Many people decide to become vegetarians before they consider vegetarian food preparation. To maximize on the benefits of being a vegetarian, it is best for people to take vegetarian cooking seriously. This does not mean that it should not be enjoyable or creative. Serious vegetarian cooking simply means ensuring the best combinations of foods are prepared in the best way.
The manner in which fruits and vegetables are prepared can drastically affect the nutritional value they provide. Vegetarian cooking should follow the general principles of healthy food preparation. For example, the occasions on which foods are fried should be limited.
Cooking times should also be as short as possible. The reason is because the more these items are cooked, the more their benefits are reduced. Generally, fruits and vegetables offer the best nutritional benefits when they are in their natural form. Many nutritional professionals say steaming is the best method of cooking vegetables.
Another key vegetarian cooking tip is mixing cooked and raw items. Many people are not interested in raw diets despite the nutritional benefits. When this is the case, instead of trying to eat everything raw all of the time, it is best to add some raw ingredients to cooked dishes. Examples include a salad as an accompaniment to pasta or raw nuts sprinkled into oatmeal.
Vegetarians are often presented with challenges when they live with people who eat differently. For example, many people tend to reuse cooking oil. When a vegetarian lives alone, such a habit is not likely to be problematic. When a vegetarian lives with others, however, there is the risk that cooking oil could be used to prepare meat. It is best for vegetarians who live with others to either label some used oil as vegetarian only or to abstain from cooking with used oils.
If there are certain foods that a person likes to eat that violate her vegetarian commitment, she should try to find substitutes. For example, many people like bacon on their loaded baked potatoes. If a vegetarian is accustomed to eating this dish with bacon, she may want to try vegetarian bacon to prevent the craving for it or the feeling of a missing flavor.
To prevent nutritional deficiencies, it is important for vegetarians to plan meals that include sufficient amounts of nutrients. This is one reason why creativity is an important part of vegetarian cooking. Another reason that creative vegetarian recipes are important is because they can help a person remain committed to her decision to abstain from meat.