How to Become a Vegetarian: 6 Tips & Easy Recipes |

How to Become a Vegetarian: 6 Tips & Easy Recipes

By Veronica Bosgraaf, March 31, 2015,

So, you want to try to become a vegetarian but you have no idea where to start. Like grandma used to say, “Don’t take the whole bottle of aspirin.” Instead of overwhelming yourself, focus on these easy steps:

1. Start small, with one vegetarian day a week. Get on board with the Meatless Monday’s trend!
2. Nurture your vegetarian cravings. Discover the vegetarian foods you LOVE – is it guacamole or pesto pasta or creamy homemade almond milk? Eating what you love won’t feel like sacrifice!
3. Have a partner. Does your child, spouse, or friend have an interest in becoming a vegetarian? If so, two heads are better than one for support and recipes!
4. Invest in some good cookbooks. It is great to have delicious and simple ideas at your fingertips.
5. Plan ahead! What vegetarian meals do you want to make this week? If the ingredients are in the house it will more likely happen.
6.  Give yourself grace, if going vegetarian is just too much, the fact that you are eating more plant-based foods and less meat will still positively affect your health and the planet!

Here are some delicious, easy recipes to get your started on your vegetarian path:

Homemade Almond Milk

2 cups raw almonds
4 cups filterd water, plus more for covering almonds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1. Put almonds in a large bowl, cover with filtered water, and let soak for 4-8 hours.
2. Drain the almonds and put them in a blender. Add the 4 cups of fresh filtered water, the coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt. Puree until smooth.
3. Strain the milk through a piece of cheesecloth into a glass jar or pitcher. The almond milk will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Breakfast: Polenta with Allspice and Currants

3 cups almond milk
1 cup polenta
1/4 cup currants, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons agave nectar, plus more for garnish
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground allspice

1. In a medium saucepan set over high heat, bring 2 cups of the almond milk to a boil. Add the polenta, currants, coconut oil, and salt, stirring quickly to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the agave, cinnamon, and allspice. Pour 1/4 cup of the remaining 1 cup of almond milk in the bottom of each of 4 serving bowls and spoon the hot polenta over the top. Garnish with the currants and drizzle with agave. Serve immediately.

Lunch: Avocado Pesto to top your favorite pasta

2 cups fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 cup pine nuts, crushed
1 whole avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/4 cup avocado oil or olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. In a medium bowl, combine the basil, pine nuts, avocado, and oil.
2. Mash the ingredients together with a potato masher until well blended.
3. Alternatively, pulse the ingredients in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds.
4. Add the salt and season to taste with pepper.

Dinner: Walnut Stuffed Squash

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus more for greasing
4 whole acorn or butternut squashes
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup peeled and finely chopped parsnip
2 firm sweet apples (such as Gala, Fuji, or Pink Lady)
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a small baking sheet generously with grapeseed oil.
2. Cut 1 inch off the tops of the acorn squashes, and reserve the tops. Scoop out the seeds and all but 1/2 inch of the flesh from the inside. Discard the seeds and finely chop the flesh; set aside. Put the squash shells cut-side down on the baking sheet and bake until tender, 35-37 minutes. Let cool.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, parsnip, apples, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and reserved squash flesh and cook until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley and walnuts. Set aside
4. Turn the squash shells right side up on the baking sheet and spoon the filling into each. Place the reserved tops on the baking sheet beside the filled shells.
5. Bake until tender and the stuffed squashes begin to brown, about 15 minutes Serve hot, with the squash “lid” next to the squash on the plate.

Dessert: Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup pitted dates
3/4 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup raw walnuts
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao nibs

1. Process the dates in a food processor until well chopped. Add the cashews, walnuts, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla and process until smooth. Add the cacao nibs and pulse to combine.
2. Using your hands, form the dough into 10 cookies. Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour to solidify before serving.

Posted on: April 9, 2015