There are many things that I love about eating this way.
I feel better (physically and consciously) , as do the other members of my family.
I enjoy the challenge of learning new recipes and new styles of cooking
It is cheaper.*
*now here is the deal, it is cheaper if you don't "buy in" to needing all the specialty "vegan/vegetarian" substitutes and meat alternatives. There are a lot of processed vegan, organic, alternative foods out there-as far as I am concerned PROCESSED IS PROCESSED--it doesn't matter if it is vegan or organic or not. I just don't buy it. And as far as the Meat Alternatives go (like Tofurky, meatless sausage, Facon...) I'm just not sure I get it--just saying...
So all in all, we have decided to be Vegetarian-ish. How about you? Are you willing to try it? Are you willing to "Lean in to it" as Kathy Freston would say? You might be surprised at how much you love it too!
Here is one of the first vegetarian meals I tried, once we passed the veggie pizza and pasta stage...so good--you can alternate which vegetables you like more or less--but don't forget the cucumber sauce--it makes the meal!
Spicy Peanut African Stew (adapted from Vegetarian Times)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 celery stalk, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
- 1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with chiles
- 1 lb. butternut or acorn squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
- 1/2 lb. cauliflower florets (about 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 cups cooked brown rice
- Heat oil in large pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent, stirring occasionally. Stir in ginger and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more, or until vegetables are soft.
- Add potato and tomatoes. Increase heat to medium, and cook 5 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in 2 cups water, and season with salt and pepper. Simmer partially covered, 10 minutes. Add squash and cauliflower, and cook 15 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender.
- Whisk together peanut butter and ½ cup warm water in small bowl. Add to stew, and cook 4 minutes, or until thickened, stirring constantly. Spoon over rice, and top with cool Cucumber sauce.
Cool Cucumber Sauce
- 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
- 1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and minced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, rated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Toss ingredients together and let sit for a few minutes before topping off the African Stew.