Read these 31 Vegetarian Cooking Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Vegetarian tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you prefer to cook your vegetables you should know how to test them to be sure they are neither undercooked or overcooked.
Steam or boil until your greens are tender but still a little crispy. After about 4 minutes of cooking test them by piercing a small piece with the tip of a sharp knife, or take a bite and if it resists slightly then they are ready. To stop cooking as well as maintain their color, rinse with cold water immediately after draining.
Whenever cooking with fresh herbs, be sure to wash herbs well. Dirt and soil will hide in crevices and leaf centers. Even a few granules of dirt can spoil a delicate dish. For large bunches of herbs, bathe the leaves in a bowl of cool water, then dry them well
on paper towels before using.
If you want to use fresh tomatoes, but all you can find are tasteless, out-of-season ones, you can freshen canned tomatoes and liven up their taste in order to make them into a viable substitute. Simply drain a can of plum tomatoes and cut each one into 2 or 3 slices. Place them in a shallow glass dish and pour orange juice on top. Refrigerate overnight, then drain, chop and use for your favorite recipe. Great on pizza.
For each 1/2 cup soaked beans, do the following:
1) Put the beans in a large pot and add 4 cups water.
2) Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that forms on the surface.
3) Turn down the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until you can pierce the beans with a knife. This will take anywhere from an hour (kidney beans, pinto beans, chickpeas) to an hour and 40 minutes (black beans, white beans).
Note: To cook lentils, refer to specific recipes.
To keep yourself from getting into a diet rut, choose a different cookbook each month to plan your meals around. There is a real abundance of vegetarian cookbooks out there, and you will find recipes you never would have otherwise thought of. Plan your meals ahead of time, and make sure you have the necessary ingredients on hand.
More than likely you'll be pleasantly surprised to find the planning, cooking and preparing of vegetarian foods to be fun, simple, convenient, and less costly than you are used to. It just takes a shift in thinking and a few variations. And, just like meal planning in general, it can be as simple or elaborate as you make it.
To cool food quickly and evenly, spread it out and make more surface area by transferring it to a shallower pan or dividing it among several small shallow containers. You could also try placing the hot pan in the sink on a cooling rack with cool water running underneath it. You can help hot liquids like soups and sauces cool by stirring them constantly.
Soaking beans serves two functions. It cuts the cooking time by up to half and it makes the beans easier to digest. When you throw out the soaking liquid, you are getting rid of much of the indigestible sugars that cause gas. Also, the beans retain their nutrients.
1) Rinse the beans in a sieve and pick through them, throwing out any pebbles or discolored beans you may find. 2) Put them in a large pot and add enough water to cover them by at least an inch. 3) Cover and refrigerate overnight. Drain any remaining water, and add fresh water for cooking.
For a quicker version:
1) Rinse beans, put them in a large pot, and add water to cover them by an inch. 2) Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, lower, the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. 3) Turn off the heat and let the beans sit, covered, for 1 hour. Drain the soaking water, and add fresh water for cooking.
In many recipes, you can create your own egg substitute by any of the following methods: use one ounce of mashed tofu; use 1/2 mashed banana in sweet recipes; mix one tablespoon of flax meal with two tablespoons water; or use one tablespoon of cornstarch or arrowroot mixed with two tablespoons of water. These techniques will help the recipe to "bind" when eggs are included for that purpose.
When you modify a recipe, use a pencil to make notes on the original recipe of what substitutions you made and how much of each ingredient you used. After tasting the dish, write down suggestions for improvements or any minor adjustments you'd like to make next time. Whenever you make an adjustment, erase and update your notes on the recipe.
Modern pressure cookers are a great tool and can make cooking vegetarian meals very convenient. They seal in nutrients, reduce cooking time, and cut down on the number of pots needed. They are definitely a worthy investment if you would like to make meal preparation faster and easier.
The key to preparing great meals, however, isn't just having the food, it's being prepared. There are some things that a good kitchen just shouldn't be without and the following list is composed of these things:
More and more folks nowadays are choosing to go vegetarian and for many different reasons. Some choose this diet for political reasons, others for reasons of ethics, and still others simply because of the health benefits. Let's look at the celebrity chefs that identify with this diet!
1. Jason Wrobel - Mr. Wrobel is a raw food chef who happens to be vegetarian. He attained his fame for his dishes based off of plants and will soon be taking over a show on the Cooking Channel. As far as being a Chef goes, making it to network television is one of the peaks of the career!
2. Tai Ronnen - One of the most renowned celebrity vegetarian Chefs around. He has done most of his work out of L.A. and the Madeleine Bistro. He has cooked for everyone in Hollywood, including Oprah.
3. Laura Theodore - Also known as the "Jazzy Vegetarian", Laura has gained her fame through her singing abilities, hosting talents, and her cooking. She has a cook book in stores and a radio show to broadcast her thoughts.
4. Isa Moskowitz - Isa stood at the forefront of vegetarian cooking when her decision to ditch meat and animal products in the '80s brought her to critical acclaim. She has a huge personality and her work as an activist, which led her to her TV Show, Post Punk Kitchen, makes her a great ambassador for green food.
5. Alice Waters - Is the owner of the Chez Panisse. She is a famous chef, writer, and owner. She started vegetarian education with her school "The Edible School Yard"
Many celebrities are vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarians do not eat meat, vegans take that lifestyle a step further and refuse to consume any products that come from animals, including butter, cream, milk. In the strictest form of the lifestyle, vegans won't wear leather/silk/wool or fur. For some it's a passing phase, for others its a permanent lifestyle change, here are a few celebs that made the commitment:.
These are just a few of the celebrities who are vegan. Whether they want to get healthy or advocate for animals, being a vegetarian is all over Hollywood and won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
Because of the tiny minority of people with celiac disease (currently estimated at 1 out of 133 people in the U.S.), and another five to ten percent who have some form of gluten intolerance, gluten has been receiving very bad press. Many people whose bodies have no trouble at all with gluten may still assume that it presents a health hazard.
This is simply untrue. For most vegetarians, the gluten in good bread provides a wholesome form of protein. One ounce of vital wheat gluten provides 21 grams of protein and eight percent of the average daily iron requirement. In addition, of the 104 calories in this ounce of gluten, only four of those calories are from fat. And gluten is an excellent source of selenium, which is helpful in protecting the body's cardiovascular system.
Buying gluten flour and adding a few tablespoonfuls it to whole-grain bread recipes will produce loaves of superior texture and far greater nutritive value.
It's true that you could never get through every great vegetarian food recipe out there but that doesn't mean that preparing one will take you hours on end. Choosing to prepare a fabulous vegetarian dish doesn't have to entail slaving away in the kitchen. In fact, many veggie recipes can be pulled off in less than thirty minutes.
By taking a short trip to you local library, browsing the Internet, or picking up a simple cookbook at the bookstore, you can easily put together a collection of quick and delicious meatless meals to keep in your kitchen. If you really don't have the time to cook at all, there are countless preprepared packaged vegetarian dishes available as well.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|