Being vegetarian is a challenging lifestyle. Most Italian restaurants serve minestrone with either a beef or chicken broth base. Bean burritos ordered at a Mexican fast food drive thru chain can arrive as beef burritos, because bean and beef sound so similar, and the menu board microphone, and interior and exterior noise combine to make it worse. TIP: First, tell the staff you have a special order, then spell out bean: B-E-A-N. Mom and pop Asian fast food restaurants sometimes have meat already mixed in with the lo mein noodles. Language barriers further hamper special requests. Special orders can be charged for substitutions, take longer to arrive, and require re-makes. In some areas, it can be difficult to get meat substitutes or other special diet products at local retail grocers. When you can get them, some meat substitutes can be expensive.
The good news: culinary competition TV shows, one of the hottest genres today, are including dietary restriction challenges. The Natural Gourmet Institute, a cooking school in Denver, CO, promotes an organic, vegetable-based diet, and offers full-length, accredited programs and Chef for a Day workshops. WalMart® has gluten- and sugar-free sections, and carries meat substitutes and a selection of soy milks. And the menus at Mama Fu's, an Asian chain, and Kerbey Lane Cafe, a diner chain, both in Austin, TX, invite customers to completely customize their meals according to diet and taste. Their servers are very cheery and helpful with this process. Kerbey Lane Cafe also uses local produce, and offers special dietary and seasonal menus, available on their site.
Here are six vegetarian pumpkin recipes for sharing this holiday season. With pumpkin in the form of soup, salad, bread, pasta, vegetable and dessert, you can fit these into multiple meals for maximum seasonal flavor.
Pumpkin Pie Soup (by Rebecka at At Home with Rebecka)
Autumn Pumpkin Mac & Cheese (by Juls at Juls’ Kitchen)
Mexican Candied Pumpkin (aka Calabaza en Tacha, by Nancy at Spicie Foodie)
Oaty Pumpkin Squares (by Emma at Sweet Tooth Runner)
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Soup of the Day: Organic Vegetarian Pho (Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten Free)
Cookbook of the Day: Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: More Than 650 Meatless Recipes from Around the World