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July 28, 2011

Our Favorite Recipes

Meat-free eating around the globe

Guide to Meat-Free Meals

  • N.G. Jayasimha. HSI

  • Jo Swabe. HSI

  • Gabriela Duhart. HSI

  • Elissa Lane. HSI

Vegetarian eating not only helps reduce animal suffering, but can also help your health and the environment.

No matter where you live, it is easier than ever to leave meat off of your plate. Whether you are dining in or out, each culture offers a variety of healthy and delicious vegetarian options.

Check out what HSI staff around the world have to say about vegetarian eating in their native countries and then try out their favorite meat-free recipes.

Cindy Dent, Regional Director, HSI/Latin America

“Finding varied options for vegetarians in Costa Rica is easy and enjoyable, especially considering the wide variety of fruits and vegetables available throughout the year. There are several vegetarian restaurants opening around the country, and even in omnivore restaurants there are often some vegetarian options. And of course, substitutions are rarely a problem!"

Gallopinto (Rice and Beans)

1/2 cubed small onion
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 of a red or green pepper, cubed
2 tablespoons of oil
1 1/2 cups of white or whole grain rice
3/4 to 1 cup of black beans in their broth
1/4 cup cilantro

1. Sautee onion in hot oil until translucent; add chopped pepper and garlic.
2. Add in rice until warmed through. When rice is warm, add beans and their broth, sautéing  and mixing for approximately 10 minutes.
3. Add finely chopped cilantro.

Carolina Galvani, Senior Campaign Manager, Brazil

"Eating vegetarian meals in Brazil is very easy, both at home and when you are eating out. Our main meal is lunch and restaurants always offer rice, beans, fresh salad and vegetables cooked in many different ways. In big cities, supermarkets also offer plant-based substitutes such as soy milk and protein. However, party food, sandwiches and snacks are usually heavy in meat and dairy. That is why I love this cashew cheese recipe so much. It is a great option to offer for guests at breakfast or evening snacks and it usually really impresses people at finger-food parties!"

Cashew Cheese

2 cups raw cashews (soak in filtered water for 6-8 hours)
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp white pepper

Place the cashews, 1/2 of the water, 1/2 of the lemon juice, fresh garlic and sea salt in the food processor and pulse until roughly blended. Add all the other ingredients and pulse until well mixed. Add more nutritional yeast, lemon juice, white pepper, garlic and salt to taste. You can also add turmeric for a cheddar-style look, or your favorite fresh or dried herbs or dried cranberries for a sweet and savory result!

N.G. Jayasimha, Managing Director, HSI/India

"Being vegetarian in India is very easy. One can find ‘Pure Veg’ restaurants across the country. In India, egg is not considered vegetarian, so ‘Pure Veg’ restaurants don’t even use eggs! All pre-packaged foods contain either a 'Green Dot' or a 'Red Dot'; a green dot indicates that the food is vegetarian, while the red dot means that it contains meat or egg products. However, vegans must check the ingredients to ensure that the food does not contain milk products."

Akki Rotti (Rice Rotti)

1 cup rice flour
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2-3 green chillies (finely chopped)
small piece of ginger (finely chopped)
salt, to taste
pinch of asafotida
3 tablespoons coriander leaves (finely chopped)
optional: 2 onions (finely chopped)

1. Mix all the above ingredients using enough water to form a stiff dough.
2. Make orange-sized balls from the dough and flatten it (using hand) to a thin rotti (round shape) on a plastic sheet, using a little oil.
3. Heat a flat pan and transfer the rotti on it. Pour one teaspoon of oil around the rotti.
4. Cover the pan with a lid and allow it to cook for a few minutes, until the bottom surface of the rotti becomes golden brown in color and crisp, while the top surface is softer.
5. Remove from fire and serve hot with chutney powder/ chutney.
Optional: Add finely chopped onions to the rice flour before mixing with water.
Variation: Instead of rice flour, use millet (ragi) flour for making ragi rotti.

Jo Swabe, EU Director

“The traditional European diet, particularly in northern Europe, tends to be heavily meat and dairy-based, so—in some EU Member States—it can still be a bit of struggle to find (interesting) vegetarian food, especially outside the larger towns and cities. Fortunately, Mediterranean cuisine always offers great solace to vegetarians with its wonderful pasta, vegetable, and bean-based dishes. Vegetarians also profit greatly from the culinary traditions of the migrants from all corners of the globe who have settled in Europe during the past century or so."

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomato-Mint Pesto

1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin)
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 ounces short pasta (e.g. penne, farfalle, etc.)

1. Put the sun-dried tomatoes, walnuts, mint, olive oil, tomato puree, garlic (finely chopped), salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Cook the pasta until al dente, then drain.
3. Return pasta to cooking pot and then stir in the pesto.
4. Serve warm with a green salad, or steamed green vegetables, such as green beans or broccoli.

(Adapted from Vegan Italiano by Donna Klein)

Tozie Zokufa, Program Manager, South Africa

“This was Nelson Mandela's favorite, and it was always prepared for him on Wednesdays. When I used to grow up at home and in our region, it was always on Tuesdays. I guess in the United States it will be on Mondays!”

Umgqusho (Samp and Beans)

This is a traditional Xhosa dish from South Africa that uses curry powder as a flavoring and mixes potatoes and tomatoes with the samp and bean base. Traditionally, the samp and beans are soaked overnight, but you get a better flavor if you cook the dried corn kernels and beans without soaking. Samp is a form of dried corn kernel (like hominy) that, unlike hominy, is cracked.

280g samp (cracked hominy)
420g beans (e.g. black-eyed peas, sugar beans or pinto beans)
1 onion
3 potatoes
1 large tomato
3 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
2 Maggi cubes (or vegetable stock cubes)
3 tsp curry powder

Combine the samp and the beans in a bowl and wash thoroughly. Drain, then turn into a large pot and cover with about 1.4 liters of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer then cook the samp and bean mixture until they start becoming soft (check every 30 minutes to ensure that there is enough water). When the samp and beans are slightly soft, but not done (they should need about a further 30 minutes to finish cooking when they have reached the right stage) drain all but 500ml of the water then add all the remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine, return to a simmer, cover the pan and continue cooking for 30 minutes more, or until the beans are very soft.

Gabriela Duhart, Consultant, Mexico

"Vegetarian eating can be quite easy in Mexico, even if it appears otherwise. Most restaurants have dishes that do not include meat or that can be prepared without it. Even though there are many dishes with cheese, there is usually also a way of preparing them without any dairy products. We are lucky to have many fresh vegetables and nutritious vegan foods such as cactus leaf, mushrooms, nuts, and beans."

Tostadas (Fried or toasted tortillas with beans and veggie toppings)

lettuce (shredded)
tomato (sliced)
seasoned tofu (firm)

You can buy tostadas at the supermarket and fry or toast the tortillas at home.
Add mashed beans, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and sprinkle tofu on top and enjoy!
You can add any other vegetables to tostadas as well!

More recipes

Check out our Guide to Meat-Free Meals

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