Vegetarian Cooking Tips

Whether you are a long-time vegetarian or simply wanting to try out a meat-free meal, Vege USA gives AZFoothills.com readers some useful cooking tips.

• Most vegetarian recipes will call for firm tofu. If yours seems too soft, wrap it in a dishtowel and weight it down with a heavy object to squeeze out excess water (a brick or pan of water works). Let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
• To replace dairy when baking desserts, consider soy milk mixed with lemon juice instead of buttermilk and coconut cream instead of dairy cream.
• Grilling can help ease people into a vegetarian lifestyle because it can make anything taste meaty.
• Try quinoa. This food has tons of nutrients in addition to being gluten-free, low in calories and filling.
• Remember to coat cooking surfaces with olive oil or vegetable spray before you start as meatless ingredients tend to stick.
• As for cooking utensils, always use a fork when mixing vegetables. The blunt end of spoons will mash them up too much.
• One awesome vegan cheese alternative is nutritional yeast. Add it to the top of salads, pasta, sauces, and more! It is also a good source of vitamin B12, which is sometimes lacking in a vegan diet.
• A way to save wilted lettuce! Add lemon juice to a bowl of cold water and soak the lettuce in the refrigerator for an hour.
• To make your own broth, use flavorful vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery, along with garlic, bay leaves, and your other favorite spices.
• Fully cooked meat alternatives such as the Vegetarian Plus dishes can make vegetarian/vegan cooking simple. Simply heat and serve with your favorite side dish.

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