Vegetarianism has been looked to in recent years for more than just ideological reasons. Vegetarian, or largely vegetarian diets are culinary trends often associated with higher health benefits when compared to meat-centered diet alternatives. Hard-core meat fans sometimes have a hard time grasping the idea that a hardy meal can be created without meat as the main. However, many delicious meatless protein alternatives exist that are making their way onto menus in venues other than the typical vegetarian restaurant, expanding the taste profile of the dishes, and expanding the possible customer base by providing meals for vegetarians and health-conscious diners.
How to Plan Meatless Meals
Meatless protein foods are usually considered the biggest challenge when it comes to planning meals for vegetarians. However, by researching and getting to know ingredients, chefs and cooks will have no problem conjuring balanced vegetarian meals that contain a variety of vegetarian health benefits. Below are just a few examples of meatless proteins that can be used in vegan and vegetarian meals.
Tofu is the most obvious vegetarian protein option. The relatively flavorless base product provides a substantial texture and can take on flavors from marinates and cooking liquids, making it very versatile. It is most prominent in Asian dishes such as miso soup, pad thai, stir fry, and curries. However, it can be used in many other types of dishes, such as salads, as well. Almost no vegetarian restaurant completes its menu without including at least one tofu dish. By adding powerful yet well-balanced seasoning to bland tofu, delicious, healthy, vegetarian dishes can be created.
Black beans are another great ingredient and protein supply for meatless meals. They can be included in soups, stews, salads, and wraps. They can also be cooked and then mashed or ground and shaped into patties for veggie burgers. In addition to being rich in flavor and texture, the high protein and fiber content make black beans a filling meatless protein. Like tofu, black beans also take on seasonings for enhanced flavor.
Quinoa is one of the best sources of protein for vegetarian meals. Unlike most other meatless protein, quinoa is a source of critical amino acids lysine and isoleucine. It can be used as a base for patties, salads, sides, and stuffing, giving it many culinary uses. In addition to its crunchy texture, its nutty flavor makes it taste as good-for-you as it is, drawing affection from health-conscious diners.
Vegetarian restaurant dishes cater to more than just vegetarian diners. As one of the more popular culinary trends at the moment, healthy eating is becoming the forefront of customer concerns, even when dining out. Therefore, meatless protein dishes are almost guaranteed to be appreciated and ordered by customers, making them an essential addition to the restaurant menu. Though culinary professionals often shy away from creating meatless protein concept dishes, with a little research about the ingredients available, kitchen staff can realize the full potential of meatless proteins for both vegetarian meals and non-vegetarian options.