It’s no secret, I am hitting this vegetarian thing pretty hard lately. For my regular foodie/restaurant readers do not fret, I am not giving up meat and do not plan to only blog about vegetarian things. Simply, eating more vegetarian meals makes my body feel healthier, and a vegetarian diet is softer on the environment. By eating more vegetarian food as of late, I feel like it’s easier to manage my weight and it gives me a tiny bit of peace knowing I am doing something to help in the efforts to slow climate change.
I was an easy convert though, having gone vegetarian several times in the past. My husband on the other hand has impressively joined me as of recent in the veggie life – not giving up meat completely but agreeing to at least 3-5 vegetarian dinners a week. He has lost 10 pounds and never complains about being hungry, so I think that means we are doing it right!
If you want to try to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your life, my advice would be to not do it unassisted. I have done that in the past and basically lived off of iceberg lettuce and black coffee… I quit after a month because I was starving and my heartburn was out of control. My problem was that I had never been taught vegetarian recipes… I had no idea what proteins to use in place of meats, I didn’t know how to prepare my veggies, how to spice my dishes, and so on. I was a lost cause!
Now that we are living in the days of Pinterest it is pretty easy to hop online and find vegetarian recipes online, but I think that info is still a little too scattered. My advice would be to go out and get some good, well-rated vegetarian cookbooks that you can peruse at your leisure, and get a visual on techniques, some inspiration on frequently used proteins, and so on. However, pay attention as you search for your cookbook. There are so many different levels of vegetarian/vegan, so make sure the book you select looks like it is comfortable/desirable to you in regards to ingredients. For example, I am not vegan so a cookbook that has lots of strange and hard-to-find dairy substitutes is not attractive to me. Also, I don’t love tofu or certain types of mushrooms, so a cookbook relying on recipes involving those ingredients wouldn’t go to use.
That leads me to my inspiration for my blog post today! There are two cookbooks in my kitchen cupboard that I have been relying on heavily and honestly the food and flavors coming from them are fantastic.
The first is vegan cookbook from Thug Kitchen. This was actually a gift from my dad who is a big foodie too. I love it not only because the recipes pack a serious flavor punch, but their writing is hysterical and makes cooking fun. With their tagline being “Eat Like You Give A F*CK”, it might not be for you if you are easily offended or take offense to swearing, but personally I like the laugh as I cook along. My favorite recipe has to be the BBQ Bean Burrito with Grilled Peach Salsa – this is actually the recipe that convinced my husband that vegetarian cooking can be good! He is Hispanic and growing up his family owned a Mexican restaurant so his knowledge of authentic cuisine and flavors is extensive, and upon trying this recipe he decided to give veggie life a try and even was excited to have his family sample it as he thought they would love the flavors.
If you try this cookbook and enjoy it, Thug Kitchen actually has a few recipe books out such as (all images are clickable links! *affiliate):
The other book we are living out of at the moment is “Mostly Plants”. This one has been great because it fits our lifestyle… we are a family trying to eat ‘mostly’ vegetarian but do not limit ourselves to plants completely. We are okay incorporating a chicken breast or seafood here and there to keep ourselves nutritionally balanced, and hey sometimes it just sounds good too! Most the recipes are vegetarian, and all have healthy, plant-based aspects. Their Buddha bowls are easy to toss together for dinner, and we really enjoyed the Brussel Sprout Pesto pasta dish. There are some really nice veggie side dishes in here, and in general I find their vegetarian meal ideas inspire my own cooking and it has been a great purchase for our household and lifestyle.
Also, I know I do have a few SUPER easy vegetarian recipes I have blogged in the past, so here are the links! Though I would start with the cookbooks first, the next step would be to create a Pinterest board where you can save inspo to dive into later. So be sure to create your board and save a few of these pins too!
So, are there any vegetarian cookbooks or chefs that you follow? Styles of recipes you enjoy? And how open are you to trying out a vegetarian lifestyle? I would love to hear your input!
X.O. – Abbey Co.
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