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October 1st is also World Vegetarian Day, which kicks off a whole month of eating healthier, lighter and greener. Of course vegetarianism isn't for everyone, but even if you're mildly interested, you owe it to yourself to explore what it's all about--and taste how the other side lives.
If you want to experiment, Zojirushi has the tools and the recipes to go on this exciting new road to an alternative lifestyle. All of our vegetarian recipes this month are simple, basic fare that could just as well contain meat--the only difference is that they don't. And surprise! You won't even miss the meat!
 
Over the past issues of Zojirushi 101, we've been offering rice dishes that go beyond plain rice. With one of our rice cookers, infinite variations are possible. Here's one that combines Mediterranean vegetables and brown rice that you can enjoy with your favorite soup.
 
See recipe for
Eastern Mediterranean Vegetables and Brown Rice
 
Who says you have to stuff your tomatoes with meat? This classic dish gets really healthy when the stuffing is a tasty vegetable mix; cooked to perfection with our Gourmet Sizzler® electric griddle.

See recipe for
Vegetable Stuffed Tomatoes

 
 
Everyone loves fajitas. But this time instead of the steak, use the meaty texture of Portobello mushrooms as a satisfying substitute. It's still Mexican--it just happens to be vegetarian! And the temperature controlled Gourmet Sizzler® electric griddle keeps your ingredients warm while you wrap them in tortillas. ¡Muy delicioso!
 
See recipe for
Vegetable Fajita
 
What more can you ask for on a chilly fall night than a bowl of hearty soup? Try our Zojirushi version of a lentil classic--it's a meal in itself that you can slow cook in our Thermal Cooking Pot.

See recipe for
Vegetable Lentil Soup

 
Tomatoes: Fruit or Vegetable? Ah, the age old debate continues… Scientifically, the tomato is a fruit. Apparently, the tomato perfectly fits the botanical definition of a fruit, which among other factors, has a sac that contains seeds. Legally in 1893, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the tomato was a vegetable in function because it is served in salads, soups and main courses. It is not mainly eaten in hand or in a dessert like a fruit. You would probably be right either way. Consider that the botanical definition of a fruit also applies to cucumbers, squash and peas, too.

Portobello Mushrooms: Known as the "steak of mushrooms" for its large size and meaty texture, they can be as big as a hamburger and are often substituted as one. They grill well and can maintain their texture and flavor even after cooking. The Portobello mushroom gets its name from its origins in Italy and the town of Portabella.

Lentils: A staple ingredient in most vegetarian diets, lentils are easy to cook and best used in soups and stews. When cooking with lentils, it's best to follow some basic tips. Rinse before use--most lentils are dried on the plant; they may contain loose dirt or stones, so wash thoroughly. Soak before use--to make sure they become tender when cooking, soak overnight or at least an hour in water before cooking. Cook with spices--lentils do not have a lot of flavor, but you can add herbs and spices to bring life into the recipe. Purée for thickness--you'll get a heartier soup without having to add milk products or starch.
OK, we made that word up. But seriously, how many different kinds of Vegetarians are there? Let's shed some light on that, shall we? Vegetarian The general definition most widely accepted by fellow vegetarians is of a person who does not eat meat, fish or poultry--in other words, all flesh foods including their byproducts.

Pescatarian: A term sometimes used to describe a vegetarian who will still eat fish. This type is gaining in popularity, as the motivation for this kind of diet is often for health, or to use as a stepping stone toward a full vegetarian diet.

Semi-Vegetarian: When a person is cutting back on any combination of meat, fish or poultry but not totally. He or she might not eat any red meat, for example, but still have fish and/or poultry. Also known as a Flexitarian.

Lacto ovo Vegetarian: One who does not eat meat, fish or poultry at all, but does consume dairy products and eggs. This includes cheese, ice cream, yogurt, etc. Most vegetarians in the U.S. fall under this category.

Lacto Vegetarian: A vegetarian who will not eat meat, fish, poultry and eggs or any foods made with eggs. They will, however, include dairy in their diet, so a Lacto Vegetarian will eat foods containing milk, cheeses or yogurt.

Vegan Strict vegans go beyond their vegetarian diet--avoiding all animal foods and their byproducts, by adopting a lifestyle that stops using even non-food animal byproducts. For example, a vegan might shun wool, silk and leather; even honey.
  So what do you do if you want to try becoming vegetarian? The USDA has some tips on how you can change your eating habits:
  If you replace meat with high-fat cheeses, this does more harm than good. Instead opt for protein that is naturally low in fat, like beans, lentils and rice.
  Everyday foods that normally contain meat can be "vegetized", which will also lower your saturated fat and cholesterol intake. Consider--a veggie pizza or vegetable lasagna. Grill a vegetable kabob or have a bean burrito or taco. Stir fry a tofu & vegetable dish or even add noodles for chow mien.
  There are many vegetarian substitutes that look and may taste like their meat counterparts. Grill soy burgers or veggie kabobs when you barbecue. Replace meat with lentils or tofu in your stews and soups. Use vegetarian sausage patties or links for breakfast.
  Try calcium fortified soy milk for an excellent calcium source; also lower in fat and without cholesterol.
            --Source: USDA
RECIPES:. Your Rice Cooker is your friend…and more. There are tons of recipes out there for vegetable dishes that use rice as the main ingredient. Here are just a few from us at Zojirushi. With simple rice flavored in so many ways, and combined with so many different ingredients, these dishes take on an exotic flair all by themselves
     
LEARN: Experiment with your cooking. Zojirushi provides a reference to show you how to cook with rice using various methods. Ingredients can be mixed and matched to suit any dietary lifestyle, and starting with rice as your basic staple makes it easy to expand your menu.
     
STEAM: Some of our cookers have steam functions built in to make it easy if you like steamed vegetables. Learn more about them here.
     
CARE: As with any appliance, care and maintenance are important to keeping it in tip top shape so that it can help to keep you in tip top shape for years to come. Watch our video and learn how.
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Back Issues
Next month is American Diabetes Month. If you need to watch your diet because you have a form of diabetes, or you simply want to eat healthier, Zojirushi has the recipe for you. We’re introducing starch controlled dishes that go a long way with flavor. Look for it next month!