The word ‘diet’ conjures up sacrifice. Add ‘fad’ to it, and it all gets a bit silly. Do something new. Try some simple vegetarian recipes for losing weight. There’s no reason to starve yourself of delicious – even decadent – foods that provide bountiful vitamins, minerals and nutrients. You don’t have to worry about eating the same three meals for 30 consecutive days, either. The healthiest ways to lose weight are also the most consistent. They may take a bit more patience, but you’ll reap multiple rewards – not the least of which will be an overall improvement in vitality.
Whether your primary motivation for shedding pounds is for aesthetic reasons or for those connected to disease prevention and control, we want to show you how to enjoy getting rid of some extra girth. Read on for some innovative and easy vegetarian recipes that even meat-eaters can’t resist.
What’s so good about veggies?
Vegetables and fruits are unsurpassed in their abundance of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Generally low in calories, their remarkable cleansing properties make them ideal for weight loss because they make you feel full and satisfied whilst providing plenty of fibre. Here’s just a partial list of some of the natural antioxidants you’ll find in them: vitamins E and C, carotenoids, oligo-elements (selenium and zinc, for instance) and phytochemicals such as polyphenols and flavonoids. The World Health Organisation advises adults to eat between 600 and 800 grams of fruits and vegetables every day, all year round.
And, now…those vegetarian recipes for losing weight
Recipe 1 – Pineapple cleanser
Get your morning off to a light and tropical start with this pineapple treat. You’ll forget that it’s a good-for-you cleansing juice. If you make it a point to drink it on an empty stomach, you’ll feel trim and virtuous.
- 3 slices of pineapple
- 1 clementine
- 2 oranges
Peel the oranges and clementines. Cut two slices of pineapple into chunks. Throw everything into a blender or food processor and mix until fairly smooth. Serve straight away and – if you have time to savour it – garnish your glass with the remaining slices of pineapple. Paradise!
Recipe 2 – Carrot cleanser
- 3 carrots
- 2 apples
- 2 celery stalks
Wash and peel the apples, carrots and celery. Place them together in a food processor or blender, then pulse until you have a beautiful juice. This wondrous elixir will give you a good boost that should easily see you through a few hours. Enjoy!
Recipe 3 – Magical soup
This is sure to be one of your staple recipes, rain or shine. It’s not only a delight for the taste buds, but it’s unbeatable for curbing cravings and helping you rid yourself of excess weight. Star ingredients such as celery cabbage, carrot and Swiss chard have safe diuretic properties. You can use it to whet your appetite and follow it with a huge salad of fruits and vegetables.
- 2 litres of water
- 1/2 celery stalk
- 2 onions
- 3 turnips
- 1 medium white or green cabbage
- 5 leeks
- 6 tomatoes
- 2 carrots
- 1 green pepper
- 250 g of Swiss chard
- Salt to taste
Thoroughly wash and cut all of the vegetables. Heat the two litres of water on a high heat. Add the vegetables to boiling water and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt, pepper, turmeric and – if it takes your fancy – a bit of vegetable broth or bouillon to enhance the flavour. Let the soup boil for another 20 minutes, then serve piping hot.
Recipe 4 – Cauliflower cream
Cauliflower is far more versatile and nutritious than you might suspect. Low in fat, it contains oodles of selenium, vitamin C and glucosinolates. Because these glucosinolates are metabolised by the colon’s microbial flora, this humble cruciferous vegetable helps to detoxify the body. Whip up this creamy dip and relish the looks of surprise on people’s faces when you tell them what’s in it.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly diced
- 6-8 diced chives
- 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 2 medium cauliflowers
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder
- A pinch of ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of dried basil
- 1 teaspoon of dried marjoram
- 6 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of white miso paste (you’ll find this at larger supermarkets and health food shops).
Remove the stems from the washed cauliflowers and chop the head into florets. Add the oil to a pan and stir in the onion, chive and garlic. Fry lightly. When the onion is transparent, add the celery and cauliflower. Sprinkle the seasonings over everything and mix well. Let it cook uncovered and on a low heat for a few minutes, but ensure that you frequently stir it. Next, add the water and miso. When it begins to boil, cover the pot and leave it for 1 minute (or until the cauliflower feels soft). Leave it uncovered so that it cools off a bit, then place the mixture in a blender – in small batches – until it becomes smooth and creamy. Now, you can use this as a tasty dip or as a base for cauliflower cream soup.
Recipe 4 – Orange and olive salad
You’re probably already aware that citrus fruits are renowned for fighting obesity. If you’re not, we’re telling you now! Combine the sweet tartness of orange with the bitter uniqueness of olives and you have an elegant and unusual salad that will fill you to the brim with essential fats and outstanding antioxidants.
- 6 large oranges, peeled and cut into thin slices
- 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 cup of black olives
- Salt to taste
Peel the oranges and cut them into thin slices. Use them to decorate the edges of a plate. Place the olives next to the oranges so that you create a nice contrast of textures and colours. Blend the olive oil, pepper, turmeric, thyme and salt with a hand blender or in a shaker. Drizzle this dressing on the salad, serve at room temperature and devour (slowly).
Recipe 5 – Fresh vegetable juice
Put down that V8. This potion is much nicer – and better for you! An energising juice, this will reduce your appetite and fill you with goodness. Try to time is so that you sip a glass 10 minutes before you sit down to lunch or dinner.
- 8 large carrots
- 1 celery stalk
- 1/4 of a small, raw beetroot
- 1 medium tomato
- 1 small pepper (red, green, orange or yellow)
- 1 small handful of fresh spinach or parsley
Remove the ends of the carrot and cut off the celery’s leaves. Thoroughly wash all the vegetables and add them to a blender or a food processor. Blend to a smooth consistency, then serve immediately. Bottoms up!
Recipe 6 – Energy salad
Eat this salad if you want to glow in all the right ways! Satisfying and invigorating, its green leaves will refresh you and its sprouts pack a protein punch. The bonus? Your fat won’t stand a chance against this salad’s purifying effects.
- 3 cups of lettuce (leafy and green rather than iceberg, please!)
- 1 cup of chopped raw spinach
- 1 small cucumber
- 2 cups of mung beans, alfalfa, lentil or sunflower sprouts
- Raw vegetables of your choosing (try carrot, celery, mushroom, white or red cabbage, radish, beetroot, courgette, cauliflower or broccoli).
- 1 avocado
- 1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup of beans (kidney, black, butter, or another you like)
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/4 tablespoon of salt
- A pinch of ground black pepper
Wash the lettuces, dry them well and chop or tear them into small pieces. Peel and cut the cucumber and avocado, then slice them. Arrange your vegetables in a dish and give it a bit of flair by sprinkling with the sprouts and pomegranate seeds. For the dressing, combine the garlic, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a jug or a large mug and leave it to settle for 15 minutes. Generously drizzle the dressing over your salad and eat to your tummy’s content.
Recipe 7 – Veggie lasagne
During the colder months, you might feel an urge for something more substantial and comforting. Here’s perfection. It’s easily portable, too, so take it to work and have a luscious lunch. Whichever meal it makes, this lasagne is an effortless way to promote weight loss.
- 250 grams of lasagne pasta
- 4 tablespoons of unrefined oil (olive is a good one)
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 courgettes, chopped
- 500 grams of diced tomatoes
- 1 aubergine
- 1 tablespoon of ground oregano
- 2 tablespoons of margarine or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 cup of soya milk
- 3 tablespoons of vegan cheese (optional)
- 5 chopped walnuts
- 1 tablespoon of chopped coriander
- Salt and pepper to taste
Fry the onion in a pan until it is translucent. Add the vegetables and cook them on a low heat for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add oregano and stir well. Reduce the heat and drain any excess liquid.
In a separate pan, heat the margarine or coconut oil. As you stir, add the flour mix with a spoon. Pour in the vegetable broth and soya milk, then cook over a low heat, stirring well until you have a smooth sauce. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In lightly salted water, cook the pasta until it is al dente. Rinse it gently in cold water to cool it. Assemble the lasagne in a pan by alternating the pasta, sauce and then the vegetables. On the last layer of pasta, sprinkle the vegan cheese (if you’ve opted for it), the walnuts and the coriander. Place the lasagne in a preheated oven on a medium heat until it’s nicely browned on top.
Just a few last hints…
Now you know the power of fruit and vegetables isn’t just in their nutrients, but also in their flavour and versatility. Eat them every day and you’ll feel so content that you’ll thrive – and the weight will drop off steadily and safely. You’ll never once feel deprived. If you want to amp things up a bit, follow a few of these tips and tricks:
- Drink up to 3 litres of water each day. Water activates blood circulation whilst eliminating toxins and hydrating your body. Often, we think that we’re hungry when we’re really just thirsty.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco. These habits take a toll on your health. Additionally, in the case of alcohol, you’re adding empty calories to your body.
- Get physical. Whether it’s walking, running, gardening or Zumba, the principle’s the same: keep your body moving!
- Excess oil is not a necessity and should be avoided – especially if it’s involved with deep fat frying. Also watch out for sweets and refined flour.
- Choose whole foods and make homemade meals as often as possible. Prepackaged and fast food meals are high in calories and additives, but low in nutrients.
If you follow these tips and try these rejuvenating vegetarian recipes, you’re sure to lead control your weight and be healthier as a result.