As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m thrilled to welcome Kristine from My Little Box of Tricks to TO&E to feature this wonderful guest post! Be sure to check out her site, too! 🙂
When you think of ‘vegetarian’ food, what do you think of? Odds are tofu, soy products, rice and pasta come to mind – maybe a vegetable or two. For years, I thought that eating a vegetarian diet meant bland, texture-less food that would cost me a fortune. With a sister and fiancée who have vegetarian diets, I quickly learned that it didn’t need to be that way. Here are the ways that I add extra flavor to vegetarian meals.
There’s a reason that nearly every chef on The Food Network has a stockpile of wine in his or her kitchen. Both red and white wine can add another layer of flavor and body to an otherwise run-of-the-mill dish. White wine goes great in butter/cheese sauces, risottos and simple pasta dishes. Red wine is typically better suited for heartier dishes like stews or tomato-based sauces.
Have you ever cooked a meal that tasted pretty good, but left you feeling like something was missing? I’ve found that a lot of time that something “extra” is citrus. I’m a big fan of all types of citrus and have an especially weak spot for limes. I’ve been cooking for years and feel as though lemons, in particular, can add a welcome brightness to most dishes and cuisines. Limes on the other hand are more tart and lend themselves to different types of cuisine like Mexican and some types of Asian cuisines.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but even my vegetarian-for-three-years sister has difficulty combining spices. Spices alone can seem very intimidating, never mind when you combine multiple spices together. However, spices contain so much flavor in their condensed form that you’re doing yourself a disservice by turning a blind eye to them. Spices are especially fantastic for vegetarians for a few reasons: they are widely available, typically cost effective and add a lot of flavor. I understand that the spice aisle can be intimidating, especially when you’re first building your spice collection, here are a few I recommend starting out with: garlic powder, red pepper flakes, dried basil and bay leaves (in addition to your run-of-the-mill salt & pepper).
Cooking low & slow
Let me point out the obvious: cooking food at a low temperature for a long period of time (slow) is time consuming. As most of us are college students, we can be pretty short on spare time. However, if you’re seeking to thrill your taste buds with extra flavor, I highly recommend trying this method at least once. Cooking low and slow allows for the ingredients to develop deeper flavors and come together as a pretty spectacular final dish. However, this isn’t suited for every single meal, but does apply to many staples: risotto, pasta sauces, chili, soup, and stew, just to name a few.
These are the ways that I add flavor to the vegetarian meals I cook on the regular. I’d love to hear other ways that you add flavor to your meals (both vegetarian and not). Feel free to leave me your tip down in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Such great tips from Kristine! I know I’ll be trying them out ASAP—my diet could use some more lime. 🙂 Be sure to check out her blog and social media to check out some more wonderful content!