Adventures in Vegetarianism: Week One

As I stated previously, I recently decided that two weeks of vegetarian meals would be an interesting experience. Not only would I get to eat healthier (always a plus), but I would expand my recipe collection as well, filling it up with extremely easy (and tasty) new dishes. 

To be fair to the original posters of the recipes, I made sure to collect the links for each one. Below are my opinions, not only for you lovely people, but for myself later (when I go “hey, what was that one recipe…?”). 

Potato with soy sauce (“gamja jorim”)

This is one of my favorite banchan when we go to the local Korean restaurants. They really are simply potatoes cooked in sweetened soy sauce. But the simplicity is what gets me; I’m usually a meat and potatoes kind of girl, so of course potatoes work for me. I will say that I personally would add another tablespoon of soy sauce, because I personally love it’s saltiness. 

Bean Sprouts with Sesame Oil

I doubled this recipe for a lettuce wrap night with my cooking buddy Sarah. Needless to say, it’s ridiculously easy. They played more of a side note at our dinner than anything; mostly we tried them to add another banchan to my list of quick-and-easy’s. 

Squash in Sweet Soy Sauce

love squash. I have to say, I don’t normally have it in an Asian-styled dish. I love Asian food, especially Japanese and Korean (in case you can’t tell by the end of this blog). These weren’t a favorite, but they’re a nice little side for my lunches at work. 

Wasabi Cucumber Sesame Salad

I enjoy a bit of wasabi on sushi nights, but this recipe intimidated me a little. I don’t handle spice well, with horseradish-type heat being the only kind my tongue can’t take in large amounts. That said, I wimped out and added half of the wasabi originally called for. I personally like the level of heat that gave my salad; there’s a bite, but I don’t need a drink to get it down. With allergy season coming, I think this could clear my sinuses!

(Vegan) German Potato Salad

This recipe got experimented with for several reasons. For one, I had recently made pickled onions (see below) and thought they’d be tasty. Two, I didn’t remember to grab fake bacon (purposeful forgetfulness?) when I went to the store. And three, I thought it was bland enough to add Italian seasoning toward the end to liven it up. Overall, it was good. I think it’d be awesomely good with bacon, but since this whole adventure is vegetarian… no pig for me. 

Noodles and Vegetables with Sesame Dipping Sauce 

Taking this to work was interesting. I made the mistake of trying to tone down the sauce’s spicyness instead of removing the heat all together; that said, it was a refreshing lunch that I wouldn’t mind doing again. I steamed baby bok choy, carrots, and sugar snap peas as my vegetables. Mmm!

Shiomomi

Making shiomomi was funny. I bought a mandolin for the first time, very nifty. We used Korean radish for this recipe in place of the original fennel. It’s super simple and very refreshing. Plus I got to massage [insert smart remarks here] a vegetable. 

Orange Juice Carrots 

As a rule, I happen to love cooked carrots! These, however, were a bit too spicy for me. I tried to stick to the recipes as much as possible, but this one could’ve been deliciously done without the chili pepper. 

Pickled Red Onions

I overdid it on this one. Being me, I couldn’t help myself and just had to double the recipe. I love onions, so I figured it’d be a great idea. The good news? These are delicious, and I’ve added them to a couple things (see German Potato Salad above). The bad news? I have half a gallon of pickled onions sitting in my fridge. I’m thinking it’s time for an early spring barbaque… 

Apple Refrigerator Pickles

These are so sour! I used half the lemon juice required, again because I had mistakenly purchased a smaller amount. They’re crisp and clean and wonderful… as long as you loved Sour Patch Kids and Lemonheads as a kid. 

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures throughout my week. I know, bad me. Trust me when I say that the website pictures are honest enough to be substitutes for me own. Taking this adventure has made me look at recipes in two ways: first, looking for more variety in preparing familiar foods (in this case, vegetables); and second, recognizing that good food doesn’t have to be a task to prepare. I love Rachel Ray’s 30 Minute Meals, but unless I prep every single ingredient… mine take longer. These, though, were all so ridiculously easy that I spent a few hours cooking only twice this week to prepare all of my meals.

I didn’t do any special breakfasts. Honestly, I get up and have a routine that can’t handle change. I stuck to simple items, like a bowl of cereal or some fruit or yogurt. I might experiment more with breakfast next week. Stick with me on my adventure, and we’ll see.

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