Altering or switching your diet to a vegetarian or a vegan diet can be a decision based on a multitude of different reasons, these vary from health, religious beliefs, a concern for animal welfare and/or a concern for the environment. But knowing how to find and prepare veggie foods can be daunting.
Vegetarian vs Plant Based
There are a variety of terms that can be used to describe a vegetarian or vegan diet, but knowing what each specific term means can become confusing.
A vegetarian is an individual who does not consume any form of meat, poultry, fish, shellfish or any products that are produced through the means of animal slaughter. However, within this term, there are different types of vegetarians depending on what types of food they eat.
Lacto-Vegetarian: A Lacto-vegetarian is a vegetarian who does not eat any animal flesh or eggs, but does consume dairy products.
Lacto-ovo Vegetarian: A Lacto-ovo vegetarian is a vegetarian who does not eat animal flesh but does eat dairy and eggs.
Ovo Vegetarian: An ovo vegetarian is a vegetarian who does not eat any animal products except eggs.
Vegans: A vegan will not consume or use any animal or animal-derived products.
Flexitarian: A flexitarian is an individual who adopts a part-time vegetarian diet. Whilst they do consume animal flesh, this is a variation of the vegetarian diet.
Can a vegetarian eat fish?
A pescatarian is a vegetarian who does not eat meat or poultry but does eat fish. This does not technically fall under the definition of a vegetarian as they consume animal flesh, but it is a variation of the diet. So, if you are a vegetarian who eats fish, you will most commonly hear it being referred to as a pescatarian.
Plant Based Diets
A plant based diet is where an individual consumes foods that come from plants, with no (or for some very few) animal products. Plant-based eating has a strong focus on consuming foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes and beans.
This does not mean that someone with a plant-based diet will never consume meat or other animal products, the main focus is just centred around plant-based items. This can be done by eating a large array of vegetables, eating smaller amounts of meat, eating good fats, eating wholegrains, consuming plenty of greens and eating fruit as a snack.
Plant based diets are not the same as a vegan diet, although they are very similar. Vegans will remove all animal products from their diet, as mentioned a plant based diet does not necessarily eliminate the use of animal products, but the diet is much more focused on plant items.
Veggie for Breakfast
The term 'veggie' is an abbreviation of a vegetarian, but it can also refer to a vegetable. If you are wanting to explore any of the abovementioned diets, below we have outlined some of the ways in which you are able to bring a veggie breakfast into your diet.
Breakfast should be a healthy way to prepare you for the day ahead. Start with some eggs, they are great for protein. Along with your eggs, whether they are scrambled or poached, accompany them with fruits and vegetables, such as:
Alongside the egg, you can also add a slice or two or wholemeal bread. (Note that egg is not suitable for some variations of vegetarian and vegan diets).
Another breakfast idea can be toast with vegetables, such as avocado spread. Alternatively, try a homemade smoothie filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. Try out some of the recipes below.
Smashed Avo on Sweet Potato Toast by Taste.com
Breakfast Vegetable Scramble by A Couple Cooks
Quick Breakfast Quesadilla by A Couple Cooks
Favourite Breakfast Tacos by Cookie and Kate
A Veggie Breakfast Sandwich by Cookie and Kate
Veggie Dinner Ideas
If you have already mastered veggie meals in all areas, you may want to be trying veggie dinners. A veggie dinner can include meat substitutes, such as Quorn and other mycoproteins. A veggie meal does not have to consist of only vegetables unless you are wanting to.
We have made a list of veggie dinner ideas that should try!
Spiced Carrot and Lentil Soup by BBC Good Food
Easy Vegetarian Quesadilla by BBC Food
Vegetarian Kebab Recipes by BBC Good Food
Roasted Black Bean Burgers by Jamie Oliver
Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese by Delish
Vegan Party Food Ideas
Cooking for yourself is one matter, but trying to find party food that complies with everyone's needs can be difficult. If you are wanting to find party food recipes that are suitable for those who are vegetarian and vegan, then the following recipes are a great place to start.
Vegan 'Sausage' Rolls by Taste.com
Vegan Buffalo Wings by Taste.com
Vegan Summer Rolls with Dipping Sauce Two Ways by Lauren Caris Cooks
Vegan Pasties by BBC FOOD
Easy Vegan Sushi by The Veg Space
63 Vegan Canapes & Party Food by The Veg Space
Veggie Food London
As a vegetarian or a vegan, cooking meals for yourself can be easy. However, eating out at restaurants may not be as simple. There are a lot of restaurants that do not cater for vegetarians and other plant based diets, and if they do, the variety can be very short and limiting. If you are travelling to or live in London, then our research has gathered some of the best places to eat a veggie meal.
Vantra vegan is located in London and they offer a wide variety of foods, such as apple pies, cheesecakes and herbal teas, all vegan. They are advertised as catering for all kinds of different tastes and their services are readily available through delivery.
A link to their website can be found here: Vantra Vegan
A link to their menu can be found here: Vantra Vegan Menu
The Holy Carrot is a restaurant that sells plant based food and offers all-day dining. They advertise that they want to create 'a warm and inviting environment' that is centred around a vegan menu. The ingredients are ethically sourced, seasonal and prepared with mindfulness at heart. All dishes are gluten-free, sugar-free and do not contain any preservatives or additives.
A link to their website can be found here: Holy Carrot
A link to their menu can be found here: Holy Carrot Menu
Addis Vegan Kitchen Ethiopian Food
The core value of Addis Vegan Kitchen is to serve fresh and healthy vegan food to customers. They offer free wifi and claim to serve the best Ethiopian Homestyle Vegan Food in South East London.
A link to their website can be found here: Addis Vegan Kitchen Ethiopian Food
A link to their menu can be found here: Addis Vegan Kitchen Ethiopian Food Menu
Govinda's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
They are known for their delicious vegetarian food with their award-winning dishes. Govinda's is one of the oldest vegetarian eateries in London after being established in 1979 and they follow a 'sattvic diet' that consists of food rich in prana (life-force). This includes nutritious, wholesome foods that are free from meat, fish and eggs. Their food is cooked fresh and blessed before serving.
A link for their website and menu can be found here: Govinda's Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
Hollyhock Vegetarian Fairtrade Café
This café is a sister café to Tide Tables and serves a shorter version of the same vegetarian menu, but it has a beautiful location that overlooks terraced gardens. There is a great outdoor seating area, where you are able to overlook the beautiful scenery. The website claims that the views of the Thames are some of the best in London.
A link for their website can be found here: Hollyhock Vegetarian Fairtrade Café
Everything on this restaurants menu is strictly plant based. They have a great seasonal menu that includes dairy-free, refined sugars and no additives nor chemicals. Each ingredient they use has either been sourced from their own farm or local, sustainable, and environmentally friendly suppliers. Using this restaurant supports local farming.
A link to their website can be found here: Farmacy
A link to their menu can be found here: Farmacy Menu
Tendril is a relatively new restaurant after its creation in 2019. They use seasonal products to provide top-quality meals that they say are all vegan unless told differently. It is their goal to satisfy through food. They have both an a la carte menu and a 'discovery' menu that is great for those who are new to trying this food. Through their website, you are able to meet the chef, Rishim Sachdeva. This great feature makes the process of having your food cooked all that more intimate. Knowing where and how your food is prepared can be essential for some.
A link to their website can be found here: Tendril
A link to their menu can be found here: Tendril menu
Mosques and Vegetarian Meals
During Ramadan, many mosques will offer free meals and provide you with an amazing, vegetarian meal. You do not have to be a Muslim in order to enjoy the great food, however, ensure that you are always respectful and follow the etiquette of the temple. They will cater to everyone, but you must be respectful. In most cases, you will be asked to remove your shoes and women must cover their hair. Respectful clothes should also be worn.
This gesture is often charitable and helps those who are in need of a sustainable meal. It is typically the evenings in which these meals are offered. This is a great way to explore different cuisines and enter a world of new flavours whilst sticking to your vegetarian diet. In most cases, you will also be able to experience traditional customs when eating the served food.
Other Sources of Vegetarian Foods and Meals
Other than cooking for yourself and eating out in restaurants, there are other sources of food in which you are able to find guides to vegetarian meals. Listed below are a set of ways in which you are able to access new and inventive ways of creating veggie meals.
Hello Fresh is a meal kit delivery service that will provide you with weekly boxes that are delivered to your home. They contain a box of fresh ingredients as well as a recipe that guides you through the cooking process. You start the process by doing the following:
Pick a plan: This allows you to pick the type of service plan you require. You will need to select the number of people in which the kit will provide for. This can be between 2 and 4 people. You will then be asked to provide the number of recipes that you would like each week. This can range from 3 to 5.
From there, you are able to choose the type of diet you have, for example, you can ask for 'veggie' meals to be provided to you. Select the recipes you are interested in and then have them delivered straight to your door. Open the recipes for which you intend to cook and follow the steps provided for you.
Hello fresh is an extremely convenient service and provides great quality homemade vegetarian meals delivered straight to your door. New users of the service can enjoy 50% off their first order. Click here for a link to the Hello Fresh website.
If you are located in the United States, a meal kit delivery service, by the name of Blue Apron, offers a similar service and includes vegetarian dishes. The concept works in the same way with each delivery being suited to your cooking needs and abilities. They offer a vegetarian meal plan for two where meat-free dishes are used with seasonal produce. Every week, 3 vegetarian recipes are selected for 2 people and this will automatically put you onto the vegetarian plan.
The box containing all ingredients will then be delivered to your door for you to cook and enjoy. It is convenient, saves time and provides those with a busy work and life schedule, the ability to enjoy a fresh, homecooked meal without the hassle.
Click here for a link to the Blue Apron Website.