Becoming Vegetarian: Plant-based diet recipes and tips

veggie burgers

Danny Baggs

Posted May 16, 2022


Considering reducing your meat intake and incorporating more vegetables in your diet? Here’s why more and more Australians are going vegetarian, along with some tasty vegetarian recipes and tips on how to go plant based.

Animals Australia reports that almost 45 per cent of Australians are currently vegan, vegetarian, or reducing their meat consumption. Learn about the many benefits of a plant-based diet and reduced meat intake below, including some delicious vegetarian recipes to try.


Why should I become a vegetarian?

There are many benefits of a well-rounded vegetarian, plant-based diet – including health, financial and environmental benefits. 

Vegetarianism can be a very healthy for your body: it's lower in saturated fat and higher in fibre than an omnivorous diet. This can help lower cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease.

Buying a whole food vegetarian or vegan diet is also kinder on your wallet than a meat-based diet. According to a 2021 study by the University of Oxford, households in high-income nations such as Australia could cut their grocery bill by over 30 per cent by adopting a vegetarian diet, and 34 per cent going vegan.

A plant-based diet is also great for the environment. Meat farming contributes greatly to carbon emissions and requires a lot of land - so going vegetarian can play a part in reducing your personal carbon footprint and improving animal welfare.

Thanks to growing awareness of these health, financial and environmental benefits, meat and dairy substitutes purchased at Australian supermarkets grew by 29 per cent between 2018-2021 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  
 
The trend towards plant-based diets and dining has even given rise to whole new businesses and industries ready to cater to growing consumer demand for new dietary and dining preferences, such as Kynd Butcher – Victoria’s first plant-based butchery based out of Ascot Vale.

 

vegetables

You could cut your grocery bill by a third by eating a plant-based diet. Image: Getty. 


Best vegetarian recipes to try

Kick your meat-free week off with some delicious baked treats to keep things fun. How about an easy apple crumble, bread-and-butter pudding, or the ultimate chocolate cake? For something a little more unusual, you could even try a chocolate babka or homemade honeycomb.

Stuffed spiced butternut pumpkin can make a delicious main dish – plus it’s easy to make. Making zoodles (zucchini pasta) can also be oodles of fun, especially if you’re feeding a celiac. Try this gluten-free zucchini pasta with mushroom and tomato sauce for an instant crowd-pleaser.  
 
Don’t forget your sides: Try a fragrant rosemary focaccia or restaurant-style mashed potato.

For breakfast, try a perfect poached egg, heavenly French toast with fresh berries, maple syrup and crème fraiche, or sweet pancakes with strawberry compote and lemon curd. You could even try your hand at making fluffy scones with jam and cream.

 

Victoria's first vegan butcher in Ascot Vale, in Melbourne's inner north west

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How can I help if I don’t want to be a vegetarian?

Going vegetarian or vegan is a big step for most people, and you may not be ready to make the switch to a plant-based diet full time, immediately.

If you’re looking to make a change but not sure where to start, start small, aiming for two meat-free days per week. An easy way to transition is to take your favourite recipes and simply swap the protein source from meat to a vegetarian stand-in like chickpeas, green lentils or plant-based meat, and cut out or reduce consumption of processed meats like salami, bacon and ham, which can be detrimental to your health.

Alternatively, you could seek to simply reduce the size of your red meant intake – Australians currently 565 grams of red meat per week on average according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), with the organisation recommending limiting your red meat intake to 500 grams cooked red meat per week.