Many people embrace vegetarian diets. Some of them have been meat-free for many years. Although they are likely to have very different reasons for choosing to be vegetarian, they all share the knowledge that vegetarian cuisine not only provides them with a wide variety of culinary offerings but also benefits to their health.
The higher percentage of grains, vegetables and fruit in a vegetarian diet provides an abundance of fibre, vitamins and secondary plant substances. However, people who exclude all meat and fish from their diet have to take certain dietary supplements such as protein, vitamins B12 and D, iron, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids.
Healthy and seasonal vegetarian foods
If you buy fresh vegetables, it’s always best to opt for vegetables from your region. It’s also important to know of when each variety of vegetable is in season. Here’s a brief overview of seasonal vegetables:
- Spring vegetables - There are all kinds of regional and seasonal vegetables on the market in spring. Asparagus tops the list. These tender stick vegetables are available everywhere from mid-April to the end of June. One thing that many people aren’t aware of is that both green and white asparagus also taste delicious when grated raw. Fresh-picked spinach is also available in spring. The green leaves of the spinach plant are so delicate at this time of year that you can also use them as a salad ingredient. Typical vegetables that are in season in May and June include carrots, turnips cabbages, radishes and onions.
- Summer vegetables - Summer vegetables tend to be very colourful. Luscious red tomatoes, yellow bell peppers and dark purple aubergines are the culinary delicacies in this season. Mediterranean cuisine is famous for its many variations on scrumptious summer vegetables. Whether you grate, fry, grill or stuff them - they all taste fabulous with Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce.
- Autumn vegetables - Roots, tubers and cabbages are typical autumn vegetables. Potatoes are obviously a must as the perfect base for vegetarian soups or savoury autumn soufflés. They also harmonise perfectly with onions, leeks and beetroot, which are also in season at this time of year. Finally, the pumpkin is a great autumn side dish and the ideal ingredient for a warming creamy soup.
- Winter vegetables - Cabbages come into season in winter and shopping lists should include sprouts, kale, Chinese leaves and white cabbage. Although they’re great in traditional stews, you can also incorporate them in slightly more unconventional dishes such as kale curry or sprout antipasti with a dash of naturally brewed soy sauce to round off the flavour. Some of the less familiar winter vegetables include turnip, parsnip, parsley root and black salsify, which is also known as winter asparagus.
Take a look at our seasonal calendar to discover when you can buy each variety of fruit or vegetable freshly harvested.