Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ideas for vegetarian food

AnneK asked me to post some vegetarian recipes, and I thought I might give it a try. Perhaps I should mention that I haven't eaten any meat, poultry or fish for nearly 12 years now. So... here are some tips and recipes:

1. Protein
There's a myth that many vegetarians are suffering from protein deficiency. In fact, the average Western diet contains much more protein than we actually need, and the excess is burnt for energy. This is a waste of good protein and a strain on our body. However, the protein we consume must be of good quality, meaning that is should be balanced regarding all the essential amino acids. For those who include eggs and dairy products in their diet, it's not a problem at all. But even vegans can get good quality protein if they combine grains and legumes, for example: rice or pasta with beans, dry peas or lentils.

2. Iron
There are plenty of non-animal sources of iron, such as legumes, nuts, broccoli. I must be fair, however, and say that our body is able to utilize iron from animal sources much better than plant iron. If you heavily rely on non-animals sources of iron in your diet, this must be taken into consideration and I suggest you consume more iron than recommended by the DRI.

3. B12
Another myth is that all vegetarians are bound to suffer, sooner or later, from B12 deficiency. The truth is that one egg and 2-3 portions of dairy products should supply you with the amount of B12 that is stated in the DRI. Vegans, however, must eat B12-fortified foods or take a supplement.

And here are some recipes for you to try out, if you dare:

Rice with lentils
This is one of my favorite dishes! Very filling and satisfying. I love lentils and use them often in various dishes.

1 cup of green lentils, soaked in water for 1 hour
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of rice, washed
1 1\2 cups of water

Cook lentils in water for 20 minutes until soft. While lentils are cooking, sautee the chopped onion in a large pot until golden, then add the lentils (without water), mix and add salt and paper to your taste, and other spices if you like. Add rice with 1 1\2 cups of water, close the pot and let it boil. Stir occasionally. Cook until rice is soft.

Zucchini with sour cream
6 large zucchini
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. flour
Salt, vegetable oil

Peel and cut zucchini. Cook in salted water until soft, then sautee for a couple of minutes in vegetable oil. Put zucchini in a baking tray. Mix sour cream and flour and spread over zucchini. Bake in low temperature for approximately half an hour.

Moussaka with potatoes and lentils
500 gr potatoes
200 gr lentils, soaked
1 onion
1 tbsp. dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. tomato paste or ketchup

Cook lentils. Cook potatoes in skins, peel and slice. Grind lentils in food processor. In a pan, fry onion with some vegetable oil and add lentils. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add salt and pepper. In a baking tray, put out the bread crumbs, a layer of potato slices, a layer of lentils with onion; repeat until you're out of potatoes and lentils. Mix a glass of water with a tbsp. of tomato paste and pour over the moussaka. Put into oven for approximately half an hour.

Stay tuned for more vegetarian recipes in future posts!


Autumn said...

There is protein in peanut butter, so you could eat that if you are lacking in protein! And it tastes good too. Is eating meat against your beliefs? Sorry for being nosy...or is it just something you do to stay healthy?

Anna S said...

Hi Autumn,

Yes, there's protein in peanut butter; I prefer eating more peanuts (and other nuts) in their natural state, though. :P As you know commercial peanut butter contains lots of added salt, corn syrup, taste enhancers and what not.

For main dishes, beans work wonderfully, along with eggs and dairy products (for the non-vegan folk).

I just don't feel right about eating meat. I was only 10 when I was shocked by a fish skeleton on my plate. I mean, it was an actual SKELETON! :P It might sound funny to you, but I haven't eaten meat or fish since. And I do believe vegetarian diet can be balanced and healthy. Having (almost) a degree in nutrition helps too :)

Autumn said...

Thanks for telling me your reasons for not eating meat. EW, a skeleton! That is gross. I don't blame you. I hate eating chicken because I always have to take the chicken off the bone. I also don't like ham, but i have to eat them anyway. I could probably make it as a vegetarian, except I absolutely love sausage. I don't know if I could give it up! =) lol But thank you for sharing your reasons!

Autumn said...

Oh, and I would love to see your coin collection sometime. I have no idea if Portugal changed to Euro or not. But thanks for commenting on my blog and letting me know. I might have to look it up!

Anna S said...

Actually now that you mention it, there has been a period when I was in doubt about sausages and such like products where you don't see the bones. Then I decided I won't eat those either since there WAS a skeleton... it was just removed before I could see it :P

AnneK said...

Thanks Anna, we eat the rice and lentil dish quite a bit around here. I will try the moussaka now. I eat chicken and fish but not ham, beef, sausage etc. But since my husband is vegetarian, I usually make only veg dishes home and I enjoy it. I like to see the smile on his face when I make something new. I love fish still, but I very rarely eat chicken.

Anna S said...

Good luck! :o)

I have a couple of new recipes I want to try out, and I'll post them if they are good.