Last week was National Vegetarian Week (14-20 May), did you take part? It’s all about eating delicious and healthy veggie food. There are many health benefits to consuming more vegetarian meals, which we will discuss. Many of us enjoy the taste of meat, however, vegetarian meals can be just as delicious and filling, so we will be sharing some fun and easy veggie recipes for you to try with simple and affordable meat alternatives.
• A common concern: One of the reason’s which prevent people from consuming more vegetarian meals is the concern of a lack of protein.
• The reason for this: Plant-based protein sources generally have smaller amounts of protein because they contain other nutrients such as unsaturated fats (the good type), carbohydrates, fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals, as well as protein. This is also why vegetarian meals can be healthier, they provide a balanced range of nutrients which the body needs.
• Protein sources: However, there are plenty of veggie foods that contain protein, including: legumes (beans, lentils and peas), nuts (almonds and walnuts), seeds (pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds) and grains (oatmeal, quinoa, and wild rice).
VEGETARIAN MEAL IDEAS:
Some of our favourite dishes can include meat, such as burgers, steaks, curries, pasta, and even salads!
I’ve discovered a few essential and very flexible veggie ingredients to keep stocked, which can be used for a variety of vegetarian meal ideas, and these include: lentils, mushrooms, eggs, and chickpeas.
Below I’ve listed some easy veggie swaps to popular meaty dishes:
1) Full English breakfast: Toss out the bacon and sausages, and instead, try some sautéed mushrooms for a meaty taste and filling choice.
2) Burgers: This is an easy swap as there are so many options for veggie burgers, I’ve also shared a recipe below.
3) Curry: Rather than spending lots of time and money on a chicken or lamb curry, you can try cooking up a quick curry with lentils, potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, peas, or…pretty much any vegetable you enjoy!
4) Chicken Caesar salad: For a quick lunch, try an egg salad instead of adding the chicken.
5) Grilled fish or chicken: For a similar taste and texture to fish or chicken, try some grilled tofu with spices, along with a side of vegetables.
VEGGIE BURGER RECIPE: (Serves 4)
– Olive oil
– ½ diced red onion
– 2-3 cloves garlic (finely grated)
– Around 10 button mushrooms- finely diced
– ½ red pepper (finely diced)
– 1-2 carrots-(finely grated)
– 1 tsp. salt/ 1 tsp. pepper
– Spices (1/2 tsp.) each: turmeric, cumin, paprika, coriander, chilli.
– Sprinkle of dry herbs such as basil
– 1 can of chickpeas- drained
– 3 tbsp. gram flour (chickpea flour)
– Burger buns
– Lettuce or mixed green leaves
1. Sautee the onions and garlic for a few minutes, until browned.
2. Add both the mushrooms and peppers, cook on a low heat for 3-4 minutes.
3. Add the carrot, salt, pepper, herbs and spices, and cook for a few minutes.
4. Add in the chickpeas and flour, mash them with the other ingredients in the pan to combine it into a uniform mixture.
5. Once the mixture has cooled, shape into burger patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or so.
6. Fry the burgers with a little olive oil on each side for 4-5 minutes.
7. Serve with burger buns, and a big salad for a healthy and delicious vegetarian meal.