Intro to Vegetarianism (for Carnivores)

BrianBrian says:

I’m not a vegetarian nor do I ever want to be. That is not to say that I’m judging those who have decided to take the road less traveled and have sworn off meat. In an ideal world, both meat lovers and veg-heads would come together in a peaceful and happy medium; drum circles and maypole dances would be mandatory. But we live life in the real world and know there is heavy and palpable contention between the two factions. Luckily, there are some ways to ease the tension in the kitchen and hopefully learn from one another:

There’s more to “meat” than, well, meat…

When you hear the word “meat” in the kitchen, the majority of  us conjure up fantasies of slow-cooked beef brisket, slathered pork chops, and deep-fried chicken. A great deal of vegetarians don’t eat read meats or poultry, but some -pescatarians- still indulge in fish and other types of seafood, so there’s still an opportunity for you to enjoy a veggie-based meal with all the protein richness of a meaty one.

More cheese, please!

Carnivores often forget that dairy is an excellent source of protein and can make good things taste even better. For example, instead of topping pasta with a meat-based red sauce, you could opt for a cream-based Alfredo sauce. For some extra pizazz, throw in some garlic-butter sauteed mushrooms to add texture and flavor. Cheese can serve as the base or as an accent for many dishes in the cooking world. Sprinkle some feta on a slice of cheese pizza for an added dimension or grate fresh Parmesan on a simple pasta dish to add protein.

Edamame. Wait? What did you call my mama?

Probably one of the most nutritious snack alternatives you’ll come across (it actually enriches the soil that it grows in), edamame goes great over a salad, in stir fry or simply steamed with a slight sprinkling of salt to taste. Granted, edamame is basically just immature soy beans but these bad boys carry a whopping 12 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce serving.

This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive guide, just a look casual look at vegetarianism for those who still aren’t convinced the grass is greener on the other side. There are plenty of other alternatives that can improve your health without having to resort to eating anything short of actual grass…

Brian Wilder is a writer for Home Ec 101. You can also find him at Things My Grandfather Taught Me.
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Related posts:

On the Merits of Being a Part-Time Vegetarian

Meatless Meal Ideas


  1. Amanda on April 21, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    You are worried about recommending eggs, which are really nutritious, but you give pasta alfredo as a good example of vegetarian food? Hmmm. Not the most helpful post.

    • Brian Jacobi Wilder on April 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm

      I was more so recommending dairy based dishes (especially ones using cheese) as a healthy alternative. Eggs are fine, but they can be unhealthy if not used in moderation…

  2. Staci on April 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Anyone interested in cutting out meat, should try experimenting with more international foods. Middle eastern, asian, and mexican dishes are often high in protein with out having meat as the centerpiece.
    My recent post Debt Free and Guilty!

  3. Brian Jacobi Wilder on April 21, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I tried to avoid mentioning eggs because although they're high in protein, they're also high in cholesterol and fat…

  4. Julie on April 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Mmm, cheese.

    Other good sources of protein that are often forgotten… whole grains, eggs, nuts, and beans/legumes. My husband and I call ourselves "mostly vegetarian" because we do eat fish or poultry a couple of times a week but try to focus our menu plans around meatless meals.

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