Search This Blog

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pasta and Salad: Not the Only Staples of a Vegan Diet

I am officially "outing" myself as a Food Network nerd.  My DVR, which once used to house many stupid, unoriginal sitcoms, now is filled with cooking shows and competitions.  I still don't know how to make them but I can now have an intelligent conversation about risotto, amuse bouche, balsamic reductions, and other fun tricks and dishes.

Why do I bring this up?  I'm glad you asked.  I was watching an episode of "The Next Food Network Star" when a team of competitors was asked to prepare a vegetarian meal.  Liza has always said that people love to feed vegetarians pasta and salad - I am beginning to notice this more and more in my healthy eating experience.  Sure enough, the two partners on the team decided to make a pasta dish and a salad.  It's as if these foods are the only ones that everyone, regardless of eating habits, can enjoy.

This brings me to my next point that was raised on the exact same episode.  A cook decided to create a tofu dish and the guest judge (Paula "Butter/Sugar/Chocolate" Dean) immediately told him he'd "be in for a rough day".  I can understand this sentiment because for many years, tofu was a completely taboo concept to me.  I didn't want to taste it, I didn't want to try it, I didn't want to have anything to do with it. And, sure enough, he made a dish that everyone (including Paula) loved.

My point being: although I am grateful for ANY meal that is graciously made for me, vegetarians (and vegans) eat good food and there is more than pasta and salad.

There's roasted veggies, grilled/BBQ'd veggies, all kinds of stir-fries, quinoa (an amazing superfood that is more like rice than pasta - stay tuned for further posts about it), soups, wraps, fake meats (we made Sloppy Joe's from fake ground meat and just kept saucing and seasoning until I truly couldn't tell the difference!), sandwiches, just to name a few.  Or, if you want to go with something that everyone likes - pizza!  There are COUNTLESS vegan and/or gluten-free pizza recipes and pre-made, frozen pizzas.  My favorite is Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza.

I was eating this pizza long before I became vegan and I am still addicted.  I know many would say that pizza is not pizza without cheese.  Believe me, I felt the same way.  But this sauce is amazing and I don't miss the cheese one bit.  It's still not totally fresh and shouldn't be eaten every day (note also that it is not gluten-free) but it's just another example of a familiar food that can be served to vegetarians and vegans.

So, I would like to open to floor.  Why is there this stigma that vegetarians and vegans are so hard to feed?  This is something that I've been wondering so I'd love to hear what everyone has to say.  Please do not be shy!

As always, thanks for reading, become a Follower, find me on Twitter (@Recon_Carnivore), and tell your friends!


  1. I think, for me, there's this idea that people who are vegetarian or vegan are super picky, and because pasta and salad is so versatile it's an easy way to go. I think there are a lot of stereotypes like that, though - like people who are thun never indulge and people who aren't must eat junk nonstop. When I have my vegetarian friends over, I love making Asian inspired food because it's what I'm most comfortable cooking and there are a ton of veggie options. I love lettuce wraps and steamed dumplings, for example. But I'm not your average person; I love adventerous cooking and I really enjoy exploring new foods. I think what it comes down to is the fear of offending; pasta and salad are easy, and no one gets hurt. :)

  2. Well put. I used to think that veggie/vegans are picky as well. I think, personally, that just came from not knowing any better and not really doing my homework. Now that I know better, I realize how easy it can be. Asian inspired food is a great idea. Tons of veggie options and tons of spices and sauces that can be used to jazz it up a little. It's really a fun, outside-the-box way to go if you commit to it. And, believe me, I am constantly terrified of offending people so I appreciate the thoughtfulness. But, again, with a little bit of research and creativity, anybody can create a meal that not only will be suitable and delicious for vegans, but for the entire dinner party. If anyone doubts it, just go onto Google, search a vegan version of a meal you enjoy, and watch what comes up. It can be done!