I've been vegetarian for just over three years now, and people often ask me how I keep my meals interesting — they seem to have the misconception that all vegetarians eat is steamed veggies and tofu! Well here are 10 simple, tasty and healthy vegetarian snacks you can serve to your friends or just enjoy on your own! And believe me, they're tasty enough that you'll want the whole serving to yourself...
These crunchy, tasty treats are actually very good for you, as they're usually made of ground chickpeas. Now I'm not normally a huge chickpea fan (I think they taste a bit too earthy...) but in falafel form they're delicious. And because they are flash-fried they don't absorb much oil. So they have that crunchy fried texture, yummy flavour and are really good for you and other animals.
2. Vegan Brownies
That's right, you can actually make brownies that are 100% animal cruelty free! All you need to do is replace egg with a product called “egg replacer” (hehe) which normally comes in powder form, you just add a little water to make it liquid. If you normally use milk in your brownies then you can use soy, almond or rice milk to replace it. There are even some powdered mock-milks out there. Removing the dairy and eggs from this snack turns an otherwise naughty treat into a low-fat snack.
3. Vegetarian Schnitzel Sandwich
When I first went veg I used to crave the taste of meat (which I now realise is sort of a gross concept) and thus I discovered the wide range of mock meat you can buy. I used to buy Sanitarium brand soy-based products like fake bacon, sausages and mince, but I'm now really into Quorn products, as theirs are meat-free and soy free! You can buy fake chicken schnitzels from that brand, and all you need to do is cook it in the oven, microwave or pan, slice it up and put it in a bread roll with lettuce, tomato, real or vegan mayonnaise and if you like, a little cheese (real or vegan). It tastes delicious, looks real (so you can fit in with strictly omnivore friends) and is really healthy.
4. Tempeh French Toast
Now contrary to popular belief, tempeh is not the same as tofu. Although they're both made from soy, they're fermented and processed differently, so they have a different flavour and texture, as well as having different nutritional qualities. Tempeh is full of protein and vitamins, so it's great for vegetarians and vegans who are feeling low on energy, or need a bit of a boost. All you need to do is thinly slice a block of tempeh so it resembles bread, then fry it in a pan with either oil, butter, ghee or a butter replacer if you're vegan. Once its crisp and browned, take it out and put on jam, salt, golden syrup or whatever you like!
5. Miniature Pizza
Or full-size pizza if you have an appetite like mine! Now this isn't a judgement on all pizzarias, but I've found that the vegetarian options at most take-out places tend to fall a bit short of the bar, so I've been making my own pizza at home. It's really easy, delicious and you get far less oil than from the takeaway pizza you would otherwise buy. All you need to do is get a pizza base, coat it with tomato paste, throw on some sundried tomatoes and eggplants, some olives, capsicum and whatever else you like vegetable-wise and ta-da! Delicious pizza.
6. Mock- Bolognese
This is a tasty, simple snack and it can even fool omnivores into thinking they're eating the real thing! Just buy a packet of mock-mince from the supermarket and heat it in the microwave or frying pan, then mix it in with the sauce, and pour over freshly strained pasta. Bon apetit!
7. McDonald's Inspired Wrap
And you thought McDonald's could never be a healthy option? This is a wrap inspired by the ever-unhealthy Maccas, but turned into a delicious, healthy and guilt-free snack. It's free of any animal products, so it's kind to animals, and it's low-fat and full of nutrients, so it's kind to your body too. All you need is a piece of pita bread, a vegetable sausage (sliced in half lengthwise), a couple of hash browns (oven cooked, not fried!) a couple of slices of tomato, a little lettuce and some vegan mayonnaise and cheese. Yum!
8. Vegan Wontons
This recipe is quite easy, and one trip to your local Asian grocer should get you all the ingredients. All you need is a packet of tofu-skin (to emulate the wonton wrapper), tempeh or tofu (depending on what you like), mock meat, onions and mushrooms if you like them. First, fry the onion until clear or golden. From there you just scramble the tempeh/tofu, mix it up with the mock mince and spices and then stuff it into the tofu skins. Once it's in the tofu skins you then drop it into hot oil and quickly fry it. These are tasty, good for you and really nice if you enjoy Chinese food.
9. German Potato Pancakes
I eat way too many of these! They are so simple and tasty... although not quite as healthy as the other snacks listed. All you do is peel a couple of potatoes, grate them finely and then mix them up with some diced onion and flour to make little patties that you fry in a pan. Really tasty and crunchy, these are a quick and delicious snack.
10. Japanese Dumplings
These are really easy once you get the hang of it, but if you're like me and a teeny bit slow on the uptake with Asian cooking, then you might want to follow a recipe to begin with. All you need is plain rice flour and glutinous rice flour (they are different!) and mix them together with a bit of water until it makes a fairly firm but malleable blob. From there you break off pieces of the main mix and roll them into balls a little smaller than a golf ball. When you've got a batch ready to go then you drop them into almost-boiling water. When they rise to the top then they're ready! From there you can coat them in maple syrup or a more traditional sweet or savoury sauce and put them on a skewer. Itadakimasu!
Those are just a few of the tasty vegetarian snacks I prefer, but there are literally hundreds and hundreds more! Give these a go, and if you love tham as much as I do, invest in a good vegetarian cookbook and try more! Which of these vegetarian goodies is your favorite? Please let me know!
Top Photo Credit: di+mars