A new generation of vegetarians has arrived since Evelyn Raab wrote a cookbook 12 years ago geared to youngsters who, despite the resistance of many parents, were choosing what they deemed a healthier eating style.
“The reason I wrote the book was at that time, kids were approaching vegetarianism by picking the pepperoni off the pizza, eating a whole lot of carbs and fat and had no clue in terms of what they needed nutritionally,” she said in an interview.
Raab felt there was a need to educate the young vegetarians.
Since 2000, there has been a lot of change and positive aspects to vegetarianism. There are more and varied ingredients in the marketplace, she adds.
“We are exposed to a broader range of ethnic foods as well, many of which fit into a vegetarian or vegan regime,” she says.
The result is the release this month of “The Clueless Vegetarian: A Cookbook for the Aspiring Vegetarian, The New Edition” (Firefly Books Ltd., $14.95, paperback).
“I think it just makes sense to eat less meat and processed foods because the rest of the world eats that way,” says Raab.
As well meat has become extremely expensive “and if you are buying it at a supermarket you have to question the quality, how it has been raised and ethical reasons. This is another reason for young people to adopt the lifestyle or eat more vegetarian meals because they can't afford meat.”
Raab suggests that those who wish to adopt this type of eating do so gradually.
“You don't have to be dogmatic about it. There is nothing wrong with eating meat twice a week and enjoy the rest of your meals as vegetarian.”
The 130 recipes are coded to easily identify recipes suited for the lacto-ovo vegetarian (who eats vegetables, fruits, grains, eggs and dairy products), the lacto-vegetarian (vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy), the vegan (vegetables, fruits and grains only), the ovo vegetarian (no dairy, but vegetables, fruits, grains and eggs) and the occasional vegetarian (who might include chicken, and/or fish and occasionally beef).
“I think the easiest plan to follow is the lacto-ovo vegetarian,” Raab says. “It is almost a no-brainer nutritionally, but you have to be careful of the fat content because a lot of the time that will compensate for anything else you are missing.”
The following recipe from the cookbook is a slightly more refined vegetarian version of the classic meat-based Sloppy Joe.
TVP stands for textured vegetable protein.
250 ml (1 cup) TVP granules
30 ml (2 tbsp) soy sauce
175 ml (3/4 cup) hot water
45 ml (3 tbsp) olive oil or vegetable oil
250 g (1/2 lb) mushrooms, chopped (you should have 625 ml/2 1/2 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery
50 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable stock, homemade or store-bought (canned or from bouillon cubes or powder)
50 ml (1/4 cup) ketchup or barbecue sauce (vegetarian)
2 ml (1/2 tsp) hot pepper sauce (optional)
In a medium bowl, place TVP. In a measuring cup, stir together soy sauce and hot water. Pour over TVP and stir. Set TVP mixture aside to soak and rehydrate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion and celery and cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes, until mushrooms are tender and have released their juices.
Add rehydrated TVP to vegetable mixture in the skillet. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, and then stir in vegetable stock, ketchup and hot pepper sauce, if using. Simmer mixture, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until flavours are blended and everything is nicely gloppy.
Spoon over 4 split toasted hamburger buns and eat. Messily.
Makes 4 sandwiches.