If only we could each eat one more plant based meal


Suggesting that the entirety of humanity converts to vegetarianism is almost laughable. Of course, implying anything of the sort is comical. 

In my experience, the stereotyped vegan or vegetarian is perceived as a person who shoves the practice down the throats of others. In my experience, it’s more effective to suggest recipes and attempt to educate others. If we all ate one more vegetarian meal a day, we would not only be benefiting our bodies, but also the environment.

Before discussing my favorite vegetarian meals, I want to make one point evidently obvious: I understand some of these options may not provide a sufficient amount of protein. However, most American adults eat twice the healthy intake recommended for protein daily, so aside from these few options, I’m sure the majority of readers are finding other sources of the nutrient (Egan).

“Why try and make something meatless taste like meat; just eat meat.”

I really—for lack of a better word—hate when people say this.

For most people, vegetarianism isn’t about a dislike for meat. 

The creation of meatless meat and “Impossible Meat” is one I am neutral on. In my opinion, I will always choose a black bean burger over an Impossible Burger. However, I have never been a big red meat person, so I just don’t love how they taste. I always find arugula, avocado, goat cheese, and balsamic reduction pair well with the mild taste of a black bean burger.

‘Why try and make something meatless taste like meat, just eat meat.’ I really—for lack of a better word—hate when people say this.

I don’t understand the bubble of hate surrounding tofu. “It tastes like nothing” seems to be the common conception.

Tofu is such a versatile ingredient. Tofu can be fried, baked, or eaten raw, and it can take on a multitude of flavors.

Personally, tofu is my favorite when cooked in Thai or Asian-inspired dishes. The Thai restaurant “Little Bangkok” makes my absolute favorite tofu in their drunken noodles. My order will never diverge from mild drunken noodles with tofu—ever.

Electric Cheetah’s Thai Town salad is also a personal favorite. If you can’t tell, I am a big proponent of Thai food.

It is spicy, the peanuts add crunch, and I just really enjoy it. 

Turning away from tofu, Buffalo Cauliflower has recently broken the internet, and I have taken a liking to one recipe in particular. TikTok cooking phenomena Emily Mariko’s recipe was my first go at the meal. I have since never sought another.

The oven or air fryer meal is quick and uses only simple ingredients that I assume many have around the house. It is served as a large portion of vegetables, but it doesn’t attach itself to the flavorlessness associated with such ingredients. This dish exemplifies a perfect representation of all vegetables can amount to. 

On almost all occasions I go out to dinner, I am instructed to graze the menu, ensuring there is an appropriate option for me on the menu. I regularly respond: “I will find something. I always can.”

Almost all types of food have integrated options to appeal to all those on restricted diets. Gluten-free, dairy-free, no tree nuts, no shellfish—vegan and vegetarian are no exceptions.

One of my favorite meals stems from Italian culture. I love eggplant parmesan; it’s yet another classic example of disguising a plant into a satisfactory meal. 

Red sauce has never been my go-to choice in Italian food, but this dish always rises to the top of my vegetarian choices at almost any Italian restaurant. On Italian menus, I also gravitate towards gnocchi and most vegetarian ravioli. 

Lastly, I’d like to give falafel an honorable mention. My first try of falafel was in fifth grade. After one bite, I decided absolutely not, not for me. This past year, however, I have opened myself to a second try, and I am so happy that I did.

Falafel is basically chickpeas and tahini paired with spices, and I love it in all Greek and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes, especially with tzatziki sauce.

Eating vegetarian is stigmatized as a challenge. I fully understand that some people don’t have the access to various ingredients and restaurants like I have at my disposal. However, it’s as simple as one changed meal a day, maybe even one a week. Your body and the environment will thank you.