Photo: Veggie Burger

by Manjari Fergusson

It’s a common misconception you’ve probably heard: vegetarian food is not tasty, and living a plant-based lifestyle must mean sacrificing flavor for health. In fact, any diet can be boring if you eat the same thing all the time or don’t experiment; by living a more veggie lifestyle, your diet can potentially be more interesting and rich, as plant-based foods are naturally packed with flavor.

So who says that vegetarian cooking can’t taste great? Meat dishes require a lot of spices and seasonings to enhance their flavor. But if you munch on a carrot out of your garden, take a bite of an apple, snack on a handful of nuts and seeds, or prepare different legumes – you’ll notice that these items are tasty just on their own, in addition to being great when you sauté them with herbs or roast them with spices. In fact, they are often added to meat dishes to improve flavor.

So, taste shouldn’t be a reason to keep you from cutting back on animal protein (such as meat and eggs) and adding more plant foods to your meals. The benefits of eating more plant-based foods while reducing your meat intake are plentiful – reducing your risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and a variety of other health problems. At the same time, you can experience a whole new variety of foods that you may have never tried before, opening up countless opportunities for new flavors from sweet, to pungent, to salty, etc. The combinations of flavors are endless and offer eating experiences that you can share with family and friends.

Desserts are perhaps one of the dishes that are nearest and dearest to people’s hearts (and tongues). But so many desserts, in addition to using high amounts of refined sugars and flours, require the use of eggs, which are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. With the upcoming holidays, desserts tend to be consumed in higher quantities; this can be a worry, particularly for waistlines. Luckily, Down to Earth has a large selection of delicious and decadent desserts that are lower in cholesterol, saturated fat, and refined ingredients. We also have many vegan, raw, and gluten-free choices, to ensure that there is something for everyone. We have made it easy to find all kinds of recipes right on our website. Check out the new and improved recipe section and on the right hand side of the page there is a list of categories to choose from, including entrees, side dishes, beverages, soups, salads and, of course, desserts.

One of the most exciting new features is the search bar, where you can narrow down the type of desserts you want, for example, by choosing “Raw” or “Vegan” under the “Special Diets” drop-down list. There are also “Special Categories” you can choose from: Cooking with Kids, Budget Friendly, Quick & Easy, and One Pot meals. In addition, there is a new video section where you can see our vegetarian chefs showing you how to cook different recipes and sharing tips and tricks. The videos use recipes from our ongoing cooking classes at the different store locations. With that said, here are a few dessert recipes to get you started: