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All you Vegetarians,help me to convert!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Help, I want to become a vegetarian. I want to eat healthy! My only problem is that I have never been a veggie lover. In fact I hate most of them. I think part of this is that I am clueless when it comes to preparing them properly…in a way that they taste good. I know I have to will power not to have meat, but I need to know how to make vegetables tasty. I bought a banana squash the other day and I am going to have it for dinner. Do have any suggestions on great ways to prepare veggies or any good vegetarian cook books? Also, because I am not a prior veggie person, I am clueless when it comes to vegetables. I only know the basic ones, you know, broccoli, cabbage, corn, green beans, cucumbers, the very basics, so I am also up to learning about all kinds of veggies (I bought the banana squash because it looked good, but I had never even heard of it before!! I know I am horrible!) :
post #2 of 8
You might find it easier to transition if you stick, initially, with the veggies you like and are most familiar with. Otherwise you could become frustrated as you learn to cook some of the less familiar items.

The thing that helped me the most was planning like a week's worth of meals (from a cookbook) that looked good to me. I just bought the ingredients, made em, ate em, and voila... a week passed and I was vegetarian.

A great book for the transition is Lean and Luscious and Meatless. It's a vegetarian cookbook but it happens to have a lot of vegan items in there (I'm vegan so I like that). But it's a great book for transition.

Besides veggies, you'll be eating fruit (try fruit smoothies) and nuts, grains, legumes, and seeds. Try a baguette of sourdough bread dipped in roasted red pepper hummus from Cedarlane. To die for! That is my one weakness. It's vegan, but well... bread... you know... and the whole loaf in one sitting. :

Anyway, good luck! Take it one day at a time. And good for you!
post #3 of 8
good for you for trying this! when i was learning to cook i found mollie katzen's moosewood cookbooks to be inspiring. i got ideas, and her style of writing encourages you to substitute and not worry. i'd suggest "still life with menu" which also has great tips for meal planning.

do you have a favorite ethnic cuisine? you could find a vegetarian cookbook from that cuisine, turn to the index, and find recipes involving familiar ingredients.

you said you are ot a fan of veggies--what about lgumes and grains? i have recently borrowed "fresh from the vegetarian slow cooker", a cookbook with amazing recipes for one pot, bean & grain meals.

happy eating
post #4 of 8
This sounds really superficial but I googled all kinds of sites looking for inspiration, there is so much info on becoming vegetarian. This is a silly one,

There are many more, much more interesting and informative sites. I just can't remember any...


Another example of stuff on the net. I wish I could find the aryvedic site that really changed my eating habits...it was amazing.

Another thing I found interesting was looking back on historical figures..Leoardo da Vinci....Franz Kafka, Plato...tons of great thinkers and writers were vegetarian. It sounds silly but I found that inspiring..feel free to completely ignore this post!

Good for you and good luck!
post #5 of 8
I hear you sister!!!!

I am pretty picky about which veggies I will eat and I can't stand fruit at all :. My favorite cookbook is Vegetarian Planet. If you just find new ways to prepare your favorite veggies and occasionally try something new you will be okay. I learned that I do like cauliflower after roasting it at high heat with olive oil and garlic.
post #6 of 8
In my opinion the absolute best vegetarian cookbook is “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” by Deborah Madison. In addition to lots of simple and creative recipes, she has tons of general information about cooking basic things. There is a whole section on vegetables, for instance, that gives basic preparation instructions and tips of what other flavors complement the veggie. There is also a general section on cooking different beans and grains. My DH, who is not much of a cook, uses this section religiously when it comes to preparing dinner. I even recommend this book to people who aren’t vegetarians because it is a great kitchen reference- and so much more than a collection of recipes.
post #7 of 8
You might also want to start with dishes that are naturally vegetarian and familiar to you and your family like:

Split Pea Soup
Minestrone Soup
Rice and Bean burrittos
black bean soup
pasta dishes with veggies (Add beans or toasted nuts for protein)
post #8 of 8
You know, vegetarians eat a lot of stuff that isn't vegetables! Vegans, too!

I would probably follow Cathe's idea and also make some stuff that you like with meat, but a veggie version. I would make a list of your top 20 favorite meals and then look to see how you could alter them to make them veggie without changing them too much. You can also see where it's possible to add veggies to them. So if you're having spaghetti with meat sauce you can have spaghetti with marinara and something like Yves' Ground Round fake meat and sautee some chopped up veggies with lots of onions and garlic to add to the sauce in small pieces.

I really like making lentil and rice pilaf - it's a one-dish meal, and you can add whichever veggies you want to it. We have onions, garlic, carrots, sometimes celery, green beans, etc.

Seitan makes a wonderful meat substitute and it's easy to cook. We use whitewaves' Chicken-style and break it into pieces and cook on md-high heat with olive oil, garlic, and red peppers. It's just like chicken nd you can serve it with a variety of grains, pastas, and veggies.

We also make lots of tacos, burritos, and taco bowls - beans, rice, avocado, salsa, onion, sour cream, cheese, and if you want, some of the seitan but in smaller pieces cooked with cumin and some cayenne.

Some great cookbooks:

Vegan Mediterranean
The vegetarian meat and potatoes cookbook

Personally, I prefer to stick with specific regions/countries and make veggie versions of that food rather than the more general veggie cookbooks.

Going out to eat:

Mexican/other Central American countries
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