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Delicious Vegetarian Meals

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Who says vegetarian has to be boring? In Southeast Asia, it is commonly thought there is only one (ie. boring) way to cook vegetables (ie. stir-fried). However, whether you are considering going vegetarian for health, budget, or philosophical reasons, there are myriads of appetizing ways to prepare nutrient-rich veggies to create tantalizing, meat-free meals!

Soup – Malaysians may be more familiar with broth-based concoctions flavoured by simmering meat and bones for many hours; however, there is more to vegetable soups than the ubiquitous but boring canned mushroom soup. While the thought of whipping up pumpkin soup or minestrone might sound daunting for some, these hearty soups are actually almost as simple as throwing ingredients into a pot and letting them boil. For vegetable soup recipes, go here.

Roasted – Roasting and grilling brings out a robust, smoky flavour especially suited to roots (potato, sweet potato), squash (pumpkin, zucchini) and peppers (capsicum). A simple sprinkling of herbs and a dash of olive oil will bring roasted dishes to a whole new level. For roasted vegetable recipes, go here.

Stews and casseroles – Nothing makes a house smell more like a home than a warm casserole cooking on the stove. The ultimate in comfort food, casseroles can range from the sumptuous French ratatouille, made famous by the Pixar film, to rich, savoury bean stews like chilli con carne sans the beef. Beans are a vastly underrated food source that is not only cheap but also packed with nutrients and a high fibre content that will leave you feeling satiated long after your meal. Also try serving stews with herb dumplings or assembling ratatouille into a vegetarian lasagne.

Salads – If the word ‘salad’ conjures up unappetizing images of a few withered lettuce leaves tossed in with some slices of tomatoes, it’s time to expand your horizons. Salads are perhaps one of the most versatile dishes that allow you to push your creativity to the limit in terms of both taste and presentation. Instead of the usual leafy greens, other tasty items to add to your salads are croutons (bread cubes fried in olive oil), eggs,pasta, beans, and mushrooms. Then there are the dressings; why settle for boring Thousand Island when you can easily whip together a few ingredients to make French dressing (olive oil and balsamic vinegar infused with some herbs and garlic), honey mustard dressing (olive oil mixed with Dijon mustard, honey, and pepper), or yogurt dressing (yogurt blended with garlic, salt, and pepper)? For salad recipes, go here.

Pestos – We are blessed with an abundance of fresh herbs (Thai basil, parsley, coriander, etc.) that can be bought at local markets / supermarkets for next to nothing. Why bother buying bottled pestos when you can make your own? Simply blend the herbs together with olive oil and nuts (pine nuts, cashew nuts, etc.) and some cheese (optional), and you have yourself a decadent sandwich spread or a delicious pesto to mix into some steaming hot pasta. Try a coriander pesto recipe here.

 

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