No Meat, No Stress - Quarantine Cooking for Vegetarians

From finding a protein source that prevents you from waking up craving a loaf of bread in the middle of the night to struggling for a good use of fresh veggies, being a vegetarian in a family full of meat-eaters has always been tricky. Now, while we’re trying to limit trips to the grocery store for the sake of social distancing, us vegetarians are finding less and less to use in the fridge. 

We’re having to turn to freezer items and non-perishables after we run out of our fresh items and veggies. Getting nutrition when you don’t eat easily-freezable meat products like everyone else is even more difficult than usual right now, but there are plenty of delicious vegetarian meal options you can try out. 

Here are some delicious, fast, nutrition-filled recipes you can make straight from the freezer and cupboard in order to keep putting off those pesky grocery store trips: 

Vegetable fried rice

If you’re anything like me, you might be missing takeout food from some of your favourite restaurants. Particularly, takeout fried rice is a staple I thought I could never recreate, but I’ve come pretty close with this recipe.

  1. Simply cook your desired cups of rice, depending on the number of people eating. Refrigerate overnight - using day-old rice is better, as it is less sticky. 

  2. Place a skillet on maximum heat for the best fried flavour. You can use a pre-mixed package of frozen peas and carrots, and place those in the pan with your choice of oil first. Once cooked, add the rice, and mix together. 

  3. In a separate pan, scramble eggs and divide into small pieces, then add to rice.

  4. Add garlic, soy sauce, butter, and small amounts of salt and pepper to the mix.

  5. Cook until browned to your desired amount, and serve.

The eggs in this recipe provide excellent protein (but if you’d like to make the recipe vegan you can leave out the eggs and butter).

Breakfast for dinner

Like a lot of people, I genuinely look forward to waking up so that I can have breakfast. But it also makes for a great meal later in the day as it’s full of protein and a variety of ingredients to fulfill the food groups. 

  1. Make the eggs: you can make a choice between how you’d like to make your eggs but an omelette with thawed frozen vegetable-mix will provide some nutrients. 

  2. Use frozen potatoes/hashbrown for a side.

  3. If you didn’t already know, freezing bread is also a great way to have it last longer and prevent mould without sacrificing taste/texture - simply toast it and it’s good as new. 

  4. Frozen fruit (any kind of berries will do or any bagged fruit you enjoy that you can purchase and preserve). Blend over ice, with yogurt if you wish, and you can add it to your breakfast for dinner assortment!

Noodle soup

Turning to the cupboard this time, you can always rely on spaghetti to wait around without getting old. 

  1. First, saute your favourite vegetables - recommended are carrots, onions, or anything that you could potentially keep in the freezer. Add garlic and salt to taste.

  2. Boil the pasta, strain, and add it to the saucepan of vegetables. 

  3. Add another trusty cupboard companion: broth. The boxes or cans will last just fine and are available in an abundance of flavours so you can stock up. Add shredded cheese or milk if you wish. 

  4. Boil over high heat for 8-10 minutes all together and your soup is ready - fulfilling your food groups of grains, dairy, and vegetables. 

Just because our ingredients are less fresh and nutrients are harder to grasp, it doesn’t mean you should have to go hungry! Taking some time to cook for yourself can be great personal time and a delightful break from schoolwork or any other obligations you may have - so enjoy!