Continued from Part 1 of “Being a Jewish Vegetarian doesn’t have to be Boring!”

We’ve been spending a lot of times lately at farms… at Eden Village Camp and farm in New York, at Farmer Ben and Lisa’s farm in Virginia, and at Kayam Farms in Maryland last weekend.  All of these farms are vegetarian: They’re not slaughtering any animals.  So what on earth will we do with all those extra vegetables?! Here are some more ideas…

Kosher Vegetarian Organic Kale and Apple Salad

Salads don't have to be boring! This one incorporates kale, apples, white beans, and pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Yum!

Ok, the options we explored in Part One are yummy, but you’re still wishing you had meat.  Fortunately, you can get a similar taste and texture through the use of textured vegetable protein, or TVP.  Or you can use a soy alternative, like the popular Morningstar Farms products.  I find that I get the most realistic result by using the “beef” crumbles for things like tacos or spaghetti sauce.  However, I am not a big fan of using too much processed soy, so I’ve discovered that I can get a meaty color, texture, and flavor in my cholent by adding lots of brown and red lentils, plus some fun spices like cumin and coriander.  I’ve even had meat-eating friends tell me they couldn’t believe there wasn’t meat in my cholent, and walk away convinced I was lying when I told them that not only is my cholent vegan, but it’s fat-free, too!

Of course, you should also try to put some really healthy foods, like salads, into your kosher vegetarian diet, but you should be doing that anyway, vegetarian or not!  For greens, try adding some like kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, or broccoli rabe.  You’ll find each one has a totally different flavor and texture, and you may be really pleasantly surprised!  You’ll see that salads don’t need to be boring at all – in fact, check here for 101 yummy and different salad recipe ideas.  Just remember to check everything really well for bugs because they definitely aren’t kosher or vegetarian!

Kosher Vegetarian Delicata Squash

As a kosher vegetarian, joining a CSA program is a great way to experiment with and try new foods. In mine, I tried delicata squash for the first time and cooked it by making a rosemary, sage, and apple cider vinegar glaze.

One final idea for avoiding slipping into boredom with a kosher vegetarian diet is to sign up for a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, program.  These are offered all over the US and Canada, although they sometimes go by different names. Each program is unique, but the basic gist of it is that you purchase a “share” in a farm.  It’s as if the farmer divides up his land into 100 equal parts and you get your 1/100 of whatever the farm produces that week.  I did one of these programs in Florida and ended up with lots of interesting vegetables.  I became a delicata squash expert when I got a bunch of them and decided to cook each differently and I learned how to use butternut squash in soups, salads, kugels, and as a standalone dish. I had my first experiences with mustard greens and okra.  Not only are you supporting the local economy, but you are eating fresher food, too!

So even if you’re not planning to be a kosher vegetarian full time, you might want to try it out just for fun… and if you’re a world traveler, you should try it out now so that when you’re jet-setting around the world, you’ll have plenty of creative ideas for what to eat!

Here are some more blog posts you may find interesting:

Why would a Jewish and kosher world traveler become vegetarian?

Why do Jews become vegetarians?

What does the Bible say about vegetarianism?


One Response to “Being a Jewish Vegetarian doesn’t have to be Boring! Part 2”

  1. The meaty flavor doesn’t come from meat, it comes from the Umami tastes. You can get them in good quantities from chemical MSG, beef, various shell-fishes, a handful of kosher fishes (in smaller quantities), or from vegetable sources.

    Tomato Paste + Ground Dried Mushrooms (Shitakes are the best for this) will release the nucleotides and glutamates you’re looking for in the meaty dishes. People don’t believe that our vegetarian chili is meat free. A dash of Soy Sauce (Shoyu or Tamari both work for this) will help as well.

    Given the restrictions of Kashrut, much easier to fake the flavor of the meats than give up the cheeses.


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