This is not a bid to turn you into hard core vegetarians. Humans eat meat instinctively, and it is a good thing. The farming industry provides millions of jobs, and of course meat contains essential amino acids which our body can’t make ourselves. However, sometimes eating a meal without a slab of meat in it is not as bad as some may think, you just have to know how!
First of all, Quorn is not the root of all-evil. It is not an alien life form and it is entirely edible, you just have to know how to cook it. Like tofu, it is a shape shifter of flavour. It tastes like what you cook it in, so it’s a great substitute in chilli and curry which have strong fragrant flavours. On the other hand, I wouldn’t recommend Quorn imitations to meat lovers. They find it insulting because at the end of the day it is an imposter of meat.
Good vegetarian food consists of real ingredients. It isn’t about purposely not eating meat, it’s about celebrating other flavours, and not needing the addition of meat to complete the meal. I feel like the Greeks and Italians understand this well, and often their best dishes don’t contain a scrap of meat, they rely solely on exciting flavours from olives, cheeses, herbs and zests. Caramelise red onions and eat them with goats cheese, make falafel balls from chickpeas and garlic and eat them with Houmous or mix fresh pesto with leeks, mozzarella and gnocchi.
I know people who think having a meal without meat is impossible, and I think it is very much a western thing! People have been brought up on potatoes, meat and veg, and haven’t been taught that there is more out there! And it tastes so good! And it is so good for you.
Yotam Ottolenghi writes a vegetarian column for The Guardian which is full of exciting flavours! I went to his restaurant once in Islington and the food is delicious. It is not all vegetarian, and it works a bit like a tapas restaurant so you can sample a big range of dishes between friends .
I am in no way saying if you eat meat you are doing it wrong, but sometimes a good vegetarian dish can be just what you need to bring that happy stomach smile to your face!