Hints & Tips for a Healthy and Delicious Vegetarian Diet

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Tips on substituting meat in your favourite dishes
Sandwiches, salads and other ideas for lunch
Healthy Snacking
Dinner Parties, Barbeques, Picnics etc

Tips on substituting meat in your favourite dishes

  • Transforming a traditional meat orientated dish into something completely vegetarian can be quite simple with a little creativity. As a quick useful guide try swapping:
    • lentils, beans or mushrooms for beef
    • chickpeas, eggplant or potatoes for lamb
    • tofu or tempeh for chicken and fish

    Of course this is just a general guideline, you are only limited by your imagination.

  • Lentils make a fantastic alternative to beef mince in favourites like lasagne and spaghetti bolognese; often people are not able to tell the difference!!

  • You could use tinned lentils or a great way to prepare dried lentils before using as a mince alternative or in salads and a range of vegetable dishes is the following:

Rinse lentils well until water runs clear. Bring ¾ cups of lentils and 2½ cups of water to the boil; add ½ a brown onion, 2 whole cloves of garlic and a couple of bay leaves and whole peppercorns. Simmer for 15-25mins until tender (depending on the type of lentil). Drain and rinse well; remove the onion, garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. Use the cooked lentils in salads, vegetable dishes or serve as a side dish.

  • Both tofu and tempeh are a fantastic base for flavour and can be adapted to a huge range of dishes. Try the following quick recipe:

In a large bowl soak cubes of tofu in your favourite stock or marinade in soy sauce with a dash of mirin for 30mins, strain and absorb excess water by placing the cubes on toweling paper in a colander and weigh down by a plate. Coat in tapioca or another flour or sesame seeds, dried chilli flakes or spices and fry till crisp and golden. This is a fantastic and delicious substitute for chicken and fish in a huge variety of dishes or great on its own with a little squeeze of lemon.

Sandwiches, salads and other ideas for Lunch

  • If you’re looking for something a little more than just plain salad on your lunchtime sandwich try:
    • grilled thick wedges of hard pressed tofu with your favourite salad and hummus or avocado
    • tahina, grilled vegetables, fresh rocket and coriander
    • quick fried mushrooms with hummus on toasted bread
    • leftover roast vegetables with chutney or relish and loads of healthy sprouts
    • try adding sundried tomatoes, roasted bell peppers or pickled vegetables all available ready to use in jars
    • or mix things up with nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruit like apples and pears
  • Try experimenting with different types of bread. Flat breads like pocket and lavish bread are light and healthy and can be adapted in so many exciting ways. Or try pumpernickel, dark rye, bagels, toasted Panini or foccacia to mix up your average sandwich at lunch time.
  • One of our favourite sandwich ideas is to make healthy and filling Open Sandwiches. Toast two slices of bread, spreading them with hummus, avocado or tahina then top with your favourite salad ingredients and some tinned chickpeas or mixed beans, as well as alfalfa and/or nuts and seeds and dress with your favourite dressing. These sandwiches are only limited by your tastebuds and a delicious way to include extra protein and vitamins in your diet.
  • Sushi of nori rolls are also great for lunch, full of protein from the rice and other nutrients like zinc they are low in fat and very filling and delicious. Easy to make at home with just a little time and effort they are perfect for your packed lunch and kids love them!
  • A big hearty salad is great for lunch; try mixing your favourite salad ingredients with grains like quiona or burghul, some seeds, nuts or dried fruit and a light dressing. Check out some of veggie num num’s salad recipes for inspiration.
  • A good lunch to pack for work or for school lunch boxes is sliced vegetable sticks like carrot, cucumber and capsicum; with cubes of tofu or vegetarian cheese, button mushrooms and cherry tomatoes a small container of hummus for dipping and some torn flat bread. Full of healthy vitamins and protein it is a great lunch for busy people or active kids.
  • Couscous is quick and easy to prepare and makes a great alternative to your traditional lunchbox food. Check out some of Veggie num num’s related couscous recipes for ideas.

Healthy Snacking

  • Healthy and Nutritious snack foods at a glance
    • cut veggies like carrot, mushrooms, red capsicum or broccoli florets
    • fruits like blueberries, apples, cut oranges, bananas, kiwi fruit or melons
    • dried fruit such as apricots, peaches, dates and figs
    • nuts and seeds
  • Healthy snacking is a great way to keep up energy throughout the day and provides an opportunity to add extra nutrition to your diet. Nuts and seeds are a great compact source of vitamins and essential nutrients. Mix up a batch of your favourites including almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds or pepitas or there are many ready-made mixes available; some containing dried fruit. Make sure to limit the amount to about 1 small handful a day. Enjoy between meals as a pick-me-up and guilt free snack.
  • Fresh fruit also makes a wonderful, healthy snack full of vitamins and dietary fibre. Try mixing up a fresh fruit salad, combining your favourite in season fruits; add a squeeze of lemon or orange juice for added vitamin C and to keep the fruit from browning. I love to add a few dates or craisins for a little extra yumminess.
  • Miso soup is an awesome pick-me-up; tasty and so good for you. There are a couple of good instant brands available, be sure to check the ingredients for fish, sometimes labled as bonito, or you can mix up your own miso from scratch. For a hearty snack add cubes of tofu or geen veggie like asparagus and brussel sprouts.

Dinner Parties, Barbeques, Picnics etc

  • Even if you are not vegetarian yourself it is always courteous to have at the very least one vegetarian option available for your guests when entertaining. It can be awkward and embarrassing for both the guest and host when someone is unable to eat your food. Remember that vegan and vegetarian food is enjoyed by everyone!!
  • Vegetables and other proteins taste just as good as or even better than meat when barbequed. Try some of the following:
    • Veggie skewers with your favourite vegetables such as capsicum, mushroom, pineapple, onion, zucchini
    • potatoes taste amazing on the BBQ and are great simply par-boiled and then skewered before grilling drizzled with olive oil and herbs
    • mushrooms and BBQs are like a match made in heaven; try grilling whole Portobello mushrooms or serving Mushroom Steaks
    • lightly seasoned and barbecued whole cobs of corn are fantastically delicious
    • fat slices of eggplant, zucchini and capsicum (pepper) are so tasty grilled on the barbeque and then layered with sliced olives and/or capers and plenty of fresh herbs like mint and coriander and drizzled with olive oil or add some grilled slices of haloumi for extra indulgence
    • Lentils Patties are a tasty vegetarian alternative to traditional meat patties and make super tasty barbequed burgers
  • You’ll find huge variety of vegetarian finger food that is wonderful for entertaining and cocktail parties check out some of the following vegetarian appetizer recipes
  • And remember, when planning a dinner party, consider that vegetarian food is just as elegant and far more compassionate than serving meat. Check out some of Veggie num num’s great vegetarian entertaining recipes for inspiration or contact veggie num num for advice on transforming your favourite dish into an ethical meat-free taste sensation!!
Open Sandwich

open sandwich w/ hummus, lettuce, beefsteak tomato, cucumber, alfalfa sprouts, pecans, pepita, sunflower seeds and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar… om num num

  • Veggie num num : Lentil, Date & Tomato Salad w/ Chilli Oil Tahini Dressing February 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    […] simple to throw together. I used tinned lentils as a quick alternative but if you have the time use cooked lentils in this vegetarian recipe for added texture. The addition of dates was inspired by a discussion I […]