Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Pantry Stockers

Here are a few things that all good vegetarians have on hand at all times. And even you carnivores would be smart to stock up on these because a) you never know when you might want to have a veggie, eco-friendly dinner, b) you never know when a vegetarian friend might pop over for dinner and c) these are pretty basic staples that will even pair with your meat, poultry and seafood!

  1. Nuts. They're an excellent source of protein, great for a snack and a nice complement to a meal (sliced almonds on a salad, chopped cashews or peanuts in a sauce). Also, how can you go wrong with a delish PB&J? Like this Grilled PB&J. YUM!

  2. Beans. Again, a great source of protein, but also very high in fiber and iron. Beans are great in soups and salads - vegetarian dishes that may otherwise be low in these nutrients. They're also great in all sorts of dips (hummus!!) and snacks (edamame!)

  3. Whole Grains. Really simple foods that do so many great things for your body. Whole grains help lower cholesterol, reduce risk for heart disease and decrease hypertension. We all eat grains, but switching to whole grains will give you tremendous health benefits - whole grain pasta, quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal, etc. These are the base of MANY vegetarian staple meals. And probably found in many non-veggie dinners, too!

  4. Veggies. We all eat these ... well, at least we should. And no, potatoes don't count! It's great to have a variety of fresh veggies on hand (broccoli, kale, spinach, squash, peppers), but frozen works just as well (read this post from last year where we break down fresh vs. frozen vs. canned). Veggies are super important for everyone, but even more so for vegetarians to ensure they have good, natural sources of protein, iron, fiber and all the other good-for-you stuff.

  5. Soy Products. These are a vegetarians best friend. And this is also where most of the meat-eaters will stop reading this post ... they just can't go there on the soy stuff. Well, don't knock it until you try it. Tofu is such a chameleon and will take on the flavor profile of whatever you're mixing it with (stirfry, smoothie, grill). Soymilk, yogurt and all the other dairy stand-ins are truly magnificent developments for vegetarians and people with lactose intolerance. And all those Morningstar Farms and Boca products are amazing. Seriously - I know tons of major meat lovers who go nuts over those (just ask Vicki!). Give them a whirl.

So there you have it - 5 categories of things that all vegetarians keep in their pantry, fridge or freezer. If you haven't tried any of these then you should ... before you turn up your nose.

One last thing - you should try this Summer Mediterranean Pasta for dinner tonight. A tasty dish ... with whole grains and veggies!

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Vicki said...

Carrie's right - I'm definitely a meat eater but LOVE MorningStar products. I love knowing that I can bite into a Chik Pattie with no fear of running into some gnarly tendon or something. Plus they're lower in calories and are better for you than real chicken patties! Their other products are fabulous as well - don't be afraid to give 'em a whirl!

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