Saturday, July 31, 2010

What Veg?

Following my last post, I ALSO often get asked what I usually eat as a vegetarian, and how I get my protein. Well, again, this site has (or will have in future postings!) a lot of my favorite dishes, but I thought I'd also list some of my favorite ingredients and products. Of course, a lot of it depends on the season and/or where you live (fresh is ALWAYS best!), but here are some of my staples:

  • Beans, beans, and more beans: Northern beans, Cannellini beans, Whole Foods refried beans with chile and lime, Bush's vegetarian baked beans
  • Edamame (soybeans- you can find shelled frozen ones in most grocery stores. My new thing is adding them to salads or as a pre-dinner snack with some sea salt on them)
  • Asparagus (fresh!)
  • Artichokes (I've re-discovered these- I really only like them fresh, not canned or frozen- fun to eat and yummy! When steaming them whole, try adding the juice of 1/2 a lemon to the water, and forgo the traditional butter dip- if they are fresh, they don't need it!)
  • Corn (fresh or frozen, NEVER canned)
  • Orange tomatoes (a nice change to the regular red, and a great pop of color to any salad)
  • Parsnips (OMG, I love Parsnips. Peel 'em, steam 'em, eat 'em).
  • Spinach
  • Snow peas (so crunchy, they make for a good chip substitute as an app with dips, or in your salad)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (they add a great flavor to almost any dish)
  • Avocado (yep, it's a fruit; my husband inaccurately calls it "the butter of vegetables"- at least the 'butter of' part is right. Rich in omega-3's, avocados are a healthy indulgence)
  • Mango (interesting side note: Did you know the inner peel of the mango contains an oil related to that found in poison ivy? I found this out one summer after sticking my face in a mango peel to suck the juice out. I woke up the next morning to Angelina Jolie-sized lips, which would have been great, except that the swelling was caused by tons of tiny itchy painful bumps that were not only all over my lips but also surrounded them and were all over my hands. Now I can only have mango that has been cut for me.... earning me "princess" status in the mango department)
Grains & starches:
Dairy & spreads:
  • Greek yogurt (Fage Total brand, 0% - try it mixed with some fresh or dried fruit and a few walnuts- a great breakfast or snack since it's so low in sugar. It might take a little while to get used to the tangy flavor and whipped consistency, but most yogurt is loaded with way too much sugar so this is a much healthier option)
  • Cottage cheese, either non-fat or low-fat (excellent source of protein if you eat dairy. My favorite brand: Cabot!)
  • Sabra brand hummus (it's the smoothest, creamiest, best hummus!)
Herbs & Spices:
  • Basil (just about everything basil touches tastes good. Don't know what it goes with? Find the book Culinary Artistry- it is the ingredient bible to figuring out what flavors go together).
  • Dill- I also like dill a lot, but it's a tricky thing for me. I usually end up adding too much, and dill can go on a power trip, over taking your dish. Be forewarned!
  • Spike seasoning- a good addition to any veggie household- easy to add flavor to tofu, broccoli, or other veggies.
That's just a sampling. I love big salads filled with as many veggies as you can pile in, and dried fruit too (cranberries, figs, dates, golden and regular raisins- all good additions to a salad). I'm not gonna lie, there are more than a few times a month we have something like frozen pizza or your basic mac & cheese, but it's always good to add peas, broccoli, and/or spinach to get the green in. I also eat my fair share of protein & power bars (new fav: Power Bar's Smoothie flavor) as a filling fast breakfast or sometimes as a snack. And, I could probably eat cereal (has to be 2 types mixed, and with Silk light vanilla soymilk) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I try to stay away from that :-)

Finally, I have a new favorite dessert:
Mochi icecream (Find it at Whole Foods (Bubbles brand) or Trader Joe's. It ain't cheap, but it's different and yummy).

Now that we're through with that, we'll get back to the recipes!

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