World Vegetarian Day is celebrated across the globe on October 1 every year, to inculcate knowledge and awareness amongst the general public about the fabulous and infinite advantages of adopting a vegetarian diet. Moreover, numerous research studies have established the outstanding incentives of a vegetarian diet not only for overall wellbeing but also for reducing the risk of heart disease, improving longevity for leading a long, healthy life and even lowering the levels of pollution in the environment and thereby saving Planet Earth for the future generations.
This universal health campaign was initiated by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977 and further supported and backed by the International Vegetarian Union in 1978. In fact, the occasion of World Vegetarian Day marks the beginning of Vegetarian Awareness Month, wherein community activities are conducted throughout October, to encourage people of all age groups to take up vegetarianism.
What Are Plant-Based Meat Substitutes?
A vegetarian diet, by definition, comprises chiefly plant-based foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, beans, seeds, whole grains, lentils, along with dairy products of milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt, ghee and the popular notion is that it does not supply adequate proteins when compared to meat, chicken, eggs and fish. However, this is far from the truth, as not only are many varieties of edible bounty derived from plants rich in proteins but they can also be cooked and seasoned to mimic the taste of non-veg favourites like a tuna salad or a chicken burger.
Owing to a significant section of the population around the world gradually making the shift to vegetarianism, especially in the past two decades, the need for salubrious plant-based foods high in protein content as well as possessing a similar raw texture to meat sources like chicken, fish, beef invariably cropped up. Hence, a plethora of plant-based meat substitutes are widely eaten today – popular examples include textured lentil/bean-based patties for replacing ground beef, mushrooms instead of bacon, tofu and tempeh in place of chicken, lamb, chickpea flour/coconut flour as a substitute for fish. These fully plant-based foods contain all essential nutrients of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and also offer plentiful proteins and can be cooked, grilled or steamed, seasoned with barbeque sauce and enjoyed in much the same manner as staple meat dishes.
Mouth-Watering Vegetarian Recipes With Abundant Protein Punch:
So go ahead, embark on your journey to adopting a vegetarian diet with these myriad healthy plant-based meat substitutes that not only guarantee overall wellbeing but also ensure that your non-veg cravings are more than satisfied. Don on your chef’s hats and whip up these lip-smacking recipes of tofu salad and chickpea burger this weekend, for a wholesome protein-loaded meal packed with good health and nutrition.
2 cups soft tofu, sliced into uniform cubes
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 large cucumbers, cut into thin circles
1 tsp salt
2 long chive stems, chopped into small bits
A sprig of mint leaves
Heat sesame oil in a non-stick pan on medium flame, add the ginger garlic paste, cook for 2 minutes, then put in the tofu cubes.
Slightly fry the tofu for 5 – 7 minutes until they turn light brown, then turn off the stove.
In a bowl, add salt to the cucumber slices, let it sit for 10 minutes, then transfer the seasoned tofu cubes.
Garnish with chives and mint leaves and enjoy the tantalizing tofu salad as a light yet protein-rich meal for dinner.
Derived from soy, tofu is a nourishing superfood that supplies profuse amounts of dietary fibres, proteins, for regulating appetite, ensuring smooth bowel movement, strengthening muscles and growth, development of all organs, tissues in the body. Low in calories, high in water content, cucumber is a boon for weight loss, while also being laden with potassium to control blood pressure and uplift heart health. Chives are loaded with vitamin C – a vital nutrient with antioxidant properties, that boosts immunity and shields the system from infections, illness.
2 cups chickpeas i.e. chana, soaked in water for 2 hours
½ cup flaxseed paste, prepared by grinding
2 large red onions, finely chopped
Salt, as required
1 tsp cumin powder
A bunch of coriander leaves, finely chopped
6 multigrain buns
Pressure cook soaked chickpeas in 1 cup water for 3 whistles, so they become soft.
Mash the softened chickpeas, then add the flaxseed paste, chopped red onions, salt, cumin powder and coriander leaves.
Mould this mixture into round burger patties of the same thickness.
Shallow fry the burger patties in a pan on medium flame in a bit of olive oil until they turn golden-brown on both sides.
Place the patties in between 2 slices of multigrain buns and munch on these yummy chickpea burgers brimming with nutrition and protein power for lunch.
Chickpea or chana is imbued with all the crucial essential amino acids and serves as a superb plant-based protein source for reinforcing the structure of skin, hair and other internal organs, tissues in the body. Possessing copious volumes of the antioxidant quercetin, onions aid in lowering the risk of cancer. Coriander leaves offer vitamin A for enhanced eyesight, as well as calcium, phosphorous for fortified bones and joints.