By Margaret Ely February 27
A top U.S. nutritional panel is recommending that everyone eat less meat to protect the environment. Ellie Krieger answered your questions, including plenty about vegetables, during our recent online discussion. Here are some tips and suggestions for vegetarians, vegans and other vegetable lovers.
Going vegetarian? Be sure to vary your diet to be sure you’re getting enough protein. “As long as your vegetarian diet contains a mix of grains, beans, nuts [and] seeds each day — and, if you choose, dairy and eggs — you should be getting the protein you need,” Krieger says.
Grains and legumes, such as rice and beans, supply a complete protein, but you don’t need to eat them at the same time to get the full benefit.
If you want something vegan and gluten-free, try bean and vegetable soups or rice bowls. “I am loving to make rice bowls, with hot whole-grain rice topped with a variety of steamed, raw and pickled vegetables, peanuts or sesame seeds and some kind of protein.”
Edamame or marinated tofu would work for protein, and top it all off with an Asian-style dressing.
If you’re a new vegan, check the Vegetarian Resource Group or cookbooks by Mark Reinfeld. His most recent is “The 30-Minute Vegan: Soup’s On!”
Cut down on the time it takes to roast vegetables by choosing tender vegetables such as asparagus, broccolini and green beans, which will roast in half the time of root vegetables, “taking only 15 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees or so.”
For firm vegetables, chopping them smaller will also cut down on roasting time.
If you’re craving a new, seasonal vegetable, look for growth shoots and leaves later in March — “ramps, garlic scapes, pea greens and herbs like parsley, as well as radishes. I know, I too am ready to move on from root vegetables!”
Ancient veggies in the back of the freezer? They might be salvageable. “It probably wouldn’t be dangerous to eat — freezing food prevents bacterial growth — but it will likely have an off flavor and compromised texture at this point. Thaw it and give it a taste. If it tastes fine, turn it into a soup or use it in a mixed dish. Otherwise, toss it.”