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lazy vegetarians are everywhere. this is a collection of easy recipes and tips for dining out for vegetarians with little time or effort.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Salads are a vegetarian's best friend

Being a lazy vegetarian salads are a nuisance to make and we tend to not make them at home. We tend to see too many of them when we're out at restaurants because the salad is all some places offer to the meat-free crowd. Some restaurants don't even have a meat-free salad because regular patrons want their chicken strips thrown across the top of a Caesar salad to negate any health value.

Making these salads at home is the easiest thing if you do the right shopping.

The pre-cut bags of lettuce cost a little more, but if you find them on sale they can actually be a better deal than buying whole heads of lettuce. Pre-cut romaine mixes often have packets of cheese or croutons for making Caesar salads. The vegan option nixes the cheese and the dressing is more difficult to find, but they exist.

Caesar dressings usually have anchovies, but some out there come without the little fish, so just check ingredients. Annie's brand makes a good one, and Follow Your Heart has a vegetarian Caesar dressing. Also be wary of Worcestershire sauce in the ingredient list, as that has fish in it too.

Croutons are important for a good salad. The easiest way is to buy them, but making them takes only a few minutes. Take either some cut up french or italian bread or just use some regular sandwich bread. Wheat adds an interesting flavor to the croutons. Stale bread actually works best for this. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Toss in some garlic to taste (Spice World brand is good and easy to come by in the jars already minced and can be used in a million ways). Lightly brown the stale bread cubes and set them aside on a paper towel.

Any fake chicken products will do, but MorningStar Farms has the meal starter strips that taste great, are vegan, and heat up and toss into the salad with no trouble. You can even use the same pan as the croutons since the oil is still good for cooking the fake chicken strips.

So cut the lettuce (or open the bag), toss into a bowl with some Parmesan cheese or vegan substitute, mix in the fake meat strips, toss in the dressing and top with the fresh croutons.

Enjoy a fairly hearty salad as a side or a large portion for your dinner.

Romaine lettuce (bagged is the easiest way to go)
Stale bread
Olive Oil
Garlic, minced
Caesar dressing (Annie's, Follow Your Heart, or any anchovy free type)
Fake chicken strips (breaded or grilled style work equally well)
Parmesan Cheese (vegan subs are pretty good and fairly easy to find)


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