Spice Up Your Home Cooking Journey | Vegetarian Meals

Cooking can be relaxing, therapeutic, exhilarating, and creatively inspiring. It can be refreshing quiet time, a solo slow dance or a workout depending on what you’re making. In today’s post I’m sharing some doable meal ideas to help anyone who wants to make healthy flavour-filled vegetarian dishes using real ingredients. ‘Cooking from scratch‘ is just called ‘cooking’ where I come from in The Caribbean. Spices, seasonings, fresh herbs, vegetables, seasonal fruits and ground provisions are standard when in comes to home cooking, even though the fast-food trend is still a thing.

Creamed potato, sweet pumpkin, ‘stew gungo peas,’ sautéed spinach and fried plantain

If you’re now getting acquainted with cooking, soups are a good place to start and you can also make a one-pot dish with peas, (ground) provisions, leafy greens, fresh herbs and flavour-filled spices. Making a delicious bowl involves a lot of peeling, washing, slicing, dicing and sprinkling but once most or all of the ingredients and simmering in the pot, you can leave it til it’s ready to be served. That takes away any pressure that can come with being vigilant about checking on meals while they’re being made.

Every dish might not turn out perfect every time but that’s alright. Keep trying and you’ll get better at it. A light note to stay enthusiastic, light-hearted and make a conscious decision that you will not invite stress into your cooking space or add a bad mood to your meals. I have my moments too but when we remember we’re making a dish someone else will eat it’s easy to set that aside and cook lightly. A bad mood can’t survive or thrive in a calm kitchen. If we’re conscious about the food we’re putting into our bodies, the thoughts we allow or feed count too.

Not quite a soup – made some Grenadian-inspired ‘oildown’ (vegetarian-style).)

Try deciphering the ingredients you taste in your favourite soup the next time you get one, and try making it later on for yourself and whoever else. Start with one pot meals, then multiple dishes.

A colourful plate usually means different flavours and textures but your meal doesn’t have to be colourful to be healthy and enjoyable. I’m not a nutritionist, dietician, or pro chef so not here to dish out any advice on food combos – here to encourage you to be innovative in the kitchen or outdoor cooking area, and to share some meal ideas that hopefully inspire you to:

  • spruce up your preset grocery list
  • make use of what you already have
  • get creative with any leftovers generated along the way
  • enjoy the experience of cooking at home more

Today’s partner post is by Yoair.com featuring an article on Morocco’s culinary journey

Morocco’s Innovative Food Combinations

The mood a meal is being made with matters. Just like customer service can influence our buying patterns, it makes a difference when we can vouch for how our meals are made. (I enjoy good street food, restaurant and deli meals too but still don’t eat any and everywhere or just anything.) If you’ve ever watched or listened to a gardener or chef describe the joy of picking and cooking with homegrown fruit or veg, you already have a sense of what it can feel and be like when you reach a place where you enjoy being a part of the meal-making and receiving process in your home.

lightly-seasoned sweet potato chips, veggie red rice with curry channa & fried plantain

We might not always feel up to cooking at the point when our stomachs start grumbling, but our mood matters even while making food. Set a pace and ambience that works well for you.

STEPS TO Spice up your homecooking journey:

  • add some new spices to your collection (research which ones meet your health needs or mission in this season)
  • buy small quantities of fresh fruit and veg you’ve been meaning to try
  • get a pretty bowl to remind and inspire you to make your favourite kind of soup
  • stock up on a variety of peas and beans (even if that’s 1 pack or can at a time)
  • finely-dice onions, chives, cucumbers, sweet peppers or fresh herbs to sprinkle on your plated meal (if you’re not into fresh salad.) Add a lettuce leaf or two to the side of your plate and scoop up some food to make sure you get some greens. Ideally though, boost your veg intake
  • try making a healthy alternative to a snack or treat you know you could do with a break from buying
  • set the ambience you cook lightest in
Trini buss-up-shut with black lentil Korma, sautéed mushroom with spinach and boiled corn.

As you start making more meals at home, you’ll get better at portion setting (or guess-timating.) If you have a l’il extra boiled rice, potato or peas after dinner, store well, set it in the fridge overnight and you can do a remix to add to the next meal by adding some veg and make fried rice, patties, pies or ital ‘fries.’

Some food staples to keep at home that can come in handy in a multitude of ways:

  • fruit (coconuts and all your seasonal favourites)
  • spices (tasty and naturally medicinal flavours)
  • veg (onions, garlic, greens etc.)
  • peas (dhal, soups, stews, patties)
  • flour – whichever kind you use (roti, wraps, naan bread, baked goods)
  • provisions (for pies, staples, patties, fillings)
  • rice

If you have even a small amount of each of these at any given time, it’s a good start to make more than a few dishes you can try out, improve on, be nourished by and serve others.

This is your home cooking journey; it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s and it’s not up for public grading. Take any pressure you might feel off and write (or type) a fresh grocery list, remembering to include your cupboard, garden, village shop, and favourite farmer’s market too when considering where you’ll gather those ingredients and supplies to spice up your home cooking journey.

Homecooking might not be on the list of trending things to do today but it can be a calming and sweet addition to each gifted day. If you’re already feeling enthusiastic about your upcoming kitchen adventures, keep that momentum and go make a meal with that same joy.

Meals made with love taste so much better.

Buttered eddoes and sweet potato mash, green lentil korma, slice of boiled sweet potato, fried + boiled plantain and zaboca (avocado)

‘Vegetable-Rich Reci-Peas’ ecookbook is now available here.

Vegetae

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7 thoughts on “Spice Up Your Home Cooking Journey | Vegetarian Meals

  1. I love the ease of leaving a pot of soup to cook and not having to be vigilant of it like with other foods. My fav kind of soup is potato soup. You make a great point that our mood and the ambience matter when we’re cooking. The food in the pics looks delish! Do you have a favorite rice to cook with?

    1. Oooo, potato soup. I’ve only heard of that but haven’t ever tried it. Thanks for be kind words on my food pics, and interesting question about the rice ‘cause I just recently learned about and made red rice and black rice, which was different from cooking basmati (which is my current favourite to make.) If you want to share your potato soup recipe as a featured guest, feel free to say and thanks for coming by and sharing the love.

      1. It’s really delicious! I don’t know that it’s healthy since it has lots of dairy products like cheese and cream. I personally don’t mind it. My pleasure! And nice! I don’t think I’ve ever tried cooking with either. I appreciate you for the cooking inspo and your invite to guest post. I use recipes from the internet for the potato soup. If I ever give the recipes my own original twist, for sure I’ll let you know. You’re welcome, and have a wonderful week!

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