There are a wide range of possible vegetarian foods, including some developed to particularly suit a vegetarian/vegan diet, either by filling the culinary niche where recipes would otherwise have meat, or by ensuring healthy intake of protein, B12 vitamin, and other nutrients.
Other foods such as seaweed-derived products such as agar, which has the same function as animal-bone-derived gelatin.
Beverages such as beer, coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, tea or wine—although some beers and wines may have elements of animal products as fining agents including fish bladders, egg whites, gelatine and skim milk.
Foods not suitable for vegans, but acceptable for some other types of vegetarians:
Vegetarians by definition cannot consume meat or animal tissue products, with no other universally adopted change in their diet. However, in practice, compared to non-vegetarians, vegetarians on average have an increased consumption of:
This difference is observed, but is not required to be vegetarian. Nevertheless, it is relevant when considering research into the health effects of adopting a vegetarian diet. A diet consisting only of sugar candies, for example, while technically also vegetarian, would be expected to have a much different outcome for health compared to what is called "a vegetarian diet" culturally and what is most commonly adopted by vegetarians.
Sautéed tempeh with green beans, an Indonesian dish
In Indonesia, vegetarianism is well served and represented, as there are plenty selection of vegetarian dishes and meat substitutes. Dishes such as gado-gado, karedok, ketoprak, pecel, urap, rujak and asinan are vegetarian. However, for dishes that use peanut sauce, such as gado-gado, karedok or ketoprak, might contains small amount of shrimp paste for flavor. Served solely, gudeg can be considered a vegetarian food, since it consists of unripe jackfruit and coconut milk. Fermented soy products, such as tempeh, tofu and oncom are prevalent as meat substitutes, as the source of protein. Most of Indonesians do not practice strict vegetarianism and only consume vegetables or vegetarian dishes for their taste, preference, economic and health reasons. Nevertheless, there are small numbers of Indonesian Buddhists who practice vegetarianism for religious reason.
Korean cuisine has some dishes that are often vegetarian. One example is bibimbap, which is rice with mixed vegetables. Sometimes this dish contains beef or other non-vegetarian ingredients. Another Korean food which is sometimes vegetarian is jeon, in which ingredients (most commonly vegetables and/or seafood) are coated in a flour and egg batter and then pan-fried in oil.
In Germany, Frankfurt green sauce, Klöße with vegetarian sauces (e.g., Chanterelle), cheese or vegetable stuffed Maultaschen, combinations of quark, spinach, potatoes and herbs provide some traditional vegetarian summer dishes. Traditionally on Fridays, southern Germany broad variety of sweet dishes may be served as a main course, such as Germknödel and Dampfnudel. Potato soup and plum cake are traditional Friday dishes in the Palatinate. Brenntar in Swabia, it is made of roasted flour, usually spelt flour or oat flour.
Egyptian cuisine in particular is rich in vegetarian foods. For reasons ranging from economics to the religious practices of the Coptic Orthodox Church, most Egyptian dishes rely on beans and vegetables: the national dishes, kushari and ful medames, are entirely vegetarian, as are usually the assorted vegetable casseroles that characterize the typical Egyptian meal.
Many dishes in Thai cuisine can be made vegetarian if the main protein element is substituted by a vegetarian alternative such as tofu. This includes dishes such as phat khi mao and, if a vegetarian shrimp paste and fish sauce substitute is used, many Thai curries. Venues serving vegetarian Buddhist cuisine (ahan che; Thai: อาหารเจ) can be found all over Thailand.
Commercial products, marketed especially towards vegetarians and labeled as such, are available in most countries worldwide, in varying amounts and quality. As example, in Australia, various vegetarian products are available in most of supermarket chains and a vegetarian shopping guide is provided by Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland. However, the biggest market for commercially vegetarian-labeled foods is India, with official governmental laws regulating the "vegetarian" and "non vegetarian" labels.
Vegetarian diets are associated with a number of favorable health outcomes in epidemiological studies. In a study supported by a National Institutes of Health grant, dietary patterns were evaluated along with their relationship with metabolic risk factors and metabolic syndromes. A cross-sectional analysis of 773 subjects including 35% vegetarians, 16% semi-vegetarians, and 49% non-vegetarians found that a vegetarian dietary pattern is associated significantly with lower means for all metabolic risk factors except HDL, and a lower risk of metabolic syndromes when compared to non-vegetarian diets. Metabolic risk factors include HDL, triglycerides, glucose, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index. Metabolic syndromes are a cluster of disorders associated with a heightened risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Adventist Study 2 (AHS-2) compared mean consumption of each food group for vegetarian patterns compared to non-vegetarian patterns. Health benefits can be explained by increase in certain foods, not just the lack of animal products.
Vegetarian Cuisine is good for the heart as it comprises high-fiber whole grains, nuts, legumes, raw and fresh fruits and vegetables, and other low glycemic foods. Vegetarian Cuisine reduces the risk of cancer as it is a type of animal-free diet. Vegetarian Cuisine also prevents type-2 diabetes and related complications. It is also noticed that people who do not eat meat have chances of having lower blood pressure. This is because vegetables tend to have less fat percentage, low amount of sodium, which positively affects blood pressure. Fruits have a good amount of potassium which helps to keep the blood pressure on the lower side.
As evident by the Adventist Study 2 (AHS-2), the vegetarian diet does not always cause health benefits. This is dependent on the specific foods in the vegetarian diet. The National Institute of Health recommends a 1600 calories a day lacto-ovo vegetarian cuisine for the diet. This recommended diet includes oranges, pancakes, milk, and coffee for breakfast, vegetable soup, bagels, American cheese, and spinach salad for lunch, and omelettes, mozzarella cheese, carrots, and whole wheat bread, and tea for dinner.
^ abPeter Brang. Ein unbekanntes Russland, Kulturgeschichte vegetarischer Lebensweisen von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart An ignored aspect of Russia. Vegetarian lifestyles from the very beginning till the present day. Böhlau Verlag, Köln 2002 ISBN3-412-07902-2