3 Delicious and Easy Vegetarian dishes
Whether you’re concerned about your health, animal welfare or the environment, there are many benefits to introducing more vegetarian dishes into your diet, or at least considering cutting back on animal products.
Science has shown us over and over again that the more meat we eat, the higher our risk of diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. Conversely, the more fruits and vegetables we eat, the lower our risk for these diseases, and the lower our body mass index. The consumption of animal products exposes humans to saturated fat, cholesterol, lactose and pathogenic microorganisms. In the process, consumption of animal products increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and other disorders.
Do note that if you’re avoiding meat, but only eating processed breads and pastas, excess sugar and very little vegetables and fruit, you’re unlikely to reap the benefits of a vegetarian diet. One can be 100% vegetarian but still have an unhealthy diet and suffer from obesity. A better approach is a plant-based diet. This means consuming mostly fruits and vegetables such as beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Why go Vegetarian?
You don’t have to go cold turkey. Instead, try easing into meatless meals. Consider going meatless one day a week. If you don’t like the idea of a whole day without meat, start with a couple of meatless dinners each week. Some key benefits of eating a plant based diet:
- It’s good for your heart
- Reduces the risk of cancer
- Lowers blook pressure
- Prevents type 2 diabetes
- Promotes bone health
Protein does not have to mean meat. As a matter of fact, many plant foods are excellent sources of protein. If you’ve lived on meat your entire life, it can seem daunting to know what to use instead of mince meat, cheese and chicken stock. Here are some easy swaps:
- Meat, poultry or fish – tofu, tempeh, lentils, mushrooms
- Cheese – soy, cashew, nutritional yeast
- Beef/chicken stock – vegetable stock / broth
- Milk – soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk
Easy Vegetarian Dishes this winter
To get you started here are our all-time favourite vegetarian dishes. If you’ve ever visited us at Shanti-Som you’ll know that despite being a Wellness Retreat, our restaurant menu is full of robust flavours and hearty meals. We don’t think ‘healthy’ means bland and try to introduce this concept through our food. Little salt is used, instead herbs are plentiful with splashes of lemon and lime citrus.
We also understand life is busy, so these 3 recipes are easy and quick to prepare, with staple ingredients you can easily find at your local supermarket.
PUMPKIN AND CHICKPEA CURRY
This delicious pumpkin and chickpea curry is an easy and inexpensive dinner to make that’s packed full of fiber and protein. The spices are mild, adding flavour without heat, so it’s a perfect curry for the whole family.
prep time: 10 MINUTES
cook time: 25 MINUTES
total time: 35 MINUTES
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom
- 2 cups of pumpkin, diced
- 1 cups of vegetable stock (extra if needed)
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1x 400g tin of chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1x 400g tin tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 cup red lentils, rinsed
- a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach
- 3 cups brown rice, cooked
- 2 Tbsp. plain yoghurt (optional) and fresh coriander to serve
- In a frying pan, sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft.
- Add the garlic and spices and fry for a few more seconds until fragrant.
- Add the stock, tomato paste, chickpeas, pumpkin, lentils and tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then simmer covered for 15 minutes until lentils and pumpkin are soft.
- Check halfway through cooking and add more stock as needed so that the lentils cook and it doesn’t dry out and catch.
- Simmer for the last 5 minutes if needed for the sauce to reduce and thicken.
- Serve with brown rice and top with yoghurt and chopped coriander.
ROASTED BROCCOLI CHICKPEA QUINOA
This healthy quinoa broccoli bowl recipe is made with roasted vegetables that are lightly sweetened maple syrup dressing, making it completely gluten free and vegetarian-friendly.
prep time: 10 MINUTES
cook time: 30 MINUTES
total time: 40 MINUTES
For the bowl:
- 1 cupcanned chickpeas, drained, rinsed well and patted dry
- 1small bunch of broccoli, cut into mini florets (about 3 cups)
- 1 tablespoonoil
- Salt and Pepper
- 3/4 cupuncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cupswater or stock
- 1/2 cupfresh parsley, roughly chopped
For the Dressing:
- 5 tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil
- 1–2tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoonapple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoonDijon mustard
- Pinch of salt
- 1/8 teaspoondried dill (optional)
- Garnish with extra parsley, sliced green onions, dried cranberries or raw pumpkin seeds
For the bowl:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit / 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.
- Transfer chickpeas and broccoli to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or until chickpeas are crispy and broccoli is browned and tender, being sure to stir the broccoli mixture half way through.
- While the veggies are roasting, make the quinoa. Add quinoa to a medium-sized pot over high heat with 1 1/2 cups of water or stock. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and let quinoa cook until all the water is absorbed, about 12 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let quinoa cool slightly.
For the Dressing:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil, maple syrup, vinegar, mustard, salt and dill (if using) until smooth and consistent.
Assembling the Bowl:
- Fold the slightly cooled quinoa into the dressing in the large mixing bowl. Add in about 1/3 of the roasted broccoli and chickpea mixture along with the chopped parsley and mix until well combined.
- For serving, portion quinoa into about 4 portions (or 2 very large portions) and topped each portion with remaining roasted broccoli and chickpeas. Garnish with sliced green onion, more parsley, dried cranberries or raw pumpkin seeds.
OVEN ROASTED SWEET POTATOES AND BRUSSEL SPROUTS
Roasted vegetables are superior in almost every way, it’s a fact. Perfect as a simple main meal or side dish. Make them ahead of time and reheat! Save on time and stress.
prep time: 15 MINUTES
cook time: 40 MINUTES
total time: 55 MINUTES
- 1pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- 1large sweet potato, 1 pound
- 2cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/3cup olive oil
- 1teaspoon cumin
- 1/4teaspoon garlic salt
- 1teaspoon salt
- pepper, to taste
- 1tablespoon red wine vinegar
- thyme, fresh, to garnish
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit / 200 degrees Celsius.
- Trim your Brussels by cutting off the little brown end. If there are any yellow leaves, pull them off. Cut any large ones in half. Add to a large bowl.
- Peel your sweet potato and chop into 1-2 inch pieces. Add to the large bowl.
- Smash 2 cloves of garlic and add it to the bowl.
- Pour 1/3 cup olive oil over the vegetables.
- Add cumin, garlic salt, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to coat.
- Line a large sheet pan with foil if you want super easy cleanup
- Drizzle a little olive oil onto the sheet pan and rub it all over the pan (or foil) with your hand. Or you could spray it really well with non-stick spray.
- Pour the veggies onto the pan.
- Roast at 400F/200 degrees for about 40-45 minutes. The veggies are done when they are brown and a fork slides into them easily.
- Place the veggies in a serving bowl and toss with 1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme if you want. Eat hot!
We hope you enjoy these recipes and consider reducing your meat intake. Remember even just one or two meals a week will make a difference! If you would like to deepen your knowledge and improve your internal health, our signature Detox Retreat is a great introduction to body cleansing. During this Retreat you’ll receive tangible advice through our onsite health check and 1:1 nutritional consultation on how to improve your daily diet alongside a busy modern lifestyle.