For almost three months now I've been undertaking a new foodie lifestyle. Ever since reading Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, I've made the effort to cut out the meat. This has been difficult not just because I love meat, but because I hate tofu. My vegetarian experiment has been less the result of a desire not to consume the flesh of animals and more out of a desire not to ingest the hormones and antibiotics that animals are treated with, and a concern about the conditions wherein these animals are raised. I am open to eating hormone and antibiotic free, free range meats, but because of my tight purse strings I can rarely afford to do so. Therefore, I've spent the last three months finding the best delicious and affordable vegetarian products and options at local restaurants. Bonus! Vegetarian entrees often cost less than meat based entrees, and cutting the meat out of your grocery bill can save you some dough. Some Triangle area restaurants with a great veg selection:
The Borough - Sandwiches and Salads (try their spicy ranch dressing on...well anything!)
Neomonde - Middle Eastern
Aladdin's Eatery - Middle Eastern with a HUGE (like overwhelmingly so..) menu of affordable healthyoptions.
Unaabi Afghan Cafe - Some great veggie options, who knew?
The Remedy Diner - Large selection of vegan items and some great cocktails to boot! Though they have items for your carnivorous friends I don't particularly recommend some of them. Seasoning chicken doesn't appear to be their strong suit, but hey, they clearly cater to a largely vegetarian clientel.
Peace China ----Good veg. items, although they have VERY few veg. selections on their lunch special
menu, something I take issue with. My friends rave about their tofu, but honestly it still tastes like a sponge to me so I go plain Jane and just get vegetable entrees.
Sunflowers Sandwich Shop - Exactly as it sounds. Good veggie sandwiches, but a bit pricy for sitting in a revamped fast food joint, and they could stand to make their own potato chips... The dinner menu sounds good, but the prices are not frugal foodie friendly.
The Rockford - Fresh sandwiches, quesadillas, a burrito, and salads made with care and served in a hidden hole in the wall with a cute atmosphere.
Bun - Burger place on Franklin St. in Chapel Hill. Has a great homemade vegan veggie burger.
Veggie Items I'm obsessed with right now:
1. Morningstar Farms "Sausage" Patties-- I'm not a big fan of meat replacements but with these you'll never miss the real thing! The taste and even the texture is pure pork minus all the grease, fat and calories. Throw one on a biscuit with some egg or crumble one up in an egg omelet.
2. Dr. Praeger's California Veggie Burgers-- Don't expect the same texture of a beef burger, but these patties are chock full of vegetables and have a great flavor.
3. Silk Original Soy Milk-- I haven't given up dairy, but I finally got around to trying out Soy Milk, and it's surprisingly yummy.
4. Veggie Sushi Rolls-- Vegetarian and delicious! (Try the crunchy veggie roll at Sushi Blues!)
5. Falafels--Middle Eastern food can be a vegetarian's best friend! Delicious vegetarian salads, dips, wraps, and protein rich chickpea based items like falafels and hummus provide delicious sources of protein minus the meat. For a late night veggie treat, hit up the Pita Pit!
6. Hummus-- Neomonde makes the best!
8. Pesto-- My perennial favorite anyway, besides being delicious, vegetarians can get a dose of protein from the pine nuts. For a cheaper alternative substitute walnuts for pine nuts. Basil is in season now so make up a bunch of pesto now and freeze servings in ice cube trays for later.
9. Giada De Laurentiis products at Target-- I'm particularly enamored with her Vegetable Marinara. It's packed with carrots, peppers, onions and garlic. The flavor surprisingly robust to come from a jar, and the price is great. Frugal foodies rejoice!