Cultures that embrace plant-based cuisines

photo of falafel and hummus
Marco Verch/Creative Commons

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Hey, did you know that people who follow a plant-based diet eat more than just grass? Shocker, right! 

Vegan foods have a terrible reputation of being overpriced and bland. While American veganism may only seem to consist of vegetables, cultures across the world have embraced a plant-based diet. It’s even intertwined with certain cultural cuisines! Better yet, some dishes are so delicious that you wouldn’t know they are vegan.

Whether you’re a plant-based eater looking for fresh recipes or simply trying to expand your palate, the Clog’s got your back. The following list includes three cultures with extravagant dishes that may have something you’ve been looking for. 

Indian

India has the world’s largest vegetarian population. Predominantly practiced religions in India such as Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism result in more than 40% of the population being vegetarian. This cuisine uses coconut milk in signature curries, for example. Additionally, they commonly use vegetables such as chickpeas and cauliflower for their spices to create fragrant dishes. These spices are so great, you won’t miss animal products at all. Indian food is definitely worth exploring if you’re looking for more plant-based meals.

Ethiopian

Veganism has been a huge part of Ethiopian culture for centuries due to the prominence of its Orthodox Christian religion — hence their vegan and fasting practices. Shiro wot is a common dish made with ground chickpeas and peas, while misir wot is made from lentils. These ingredients are used to create a delicious stew which is a favorite among many. Their signature pancake-like bread is made with grains and water. This bread, called injera, is served with most Ethiopian dishes. If you’re feeling inspired, try both the injera and one of the two stews together! I promise it will rock your world. 

Indonesian

Indonesian food is also vegan friendly! Although many of their traditional dishes use meat, this country also incorporates soy alternatives. For example, tempeh goreng uses fragrant sweet and spicy flavors. Tahu goreng, on the other hand, is a fried tofu dish. Their most popular desserts are also plant-based due to Indonesia’s emphasis on coconut milk, palm sugar, coconut and bananas instead of dairy-dominated creams.  

Veganism has a deeper history in other cultures. For years, people have been able to create delicious meals that counteract the stereotypical vegan dishes that we see today. We hope that with these meals you can bring more diversity to your diet — the world and you will be better for it.  

Contact Annabel Chia at [email protected].