Prior to becoming completely vegan, I went through a transitional phase of finding substitutes and gradually eliminating all non-vegan ingredients. If you are considering of reducing your meat intake, going meatless on Mondays could be a good start. Today I have a guest post from London McGuire giving us some quick tips to go meatless. London McGuire is a chocolate-loving foodie and TV junkie who contributes to several blogs in her free time. You can find her on twitter @londonmcguire
Quick Tips to Go Meatless
Green, clean, healthy eating is not a fad. With more cookbooks, chefs and restaurants veering to vegan and vegetarian dining, this herbivore diet is the way of the future. For many meat-eaters, however, turning from meat to veggies can be harder than thought. Thankfully, cooking shows guide amateur cooks through each step of the cooking process, while still allowing room for creativity and improvisation.
So how does one turn meat to meatless? Here are three easy techniques for enjoying a meat-free diet.
When it comes to cooking in general, experimentation is always a good idea. You will never know if something works, or if you like something, unless you experiment. Many great chefs like those on the Food Network or Cooking Channel, as well as many others around the country create new dishes by experimenting with old ones. Take Chef Chuck Hughes’ Vegetarian Shepherd Pie. There is no beef involved in the homey remake of this classic, but lots of vegetables, which add big flavor. Your family won’t miss the meat in this dish at all. When cutting out meat from other dishes, try to replace it with another hearty ingredient, like mushrooms, squash, eggplant or perhaps tofu or tempeh.
Spice It Up
People often claim that vegetarian cuisine lacks flavor. That statement could not be more false. When looking to exclude the meat but add flavor, just amp up the spices. If you think about it, popular cuisines like Mexican and Indian food are big on the spices. Take a simple enchilada recipe like this one. Although Rachael Ray’s dish is amazing as is, you can easily replace the ground chicken for beans, crumbled tofu or tempeh. This recipe uses some big spices like coriander, cumin and paprika to add flavor to the chicken. That’s not all you could add though; mix in some chili or chipotle powder for more flavor and heat. If you’re looking to lose the meat, just add more spice for major flavor impact.
Trying new foods can be scary, especially if it includes an ingredient you are unfamiliar with. Take tofu for example. For some odd reason, this protein-packed ingredient often has people running for the hills. Perhaps it’s habit, but old habits shouldn’t stop you from trying or experiencing something new. When you open yourself up to experiencing new things, you may discover a food truly amazing. Take these vegan lentil burgers that sound incredible. Not only do they incorporate different foods like lentils, they have various spices to add a lot flavor. This point really encompasses the other two: experiment and add some spices. You won’t regret it.
Don’t limit your taste buds to the known. Open your mouth to the wonderful world of vegan cuisine and you too could be going meatless more often.
Thanks London, these are great tips and I must say I do abide by all of these myself since the very first day that I decided to follow a vegan lifestyle.