Vegetarian Food Choices From the Local Cuisine

Vegetarianism is surviving solely on foods that are not derived from animals. This means vegetarian food lovers only eat fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, and nuts. All types of normally consumable flesh such as meat, seafood, poultry, fowl, etc are excluded from vegetarian diets. Most vegetarians from western countries see no problem in consuming milk and eggs, however, vegetarians from India and Mediterranean countries don’t include milk and eggs in their diet. Vegetarians who use milk products are called lacto-vegetarians, while those who use egg products are called ovo-vegetarians. Those who consume both are called lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Vegetarians who go a step ahead and completely avoid animal-derived products such as wool, silk, honey, leather, etc are known as vegans.

People from agricultural countries normally don’t consume a lot of flesh because of its high prices. Such people are sometimes mistakenly known as vegetarians.

History of Vegetarian Food

Encyclopedia Britannica says

Deliberate avoidance of flesh-eating probably first appeared sporadically in ritual connections, either as a temporary purification or as qualification for a priestly function. Advocacy of a regular fleshless diet began about the middle of the 1st millennium BCE in India and the eastern Mediterranean as part of the philosophical awakening of the time.

In the Mediterranean, avoidance of flesh-eating is first recorded as a teaching of the philosopher Pythagoras of Samos (c. 530 BCE), who alleged the kinship of all animals as one basis for human benevolence toward other creatures. From Plato onward many pagan philosophers (e.g., Epicurus and Plutarch), especially the Neoplatonists, recommended a fleshless diet; the idea carried with it condemnation of bloody sacrifices in worship and was often associated with belief in the reincarnation of souls and, more generally, with a search for principles of cosmic harmony in accord with which human beings could live.

In India, followers of Buddhism and Jainism refused on ethical and ascetic grounds to kill animals for food. Human beings, they believed, should not inflict harm on any sentient creature. This principle was soon taken up in Brahmanism and, later, Hinduism and was applied especially to the cow. As in Mediterranean thought, the idea carried with it condemnation of bloody sacrifices and was often associated with principles of cosmic harmony.

Why Do People Choose to be Vegetarians?

Vegetarians, Restaurants, Cuisines

Here are a few reasons for someone who may want to give up meat for good and adopt vegetarian food:

  1. They want to lead a healthy lifestyle
  2. Their religion prohibits them from eating meat
  3. They are concerned about animals and their welfare
  4. They are wary of the use of antibiotics and hormones in livestock
  5. They want to eat in a way that doesn’t use up a lot of environmental resources
  6. They cant afford to eat meat

Becoming a vegetarian has become easier and more appealing over the last decade due to the availability of fresh produce all year and the fact that restaurants and home-based businesses offer more vegetarian-based options. Another reason is the immense popularity of plant-based diets among circles.

Previously, studies into vegetarianism revolved around potential nutritional deficiencies. However, the recent trend shows that now studies are confirming the health benefits of going on a meat-free diet. These days, a meat-free diet is not only recognized as nutritionally sufficient and filling but also a way to reduce many chronic illnesses.

About the vegetarian food, according to the American Dietetic Association

Appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

This means that unless you follow a strictly controlled veg diet where you are getting the recommended nutrition in the form of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, you may put yourself at risk of malnutrition. A diet of soft drinks, non-meat pasta, and bread is vegetarian, but it is not going to give you many health benefits that you may want to receive from your diet. It is important that your diet includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You can replace bad fat with good by eating more nuts, olive oil, and canola oil. It is also important to know that eating a balanced diet should be your ultimate goal.

If you are eating too many calories, you can still gain weight from a low-fat plant-based diet. Read food labels, exercise, and practice portion control. This way, you can reap the full benefits of a vegetarian diet.

Pakistani cuisine has a number of options when it comes to a vegetarian diet. Pakistan is the land of 4 seasons, which means we get abundant produce every season to concoct something yummy and delicious for those who want to go on a vegetarian diet. From eggplants to cauliflower, and everyone’s favorite potatoes, there are a million ways you can try to make veg cuisine at your home. The recipes provided in this article are good for kids as well, so if you are a parent who wants their kids to eat their greens, you can benefit from this article as well.

Related: Cuisine of Peshawar: A Unique Flavour

Recipes of Tasty Vegetarian Cuisine of Pakistan

Fried Eggplants

Recipes , Fried Eggplants, Veg food

This is a two-part recipe for vegetarian food lovers. One deals with preparing and frying the eggplants and the other concerns with making a sauce.

Part 1 – Eggplants

Get your hands on some eggplants, 2 if you are serving 4. Dice them like you would dice a carrot. Set them aside and break an egg in a deep bowl. In another container prepare your dredging mix which includes bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.

Dredge your eggplants and fry them. You can air dry them if you are on a diet!

Part 2 – The Sauce

Traditional marinara sauce goes well with crispy eggplants. Cut up an onion and fry in butter until it softens. Add a teaspoon of white flour and stir. Add in 4 diced tomatoes, basil, fennel, salt, pepper, and vinegar. After the tomatoes soften up, blend everything and adjust for taste.

Mixed Veggies

Mixed Veggies, Recipes, veg food

No, it’s not the version you have hated all your childhood. This one is better dressed!

All you need is the veggies that you love, some nuts, and cottage cheese.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Peas
  • Capsicum
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Cauliflower
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

Cut up your veggies and saute them, one by one, in butter with some salt. Don’t saute them to the point of wilting, they should taste crisp. Boil your peas and potatoes. Now throw all the veggies in a large bowl. Add in your blanched almonds and walnuts. Adjust seasoning and mix. Serve warm and enjoy!

Related: Top Popular Karachi Food Items That Express its Food Culture

Lemony Kale with Herb and Cheese Sourdough Crumb

Lemony Kale ,Herb and Cheese Sourdough , Veg food

This is Chef Rabia’s Recipe. She is one of the most versatile chefs who have recently relocated to Pakistan. She describes this recipe as, “For the love of salads that are not a whole garden full of ingredients. This is one of my ALL TIME FAVS and I’ve been enjoying this recipe for years. Now that Kale is here — it’s time you should enjoy it too! With two components done simply and beautifully, this salad can become a staple on any dinner table that needs a bit of a green lift.

Also let’s start doing breadcrumbs for croutons, because why not!”

To make the crumbs, blend in a strong blender: stale bread (toasted without color in the oven if you don’t have any), parsley, thyme, rosemary, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Blend well till a green crumb is formed (use a spice grinder if needed)

Add into a non-stick pan and toast, mixing continuously till dry and crumbly. Remove and cool.

For the salad: make a quick easy dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and salt (make it lemony!)

Toss in the Kale and mix well using your hands.

Scatter this into a platter. Do not make a tall pile.

Top with a very generous dusting of the crumbs and eat immediately.

Note: the result changes if the bread changes

Black Cherry Salad

Black Cherry Salad, Veg food, Vegetarian

This is another of Chef Rabia’s marvelous recipes.

Black cherry salad with garlic confit and balsamic dressing, goats cheese & nuts, and seeds

(No quantities, you decide those)

Make the dressing by combining some roasted garlic* with balsamic, salt, pepper, fresh thyme (or fry herbs), honey, and olive oil

Add in your greens of choice and some cherries only. Toss gently and add to the plate.

Top with unseasoned cherries, crumbled goats cheese, walnuts and seeds. Eat asap.

Chef’s Tips

Remove a bit of the dressing before tossing so you have control

Taste the dressing before the olive oil is added

Use only your fingertips to toss the salad leaves

Fresh and dressed cherries provide a nice contrast/cleanser

*roasted garlic is slowly roasted in the oven inside its papery skin till completely brown and soft. Remove from skin and mash using a fork.

Enjoy!

Related: Best Dine-in Restaurants in Lahore

Halloumi Skewers

Halloumi Skewers, Veg food, Vegetarians

This is Chef Jamie Olivers’ Recipe.

Ingredients
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 ripe peaches
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ideally the flowering kind
  • 2 x 225 g blocks of halloumi
  • 300 g sourdough bread
  • ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley (15g)
  • 2 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey
Method
  1. Make your marinade first. Wash and peel the garlic and grate in a bowl with lemon zest. Cut the peaches and remove their stones. Finely grate the peaches and mix one-quarter of them in the lemon zest bowl. In a separate bowl, add the remaining peaches, some lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano. Season with some pepper and toss it all.
  2. Grill all sides of the halloumi block in a criss-cross fashion, going about ½cm deep, then cut each into 6 chunks and add to the peaches.
  3. Cut up your bread in accordance with the size of halloumi, add to a bowl, and toss.
  4. Take a bit of pride in skewering everything up onto 4 long skewers, then cook on the barbecue, or in a griddle pan, until golden and beautifully charred. Move to a serving platter.
  5. Cut the leafy part of the parsley, and pour on a dressing made with lemon juice, oil, and a pinch of salt. Make sure that all the parsley leaves are coated in it. Crush pistachios and sprinkle over the top of parsley leaves. Put your skewers on the parsley bed and finish off with a drizzle of honey.

In addition to this list, many people are eating steamed vegetables made in their rice cookers to preserve the fiber content of the vegetables. If you are a complete health aficionado with little regard to taste, you may try this! What is your favorite vegetarian recipe? Jot it down and spark a conversation in the comment section below.