Being a Vegetarian During BBQ Season – Nutrilicious

It’s that time of year! Barbecue Season!

Barbecue season is upon us!  Can you be vegetarian and still enjoy all the joys that barbecuing in the great outdoors bring? Absolutely!

 

While you know the ins and outs of cooking vegetarian foods like preparing tofu stir fries and pasta with beans but the barbecue has always been a bit of a mystery. Though we traditionally think about the barbecue for burgers, steaks, chicken and fish, there are lots of options for those who choose a vegetarian or plant-based diet.  Yes, you can always buy prepared veggie burgers or hot dogs. The food companies that make these burgers and dogs have been finding ways to make these products more and more appetizing, gaining acceptance from some meat eaters and fueling the growth of the global meat alternatives market. However, they are highly processed, contain many unfamiliar ingredients and are usually loaded with salt. I will admit though, I do keep a package of frozen veggie dogs in the freezer over the summer for when we get invited to a barbecue and I don’t have much time (or feel like) preparing something from scratch. Once in a while is okay.

Are you worried you won’t be included in any backyard bashes because your friends and family don’t know what to feed your vegetarian daughter? Worried she will be stuck eating just the salad? Well, fret no more. There are loads of options for us vegetarians.

Beyond just grilled vegetables, the natural, easy-to-prepare option is barbecue tofu or tempeh.  If you have a favourite marinade, it will also work well.  For our family, some good quality prepared barbecue sauce and organic tofu usually does the trick. We simply cut the tofu into ½ inch thick blocks and marinate in the sauce for a few hours. The same can be done with tempeh, cut it into thick strips, though I have found that kids usually prefer tofu.

You can really grill more than the typical barbecue-type foods. You can use the grill as you would the oven or stove.

Here are a few options for fun, vegetarian-friendly grilling:

. Make veggie kebabs with cubes of tofu or halloumi cheese

. Grill veggies to make vegetarian quesadillas and then cook prepared quesadilla on the grill

. Prepare homemade pizza and cook on the grill

. Buy a vegetable basket or use a wok to make a stir fry on the barbecue

. Grill portobello mushrooms and use them as a stand-in for burgers

. Grill sandwiches – try using flatbreads, panini or even pita

. Make homemade veggie burgers using chickpeas, black beans or quinoa

. Cut cooked polenta into thick slabs and grill

When we are invited to barbeques, I usually ask for our meal to be cooked first, before the animal proteins hit the grill. I most often bring the vegetarian option to alleviate any stress from our host. That way I know exactly what we are going to eat and don’t worry about cross contamination. Though some people aren’t fussed, I personally don’t like to think my food has touched meat.

Summer is a great time to expand your veggie-loving barbecue skills. So turn that grill on, and start experimenting!  And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

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Grillin’ Like A (Vegetarian) Boss – Nutrilicious

It’s that time of year! Barbecue Season!

Here is a copy of a blog post about barbecuing that I wrote for Eco Parent:

Barbecue season is upon us!  Can you be vegetarian and still enjoy all the joys that barbecuing in the great outdoors bring? Absolutely!

Most of us are fairly comfortable preparing vegetarian meals like tofu stir fries and pasta with beans but summertime barbequing can feel like a bit of a mystery. Though we traditionally think about the barbecue for burgers, steaks, chicken and fish, there are lots of options for those who choose a vegetarian or plant-based diet.  Sure, you can always buy prepared veggie burgers or hot dogs. There are plenty of options out there, some of them pretty darn tasty that even meat lovers won’t turn their noses up at. Unfortunately, many of them can be highly processed, full of unfamiliar ingredients, and are usually loaded with salt. However, if you find a reasonable brand, keeping a package of frozen veggie dogs on hand for those last-minute barbeque invitations, or those nights when you don’t feel like cooking from scratch, can be a great way to solve an otherwise stressful situation.

The summer barbecue isn’t just for meat anymore! In fact, there are loads of options for vegetarians, or even just those who’d like to eat meat less often.

Tofu on the grill!

Beyond just grilled vegetables, a super-quick, easy-to-prepare option is barbecue tofu or tempeh. All you need is some good quality prepared barbecue sauce and organic tofu. Simply cut the tofu into ½ inch thick blocks and marinate in the sauce for a few hours. The same can be done with tempeh!  If you want to switch things up a bit, substitute the barbeque sauce for a favourite marinade!

But don’t stop there! You can really grill more than just veggies and tofu! You can use the grill as you would the oven or stove.

Creative BBQ: veggie style!

Here are a few options for fun, vegetarian-friendly grilling:

. Make veggie kebabs with cubes of tofu or halloumi cheese

. Grill veggies to make vegetarian quesadillas and then cook prepared quesadilla on the grill

. Prepare homemade pizza and cook on the grill

. Buy a vegetable basket or use a wok to make a stir fry on the barbeque

. Grill portabello mushrooms and use them as a stand-in for burgers

. Grill sandwiches – try using flatbreads, panini or even pita

. Make homemade veggie burgers using chickpeas, black beans or quinoa

. Cut cooked polenta into thick slabs and grill

When hitting up friends’ barbeques this summer:

Sometimes it’s best to bring your own vegetarian option. A great way to do this is to offer to bring something to the barbeque! Then everyone gets the pleasure of a little extra veggie goodness!

If you are concerned with cooking your vegetarian option on a meat-covered grill when visiting friends’ houses, simply ask to have your meal grilled first. That way, you can feel more comfortable and it’ll help alleviate any stress your host might have.

Summer is a great opportunity to expand your veggie-loving barbecue skills. So get out there, turn that grill on, and start experimenting!

And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter!

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17 Meatless Recipes That Are Perfect for Grilling Season

https://healthynibblesandbits.com/

Anyone who’s ever been to a barbecue knows they’re not always the most vegetarian-friendly gatherings. If you’re lucky, your host will have a few veggie burgers or corn cobs on the grill. But more often than not, it’ll be greasy, meaty hot dogs and burgers as far as the eye can see.

Whether you’re vegetarian or not, having a few meatless options to choose from at a summer barbecue never hurts. And the thing is, it’s actually easier than you realize to throw something together. Most vegetables taste better with a nice char on them, so you can put anything from mushrooms to romaine lettuce straight onto the grill and expect great results. Plus, vegetarian favorites like tofu and halloumi (a type of cheese that won’t melt when you grill it) take less time to prepare than your average chicken breast or burger.

Of course, if you feel like getting fancy with it, there are exciting options like grilled pizzas and homemade veggie burgers that will help you flex your cooking skills. Whatever type of meatless, summertime recipe you’re looking for, you’re sure to find something you love in these 17 recipes. Bring them to a party or serve them at your own and watch the crowd go wild.

https://naturallyella.com

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Grilled Beet and Hummus Pitas from Naturally Ella

The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to mix and match. If you’re not into beets, you can use almost any grilled vegetable that you prefer. Keep a stack of pita bread and a bowl of hummus out so that guests can build the sandwiches themselves. Get the recipe here.

https://www.loveandlemons.com

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Grilled Tofu Tacos from Love and Lemons

Prep the slaw and the creamy cashew sauce before so all you have to do at the barbecue is grill the tofu. Or if you’re prepping this to eat during the week, add the slaw and the sauce to your Sunday meal prep plan. Get the recipe here.

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What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian? – Nutrilicious

With all the news in the press these days about vegetarian and vegan diets, I thought I’d give you a brief description of what these diets are all about and how they differ.  These diets really seem to be in the news a lot these days both for their health and environmental benefits. Here is the scoop:

The word ‘vegetarian’ has been around since the mid 1800s while the word ‘vegan’ was only created in 1944. Fast forward to today, over 7o years later and the Huffington Post is reporting that plant-based diets will be the hottest trend in 2018. It has taken the world a long time to wake up and see the benefits of these diets that were once considered extreme or weird.

So, what is the difference between a vegan and vegetarian diet? Someone who follows a vegetarian diet doesn’t eat animal flesh but may consume other animal-based foods like eggs and dairy.  Someone who follows a vegan diet avoids all products with any connection whatsoever to animals, even honey. For some vegans their rejection of all things animal extends to hair and beauty products made with animal ingredients such as lanolin from sheep, cleaning products that have been tested on animals and shoes or clothes made with leather or wool.

While research has shown that following a vegan or vegetarian diet has many health benefits, it is important to make sure the nutrients found in animal products are replaced with good quality substitutions. A nutritionally balanced plan would include a variety of plant-based proteins, sources of iron and calcium and vitamins B-12 and D.

Here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the maximum benefit of a vegan or vegetarian diet:

. Eat a variety of plant-based foods to ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients

. Stock a vegetarian/vegan-friendly pantry and fridge so healthy options are at hand

. Eat real food and minimize the processed, packaged vegetarian/vegan foods

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Are there unhealthy vegetarian foods? – Nutrilicious

Vegetarian diets are touted for their many health benefits but you can also eat lots of unhealthy food on a vegetarian diet.  The grocery store is full of packaged, processed vegetarian foods with long and complicated ingredient lists.  As with any healthy diet we want to stick to the perimeter of the grocery store and minimize the amount of food we buy from the middle aisles.

A few key watch-outs for those choosing vegetarian food:

Faux meats:

Faux meats including bologna slices, ham and bacon are definitely easy vegetarian sandwich options. However, they are super processed and come with a long list of unpronounceable components including artificial ingredients, preservatives, oils and salt. Some healthier sandwich options include:

. hummus and veggies

. avocado, lettuce and tomato

. nut butter and banana

. mozzarella cheese, pesto and tomato

. tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato

 

Alongside faux meat comes veggie burgers and veggie hotdogs. They are also highly processed and contain way too many ingredients to count. These too should not be eaten on a regular basis.  However, there has been lots of product innovation in the veggie burger category and more and more new burgers are reaching the grocery stores these days. Most of the new products I have seen are frozen and have really simple, clean ingredient lists so read labels carefully. Homemade veggie burgers are easy to make so look for recipes online, make a batch and keep them in the freezer. See recipe below.

 

Bread and pasta:

When people give up meat they sometimes look for quick, easy-to-prepare foods they know will fill them up like bread and pasta. The challenge here is these foods will spike blood sugar and leave you hungry soon after you finish eating. The best option is to look for breads and pastas made from whole grains which will take longer to digest thus keeping blood sugar levels stable longer. Also adding some clean vegetarian protein will help stave off those hunger pangs.

 

Nuts and seeds:

Nuts and seeds are great sources of vitamins, minerals and even protein. For those following a vegetarian diet adding nuts or seeds to meals or as a snack can really increase your nutrient intake. However, you want to make sure you buy raw, if possible, unsalted/unseasoned nuts and seeds as some seasonings contain high amounts of salt, sugar, oil and even msg.

 

Protein powders:

One of the most common, though sometimes unfounded, concerns for those following a vegetarian diet is protein intake. Some people choose to add protein powder to their morning smoothies. These protein powders can be made from whey, pea or brown rice which are all vegetarian sources however they may also contain not-so-healthy ingredients, are highly processed and may contain added sugars and artificial ingredients. To add protein to smoothies consider nuts or seeds (hemp is my personal favourite as you can even buy hemp protein powder), nut or seed butters or even silken tofu or soy milk.

Following a vegetarian diet shouldn’t post too many challenges as long as you eat good quality, whole foods. If you are looking for tips and tricks about vegetarian diets, sign up for my newsletter. Or if you have any questions you can email me at karen@nutrilicious.ca.

 

 

 

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15 Healthy Meatless Instant Pot Dinners

https://pinchofyum.com

The main draw of an Instant Pot is that it can cook things way faster than normal. It also functions as a slow-cooker and a yogurt- and rice-maker, but its pressure cooking function is its biggest claim to fame. With it, you can make stews and braises that might have once needed hours in just an hour—often even less than that. (If you don’t already have one, you can get one here!)

Since things like stews, braises, and other meaty dishes are generally what take the longest to make, most Instant Pot recipes focus on those kinds of recipes. That means there’s not a lot of Instant Pot inspiration out there for vegetarians or anyone who wants to eat meatless once in a while.

We rounded up 15 vegetarian recipes that speed up the cook time of meatless ingredients like beans, lentils, and whole grains. And since these ingredients are packed with essential nutrients like fiber, protein, and healthy carbs, these meals are all pretty darn healthy, too.

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