Vegetarian cuisine refers to food that meets vegetarian standards by excluding meat and animal tissue products. For lacto-ovo vegetarianism (the most common type of vegetarianism in the Western world), dairy products such as eggs, milk, and cheese are permitted. The strictest form of vegetarianism is veganism, which excludes all animal products, including dairy products as well as honey, and even some refined sugars if filtered and whitened with bone char.
Vegetarian foods can be classified into two different types:
- Traditional foods that have always been vegetarian (Cereals/grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.)
- Meat analogues, which mimic the taste, texture, and appearance of meat and are often used in recipes that traditionally contained meat. Vegans may also use analogues for eggs and dairy products. Tofu and textured vegetable protein (TVP) are two types of analogues.
Foods used in vegetarian cuisine
Food usually regarded as suitable for all types of the vegetarian cuisine usually include:
- Cereals/grains: maize, corn, wheat, rice, barley, sorghum, millet, oats, rye, triticale, buckwheat, fonio, quinoa; derived products such as flour (dough, bread, pasta, baked goods)
- Vegetables (fresh or pickled) and mushrooms (though some strict Indian vegetarians do not eat mushrooms); derived products such as vegetable fats and oils
- Fruit (fresh or dried)
- Legumes: beans (including soybeans and soy products such as tofu, soy milk, and TVP), chickpeas, peas, lentils, peanuts)
- Tree nuts and seeds
- Spices and herbs
- Other foods such as olives, seaweed
- Dairy products (milk, butter, cheese, yogurt)—not eaten by vegans
Cuisine that is traditionally vegetarian
These are some of the most common dishes that vegetarians eat without substitution of ingredients. Such dishes include, from breakfasts to dinnertime desserts:
- Many pasta, rice, bean, potato and bulgur/cous cous dishes, stews, soups and stir fries.
- Cereals and oatmeals, granola bars, donuts
- Fresh fruit and most salads
- Potato salad, baba ganoush, pita-wraps or burrito-wraps, vegetable pilafs, baked potatoes or fried potato-skins with various toppings, corn on the cob, smoothies
- Many sandwiches, such as grilled cheese, and cold sandwiches including roasted eggplant, mushrooms, bell peppers, cheeses, avocado and other sandwich ingredients
- Many side dishes, such as mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes, some bread stuffings, seasoned rice, and macaroni and cheese.
- Classical Buddhist cuisine in Asia served at temples and restaurants with a green sign indicating vegetarian food only near temples
- Indian cuisine in Asia is replete with vegetarian dishes, many of which can be traced to religious traditions (such as Hindu Brahmins). Gujarati cuisine of India is predominantly vegetarian among other Indian cuisines.There are many vegetarian Indian foods such as pakora, samosa, khichris, Pulao, raitas, rasam, bengain bharta, chana masala, some kormas, sambars, jalfrezis, saag aloo, subji's (vegetable dishes) such as bindi subji, gobi subji, Punjabi chole, aloo matar and much South Indian food such as dosas, idlis and vadas. Chapati and other wheat/maida based breads like Naan, Roti Parathas are often stuffed with vegetarian items to make it a satisfying meal. Many Indian dishes also qualify as vegan, though many others also use honey or dairy.
- Spanish foods such as tumbet and many polentas and tapas dishes
- Mexican foods such as salsa & guacamole with chips, rice & bean burritos (without lard in the refried beans or chicken fat in the rice), many quesadillas, bean tacos, some chilaquiles and bean-pies, chili (no 'con carne'), black beans with rice, chiles rellenos, cheese enchiladas and vegetable fajitas.
- Italian foods such as most pastas, many pizzas, eggplant rotini, eggplant crostini, bruschetta, many risottos
- Continental cuisine such as ratatouille, braised leeks with olives and parsley, many quiches, sauteed Swiss chard, vegetable-stuffed mushrooms, sauteed Brussels sprouts with mushrooms and squash
- Many Balkan dishes, such as dolmas and spanakopita
- Some Russian and Slavic dishes, such as soups (vegetable borscht, shchi, okroshka), pirogi, blini, vareniki, kasha, buckwheat, fermented and pickled vegetables, etc.
- Many Ethiopian dishes
- Mideastern food such as falafel (fried chick pea flour), hummus (mashed chick peas), tahini (ground sesame seeds), minted-yogurts, and couscous
- Chinese (and other far-Eastern) dishes based on the main ingredients being mushroom, noodles, eggplant, string beans, broccoli, rice, tofu and/or mixed vegetables
- Japanese foods such as tempura, edamame, name kojiru, and vegetable sushi; in Japan however, vegetarian often means no meat, which however includes fish. Miso soup is made from fermented white or red soy bean paste and water, garnished with scallions and/or seaweed.
- Some Thai cuisine, including dishes such as pad kee maow and many Thai curries.
- Creole and Southern foods such as hush puppies, okra patties, rice and beans, or sauteed kale or collards, if not cooked with the traditional pork fat or meat stock.
- Some Welsh recipes, including Glamorgan sausages, Laverbread and Welsh rarebit.
- Many desserts, including pies, cobblers, cakes, brownies, cookies, truffles, rice-krispy/peanut butter treats (from gelatin-free marshmallows, or marshmallow fluff), pudding, rice pudding, ice cream, creme brulée, etc.
- Oriental confectionery and desserts, such as Halva, Lokum (aka Turkish Delight) are mostly vegan, such as Baklava at least vegetarian.
Cuisine that uses meat analogues
These are vegetarian versions of popular dishes that non-vegetarians enjoy and are frequently consumed as fast food, comfort food, transition food for new vegetarians, or a way to show non-vegetarians that they can be vegetarians while still enjoying their favorite foods. Many vegetarians just enjoy these dishes as part of a varied diet.
Some popular mock-meat dishes include:
- Veggie burgers (burgers usually made from grains, TVP, seitan (wheat gluten), tempeh, and/or mushrooms)
- In some cases, one can order a burger made without any mock-meat at all, see: "burgerless burger"
- Veggie dogs (usually made from TVP)
- Imitation sausage (soysage, various types of 'salami', 'bologna', 'pepperoni', et al., made of some form of soy)
- Mockmeat or 'meatyballs' (usually made from TVP)
- Vegetarian or meatless 'chicken' (usually made from seitan, tofu or TVP)
- Jambalaya (with mock sausage and mock chicken, usually made from TVP, seitan, or tempeh)
- Tomato Omelette where tomatoes and a paste of flour is used to produce a vegetable omelette without the use of eggs.
- Scrambled eggs where tofu is mashed and fried with spices (often including tumeric, for its strong yellow color) to produce a dish that is often nearly indistinguishable from eggs.
Note that choa tofu and tempeh are components in certain cuisines in their own right, and do not necessarily take the place of meat.
- Indian Vegetarian cuisine
- Chinese Buddhist cuisine
- English vegetarian cuisine
- French vegetarian cuisine
- Korean vegetarian cuisine
- Thai vegetarian cuisine
- Vietnamese vegetarian cuisine
- Vegan cuisine
- List of vegan foods
== External links ==
- VeggieBoards - Vegetarian forum and blogs
- "Vegetarian diet: A starter's guide to a plant-based diet" from the Mayo Clinic
- World guide to vegetarian dining, cooking tips, ingredient alternatives and recipes.
- Free Veg Recipes
- Fatfree vegan recipes
- - Veg Pulao
- Healthy Vegetarian Recipes