assortment of nuts

Top 10 Interesting Grains, Seeds and Nuts for Vegetarians

  1. Tahini

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It has a unique, smooth, rich flavor. In the Middle East, tahini is a traditional hummus ingredient. Hummus is paste spread made of chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil. Hummus is a great balanced vegetarian dish. It is rich in protein, fiber, and favorable carbohydrates. You can hummus and tahini to add flavor to dips, salads and other foods.

  1. Amaranth

Amaranth is an ancient grain. It comes from Central and South America, where people have been eating it for centuries. You can cook amaranth or use it as a side dish. You can also replace traditional cereals with it. Amaranth is also great in casseroles, pancakes, crackers and baked goods. One of the easiest ways to add variety to your vegetarian kitchen is to replace rice with amaranth. Amaranth also exists in the flour form.

  1. Barley

There are two forms of barley: hulled and pearl. Hulled barley has only the outermost husks removed, which is why it is more natural and nutritious compared to pearl barley. Hulled barley is brown and you can use it in soups and stews. Pearl barley goes through more processing and has both the outermost husks and the outer bran layer removed. It contains fewer nutrients compared to hulled barley, but it is easier to cook.

  1. Quinoa

Quinoa is another ancient grain that comes from Central and South America. You can use quinoa as a side dish, pilaf or you can use it to cook stews and casseroles. Just like with amaranth, you can think of quinoa as a rice replacement. Quinoa seed coat is toxic and contains saponin. It is removed during processing, but you do want to make sure that you wash quinoa before cooking it. Packaged quinoa typically comes pre-rinsed and does not require any washing.

  1. Nut butters

While peanut butter is the most popular nut butter, you don’t have to stop with it. You can buy or make your own cashew butter and almond butter, which are not any less delicious or less nutritious. You can use them in the same manner that you would peanut butter. When you first open a jar of peanut butter or other butters, you would often see a thin layer of liquid oil. Do not remove it. Instead, mix it back into the butter because if you pour out the oil, the butter will dry out very quickly.

  1. Tofu

Tofu is soybean curd. The process of making tofu is similar to the process of making cheese, it’s just that instead of regular milk, soymilk and a coagulant are used. Unless it comes flavored, soy tastes very bland. You can use it cubed, add it to stir-frys, marinate it, bake it or use it as a substitute for cheese.

  1. Tempeh

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food. It is made of soybeans and mixed with grains and a mold culture. Next, it ferments and gets pressed into blocks similar to tofu blocks. You can use it instead of cheese, grill it or use it in sandwiches, burritos, and other foods.

  1. Miso

Miso is a flavorful, salty, rich Asian condiment. It is typically used to flavor a variety of foods including soups, sauces, dressings and marinades. It is made out of soybeans and grains and has added salt. It does not have a high nutritional value, which is why you should use it sparingly.

  1. Tamari

Tamari is a byproduct produced in the miso creation process. It is a type of soy sauce that has a rich flavor. Use it instead of a regular soy sauce or other sauces.

  1. Textured soy protein

Textured soy protein is made of textured soy flour. It has a chewy texture similar to meats. Use it instead of meats in chilies, burgers and so on.