When several younger members of the family turned vegetarian, it boggled
Bubbe Lottie’s mind. As a traditional Jewish cook, a dinner without
meat or chicken was impossible for her to imagine. Despite everyone’s
assurance that they would not starve to death, with the many vegetable dishes,
salads, noodles, breads, soups and desserts available at her table, she still
worried that they would suffer some terrible fate.
“What?” she said, “No chopped liver, no roast chicken, no stuffed cabbage,
no brisket? What will you eat ?!!
Jewish vegetarianism has many roots. Aside from the obvious health
benefits, many rabbinic and spiritual leaders have focused on vegetarianism
as an important way to affirm Jewish moral teachings regarding animal life,
as well as the proper use of the land. The inhumane treatment
of animals, sometimes sadly found even in kosher slaughter-houses, the destruction
of the environment as caused by animal agriculture, the realization that
so many are going hungry around the world while others gorge themselves on
animal flesh, are but a few of the reasons for a growing Jewish movement
toward vegetarianism. The Torah itself addresses this issue and certain readings
have led some scholars to the belief that the consumption of meat may even
be halachically unacceptable.
Be that as it may, for those of us who cook for vegetarians, our biggest
problem is usually what to make for the main course. Side dishes abound;
it is always easy to cook a vegetable, make a salad, or put out a basket
of bread and rolls. But, healthy and appealing vegetarian main dishes
are often problematical. Herewith, we offer a few for your perusal
and perhaps tasting.
Assuming one eats dairy products and eggs, your level of kashrus will determine
your choice of cheeses.
Armenian Stuffed Cabbage
Cheddar Cheese and Lentil Loaf
Couscous with Spinach and Pine Nuts
Easy Queso Shells and Cheese
Rice with Chick Peas and Herbs
Rice and Nut Croquettes
Vegetable Fritters with Sour Cream