Deprivation never (ever!) comes to mind when I consider the lifestyle I’ve chosen as a vegetarian. For me, eating compassionately is like eating in color when before, I thought there was only black and white. Instead of scarcity, choosing to leave animals out of my diet fills me with a spirit and appetite of abundance. Planning a plate without the traditional structure most of us grew up with – animal protein, vegetable, and starch – might seem challenging, but when we rethink our meals from our hearts, instead of our minds, it alters how we approach the journey and every choice we make.
Choosing kindness ignites a joyful and innocent hunger, one free from the latent and deeply rooted misgivings we suppress. Describing how it feels to eat vegetarian to incredulous and curious onlookers is just like trying to describe the color yellow… or blue… or lavender; words can’t do it justice, you just have to experience it to understand.
One aspect I particularly enjoy about my vegetarian journey is that it takes my culinary imagination around the world, to enjoy cuisines I may have never tried as a non-vegetarian because I relied on familiarity. Exploring different ingredients, spices, and techniques helps me to expand my horizons so that I’m never bored with what I eat.
As an example, I’ll share with you two new recipes from my favorite source – Chef Linda at Compassionate Cuisine. Both recipes are based from dishes that originated in Brazil, a country whose cuisine rely’s heavily on animal protein. In rethinking these recipes, the best elements of flavor and texture were included without the cruelty. They demonstrate perfectly how vibrant and creative vegetarian cooking can be. (Both options are actually vegan).
Silky, sumptuous, and full of flavor, the traditional Brazilian seafood stew gets a vegan makeover and wins points for taste and compassion. Try this recipe for Moqueca and see for yourself.
Originally made by Brazilian “tropeiros” or troopers who traveled long distances to transport goods, Trooper’s Beans is a simple dish that proves you don’t have to be fancy to be delicious.
(Images by Compassionate Cuisine)