"Anything that has a face shouldn't be eaten," once stated ex-Beatle, Paul McCartney. Without going to the extent of many vegetarian activists like this famous musician, you can celebrate a Christmas dinner that is full of colorful vegetables, fruits and cereals, and not feel as if something were missing from the table.
If you want to stick to your strict philosophy of no meat, poultry or fish, in opposition to your "carnivorous" family, defend your choices not only on the grounds that they're heathy, because everybody already knows that, but also that they're delicious. Over the last few years, vegetarian cuisine has experienced a true revolution, freeing it from adjectives such as "bland" and "boring." Influences from Asian and Latin American cuisine, including new ideas and products, are introducing flavors never before known to this gastronomy.
Arouse the curiosity of your spouse, children, cousins, and aunts and uncles with unfamiliar words such as tofu, soy, wheat gluten, seaweed, rambutan, lychee and kumquat. Tell them that these products can be bought from an Asian market or specialty stores.
Why not show them this glossary:
Seaweed:They are also known as "sea vegetables." Seaweed is normally used dehydrated and should be stored away from light because its color can fade, indicating a loss of nutritional value and flavor. You can eat it raw or cooked, depending on the type of seaweed.
Soy:The Chinese gave it the name of "boneless meat." It is a basic product in Asian cuisine. Not only is it flavorful--especially after stir frying--it is also an excellent source of protein.
Tofu:It resembles a sort of fresh cheese made of soy. Although there are many ways to prepare tofu, it is ideal when combined with cereal.
Wheat gluten:It is a by-product of gluten that can be made in the shape of croquettes, meatballs or grilled.
You can also teach your family that the word vegetarian comes from the Latin "vegetus" which means healthy, and according to the principles of vegetarianism, natural foods make the body and the spirit strong.
Finally, before dazzling them with one of your recipes, remind them that nuts are an essential after-Christmas dinner treat since they are a part of the green foods family.
The following recipe is just one of a dozen possibilities that can decorate your family's dining table.
- Non-stick cooking spray
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 bell pepper, sliced and without seeds
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- ½ green chili, chopped and without seeds (optional)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon fajita seasoning
- Black pepper
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 6 flour tortillas
Spray a pan with cooking oil spray. Add the sesame seeds and brown for 1 minute. Then add onion. Next add bell pepper, zucchini, green chili, mushrooms and fajita seasoning, garlic salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are soft about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcook.
Add cheese right before you are ready to serve. Put the vegetable mix on the tortillas and roll them up.
Yields: 6 servings
Calories per serving: 280
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