Whether you are a full-time or part-time vegetarian, there are a few essentials to creating great cuisine. Vegetarian cooking is an area we incorporate in many aspects of our teaching at L’Ecole Culinaire. “First and foremost”, according to Chef Instructor Patrick Jones, “is to start with fresh and balanced ingredients.” Balanced ingredients ensure a sense of being full. Think about incorporating fiber and protein, like beans, nuts or tofu, into your meal.
Secondly, think about slow roasting vegetables. This removes water and concentrates flavor. With vegetables containing 60-90 percent water, this will give your meal a lot more depth. A simple way to get started is to skip the potato chips with your sandwich and try slow roasted kale chips with sea salt and vinegar. A compilation of interesting recipes for slow roasting can be found at YUMMLY.
Thirdly, think about adding chewy foods. For some new to eating vegetarian, the lack of chewiness can be a deterrent. By adding seared tofu, nuts, or mushrooms, you can capture some of the texture meat eaters are accustomed to.
Coming in fourth, consider adding fermented or glutamine foods. These are naturally occurring in foods such as parmesan cheese, cabbage, parsley, yogurt, kefir, soy sauce, asparagus, tomatoes, seaweed, peas, spinach and beans.
And finally, combine flavors and textures. By adding the crunch of asparagus to a smooth entrée like risotto, you can get a richer palate experience and more flavor.
Experiment with new recipes and seasonal ingredients. Invite friends to create their own versions of classic vegetarian fare, such as hummus, and host a small a cocktail party to sample different recipes.
L’Ecole Culinaire is an ACCSC accredited culinary school which prepares aspiring chefs for success in the field. With culinary schools in Missouri and a culinary school in Memphis, L’Ecole Culinaire campuses offer training in vegetarian cooking in our classes. To learn more about professional culinary training, click here.