vegetarian cooking, the green wok way

Green Wok Deli and Cafe had its first vegetarian cooking demo last Friday, October 16.

Long-time health advocate and vegetarian Dolly Aspiras showed us how to whip up six — that’s two extra! — easy-to-cook dishes, and shared practical tips on food preparation.

Each dish took very little time to prepare. It was like Rachael Ray’s “30 Minute Meals” for vegetarians. Or if there were a “Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies,” Dolly’s cooking demo would be it.

Not only that, the dishes all tasted great. To say that we participants enjoyed the different dishes is an understatement. At the end of the demo, we sat down to a veritable feast of Three C’s Soup, Sol’s Oatmeal Balls, Sweet and Sour Veggie Magic, Ratatouille, and Mock Chicken Teriyaki, served with refreshing tanglad (lemongrass) tea.

yummy ratatouille

yummy ratatouille

guilt-free sweet and sour veggie magic

guilt-free sweet and sour veggie magic

Vegetarianism is healthy and environment friendly, and vegetarian food doesn’t have to taste like paper. Dolly’s vegetarian cooking demo taught us how to cook food that was simple, tasty, and economical.

I hope this will be the start of a series of cooking demos for those of us who are culinarily challenged. Let’s watch out for the next one.

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A word about transition food: tofu, gluten, and “meat magic” are all plant-based foods that can be cooked as one would cook meat. It’s just a matter of marinating them to taste and using them instead of meat.

To some this might seem like “cheating” — but in reality, it’s healthy for those who are making the transition from a meat-based to a plant-based diet. These foods provide the flavor and sometimes even the texture and “heaviness” of well-loved meat dishes, but more importantly, the protein. Having meatless versions of a favorite dish can also help a new vegetarian deal with the craving for meat that might come.

Not all vegetarians miss the taste and “heaviness” of meat, though. In which case, these meat substitutes simply add variety to one’s diet and help make food preparation less stressful. You don’t have to relearn how to cook new dishes — you just have to tweak your favorites and make them meatless!

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