11 Internationally Inspired Vegetarian Friendly Meals

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Not a day goes by without a Facebook post popping up as someone asks for kid-friendly foods, quick and easy weeknight dinners or meals that are suitable for vegetarians. I definitely don’t have the answers. In fact,  I’m always interested to see what others suggest and more often I want to post a similar question! What I do know is that for us, if we have to be home from a journey-we try to bring that adventure to our table. Cooking most nights we’re home, we try, most of the time, to come up with meals that can satiate a carnivore and vegetarian alike. Of course there are many nights that Mathew adds in an animal protein to a meal; but the main dish is traditionally the same for both of us. After over four years of being a full-fledged vegetarian, I tried some fish (on our honeymoon in French Polynesia) and have been working to add it into my diet ever since. Here are just a few of our weekly staples that remind us of our world travels and manage to happily quench both of our palates.

How do you recapture your travels through food? Enjoy and happy eating!

Columbian-style Arepas (first tasted at Queen Vic Night Market in Melbourne):

Corn arepas (packaged from the supermarket); black beans, guacamole/avocado, sour cream/plain Greek yogurt, your favourite salsa & shredded cheddar cheese (for more protein add: Morningstar Farms Chick’n Strips)

Our version of Columbian arepas

Our version of Columbian arepas

California style Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Broccoli Slaw (Mahi first tasted in Bora Bora):

Fillets of Mahi Mahi (cooked on stove-top with your choice of seasonings-we use rosemary, marjoram, red pepper flakes, sage, thyme, olive oil, salt & black pepper), four whole wheat tortilla wraps, tartar sauce, guacamole, sweet chili sauce & packaged Broccoli slaw doctored up with: raw ramen noodles, pistachios (omit if allergic), craisins, salt, pepper & poppy-seed dressing **pictured here: sometimes we’ll change it up and do the fish with quinoa, sautéed veggies & goat cheese in lieu of fish tacos**

Costa Rican Gallo Pinto (first tasted in Jaco, Costa Rica):

Use white rice & cook following instructions. Sauté a mixture of onions, mushrooms, bell peppers (if you choose) and add one can of black beans. Add cooked rice, stir and add in Costa Rican Lizano sauce and a heaping helping of cilantro. (We eat with chopsticks for extra fun and even more memories)

A Costa Rican staple found at Walbaums

A Costa Rican staple found at Waldbaums

Scrambled Eggs (with Morningstar Farms bacon/sausage) & Jewish inspired Sweet potato & zucchini latkes (first eaten in potato form while growing up in New York):

Sautee vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, onions, peppers) then add in egg mixture (includes seasoning, Asian sriracha sauce & cheese) and mix to form scrambled eggs. In separate bowl, shred sweet potato & zucchini, a few spoonfuls of flour, seasoning and egg & mix to semi-sticky consistency. Drop spoonful into pan with vegetable oil and fry (or you can bake in oven) accordingly. Cook soy bacon/sausage in pan on stovetop to desired result. (We top our latkes with: applesauce, greek yogurt/sour cream & sweet chili)

Butternut Squash Soup & (British) Quorn Chicken Nuggets (first tasted in Hong Kong):

Your favourite recipe for Butternut Squash Soup (mine is from Food Network Star Giada de Laurentis) with a topping of goat’s cheese & dried sage; then cook up a box of Quorn chick’n nuggets on stove top (add your own spice mixture)-we eat with sides of barbecue sauce (my favourite: Diana Sauce from Canada), sweet chili sauce, guacamole

British inspired tuna Panini with Branston pickle (first tasted in London, UK):

Panini pressed sandwich: tuna (nutmeg, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, ground chipotle, dried parsley, ground ginger, marjoram, sage, thyme, rosemary, sunflower seeds, craisins, golden raising & pistachios for crunch), mashed avocado, pickled and sliced beet root, one slice of cheddar cheese, lettuce/spinach, a slathering of Branston pickle; served with veggie crisps or pretzels or small green salad

Britain's Branston Pickle...found often at Fairway or other specialty food stores

Britain’s Branston Pickle…found often at Fairway or other specialty food stores

Aussie Bangers in Bread (first seen in Melbourne, Australia & veggie version experienced in NY, USA):

Vegetarian sausages (I really like Trader Joes Apple & Sage) in bread with choice of sauce (we’ve used: barbecue sauce, sweet chili, sweet pickle relish, mustard, mayo and ketchup) served with salad

Aussie inspired Burger Night (equipped with beetroot & extra egg) served with sweet potato fries (first tasted in Melbourne, Australia):

Homemade burgers (black bean, quinoa or chickpea work for me) topped with lettuce, cheese, tomato, sliced & pickled beetroot & fried egg served on a whole-wheat bun with fresh-cut/baked sweet potato chips on the side

How we celebrate Australia Day in a snowy January

How we celebrate Australia Day in a snowy January

Vietnamese themed noodle dish with (Quorn) chick’n (first tasted in Hanoi, Vietnam):

Pho-inspired noodle dish made at home. Soba noodles (cooked to instructions) added to sautéed mixed vegetables (mushroom, onion, bell peppers, broccoli with salt, pepper & red pepper flakes). Sauce: light soy sauce, red pepper flakes, lime juice, sugar & fish sauce (for protein source add Quorn chik’n naked cutlets cooked on stove top); eat with chopsticks for more fun

Matzoh Ball Soup and Vegemite & Cheese Toasties (comfort food – first tasted in each of our childhoods):

Whatever version of chicken soup you like (we make ours from a mix with Matzoh balls from Streits mix) and we add in extra noodles, of course. Soup is alongside Vegemite and cheese toasties (grilled sandwich). This one is bound to cure whatever ails.

Matzoh balls ready to hit the noodle bowl

Matzoh balls ready to hit the noodle bowl

Southern inspired flatbread pizza (courtesy of Food Network Star Gina Neeley; first tasted in NY, USA):

Served along-side salad or soup; pre-made thin crust pizza (we like it better than on pizza dough); combine cream cheese, goats cheese, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper & basil and spread evenly across top (we leave out the Parmesan cheese). Then decorate with zucchini and red onion, add more basil to top; coat edges with olive oil and cook according to pizza crust directions.

And no matter the day or the weather…just one of Australia’s best is how we say dessert!

TIM TAMS...Australia's Best Biscuit

How do you recapture your travels through food? Enjoy and happy eating!

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