Salad Days for Vegetarians
The World Wide Web finally provides a short answer for people who ask,
"Why did you become a vegetarian?" and "So what do you eat?".
Now all I have to do is quote this URL!
Toronto offers a lot of places where vegetarians can shop and eat, but
finding places that are good and close to you can be a chore.
I'm compiling some information about vegetarian places to eat and shop
in Toronto in a Lotus Organizer file,
with cross-references by categories like city area and type of cuisine.
Download the file (19K, requires
Thanks to the Toronto Vegetarian Association for many of the listings.
You can also get the data as comma-separated text.
See below for:
I've also got a section with vegetarian cookbooks in my
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to these pages since January 26, 1996.
This page is also available in:
I'm one of those "gradual" vegetarians. Starting in 1984, I kept reducing the number of kinds of meat I ate until
it got easier to say "I'm a vegetarian" rather than listing the things
I wouldn't eat. My personal reasons were:
- Feeling better. I'm allergic to pork, and had a lot of colds, aches, and general
not-feeling-well as a kid that I can now trace to eating meat. For example,
I get a runny nose and aching joints if I eat something made with beef broth.
- Personal taste. Choosing not to eat meat isn't far removed from choosing not to
eat rare steak. I gave up different kinds of meat at different times: pork and fish seemingly from birth, steak next, then
hamburgers (first McDonalds, then Burger King, then A&W), then chicken and turkey.
- Environmentalism. This wasn't a major factor in becoming vegetarian, but is something
I learned about later and agree with. Environmentalism isn't the same thing as animal rights,
which isn't a big consideration for me.
When I first became a vegetarian, I didn't know much about nutrition and for several
years subsisted mostly on junk food.
I grew up in Newfoundland, where the traditional
recipes lean heavily on seafood and pork, and where there are few specialty or
multicultural food stores. Dinner at home was typically potatoes, turnip, carrots,
and something, I just left out the something.
There is a stereotype that vegetarians must be wild about salad.
Personally, I'm neutral on green salads and don't care for
many green vegetables. Tofu doesn't excite me either.
Here are some things to consider if you're thinking about becoming vegetarian or have vegetarian dinner guests.
My kitchen usually contains most of:
Typical North American
- Corn -- frozen kernels, corn on the cob and miniature tinned corn
- Frozen mixed vegetables
- Peas -- split peas, blackeyed peas, green peas and snow peas
- Peppers -- red, green, yellow and jalapeno
- Garlic -- whole, pickled and minced
- Vegetable oils -- olive, peanut, canola and sesame
- Shredded wheat cereal
- Artichoke hearts
- Yeast -- baker's and nutritional
- Lemon juice
- Condiments -- ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, soy sauce, peanut butter, etc.
- Spices -- cloves, coriander, cumin, cardamom, turmeric, cayenne pepper, parsley, ginger, cinnamon, basil, etc.
- Yoghurt (some vegetarians wouldn't eat)
- Rice -- Indian Basmati, Italian arborio, North American wild rice, long-grain white, brown, Thai jasmine
- Beans -- kidney, chickpea, pinto, black, navy, adzuki
- Lentils -- green and red
- Noodles for boiling or stir-frying
- Miso (salty paste for soup stock)
- Tempura batter
- Seitan (wheat gluten)
- Vegetarian chop-suey
- Tempeh (firm, tasty variant of tofu)
- Vegetarian chili mix
- Nacho chips
Mediterranean -- Italian, Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan
- Pasta -- spaghetti, rigatoni, rotini, lasagna noodles
- Sundried tomatoes
- Couscous (wheat done up like rice)
- Polenta (Italian cornmeal pie)
- Vinegar -- white, red wine and balsamic
- Pickled mixed vegetables
- Pasta and pizza sauces
- Tahini (sesame paste)
- Indian pickles -- ginger, lime, eggplant -- to accompany rice dishes
- Pappadums (crispy Indian bread)
- Naans (soft Indian bread)
- Tinned curried vegetables and prepackaged rice/curry dishes
- Soy cheese (there's only one brand I like, "Soya Kaas")
- Rice milk (there's also soy milk, but I prefer rice-based brands such as Rice Dream)
- Tofu hot dogs
- Soy mayonnaise (some contain eggs, which some vegetarians won't eat)
- Mock meats (bean curd)
- Grain-based mixes for different kinds of patties
- Frozen prepackaged patties
- Vegetable soup stock
- Mushroom gravy
I've now added enough recipes to justify a separate page.