So. I love vegetables. Quite a lot. Although I’m not vegetarian by any means, I like to think that the majority of what I cook is veggie-focused – although it may incorporate meat here and there (a bit of chicken in a stir-fry with six or seven different vegetables, enchiladas that are mostly salad and grilled capsicum with a few prawns), it’s fresh produce that usually runs the show.
We’ll just ignore the bulk batch of pulled pork I made last week. Ahem. (It was delicious, though.)
This is something that I’ve been considering for a little while now. I like cooking with loads of veg, and I often substitute non-meat proteins like legumes, cashews or haloumi in my dishes anyway, so what if I were to challenge myself to go vegetarian for a month? Say, the month of February… or as I have dubbed it with a shoddy almost-pun: Veguary? I’m excited about this for a few reasons:
- It will take me out of my comfort zone, cooking-wise. I’ll have to experiment with vegetarian proteins (although I love tofu, I’ve never cooked it myself before) and mix up my usual standard oeuvre of recipes.
- It will save me money. Meat can be pretty expensive, whereas lentils are outrageously cheap. Of course, I’m planning on working in a few interesting cheeses and fun new proteins (seitan?), which might up the price factor a bit, but since I usually buy free-range, high-quality meat (i.e. the expensive stuff), it should still work out cheaper. I’ll try to eat out a few times, too, and vegetarian dishes are almost always less than the meat-based ones in restaurants!
- It’ll be good for the environment and for animal rights. I’m not going to get preachy – we all know this stuff already. But even if you don’t go vego, even cutting your meat intake down a little bit is a good thing.
- Veg-based diets can be healthier. Sometimes. Vegetarians have to be super-careful to get enough protein in, but with enough forward planning, they can have a damn nutritious diet. Lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, yoghurt, grains and cheeses. Less calorific slabs of meat. Awesome.
So, now begins the process of recipe collation. I follow a few vegetarian and whole food blogs (Oh My Veggies and Sprouted Kitchen are a couple of great ones) and I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but to get through a whole month without resorting to my staple recipes is going to be tricky. Throughout the month I’ll be posting what I’m cooking, so if anyone wants to challenge themselves to a month of vego-ness, do it in Veguary! And if you have any favourite vegetarian recipes, let me know in the comments… I think I’ll need all the help I can get!