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Vegetarian cuisine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A variety of vegetarian food ingredients.
A variety of vegetarian food ingredients.
Main article: Vegetarianism

Vegetarian cuisine is food that meets vegetarian standards.

At its simplest, vegetarian cuisine means not eating meat from any animal. For lacto-ovo vegetarianism (perhaps the most common type of vegetarianism in the Western world), eggs, milk and cheese are permitted. At its strictest, vegetarian cuisine can be vegan, excluding all animal products, such as meat, meat broth, cheese and other dairy products, eggs, gelatin, and even some sugars that are whitened with bone char (e.g. cane sugar).

Tofu and textured vegetable protein ("TVP") have often been associated with this diet, though this association is perhaps more prominent in the U.S. than worldwide; there are cultures that include soy products as a normal ingredient of all diets. In cultures that do not traditionally use soy products, tofu and TVP play a key role in many 'mock meat' dishes, but a person can be vegetarian for life and never consume them.

Ignoring the different types of vegetarians (lacto-ovo vegetarianism versus veganism, for example), one can roughly divide vegetarian cuisine into two categories:

  • Meat analogues, which mimic the taste, texture, and appearance of meats, and are used in a recipe that traditionally contained meat. Meat analogues vary in quality and similarity to meats, and may be bought commercially or made at home. Many vegans also use analogues for eggs and dairy products.
  • Traditional meals that have always been vegetarian. Cultures such as the US that are not traditionally vegetarian are evolving newer dishes.

Foods used in vegetarian cuisine

Food usually regarded as suitable for all types of the vegetarian cuisine usually include:

incl. bread, pasta, rice, maize/corn, all grains, couscous, corn flakes, seitan, etc.
Legumes (main replacement for the animal products)
incl. beans, soy and soy products (tofu, soy milk, TVP), chickpeas, peas, lentils, etc.
incl. Pickled vegetables
incl. dried fruits
Nuts & seeds
Vegetable oils and fats
Other plant foods
usually not included into above categories, such as olives, seaweeds, etc.

Cuisine that is traditionally vegetarian

Wikibooks Cookbook has an article on
Vegetarian cuisine

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.
  • Pancakes, waffles, cereals and oatmeals, French toast, granola bars, donuts, muffins
  • Fresh fruit and most salads
  • Potato salad, egg 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

National cuisines

  • Indian cuisine in Asia is replete with vegetarian dishes, many of which can be traced to religious traditions (such as Indian Brahmins). 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 eggs or dairy.
    • South Indian foods like sambar,rasam,koottu,karembadu,upma,palya,kozhambu,Aviyal, Olan, Kadala curry, Theeyal, Pulingari, Chammandi, Chutney, and breads like Appam, Puttu, pathiri,dosai,idli and vadai.
  • Spanish foods such as tumbet and many polentas and tapas dishes
  • Latin American foods such as salsa & guacamole with chips, rice & bean burritos (without lard in the refried beans), 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
Mushrooms stuffed with spiced quinoa.
Mushrooms stuffed with spiced quinoa.
  • 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 Greek 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, hummus dips, matzo ball soup, 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 - as most miso soup does.
  • 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.


  • 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.

Mycoprotein is another common base for mock-meats, and vegetarian flavorings are added to these bases, such as sea vegetables for a seafood taste.

Note that choa tofu and tempeh are components in certain cuisines in their own right, and do not necessarily take the place of meat.

See also

  • Indian Vegetarian cuisine
  • Chinese Buddhist cuisine
  • English vegetarian cuisine
  • French vegetarian cuisine
  • Korean vegetarian cuisine
  • Thai vegetarian cuisine
  • Vietnamese vegetarian cuisine

External links

  • VeggieBoards
  • "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
  • Vegetarian recipes website
  • Filipino Vegetarian Recipes
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