By Fredrica Syren:
No matter whether you’re a meat eater or a full-time vegetarian, eating more plant-based food is good for the planet, your wallet and your health. Whenever I talk to people who would like to include more vegetarian food in their diet or would like to cook more and better vegetarian food, they always say they just don’t know how to do it and feel it’s too complicated.
Vegetarian cooking is really not that hard once you get the hang of it. All it comes down to, in my opinion, are inspiration, good produce, a well-stocked pantry with some staple products, and meal planning.
Inspiration—When I became a vegetarian 20 years ago, there were very few vegetarian cookbooks and absolutely zero websites to help me out. These days, I love looking for recipes on various vegetarian themed websites and blogs, and I have a huge stack of vegetarian cookbooks with beautiful pictures that I draw inspiration from. It makes cooking vegetarian both fun and easy. Two of my favorite vegetarian websites and blogs are Green Kitchen Stories, Earth Sprout and the Garden Grazer. Here on Green-mom.com, I also have lots of plant-based recipes to inspire you.
Good produce—I say that, if you have good produce, it’s easy to cook anything well — especially vegetarian meals. I like to shop at my local organic farmers’ market for good quality produce that inspire my dishes. Usually you don’t need to do that much to fresh food to make it good. One day I got lots of yummy vegetables and some tortillas, and voila! I had the most amazing garden taco ☺
Fully stocked pantry—For successful vegetarian cooking, you need a few staples on hand like lentils, beans, nuts and seeds, tofu, seitan, as well as quinoa, tortillas, quinoa pasta, miso and spices. With these items and some fresh vegetables and fruits, it’s easy to make up a fun and tasty vegetarian meal….even in a rush.
Meal planning—Meal planning has saved my sanity and lots of money; and I have found that, with just a little smart planning and food prep, weekday dinners are a breeze, especially if you are cooking vegetarian food. This way you can search for a few good recipes ahead of time, shop for the ingredients, and know in advance what you’re cooking. I also recommend planning simple meals that are healthy and easy, yet satisfying.
I think that, once you have a cooked a few vegetarian meals, you will find some favorites and start adding them to the weekly meal planning, and it will become routine. Just like that, vegetarian cooking was made easy.