Since our inception Mobile Cuisine has been providing articles covering the Meatless Monday craze which is spreading around the world. Some have asked us why, and we tell them that it is a program that not only opens the menus for food trucks to entice many more customers in their area, but it also helps a food truck owner help its customers as well as the planet.
For some new food truck owners serving vegetarians and vegans healthy meatless items off their truck can be a challenge. With that in mind, the USDA has provided a list of ideas to help people who are unfamiliar with a healthy vegan diet. These ideas are perfect for anyone who is transitioning or thinking about transitioning some menu items to individuals with plant-based diets.
Tips from the USDA on how to serve a healthy vegetarian or vegan menu:
Build vegetarian menu items around protein sources that are naturally low in fat, such as beans, lentils, and rice. Don’t overload them with high-fat cheeses to replace the meat.
Calcium-fortified soymilk provides calcium in amounts similar to milk. It is usually low in fat and does not contain cholesterol.
Many foods that typically contain meat or poultry can be made vegetarian. This can increase vegetable intake and cut saturated fat and cholesterol intake. Consider:
- pasta primavera or pasta with marinara or pesto sauce
- veggie pizza
- vegetable lasagna
- tofu-vegetable stir fry
- vegetable lo mein
- vegetable kabobs
- bean burritos or tacos
A variety of vegetarian products look (and may taste) like their non-vegetarian counterparts, but are usually lower in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol.
- For breakfast items use or create soy-based sausage patties or links.
- Rather than hamburgers, use veggie burgers. These are typically made with soy beans, vegetables, and/or rice.
- Add vegetarian meat substitutes to soups and stews to boost protein without adding saturated fat or cholesterol. These include tempeh (cultured soybeans with a chewy texture), tofu, or wheat gluten (seitan).
- For barbecues, try veggie burgers, soy hot dogs, marinated tofu or tempeh, and veggie kabobs.
- Make bean burgers, lentil burgers, or pita halves with falafel (spicy ground chick pea patties).
- Offer soy options (texturized vegetable protein) as a substitute for meat, and soy cheese as a substitute for regular cheese.
Accommodate vegetarians by modifying existing menu items by substituting meatless sauces, omitting meat from stir-fries, and adding vegetables or pasta in place of meat.
If you offer Asian or Indian cuisine you have the ability to offer a varied selection of vegetarian dishes.
We at Mobile Cuisine Magazine look forward to sharing Meatless Monday with our readers!