cannot possibly have a meal that is either tasty or substantial unless it contains meat. They can rarely grasp the concept of a meal without meat, even though they probably have meatless meals every now and then without even thinking about it. My brothers claim to be hardened carnivores, but they will often happily devour just a plate of fries, grilled cheese, or pasta with a tomato sauce. But you mention the word ‘meatless’ or ‘vegetarian’ and they don’t believe it can be done.

A lot of people hear vegetarian and seem to think that I live on a diet of salad and raw vegetables, bland and boring. I do eat salad, but I eat a lot more besides. They can’t seem to equate variety with vegetarian, and yet I enjoy a lot more than the same handful of dishes.

Over the last 8 years, I have cooked and eaten a lot of meatless dishes, and I have made it my silent mission to show the people around me just how much variety I do get to enjoy. If anything, I have found that since being vegetarian, I have had to get more creative in the kitchen than I ever was before. You can do some amazing things with a slice of watermelon or a peach, or a beautiful slab of halloumi cheese. I experiment a lot, sometimes with disappointing results but generally I discover something new and delicious. Being vegetarian, I have had to remove some of the boundaries placed on certain foods. Fruit can become a centerpiece for your main course rather than just a snack or a dessert. You can peruse the produce section of the grocery store and come home with a bounty of deliciousness. You become braver when it comes to trying new fruits and vegetables, and I have new experiences with food even now.

So why Vegetarian Deliciousness? A vegetarian diet doesn’t have to be boring, or bland. If you aren’t afraid to try new things, or get creative, you can enjoy a wide array of foods. Vegetarian Deliciousness will be a taster of the variety of foods you can enjoy, along with a little bit of encouragement to try something new in the kitchen.