Whether you are a vegetarian or would like to adopt some vegetarian
ideas in your meal planning, this page will help you learn what you
need to know. A vegetarian lifestyle is one that is chosen according
to personal beliefs. Choosing to become a vegetarian is a viable way
to improve one's health and it is also a decision that is based on
certain moral principles.
Vegetarians do not eat meat or meat products. Some vegetarians adopt
even stricter dietary practices and will also refrain from eating
eggs, fish and dairy products.
Today many people realize that healthy food choices will have a
positive impact on their overall health. A vegetarian diet can lower
the risks of heart and blood pressure problems. These vegetarian
meal ideas can also have a beneficial impact on the environment
because raising animals as food wastes far too many of the world's
Planned Kids Cooking Curriculum
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Vegetarian Meal Planning
A vegetarian makes the conscious decision to exist on a dietary plan
that includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. They
can choose to add eggs and dairy products if they wish, but those
who do not eat these items are often referred to as "vegans".
People who utilize vegetarian meal ideas and cooking methods can
enjoy a wide variety of foods. Steaming, baking and grilling
vegetables such as potatoes, corn, artichokes, asparagus or leafy
greens can result in some healthy, delicious dishes that even
non-vegetarians can appreciate.
Vegetarian foods are available in almost every restaurant, grocery
store and supermarket. If you can not find prepared meals that meet
the requirements for a vegetarian or vegan diet all you need to do
is create your own dishes with fresh veggies, whole grains, fruits
or beans. Vegetarian style, black bean burritos have all of the
nutrition and flavor of beef burritos but they contain no animal
products and are much healthier for your body.
When you plan a well-balanced vegetarian diet and use vegetarian
meal ideas you will be able to get all of the necessary vitamins,
protein and minerals that you need without sacrificing any of your
principles. Meat free meals are tasty, guilt free and they are also
cheaper to prepare.
Vegetarian Meal Ideas-Substitutions for Meat Products
Dump the meat and add soya products and other plant based meat
substitutes to your daily diet. Tofu is a nutritious meat substitute
that is very versatile and it allows you to avoid animal products.
Tempeh and seitan are also available as meat replacements in most
recipes and you can purchase these in fresh, frozen or dried forms.
There are a wide variety of meatless hot dogs, burgers, sausages and
main dish entrees that are all created specifically for those who do
not eat animal products.
Vegetarian Meal Ideas-Changing Recipes to Fit
Learning to adapt recipes for a vegetarian lifestyle is actually
much easier than one might imagine. You need to pay careful
attention to the ingredient list when buying packaged grocery
products and you should also begin to use fresh veggies, spices,
herbs, whole grains and fruits.
If you want to stir fry or grill your vegetarian foods you can do so
with a little vegetable oil, olive oil or butter. Do not use oils or
shortening products that contain any animal fats. When you begin to
use a variety of natural spices, herbs and nuts in your recipes you
will soon discover that these dishes are packed with powerful
Pros and Cons of a Vegetarian Life Choice
There are some drawbacks associated with a vegetarian diet. It can
be difficult to find restaurants that have vegan or vegetarian
friendly menus. You must always double check ingredient lists to be
certain that your food does not contain items that you find
offensive or troubling. Sometimes it is hard to make sure that you
are getting enough protein and vitamins in your daily diet. Some
people also feel that their recipe choices have a limited scope.
Still there are many good points that are part of a vegetarian
existence. There is always the fact that you are doing your part to
support animal rights by refusing to raise animals for slaughter and
food. Vegetarians are also helping to raise the awareness of "eco
friendly" food choices and meals.
This type of diet is very healthy for any individual and as a
vegetarian you may be less likely to develop heart disease, blood
pressure problems, arthritis, cancers and other physical ailments.
Most vegetarians are able to maintain a healthy body weight. Even
the weekly grocery expenditures can be much more affordable for
those who follow a vegetarian regimen.
Vegetarian Meal Ideas and Plans
For a healthy vegetarian program you should make sure that each day
you are eating
3-5 servings of cereal/ potatoes or grain products
4-6 servings of fresh veggies and fruits
2-4 servings of seeds and nuts
2-3 servings of soy products, organic eggs, milk or cheese
1-3 small servings of butter, margarine, vegetable oil and
yeast extract is also a good choice
4 cups vegetable broth or equivalent water and vegetable
8 cups water
In stockpan, sauté onion and garlic. Add all remaining vegetables.
Add seasonings, water and vegetarian broth. Stir together and
simmer for 30 minutes.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 carrots grated or cut in small pieces
¾ teaspoon marjoram
1 28 oz. can tomatoes
7 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ cups dried lentils
1 Cup alphabet noodles or leave out
In skillet or large saucepan saute onions and carrots in 2
tablespoons olive oil until tender. In blender puree tomatoes with
their juice and add to saucepan. Add broth, onion mixture and
lentils together. Cook on medium-low covered for one hour or until
lentils are tender. Season with salt, pepper and parsley if
desired. Allow to cool and pour into freezer containers.
Lasagna noodles, uncooked
small bunch of broccoli, cut in small pieces
2 carrots, shredded
4 cups spaghetti sauce or large jar
2 Green or red bell peppers, chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
15 oz or 2 cups cottage or ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons dried parsley
2 large eggs *if vegan add 1/4 Cup milk instead
1 cup mozzarella cheese, for the top
Saute garlic in olive oil and add carrots, broccoli, bell peppers
and spaghetti sauce. Let simmer about 8-10 minutes until vegetables
are tender. In separate bowl mix cottage cheese, Parmesan, parsley,
mozzarella cheese (save some for sprinkling on the top) and eggs*.
Spread a thin layer of sauce on bottom of a 8x11 or 13x9 pan. Lay
lasagna noodles on bottom of pan. Spread cottage cheese mixture over
top of noodles. Spread more sauce on top of noodles. Continue
layering in pan until the pan is full. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on
top and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until noodles are
Homemade Tomato Sauce
1 cup onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 1/2 cups tomatoes, peeled and pureed in blender
2/3 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
season with salt and pepper
In saucepan, saute onions and garlic in 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Add
in pureed tomatoes, tomato paste and water. Season with oregano,
basil and salt and pepper. Serve on spaghetti or other pasta
Baked Potato with Avocado
medium potato, one for each person
Poke potato all over with a fork. Wrap in tin foil and bake for
30-45 minutes until tender.
Top sour cream with slices of fresh avocado and sour cream. Season
with salt and pepper.
Grilled Vegetables on Skewer
A simple vegetarian meal idea is grilled vegetables. You can use
whatever vegetables you'd like. Thread chopped vegetables on a
skewer and grill. You can marinate your vegetables before hand if
you'd like in a vegetarian salad dressing.
Meatless Stuffed Peppers
I wanted to modify our Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe for a Meatless
Dish and it turned out great! We've been focusing on eating less
meat throughout the week and this variation was loved just as much
as the meat version. I also like that this dish can stand on it's
own, meaning you don't need any side dishes. Once the rice mixture
is cooked, you simply stuff the peppers and bake.
With supervision kids can prepare this easily, especially steps like
mixing the cooked rice mixture together and stuffing peppers with
rice mixture. Ingredients:
6 bell peppers
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 Cups water
2 cups rice
1- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1-2 T. olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
1 T. mixed herbs or Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut top of peppers off and take out
seeds. If desired, cut in half lengthwise or leave whole. Bring a
pan of water to boil and place peppers in. Boil several minutes
until peppers start to soften. This step helps the peppers not take
as long to cook in the oven. With tongs, lift peppers out of water a
place in a casserole dish to cool. Set aside.
Add 1-2 tablespoons oil to a frying pan. Grate 1 onion and 1 carrot
into the oil. If you prefer you can chop the vegetables instead with
a food chopper. Sauté 1 minute or until onion starts to soften. Add
2 cups rice and 1 bouillon cube into the onion, carrot mixture. Stir
several minutes until rice turns glassy. Stir in 3 Cups water. Turn
to medium low and simmer with a lid on. Cook until rice is tender.
Once rice is cooled off, stir in tomato sauce. You want the mixture
to not be too dry so add tomato sauce accordingly. Season with salt
and pepper and stir in Italian seasoning. Stuff rice mixture into
soft peppers and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese and place back in the oven for
5 minutes, if desired.
~If you'd like more veggies added, I like to use an extra bell
pepper and dice finely or chop with the food
chopper and stir into the rice mixture.