Preparing for No-Cooking Vegetarian Meals
For quick no cooking vegetarian meals it helps to have the food ingredients on hand. Just remember to stock up your pantry with dried fruits and nuts, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. Lemons and non-fat Greek yogurt in the refrigerator too come in handy. This way most of the preparation work for these meals can be done in a few minutes. And of course, the first thing that comes to mind when you are not in a mood to cook is the salad. So, let’s begin with quick salads.
Up for a veggie salad? Here’s an easy recipe. Top salad greens with vegetarian chili. Add salsa and crushed corn chips. You can also improvise and create a salad of your choice. For example, choose 1-2 types of lettuce or salad greens. Add jarred vegetables or vegetables that don’t require chopping – cherry tomatoes, baby corn, mushroom, and artichoke hearts. If you have time, slice carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, radishes or any vegetable of your choice that doesn’t need cooking. Add thinly sliced fruits – you can choose from apple, avocado, strawberries, mandarin oranges, and pears. Top it with non-fat or low-fat cheese. Dress the salad with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, or simply, lime or lemon juice.
Easy Breakfasts and Smoothies
No-cooking meals are more than salads. Here are some breakfast recipes that are quick and require no cooking.
Oatmeal breakfast: Fresh or frozen blueberries and walnuts added to oatmeal is a great idea for a quick no cooking vegetarian breakfast.
Ricotta cheese and fresh figs breakfast: Bored of oatmeal and cereals? Here’s another interesting breakfast for you. Fold two teaspoons of honey into ricotta cheese in a bowl. Add fresh figs halved lengthwise. Top it with chopped pistachios. Since a cup (246g) of ricotta cheese contains 339 calories, this preparation is estimated to be about 400 calories.
Fruit smoothie: Blend 1 cup skim milk with half a cup frozen berries, half a banana and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds. And presto! Your delicious fruit smoothie is ready. If you are vegan replace milk with soy milk, almond milk or rice milk. There are about 130 calories in 1 cup of fruit smoothie.
Quick Lunches and Dinner
The following meals are healthy and require just 10 to 15 minutes of preparation time.
Whole-wheat pita with hummus: Blend canned chickpeas, 2 cloves of garlic, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, a pinch of cumin and cayenne, and salt and pepper in a blender and puree until smooth. Don’t want to go to all this trouble? Use your favorite brand of ready-made hummus instead. Put the hummus in whole-wheat pita bread and add sliced cucumbers and red onions. Your meal is ready to eat! A large pita, six and a half inch in diameter contains 170 calories, 35g of carbohydrate, 6g of protein, 2g of total fat, and 5g of fiber.
Whole-wheat baguette with goat cheese: Cut a whole-wheat baguette lengthwise and spread with soft goat cheese. Top it with sliced tomatoes, drained marinated artichoke hearts, and baby spinach leaves. A whole-wheat baguette is healthy as a 54g portion contains 120 calories with 24g total carbohydrates, 5g protein and just 0.5g of total fat.
If you want to have a soup as well, here's a recipe for a cold yogurt cucumber soup. Peel, deseed, and grate cucumber into a bowl. Whisk in plain non-fat or low-fat yogurt, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and white vinegar. Add salt and pepper. You may garnish it with herbs of your choice.
Ready for Dessert?
Who has the time to cook and bake dessert these days? The two recipes below are quick to prepare and healthy as well.
Yogurt parfait: In a parfait glass layer non-fat Greek yogurt with sliced fruits, say banana or strawberries. Sprinkle with low-fat granola on top. Greek yogurt is thicker, generally lower in sugar content and higher in protein than regular yogurt. A cup of non-fat Greek yogurt contains 130 calories.
Blueberry Yogurt: If you are not counting calories, try this one. Blend a pint of deseeded blueberries, one-third cup of honey, lime juice and a few mint leaves. Refrigerate it for about 10 minutes. Whip half a cup of cream until stiff and fold the cream into the yogurt. Fold the blueberry mixture into the yogurt. Divide it into 4 parts and chill. Garnish with blueberries, mint leaves and pistachios. Each serving is 306 calories.
Ice cream mango: If you want to indulge a bit, try this quick dessert recipe. Defrost vanilla ice cream and add cubed mango to it. Serve in a martini glass and garnish with a few slices of fresh ripe mango.
So, go ahead and try these great ideas for quick no cooking vegetarian meals. With these dishes you not only save on cooking time but you can retain the essential nutrients of the vegetables that are lost during the cooking process.