If you are not used to a vegetable and whole grain based diet, then these are difficult questions for sure. Changing your eating habits is one of the hardest things to do, especially if fantastic alternatives are not identifiable and immediately available. One technique that I used and that many vegetarians have followed is to start eating more Asian and Mediterranean foods. Asian foods include Chinese stir-fries, Japanese tofu dishes, Thai noodle dishes, and Indian curries. Mediterranean foods include Greek salads and lentil soups, meatless Italian pastas and eggplant dishes, Middle Eastern grain dishes made with couscous, and Spanish vegetarian paellas. Ethiopian cuisine also offers many vegetarian options. In fact, the more you explore, the more great meals you can find from cultures around the world.
I started the transition by learning to enjoy vegetables from a mixture or Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian dishes. The food tasted so good, I didn’t even care that meat was not an ingredient. It was the flavor from the spices that won me over. The food was also filling and gave me great energy. Once you starting trying new flavors and cooking styles, the vegetables almost become a secondary concern. They are just a vehicle and foundation to try the different flavors. They also absorb the flavors better in my opinion increasing the enjoyment of the dish.
As you start to eat more types of food from around the world, it starts to give you perspectives on your own local cuisine and how vegetables are cooked and prepared. It also begins the process of learning to enjoy the veggies for their own flavor. You learn to pick and choose the ones you like and create ways of eating them based on all of the recipes that you’ve tried previously. Finally, it becomes apparent that it’s not hard to duplicate the flavors simply in your own kitchen and before long you’re developing uniquely personal recipes for food that you love and can eat any time.
This is the transition that I went through and it was very expansive and transformational. I came to realize how many flavors there are to try and I learned to like so many new ingredients. The world became a more interesting place and it started by simply trying new food. I hope you can enjoy a similar experience!