Vegetarian Takeout Guide

Thankfully, tasty vegetarian food is easier to find than ever before. You can place an order for takeout or delivery from a variety of places and have your food within the hour. Of course, you may live in a place with limited selections or be part of a group ordering out (a group that has meat-eaters). Here’s a look at some mainstream-type restaurants that offer a decent or robust selection of vegetarian fare. Here’s the first hint: taco pizza delivery.

Pizza

Search, “pizza specials near me tonight,” if you’re on a budget. Otherwise, explore options such as taco pizza, cheese pizza, gluten-free pizza, garden-fresh pizza, or create your own. For instance, many taco pizza varieties come with beef included. Choose the “create your own” option to customize your food exactly the way you’d like. Alternatively, when you put in an order, specify that the pizza should not have beef.

One more thing: Many restaurants let you use “track my pizza” so you can see the progress of your order and be ready for the delivery person.

Chinese

Chinese food is a delight for many vegetarians. The possibilities include sesame noodles, vegetable fried rice, tofu fried rice, steamed vegetables, spicy green beans, and vegetable dumplings with sweet and sour sauce. Of course, some foods are cooked in lard. Don’t be afraid to ask the restaurant staffers how the food is prepared, for example, what broths or stocks the food is made from. Likewise, you may want to ask if the egg rolls are prepared in the same oil that meat-based dishes are.

Japanese and Thai are good Asian-food vegetarian alternatives if you are not in the mood for Chinese.

Mexican

Tacos don’t need meat to taste good. Common vegetarian items at Mexican restaurants include tacos, chili, taco salad, tortilla soup, black bean soup, corn salad, rice bowls, and quesadilla pancakes. Black beans and other types of beans substitute so easily for beef and other meat-based items. Plus, much of what goes in a taco or burrito is already vegetable-based.

Italian

Italian cuisine teems with vegetarian goodies such as pasta bowls, spaghetti, lasagna, gnocchi, and bean stew. Takeout isn’t always the easiest to arrange at some Italian places, but many have become more carryout-friendly.

Indian

Check out dishes such as veggie balls in a thick sauce (Malai kofta), red kidney bean curry with plain rice (rajma) and chickpea curry (chole). Vegetarian kebabs can also be really satisfying.

Sandwich and Sub Places

Subs don’t need turkey, roast beef, ham or chicken to shine. Delis along with sandwich and sub places make it fun to enjoy fares such as grilled cheese sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, garlic-roasted vegetable sandwiches, and vegan burgers. You may even be able to try out peanut butter and jelly sushi.

Fast Food

More fast food places sell items such as vegetarian burgers, and some actually taste pretty good. Burger King, Carl’s Jr., Hardee’s, Subway and Del Taco are among your best options. Other fast food places do OK, but you may have to rely more on side dishes.

This vegetarian takeout guide should serve you well in the months to come. The good news is that many delicious cuisines weren’t even touched on here. There’s a lot to discover out there.

Vietnamese Noodles

In Vietnam and Cambodia, there are a variety of noodles, many of them made from rice. The everyday noodles in Vietnam fall into three main types: bun, which are long and thin, similar to Italian vermicelli and called rice sticks – they are used in soups, side dishes, and as a wrapping for meat and seafood; banh pho, also called rice sticks, but they are flatter, thicker and sturdier, ideal for substantial soups such as pho, and stir-fries; and the fine banh hoi which resemble angel hair pasta and are primarily used in thin broths.

DRIED RICE “VERMICELLI” NOODLES

Often referred to as vermicelli, these dried rice noodles (bun), made from rice flour, salt and water, are thin and wiry and sold in bundles. Before using, they must be soaked in water until pliable and then the noodles only need to be cooked in boiling water for a few seconds, until tender and al dente like Italian pasta. In Vietnam, these noodles are used in soups and salads – they are often used to wrap around raw vegetables and herbs in Vietnamese table salad, as well as to wrap around grilled meats and shellfish.

DRIED RICE STICKS

These flat, thin dried rice noodles (banh pho) resemble linguine and are available in several widths, which start at around 2mm. Also made from rice flour, salt and water, they are used in salads and stir-fries, after being softened in water.
Soaking-dried-vermicelli-noodles

FRESH RICE NOODLES

Known as banh pho tuoi, fresh rice noodles are thicker than dried ones. They are often served as a side dish with curries and vegetable dishes. Like the dried variety, they require minimal cooking. In some recipes they are just dipped in warm water to heat them up, or they are added at the last moment to stir-fried and steamed dishes. Use them on the day of purchase.

PREPARING DRIED RICE NOODLES

Dried noodles can be bought in various packaged forms from most Asian stores and supermarkets. The basic principle is that thinner varieties require less cooking time and are served with light ingredients and thin broths, whereas the thicker noodles take a little longer to cook and are balanced with heavier ingredients and stronger flavours.

Before cooking, dried rice noodles must be soaked in warm water for about 10 minutes, until pliable. The dry weight usually doubles on soaking. The rule is to soak well to soften, but to cook briefly. If the noodles are cooked for too long they will become soggy. Once softened, both the rice vermicelli and rice sticks need to be cooked in boiling water for seconds, rather than minutes, until tender and firm, just like a’ dente Italian pasta. Divide the noodles among individual bowls and ladle stock or a meat broth over them or put them in a wok to stir-fry.

MAKING FRESH RICE NOODLES

A variety of dried noodles are available in Asian stores and supermarkets, but fresh ones are quite different and not that difficult to make. For a snack, the freshly made noodle sheets can be drenched in sugar or honey, or dipped into a sweet or savoury sauce of your choice. Similarly, you can cut them into wide strips and gently stir-fry them with garlic, ginger, chillies and nuoc mam or soy sauce – a popular snack enjoyed in Vietnam.

As a guide to serve four, you will need about 225g cups rice flour to 600ml cups water. You will also need a wide pot with a domed lid, or wok lid, a piece of thin, smooth cotton cloth (like a clean dish towel), and a lightly oiled baking tray.

Preparing the batter
Place the flour in a bowl and stir in a little water to form a smooth paste. Gradually, pour in the rest of the water, whisking all the time to make sure there are no lumps. Beat in a pinch of salt and 15ml vegetable oil. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Preparing the steamer
Meanwhile, fill a wide pot with water. Cut a piece of cloth a little larger than the top of the pot. Stretch it over the top of the pot (you may need someone to help you), pulling the edges down over the sides so that the cloth is as taut as a drum, then wind a piece of string around the edge, securing the cloth with a knot or bow. Using a sharp knife, make 3 small slits, about 2.5cm from the edge of the cloth, at regular intervals. If you need to top up the water during cooking, pour it through these slits.

Cooking the noodle sheets

Bring the water in the pot to the boil. Stir the batter and ladle a portion (roughly 30-45ml) on to the cloth, swirling it to form a 10-15cm wide circle.

Cover with the domed lid and steam for a minute, until the noodle sheet is translucent. Carefully, insert a spatula or knife under the noodle sheet and gently prize it off the cloth – if it doesn’t peel off easily, you may need to steam it for a little longer.

Transfer the noodle sheet to the oiled tray and repeat with the rest of the batter. As they accumulate, stack the sheets on top of each other, brushing the tops with oil so they don’t stick together. Cover the stack with a clean dish towel to keep them moist.

High Pressure Processing

Although food spoilage occurs from a number of sources, microorganisms (bacteria, mold, and yeast) and enzyme activity, also known as autolysis, are fairly significant forces in packaging and storage. Contamination results once a microorganism gets through the food’s surface, thus multiplying and releasing enzymes into the liquid surrounding.

Over decades, if not centuries, several approaches have been taken to preserve the food. High pressure processing, or HPP for short, has grown greatly as one method over the past decade. Not only does it extend the lifespan from two to three times that of non-pasteurized products, but HPP retains the full sensory and nutritional experience: color, texture, flavor, and vitamin and mineral content, which are often compromised with other food preservation methods.

Through applied pressure, HPP kills food-borne pathogens like salmonella, E. coli, and listeria in raw proteins and ready-to-eat meats; juices; sauces; cheese and dairy products; seafood and shellfish; and other meals and foods. The process uniformly applies 87,000 pounds of pressure per square inch once a food product is placed in flexible, final packaging.

To do this, the packaged food gets placed in a cylinder, which is inserted into a high-pressure chamber. From here, the chamber gets filled with clean water and has pressure applied by pumps. The isostatic pressure gets transferred from the product to the food, where it inactivates bacteria not only at the surface level but also within the interior. Because the process is conducted at a constant cold temperature, heat degradation – a possibility with thermal pasteurization – is eliminated.

As far as the food-borne bacteria are concerned, HPP ruptures cell walls, which destroys salmonella, E.coli, listeria, and other single-cell bacteria. At the same time, a significant concern for brands selling freshly-made products but wanting longer shelf life is the molecular composition, which affects the nutritional value and vitamin content. Although cells may be disrupted, the molecular level is insignificantly influenced, thus allowing a food product’s nutritional value, vitamins, minerals, flavor, taste, and color to remain unchanged.

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Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon and health problems

Pregnant women are advised not to eat smoked salmon or other smoked fish as they could contain parasites. These can cause intestinal upsets and irritation, although food poisoning will only be caused if you consume a contaminated product. Contamination can occur at any time of the food processing and food poisoning can result, although it happens rarely if you consume smoked fish. However, if you buy salmon that was wild, there is an increased risk of its having parasites, but if you buy a farmed salmon, particularly the Atlantic salmon, which has been fed pellets, there is less risk of parasites being present in it.

Nitrates and nitrates are by-products of the smoking process and may be present in high levels in any smoked fish. These have been linked to stomach cancer, so the key here is to eat smoked fish in moderation. You need a balanced diet, so you shouldn’t simply eat one kind of food. While fish are good for you, if you eat too much smoked fish this could lead to health problems rather than benefits.

Smoked salmon and other smoked fish contain sodium, so if you are on a low-sodium diet, eating smoked salmon is not a great idea. A one ounce serving of smoked salmon contains 222 milligrams of sodium.

Basically you can eat smoked salmon (if you are not pregnant) as long as you eat it in moderation. However if you ate nothing else, this would, of course, cause health problems over time. Stick to Aristotle’s advice: “all things in moderation.”

Energy Drinks

Coffee itself will give you a boost of energy. The average cup of coffee has anywhere from 95-125 milligrams of caffeine. That will wake you up in the morning or when you’re feeling sluggish in the middle of the day. However, coffee takes some time to prepare and is traditionally served hot. Energy drinks have become popular because of the ease in preparation and the high amount of caffeine in them. Just buy them, pop them in the fridge and consume when you need it. Some don’t even need refrigeration. They are consumed at room temperature or added to any drink to give you a boost of energy when you need it. Some can have up to 275 milligrams of caffeine, which is almost double of what coffee has to offer. That much caffeine is not harmful to your health. A healthy adult can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day without any side effects.

When do energy drinks and caffeine start having negative side effects? When adolescents and teenagers are consuming too much of it. When healthy adults are consuming too much caffeine and too many energy drinks or coffee. The other ingredients in these drinks are just as unhealthy as consuming too much caffeine. There are additives, like carnitine, that can cause nausea and vomiting when consumed in large amounts. Other ingredients like ginkgo biloba and ginseng that can have adverse effect with taken with blood sugar control medications and blood thinners. Not to mention the extremely high amount of sugar in some of the drinks. One energy drink can have as much as 54 grams of sugar in one serving. That’s almost double the amount of sugar found in a serving of soda.

Coffee, soda, and energy drinks by themselves are not a health hazard. Consuming multiple servings in one day can cause serious side effects. For adults, consuming more than 600 milligrams of caffeine in per day can result in insomnia and insomnia related health issues, restlessness, upset stomach, irritability, fast heartbeat, muscle tremors, and other side effects. Not to mention the health issues associated with a diet containing high amounts of sugar.

Over all, coffee, soda, and energy drinks are not bad for you if consumed in moderation. Remember that a healthy intake of caffeine for an adult is 600 milligrams per day. Be mindful of the amount of sugar and other ingredients in these energy drinks. Awareness of these things can prevent harmful side effects.

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About Drinking Sodas

I have always known that too much soda drinking is bad for health because of its high sugar content. However, I did not know that there are ingredients that are found in sodas that are strong enough to clean the rust out of chrome bumpers and to clean toilet bowls as well. To me that was absurd. In deciding to finally quit drinking sodas, I decide to do a little research and found the following shocking truths about drinking soda.

Too much soda can kill. According to studies at Tufts University, too much soda drinking can lead to individuals developing Type-II Diabetes which have been responsible for an estimated 184,000 adult deaths per year. It was estimated that people who drink 1 to 2 servings of soda per day will have a 26% more chance of developing Type-II Diabetes. Another study revealed that drinking one can of soda can lead to 20% more risk of dying from a heart attack for both men and women.

Sodas can cause different diseases. Aside from death, too much soda drinking can also lead to the development of several diseases. The number one disease that is associated with soda drinking is obesity. According to the Well-Being Index, 28% of soda-drinking Americans categorize themselves as being obese.

Another study has shown that drinking one can of soda per day can lead to a 75% more chance for women to develop gout than those that do not drink soda. Similar results for men have also been revealed.

There are ingredients in sodas that are not organic in nature especially those that are used to give sodas their unique colors. These chemical coloring ingredients have been shown to be carcinogens.

Although soda companies may deny and counter these studies, the shocking truth still prevails. Soda drinking if done regularly and too much can be detrimental to a person’s health. The amount of synthetic chemical ingredients found in sodas may affect our body systems one way or another. It is therefore time for us to switch to healthier beverages such as natural fruit juices and shakes.

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Hold the Mayo

I admit I come by it honestly. I grew up in a Miracle Whip household, and I inherited my mother’s dislike for mayonnaise. early. To this day, I buy only MW and so does my sister. But mayo holds top honors in the condiment world, at least in the U.S., tied only with ketchup in popularity, and a must-have on millions of sandwiches daily, as well as in salads and sauces. Some fanatics even put it on french fries.

As a child, I frequently asked my mother why some sandwiches or salads tasted “gross” until I understood that MW had a distinctly different flavor than traditional mayo, which, in my opinion, has no flavor at all. (Please, no hate mail). When it finally clicked in my young mind, and I understood the difference, it was MW all the way from then on.

But let’s travel back in time to learn about mayo, and the French passion that started it all. The creation of mayonnaise is credited to the chef of Duke de Richelieu in 1756. While the Duke was defeating the British at Port Mahon in Menorca, Spain, his chef was whipping up a special victory feast that included a unique sauce made with eggs and cream, staples of French cuisine. Some food historians insist that the Spanish pioneered the rich spread, but it seems more likely that the French did the honors. Word of mouth (and taste buds) traveled across the pond, and Americans quickly embraced the creamy madness. Many residents of French heritage, not to mention chefs searching for new frontiers, introduced it in New York City, and we know that by 1838, the popular restaurant Delmonico’s in Manhattan offered mayonnaise in a variety of dishes. Gourmets were hooked.

Soon chefs were dreaming up different ways to use the wildly popular spread, especially in salads. In 1896, the famous Waldorf salad, made its debut to rave reviews at a charity ball at the Waldorf Hotel, chock full of apple pieces, celery, walnuts and grapes, all held together by that creamy mayo, and diners couldn’t get enough.

As refrigeration blossomed at the turn of the century, hundreds of food manufacturers raced to get their version of mayo in the shops. One such manufacturer was Hellmann’s, a New York City brand which designed wide mouth jars that could accommodate large spoons and scoops, and they soon began to dominate the sector. Mayonnaise, which had heretofore been considered a luxury, was fast becoming a household staple and taking its place at the dinner tables in millions of homes. Many professional chefs and homemakers made their own versions, but jars of the popular condiment were featured prominently on grocery store shelves.

Enter Miracle Whip, created in 1933 by the Chicago-based Kraft Foods Company. It made its debut during the Depression as a cheaper alternative to mayo, and while it does contain the key ingredients of mayonnaise (egg, soybean oil, vinegar, water), it deviates from the standard of mayo with a sweet, spicy flavor that many folks preferred and still do, but is required to label itself as “salad dressing” rather than mayo.

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Licorice

Naturally sweet and easy to grow, it has been recognized for its therapeutic value to help with pain relief, irritable bowels, joint pain, sore throat, heartburn and even an antioxidant. Although excessive use of licorice can be harmful, it is highly unlikely that someone would ingest enough to be a problem. It made its way to America via Great Britain, and since licorice has been a long standing favorite worldwide, it did not go unnoticed by early candymakers, who began introducing it to satisfy America’s growing sweet tooth in the late 1800s:

Good & Plenty – the oldest branded candy, introduced in 1893 in its distinctive box with pink and white candies, identified with its trademark character “Choo-Choo Charlie” on early television, and a favorite movie theater candy; kids delighted in rattling those boxes and annoying other movie goers;

Black Crows gum drops also date back to the late 1890s;

Chuckles jellied candies – five flavors to a package which included one licorice piece, introduced in 1921;

Assorted licorice mix and swizzle sticks – fun to chew and stretch, chewing on licorice root was used in African countries for centuries as a means of cleaning teeth;

Black jelly beans – everyone has a favorite flavor, and many reach for those black ones first;

Smith Bros. cough drops – first brand introduced in 1847 and a hit with its distinctive package featuring two bearded gentlemen, sadly out of business now; (wild cherry flavor came later)

Black Jack gum – 1884 a chewing gum maker named Thomas Adams began adding licorice flavoring to his chicle gum,and called his creation Adams’ Black Jack, the first flavored gum in the U.S. It was also the first gum to be offered in sticks; (not popular anymore, but still available)

Not as popular as it was a century ago, licorice still draws a loyal following, especially among the hard and chewy candy aficionados. Aside from the fact that is can make your teeth and gums gray, it continues to have a definite following. It’s one of those flavors which you either like or dislike, and pretty much confines itself to candies. Licorice ice cream and cookies don’t seem to pop up anywhere, but that’s just fine with those who love it. And Choo-Choo Charlie may be gone, but his legend lives on. It’s good and plentiful to be sure.

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Edible Printing

It can be seen at birthday parties, marriage functions, baby showers, office parties. Whenever there is a birthday party, a birthday cake is a must and birthday cake these days look extremely attractive because of them.

Even at marriage functions, wedding cakes are brought and we often see miniatures of a bride and a groom on the wedding cake. This is nothing but edible printing.

We also buy cakes and desserts on official functions, success parties and baby showers and they are a must for such occasions as well.

They come in various forms:

  • Food pens: If you have ever visited a cake shop, you must have noticed a food pen. A food pen is used to write names on cakes and cupcakes and other edibles. On your birthday, you must have asked for your name to be scribbled on the birthday cake. This is done by the food pen itself. Food pens are made from food colorings and thus different food pens can give different colors as per our requirements.
  • Icing sheets: Icing sheets are very thin, flavorless, white colored sheets that can be passed through a printer. When it has been printed and dried; it does not break or crack easily. It is easily manageable and is placed on food items. These days, we find various graphics and even our own pictures printed on a cake. This is done with the help of icing sheets. Icing sheets are made with water, corn syrup, corn starch, cellulose, glycerin, sugar, vanilla, etc.
  • Edible Inks: Edible inks are used to print graphics or pictures on the icing sheets. The edible inks come in the form of cartridges which are inserted in the printers to print the graphics on the icing sheets. The edible inks are mostly made of sugar solution and different food colorings and can print the graphics quite accurately.
  • Edible printing solutions: Edible printing solutions come in a wide range of colors. While buying an edible printing solution for our printer, we need to make sure that the company from which we are purchasing our product is authentic and does not cause any adverse effect to our health.
  • Icing sugar: Icing sugar is nothing but finely powdered sugar that can be used as frostings over ice creams and cakes. It is also called confectioners’ sugar. Icing sugars can be used in recipes like fondant, marshmallows and cream fills. It is made of edible cornstarch and sugar and gives an attractive look to bakery products and desserts.

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Dry Basil Powder

Since fresh Basil is not going to be available around the year, people have found other ways to preserve it and, reap its benefits in every season. Sun-dried basil powder serves as an alternative to the fresh herb but it also has some uses that are totally unique because of its form. The number of benefits of dry basil powder is unlimited. Here are some of them of these benefits:

  1. Heart Disorder – It is very beneficial in fighting with cardiac disease and also the weakness that comes with it. Antioxidants such as Eugenol and Vitamin C in this plant are capable of protecting the heart from the free radicals. It also reduces the cholesterol level and controls the blood pressure.
  2. Cough And Respiratory Problems – Basil is effective in curing cough and respiratory problems that even it is an important ingredient in preparing cough syrups. A decoction of basil powder with honey and ginger can be used as a remedy for Bronchitis, Asthma and Cold.
  3. Eye Disorder – If you are suffering from night blindness or sore eyes you can use Basil juice as a remedy. Just chewing a couple of basil leaves is helpful in protecting you from problems caused by free radicals.
  4. Kidney Stones – Consumption of concentrated basil juice can have a strengthening effect on the kidneys. If you mix this juice with honey it can serve as a detoxifying agent which can help in reducing the uric acid level. It can also help in removing the renal stones through the urinary tract.
  5. Nausea And Stomach Ache – With dried basil, you can make basil tea, which helps in recovering from problems like nausea and stomach ache due to gas.

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