Slowly Going Vegetarian - Need Your Advise

Updated on February 07, 2011
M.R. asks from Chicago, IL
13 answers

So, I've realized my family is steering towards the direction of a vegetarian diet - although we will never give up eggs and cheese or butter. I purchase zero red meat or beef and have become more and more conscious of buying free range, organic chicken. However, that is limiting what I know how to cook. The recipes in the couple vegetarian cookbooks I have seem to take forever to prepare (1+ hours).

I'm hoping the vegetarian community can suggest a cookbook or (preferrably) a web site with vegetarian recipes that are relatively easy to prepare. We can't keep eating pasta and sauce!

Thanks so much!

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answers from Chicago on

I'm not a strict vegetarian but I don't like to eat too much meat. One of the first cookbooks I discovered by chance when I was learning to cook was "The Moosewood Cookbook" - some of the recipes do take a lot of time but others are easier. It does give you an estimation of how long each recipe will take to prepare. I also will often just google the main ingredients I have on hand plus the word recipe and see what the internet has to offer.

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answers from Chicago on

We have used this with great success:

A lot of my vegetarian friends use lentils for a lot of things. You can also use cashews to get a creamy consistency if you are giving up dairy too.

How about branching out and using new veggies? We are gluten-free, but were surprised that we really love spaghetti squash in place of pasta.

We do a lot of lettuce wraps for our vegetarian nights (we aren't veg at all, but try to do 2 nights/week to be more eco-friendly!), salads with greens/fruits/nuts/cheese.

Nutritional yeast is delicious too and can make a great cheese sauce. Some other powders to get some vitamins are: maca, lucuma, spirulina. And don't forget to switch your salt so you are getting a lot of minerals- celtic sea salt or Himalayan pink salt are the best.

I would avoid soy. There are some good books about why- The Whole Soy Story is one. It can be a bad hormone disrupter and carcinogenic if not properly fermented (like in some soy sauce.) It's also a big GMO crop, so beware of that.

Hope this helps!

(our food blog- with a few veg ideas-

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

What a coincidence!! This is me, too! I have been toying with the idea for years, but haven't converted, completely. I buy very little red meat and only do so at all, is because my family will freak if I don't fix it every once in awhile. My family is very resistant to me switching all of us. My 12 yr. old actually got tears in his eyes, thinking of giving up read meat!!LOL! They really like some of the vegetarian recipes I do cook, but say they "can't" give up meat. I tivo'd a recent episode of Oprah, where they talk about meat processing- I haven't watched it, yet, because I know I will not eat meat after that. I want to be more prepared, first.

Anyway, www.allrecipes. com has some great vegetarian recipes. My all-time favorite is tasty lentil tacos. Also, I have taken some soups/stews that call for ham/ham bone, sausage, etc and just added beans (or more beans if it already lists beans as an ingredient). I know the complete transformation will be slow for me. Since my family is not on board, I will have to prepare a meal for them and something else for me - or prepare it all, then take mine out before adding meat. My one issue is that I LOVE sushi (and salmon, basically most fish) Not sure, yet, how that will go.

I will be very interested in the responses!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

just google fast vegatarian recipes. I like black bean soup, or garden ratatoulie. mushroom strogonoff is fast and meat free. in order to go veggie i went pescatarian first (meaning you dont eat read meat or chicken only fish) and then slowly weened out fish


answers from Houston on

AWESOME!, Ive been veg since I was 12, despite the namecalling and scrutiny from everyone i know. Now that i cook all the time people no longer scrutinize, they eat my morally sound,healthier food and dont complain. lol. I dont really go by books but i do have three in my collection that i love. One is "vegan with a vengeance"- although i am vegetarian , not vegan i do eat vegan dishes on occasion, or i will sub some of the ingredients in this book for eggs, cheese or real milk. "veganomicon"- which is linked to the first one mentioned.. and 'Lord krishnas cuisine, the art of indian vegetarian cooking" i love indian food, and the hare krishnas take their food seriously because they offer everything they make to their God. The food is perfect, savory sauces, confections, just like royalty.

Most of the time i dont use a cookbook, i was raised eating meat so i go for a combination of food i taught myself how to make, like indian, mediteranean, chinese, japanese , thai, mexican,italian, you name it, i either omit the meat you would normally see, or replace it with mushroom, cheese, or mock meat (either tofu, or seiten, or gluten) I make my own recipe of mock meat using wheat gluten and peanut butter and water, i bake it, then i crumble it up and fry it in a pan with olive oil and spices. it replaces hamburger style for chili, tacos, burritos, sloppy joes, chilis, etc... You can buy T.V.P. (textured vegetable protein) and soak it, spice it up, and add it to anything. Tofu is nice too, but prepare it according to strict directions, it can be quite bland.
But when i dont invent, or learn my own style i eat very basic american food, only meatless. In most cities you can find, sliced mock meat of all varieties, mock bacon, chicken nuggets, riblets, a thousand diff varieties of veggie burgers, chik patties, sausage, sliced, linked, small or large, hot dogs,stuffed bisquits, enchildas, premade stuff. Its all available at kroger, trader joes, whole foods, central market, randalls, h.e.b., Ive never been in a mainstream grocery store that didnt at least have something mock meat wise.

Good luck, hope this helps and congrats on the best thing you can do for your families diet!!


answers from Dallas on

We haven't given up meat, but buy Whole Foods meats and feel better about it for our evening meal. During the day we eat either yogurt or soy protein shakes and meal bars. I guess you know getting the protein is the hard part of being a vegetarian. For us cholesterol is an issue so we try not to have too much cheese and eat egg whites. I'd suggest learning about soy and tofu and be sure to buy non-GMO products. Tofu can be stir fried with vegetables and placed on rice.

On some nights I drink a soy protein shake but have dinner with my family (meat lovers) while I only eat the salad, vegetables and bread with them.

Have you ever had mock chopped liver? It consists of a ground peas and walnut concoction instead of real liver.



answers from Dallas on

Are you still eating turkey? If so, you can replace ground turkey breast in any meat recipe (I have). To me, they all taste better with ground turkey breast.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Do you cook Asian foods? Most Chinese, Thai and Indian cookbooks include lots of vegetarian recipes that are fairly quick. Also - you can simply leave out the meat and increase the volume of veggies in lots of them.


answers from Cleveland on

Congrats! I have been a vegetarian for a year and a half, but no one else in my family is.
I agree that is a great place to get recipes from!
There are TONS of things you can eat with no meat.
Tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc with black beans or mushrooms. Have you tried TVP? It's wonderful as a substitute for ground meat in mexican dishes.
You can make veggie lasagna (I know you said you are sick of pasta, but this is awesome!).
There are TONS of soups you can make that are great this time of year.
Breakfast for dinner is always a favorite in our house (eggs, pancakes or french toast, etc).
Morningstar makes great fake ground beef and ground sausage crumbles. I use it to make hamburger helper type dishes and sausage gravy and biscuits.
Qorn brand "chicken" patties are to die for, and I can't keep them in the freezer long enough for me to actually get to eat them! My kids always eat them!
If you have a Whole Foods store near you, just go walk around in there for a while. Youwill get tons of meal ideas, and a lot of them you can pick up at your local grocery store for cheaper.



answers from Las Vegas on

Check out the recipes on for inspiration and tips on how to go veg.



answers from Chicago on

My family has enjoyed the cookbook "Quick Vegetarian Pleasures", most recipes are fast and easy.


answers from Modesto on

there are tons of vegan blogs with great recipes. I'm slowly steering us into vegetarian as well but like you I still like milk and butter and eggs... that's why I doubt I would ever make it to vegan, just vegetarian. We also like fish and cook a lot of catfish and tilapia, those are my two favorites. I would go to and type vegetarian into search and you'll get tons of ideas and lots of reviews that are helpful for picking out new recipes.

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