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5 reasons to try vegetarianism this October

I've been a "vegantarian" (i.e. strictly vegan at home but a little more vegetarian at times when eating out, depending on the circumstances) and recently discovered that October 1st is World Vegetarian Day. This is the annual kickoff of vegetarian awareness month. So, right off-the-bat, there's reason #1 to try vegetarianism this month! It's interesting that it happens to fall on the same month as the meat-filled Oktoberfest festivals, which leads to reason #2 to try vegetarianism in October - there are a bunch of vegetarian Oktoberfest recipes out there! NAVS Vegetarian Pledge

For an added incentive, the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) is putting on a sweepstakes (reason #3 to try vegetarianism this month) where non-vegetarians could win up to $1k by pledging to go vegetarian for a day, week, or month (must submit by 10/31). I personally fell into vegetarianism because I wanted to see if I could challenge myself for a month, but it turned out sticking and I haven't looked back since. I like vegetarian meals because they're so versatile (reason #4), are quick to throw together (reason #5), can be very cost efficient (okay clearly there are more than 5 reasons!), give me a lot of energy and nutrition, and help save the environment and the animals involved in the food industry.

My favorite go-to recipes are from Lindsay Nixon, who offers 7-day meal plans ($5 per week and you can buy just 1 week if you want) that are plant-based, allergy-friendly, simple, tasty, and cater to a single person or family of four. She also uses seasonal ingredients and provides the grocery list and week of meals, which can be interchanged with other meals throughout the week to help work around your schedule.

Here are a few simple, flexible, tried-and-true, yummy dishes I've made if you want to give it a shot:

Skillet Bean Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of frozen vegetables of choice (such as broccoli Asian stir-fry mixture)
  • 1 bag of pasta (I like to use Tinkyada Brown Rice Noodles which are sold at Whole Foods or found in the natural foods aisle of most grocery stores)
  • Any type of beans (canned or dry bagged and pre-prepared) - Cannellini beans worked well here
  • Sauce of choice (I love using a little Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki; but pasta sauce, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, or olive oil with garlic powder and fresh basil would also work well here, too.)

vegetarian stir fry

Directions:

While waiting for the pasta water to boil, saute the frozen vegetables (you don't need any oil, just add water if needed to prevent sticking). While they're cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Once both are cooked, turn the burner to low, add the pasta to the veggie pan, then stir in the beans and your sauce of choice. Did I mention that I love using a little Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki? Well, I do and it's delicious!

I made the following dishes from one of Lindsay Nixon's (Happy Herbivore) meal plans over the summer and was very happy with the way they turned out. Even though these are a bit on the summery side, they work well any time of year. The Happy Herbivore site also has a cool recipe generator so you can plug in ingredients you already have on hand and they'll suggest recipes based on that.

Chipotle Roasted Corn Soup

You can find this fantastic recipe here - it's perfect for the upcoming chilly months! FYI, I opted to use unsweetened almond milk, which worked well.

Mushroom Tacos

I made these from the Happy Herbivore meal plan as well, but here's another mushroom taco recipe that looks delicious.

What are some reasons you might want to try vegetarianism?

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