With so many processed and chemical-laden foods on the market these days, most containing animal products or by-products, more and more people are turning to vegetarianism or veganism. The vegetarian diet excludes most or all animal products, while a vegan diet excludes all animal products and by-products entirely.
There is concern that either of these diets will result in deficiencies in the nutrients the body needs to be healthy and to function properly. The fact is, with proper attention to the foods consumed, a vegetarian or vegan diet can be every bit as healthy as a “regular” diet. More so, according to some. Broccoli, beans raisins and tofu can provide the body with the necessary iron it needs to produce healthy red blood cells. Calcium can be found in almonds, leafy dark greens such as kale, and soybeans. Protein can be obtained from sources such as peanut butter, soy milk, and grains. There is no longer a reason to avoid a vegetarian/vegan diet for fear of nutrient loss; it just takes a bit of planning. Here are a few healthy and delicious recipes that will please even the pickiest vegetarian:
CHIPOTLE-STYLE BLACK BEAN BURRITOS
1 TBSP pure canola oil
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbsp. fresh or jar salsa
6 flour tortillas (10-inch)
1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce
6 TBSP thinly-sliced green onions
6 TBSP sour cream
Over medium heat, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add garlic. Simmer for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add the chili powder and salt; stir. Simmer for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Mix in the beans and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in salsa. Mash bean mixture with a fork, leaving some lumps. Add to mixture. Set aside.
Warm tortillas in a 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. Spread 1/4 cup of the bean mixture in the center of each tortilla. Top with 2 Tablespoons cheese, 1/4 cup tomato, 1/4 cup lettuce, 1/2 Tablespoon green onion, and 1 1/2 Tablespoon of sour cream; roll up.
For some fun and delicious vegetarian/vegan lunches to pack for the kids, try these ideas:
• Veggie Pig in A Blanket: Wrap a veggie dog snugly in a crescent roll; bake for 10-12 minutes. Pack for lunch with some ketchup, mustard, or Ranch for dipping.
• Burrito Roll-Ups: Spread flour tortillas with 2 TBSP. Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese; add diced veggies such as carrots, celery, etc., roll up, and slice into spirals.
• Mini English Muffin Pizzas: (Wonder Bread makes a great vegan muffin) Top each English muffin with one Tablespoon of pizza sauce, one slice of soy cheese, mushrooms, chopped onions, and veggie pepperoni.