top of page

Innovative Ways to Cook Vegetarian

There are many reasons to go vegetarian these days, not just the direct ethical question regarding the use of animals for food unnecessarily. From an environmental point of view, for example, it ought to worry everyone that there is more livestock than there are wild animals on this planet, all of which require land and carbon-emitting infrastructures to maintain. If you are planning on going veggie, though, then fear not, as there are some cool ways to make that work with a little creativity.

Meat Alternatives

Meat substitutes have come a long way in the past few years, with innovations in the cultivation and preparation of things like Quorn and soybean. However, it is also surprising what one can do with a simple mushroom, given the right recipe. Most fungi-derived meat substitutes are made up of ingredients like Mycoprotein, also known as fungal protein, which can provide greater satiety than traditional protein sources like chicken while also being low calorie. Other fungus-based alternatives include Fistulina hepatica, also known as beefsteak fungus, Laetiporus, or chicken of the woods, or Lyophyllum Decastes, amusingly known as fried chicken mushroom. Other alternatives include fruit-based ingredients, like Breadfruit, Eggplant, or Coconut Burger, or Legumes, which include products like Soybean or Tofu.

Food Thickeners

One of the most difficult aspects of vegetarian cooking is how to do things like thickening a mixture without relying on animal products like egg yolk or collagen. Starch, found in flour, is an obvious solution to most thickening needs, but also pureed vegetables and/or tomato paste. One of the most innovative ways to get around the problem, however, is via polysaccharide thickeners, including vegetable gums, such as Agar, Guar gum, Xanthan, and Pectin, if you can reliably source them. Alternatively, synthetic mixtures, such as SimplyThick gel, will use a combination of these as a means of reliably increasing the viscosity of a substance.

Vegetarian Recipes

Many innovative ways recipes can be found on any number of blog posts by online dietitians and nutritionists, many of whom specialize in feeding a predominantly vegetarian lifestyle. One example is the likes of Marisa Moore, a go-to nutrition expert and food blogger, focussing on nutrition strategies and habit building with a goal of improving well-being and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Dietitians like these tend to believe in a minimally processed diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, as well as protein sources like nuts and beans and rich sources of carbohydrates such as whole grains.

Be Creative & Experiment

At the end of the day, however, blogs and online nutritionists can give you some decent pointers, but it is really up to you and your tastebuds and your ability to think outside the box that will determine what works for you and your lifestyle. Speaking of which, it is certainly worth establishing why you want to go vegetarian in the first place. If you feel peer pressured into it, either by a culture of moral judgment, or apocalyptic news coverage about impending global warming catastrophe, then these are not reasons to play with your physical health, as radical dietary changes can if gone about in the wrong way. If, however, you simply want the lifestyle change, then absolutely, go for it, but obviously, look after yourself, and do so responsibly.


QG - Ernie Hudson copy 4.jpg
bottom of page