I’m a flexitarian. I eat meat regularly, but I also try to reduce the amount of meat I eat on a consistent basis. One thing that’s worked well for me in the past year or so is trying to eat a vegetarian or vegan meal once per day. I find that there’s more pressure on me when I plan three meatless meals in a row, so it’s easier for me to commit to it once a day. Sometimes I meet my goal first thing in the morning a with a warm bowl of cinnamon raisin oatmeal or a three berry and spinach Greek yogurt smoothie, but on the other hand it’s sometimes hard to expand beyond my wheelhouse.
To find inspiration on how I can incorporate more plant-based meals into my week, I’ve been actively looking to collect vegetarian or vegan recipes and cooking tips. I recently came across this wonderful vegan cook book called Viva Vegan! by Terry Hope Romero and I can’t wait to try it! I love how it offers 200 recipes with influences from different countries in Latin America so the reader can learn about and celebrate the tastes, textures, and influences of various regions and cultures.
I’m far from being a Head Chef in the kitchen (I’d say I’m more like a junior sous-chef) so I’m relieved that Viva Vegan! also lists and explains common Latin American pantry items, and outlines cooking techniques that not all of us may be familiar with but will be used in various recipes. With 14 different culinary sections ranging from one-pot stews, drinks, tamales, tacos and tortillas, and an entire section on empanadas(!), there are so many tasty ways to add more veggies to your next meal. My first stop on this culinary journey? Potato-chickpea enchiladas with a green tomatillo sauce (yum!).
I don’t know if I’ll ever become fully vegan, but fun resources like this bright and encouraging cook book help introduce different cooking styles and influences while providing new inspiration without compromising on flavour. Variety really is the spice of life!