I’ve never been a huge fan of meat in general, even after growing up in a family of meat lovers. By meat I mean, chicken/lamb/fish that is pretty much the staple when you grow up in North India. As Indians, we generally find pork unhygienic due to sub-par logistical conditions and beef is banned/unavailable in most places for so-called religious reasons.
What do you do when you arrive here then? Pork and beef tend to be pretty staple meats in an average German’s diet. Europe in general is not a vegetarian friendly place. For the purpose of not being extreme, I would not do a post on being vegan because for the love of me I can never give up eggs and dairy. Nope. Never. However, I do have experience being a vegetarian in India for five years during my teens which is usually a complete breeze because you have so much to choose from there, right?
In Germany however, it is a tough but not an impossible hill to climb.
Here’s my top ways to adapt to a vegetarian friendly lifestyle in Deutschland:
Whether you like it or not, cooking is a time consuming activity especially if you want to cook things in a predominantly Indian manner. Befriend the art of preparing salads that are healthy and don’t taste like grass.
Favorite Ingredients: Chickpeas (Kicher Erbsen), Chilli Beans (Chilli Bohnen), Corn (Mais), Lettuce ( Kopfsalat), Tomatoes (Tomaten), Mushrooms (Champignons), Eggs (Eier), Gerkins (Essiggurken), Capsicum ( Paprika), Green Peas (Grüne Erbsen)
Favorite Dressings: Balsamico, Thousand Island, French or just plain old sweet chilli-sauce (when you have nothing else)
Let’s admit it. Germany has the best god damn tasting potatoes ever. If you’re going to practice a non-meat lifestyle here, potatoes will play a big part of your life. The different ways in which you can include it is by using boiled mashed potatoes in salads, sandwiches, dishes with other vegetables, etc.
Favorites: Festkochend (Green tag): Low-starch potatoes
Need I say more? What helps a lot to prepare quick and easy meals with these carb-heavy bases is to know your favorite sauces. Lucky for you, supermarkets in Germany are flush with a large variety of pasta/noodle sauces to choose from that are usually mostly precooked. If you prefer going the organic route, using a lot of mashed tomatoes or tomato pulp and cream can usually form a good base for almost any kind of dish.
Favorites: Basmati Reis (of course, how else would I claim to be from the home-town I am originally from?), Vollkorn Pasta (Not the richest taste, but healthier than most other wheat flour pastas)
I have to be honest here. I had no idea how good baked veggies taste, simply cause I’m not used to preparing dishes in an oven from my time in India. Veggies that taste delicious when baked include mushrooms, brocolli, green beans and of course potatoes! I bake mine with very little olive oil and salt dressing to make sure they are still supple but healthier than when sauteed in oil.
Feel free to experiment with a hearty side of baked veggies, especially when you have a soupy main course or curry meal.
Fruits & Yogurts
The thing I absolutely love is being able to choose from a wide variety of fruit based yogurts. I often eat them as a snack with different fruits as well as corn, etc. On the topic of fruits, I miss many from back home in India such as fresh mangoes and papayas, but I try to replace them with berries here. Another great way of starting your morning is to have a fruit smoothie for breakfast if you have a mixer at home.
There are many other innovative ways of surviving as a vegetarian in Germany such as having wholesome Muesli/Oats as well as adding lentils or soja granules to your meals. I have only listed the ones I’m most likely to eat when I’m not in the mood to eat meat.
Feel free to comment below with your favorites!
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