Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cheeseless Vegetarian

Most vegetarian recipe books are loaded with cheese.  It seems many makeup for lack of meat and protein by adding cheese.  Before my heart issues I loved cheese, still do.  That has been the more difficult thing to get out of my diet, cheese.  Sure I miss the nice grilled steak on the 4th of July but think about cheese and what you may have it in. On a sandwich, on your pasta, in an omelet or your favorite pizza.  This is one of the areas I have found some replacements come in handy.  In most cases I don' t want to mimic something I love. I will reduce the quantities or find an alternative.  Rice shreds, this company makes a cheddar and a mozzarella that okay doesn't melt like the real deal but we use it in omelets and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.  It gives me what I am looking for a great omelet with none of the fat from cheese.
We make our own pesto with our own basil, and garlic from the garden.  We found a pesto recipe in a vegan cookbook. Vegan With a Vengeance ,instead of cheese she uses nutritional yeast.  Pesto is high in fat between the cheese and oil so reducing any portion is helpful.  We cheat a bit and sprinkle a good quality pecorino romano or parmesan over the top of the dish.  The nice thing about hard cheeses they are lower in fat(but higher in sodium) than other cheeses.  This recipe also uses walnuts vs pine nuts  which are heart healthy as well.

The other cheese we use is fat free feta.  I have grown to appreciate this cheese.  Sprinkle it on salads put it in a wrap this cheese adds flavor and protein.

My take on my diet is, if I have to exclude things from my eating then you bet I am going to make it as flavorful and enticing as I can.  This diet has opened up my palate to many dishes and cuisines that I never would have tried before.  I don't starve and I don't eat just salads.  I devour freshly prepared, flavorful dishes which helps me to not miss the things that are not in my diet.

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