Do you live in a region or a country that is predominantly populated by omnivores? If so, it can be easy to forget that there are cultures out there with high vegetarian and vegan populations. Countries such as India, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Israel, and Singapore are known for their plant-based cuisines.
Instead of just wishing that you lived in such a place, consider what you can learn from these cultures. After all, individuals from these countries have been largely consuming a vegetables-only diet for a long time. As such, they will have discovered a far more nuanced and adventurous way to stay vegetarian or vegan.
Thus, on that note, here are all the things you can learn from these plant-based cultures. With a little inspiration, you too can come up with similar recipes.
Introduce Variety Into Your Diet
If you were to look up recipes on the internet, you would discover that a dizzying number of them contain meat, eggs, or dairy. When it comes to vegan options, though, you may find fewer recipes. Not to mention, many of them seem rather similar.
However, take a look at Indian cuisine, for a moment. Just think about all the dishes they have for mushrooms alone. These recipes can seem to go on forever. And, if you looked up some for lentils, beans, etc. you would find that there are just as many dishes for these options as well.
So, stop focusing only on food you are familiar with. Instead, look to plant-based cultures for inspiration. You will be pleasantly surprised to see how many choices you have.
Unique Way of Utilizing Ingredients
Another thing you will find is that these cultures use a single component or ingredient in several ways. Let’s take coconut, for instance. It is a mainstay for many Asian cuisines. However, they use coconut in so many different ways.
These cultures will use coconut milk as a base for curries, soups, stews, and more. The grated coconut can be added to cooked foods or even be used raw in salads or sambols. Coconut oil can be used for taste as well as fat content.
If you are like most people, then root vegetables might feature rather predominantly at most meals. This means that you may end up eating the same veggies over and over. If you do some research, it is clear that there are more kinds than you may have realized.
For instance, did you know that you can make delicious meals with lotus root, sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), kohlrabi, jicama, celeriac, and cassava? And in case you imagine that these are impossible to find, think again. There are plenty of ethnic stores that sell such veggies if you know where to look.
Take International Notes on Spices and Herbs
How much spices and herbs do you use in your food? If the answer is “a little”, then it is time to take things up a notch. If you take a look at predominantly vegetarian cultures, you will notice that they use a lot of flavor in their dishes. Thus, their food is never boring.
Different cuisines can use a mix of fresh, dried, whole, and powdered herbs and spices to create an intoxicating variety of flavors. Not to mention, you can mix and match these ingredients as you please, coming up with an entirely new flavor profile every time.
If you aren’t used to adding too many spices or herbs in your food, take baby steps. It may take you some time to truly appreciate what these ingredients have to offer. Furthermore, you may not enjoy every spice or herb that you come across. A little bit of experimenting will help you identify your favorite flavors.
The other skill that you need to learn is balance. You can’t simply throw in random herbs and spices and hope that they will work together. No, each ingredient needs to balance out another element. This is what creates a delicious and well-rounded dish.
There is no denying that this takes some time to learn. Until then, look to the experts. You will often find plenty of guides or videos that will show you how to best use these ingredients together. Then, after a while, it will become intuitive.
Expand Your Plant-Based Horizons
As a vegan, you have to get a little creative with your protein intake. Of course, there are plenty of options to choose from like lentils, beans, peas, tofu, seitan, and a whole lot more. Thus, this means that you can get your protein and keep things switched up.
However, if you find that you add these ingredients only for their protein content and not their taste, you are taking the wrong approach. If you look to the wrong sources, plant-based protein sources can come off as boring.
On the other hand, if you search for Ethiopian, Indian, and Jamaican recipes, you will see that there is so much you can do with them. Stews, curries, pastes – there are a ton of different ways to work these protein sources into your dishes.
In fact, if you are a picky eater, you will find that these dishes are especially suitable. There are so many different spices and flavors in these meals that you won’t even notice you are eating peas, beans, or other veggies that you may not be entirely fond of!
As you can see, there is a lot you can learn from plant-based cultures. They have been perfecting their dishes for centuries, after all. This means that they have found ways to make vegetarianism or veganism work in their favor. So, if you want to learn how to take your vegan diet to new and exciting heights, you know just what to do.
You can also consider taking a few cooking classes as well. It may be easier for you to come to turns with using unfamiliar herbs, spices, and other ingredients. In turn, it may not be quite as daunting for you to try and whip up such dishes.
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