From grains to beans to greens, plant foods can be combined to create an endless list of nourishing, delicious meals found around the world. And because October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to celebrate the power of plant foods. That’s why Oldways has teamed up with Meatless Monday and The Humane Society of the United States to bring you Vegtoberfest, a celebration of plant-based foods and the stories behind them.

Whether you go meatless on Mondays, all month, or anything in between, we want you to celebrate Vegtoberfest by putting more plants on your plate and sharing your Vegtoberfest story (why you’re joining in) with a photo of you and a veggie-licious dish on social media. Learn more and contribute your Vegtoberfest story to the official campaign here.

In honor of Vegtoberfest and putting more plants on our plate, we asked our coalition of nutrition experts to share their favorite globally inspired vegetarian recipes. Try out one (or more) of these mouthwatering recipes this month!

Ashley Owen, Oldways PR & Media Manager

Ask the Experts, Vegtoberfest Edition

That’s a Wrap. Nori wraps are my latest globally inspired veggie obsession. I made this quick and easy lunch from leftover grilled asparagus and garlic scapes, fresh cilantro and rice, drizzled with soy sauce and rice vinegar (courtesy photo below). But you could use all kinds of cooked or raw veggies: cukes, radishes, green beans, scallions, avocado. I keep cooked short grain rice (arborio works well) in the fridge for just this purpose.
– Monica Reinagel, MD, LDN, host of the Nutrition Diva podcast,



The Gold Standard. I have eaten a primarily Mediterranean-style diet for more than 10 years. I would say some of my favorite dishes are rich in tomatoes and go light on meats, dairy, and added sugars. I make some type of pasta with a red sauce and chicken or fish at least once a week.
– Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD, Appetite for Health, co-author of 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions,

Colors and Flavors Galore. I am in love with Indian flavors — the spices, the melded sauces, the use of vegetables, grains, and legumes. What’s not to love? I especially love the near-reverence Indian chefs have in the kitchen. It’s part of the culture! Check out my Curried Chickpea Quinoa Loaf here (courtesy photo below).
– Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian, author of Plant-Powered for



Tricks of the Trade. Like most kids, mine did not love vegetables when they were young so I had to be creative in getting more green foods to pass their lips.  When you roast, grill or caramelize vegetables, it adds a hint of sweetness that makes them delicious and kid-friendly.  Stir frying or serving with a dip is another way to enjoy veggies.  And don’t forget beans are vegetables too.  Kids love hummus and it’s a great way to enjoy veggies dipped into a nutritious dip.
– Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, director of nutrition for WebMD,

Soup’s On. Growing up, we always knew that any leftovers would find their way into a pot of soup the next day. I now use the same principle when it comes to vegetables — fresh, frozen, or even canned. When I ask my clients about soup-making, I often get the same answer: “I don’t know how to make soup. I’ve never done it.” That’s when I turn to the Mediterranean to show them how easy it is. I suggest starting off with sautéed onions and garlic. Then, here’s where the versatility and preferences come in. Diced or pre-chopped veggies like zucchini, carrots, celery, and even a package of shredded cabbage and carrots can go in the pot. Follow with some low-salt broth, a can of diced or plum tomatoes, and some fresh or frozen herbs along with freshly grated pepper — and let simmer for an hour. Chopped Swiss chard or baby spinach near the end of the cooking time are two tasty and nutrition-packed additions. The bigger the pot, the more the number of servings and a bonus of freezing some for another day.  You can also try my Mediterranean soup recipe here (courtesy photo below).
– Rosie Schwartz, RD, author of The Enlightened Eater’s™ Whole Foods Guide : Harvest the Power of Phyto Foods, contributor for Parents Canada, Diabetes Dialogue,



Healthy Heritage. These days my favorite global cuisine is Mexican. For years, I thought Mexican food was all about tacos drenched in cheese and sour cream. It’s only recently that I’ve learned that authentic Mexican food is heavy on plant foods like vegetables and beans. When I’m in a hurry, my favorite veggie-packed meal is a homemade burrito bowl. I start with single serve packets of brown rice, which I always keep in the freezer. I defrost one in the microwave and top it with canned pinto or black beans in sauce. Then I pile on loads of veggies: lettuce, tomato, avocado, red pepper, corn, and a little cilantro. To finish it off I add a squirt of lime, some tomatillo salsa, and a heaping spoonful of plain Greek yogurt for protein. It takes less than 5 minutes to make and is way healthier than anything I could order.
– Karen Ansel, MS, RDN, author of the Healing Superfoods for Anti-Aging: Stay Younger, Live Longer (Hearst, 2017),

Fall Flavors. I’m a huge fan of Asian recipes because they’re always so flavorful! This Ginger Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Cranberries (courtesy photo below) is one of my favorite fall side dishes. It’s easy to make and the Asian-inspired ginger flavor steals the show, while the cranberries add a fun fall twist.
– Lindsay Livingston, RD, recipe developer, nutrition writer and communications consultant, blogger,



Spice is Nice. The Moroccan and Middle Eastern concept of salad is so far from lettuce, it doesn’t even translate. It’s an irresistible abundance of fresh regional produce, both raw and cooked, boldly flavored with spices, olives and preserved lemon. The warming flavors and melting textures are perfect for autumn and add excitement to Vegtoberfest. In my Middle Eastern Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpeas recipe (courtesy photo below), cauliflower enjoys the Middle East treatment and pairs with chickpeas, perfect for the International Year of Pulses and Vegtoberfest alike.
 Ellen Kanner, Soulful Vegan writer & recipe developer, author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner & e-book Beans: A Handful of Magic, Huffington Post’s Meatless Monday blogger,


BONUS RECIPE: Middle Eastern Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpeas

This spice blend also plays well on traditional Middle Eastern produce like zucchini, peppers, and eggplant. Enjoy this dish warm or at room temperature as part of a mezze (an array of appetizers — think Middle Eastern tapas) or as a main course salad with any whole grain. Whole Grains Month may be over, but keep the whole grain goodness going.


1 cauliflower, broken into florets
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Middle Eastern spice blend (see below)
2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15-ounce can, rinsed and drained

Middle Eastern Spice Blend:

Lots of spices, yes, but they’re pantry-friendly, can be mixed, stored in airtight container and ready next time you want it.

2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or 2 teaspoons sweet paprika)
1 teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt

Whisk all the spices together in a small bowl or jar.

Additional optional ingredients:

Tomato, coarsely chopped
Olives, black or green
Cucumber, diced
Cilantro, coarsely chopped
Toasted pine nuts
Pomegranate arils
Mint, coarsely chopped
Tahini for drizzling


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Place the cauliflower florets in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons (about half) of the spice blend, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the the lemon juice. Toss to coat the cauliflower with the spice mixture.

Spread spiced cauliflower on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, giving an occasional stir, to prevent sticking or charring. Cauliflower will let you know when it’s done — it should be golden, tender and fragrant.

In a large bowl, toss warm cauliflower with the chickpeas. Taste for salt. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add any or all classic Middle Eastern or Moroccan ingredients like chopped tomato or cucumber, olives, mint, cilantro, pine nuts, pomegranate arils and/or a lavish drizzle of tahini. Serves 4 to 6.


Simplicity is Key. My summers were spent in Israel where there is a lot of hummus, tahini, grilled vegetables and meats, and of course, a simple chopped salad on the side. Those simple Mediterranean flavors is what I love to eat, and I try to combine it with the seasonal New York flavors where I live. For example, in the fall I may have scrambled eggs with hummus and my Israeli-style salad with a side of roasted sweet potatoes. Here’s the recipe for my Israeli-Style Salad, which I eat at almost every meal.
– Toby Amidor, MS, RD, owner of Toby Amidor Nutrition, PC and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More than 130 delicious, healthy recipes for every meal of the day, contributor to Healthy Eats, US News & World Report Eat + Run, Today’s Dietitian MagazineMuscle & Fitness Magazine, and,


Pasta is Plant-Based Perfection. I’ve just returned from a trip to Sicily where I experienced the best pasta sauce recipe I’ve ever tasted. Best. Pasta. Ever. Prepared by lovely Gaetana Jacono at her family’s Valle Dell’Acate winery, it was one of many deliciously light courses served for lunch paired with her wonderful Sicilian wines. The deep coral-colored sauce is a base of sautéed tomatoes and onions flavored with anchovy, some bread crumbs are added (a very Sicilian tradition) and then the showstopper is the addition of generous amounts of freshly grated orange and lemon zest. The saltiness of the anchovy combined with the sweet and tart citrus zest was magical (courtesy photo, right).
– Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RDN, author of The Slim Down South Cookbook and food blog

Pot Full of Plants. As the temperature drops, the quest for hearty soup rises. Nothing can be more comforting that a robust Italian soup. Couple this Mediterranean-based, veggie and bean soup with a slice of whole grain bread, and your lunch and/or dinners will be deliciously warming and good for your heart. Mangia!
– Joan Salge BlakeMSRDNLDNclinical associate professor for Boston

Asian Inspiration. South Asian cuisine is quite popular in my house — vegetables and strong spices make everyone happy! The spice Garam Masala is an all-purpose seasoning popular in South Asia; it adds a warm, sweet flavor to dishes. Garam Masala is a blend of ground spices typically including coriander, peppercorn, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon.  Enjoy this Garam Masala Glazed Acorn Squash (courtesy photo below).
– Kathy SiegelMSRDNCDNManaging Partner & Communications Director, Triad to Wellness



Sweet, Meet Sour. My mother was German and she grew up in her parents’ inn, Die Krone (The Crown) learning all about cooking and taking care of guests. She was an incredible cook and host herself and I learned so much from her. This is her recipe for sweet and sour cabbage, which is included in the Purple chapter of my book, Eating in Color. It does take some time, but it is incredibly delicious and good for you.
– Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Eating in Color and Feed the

BONUS: Sweet and Sour Cabbage Recipe



1 medium head red cabbage, tough outer leaves removed
¼ cup olive oil
1 red onion, diced
2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
3 juniper berries
3 whole allspice berries or ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
3 whole cloves or ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons red current jelly
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon light brown sugar


1. Using a box grater, mandoline, or coarse Microplane grater, grate the cabbage. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauce for 2 minutes.

2. Lower the heat to medium; add the cabbage and apples and stir to combine. Add the juniper berries, allspice berries, cloves, bay leaf, salt, pepper, jelly, vinegar, sugar and ½ cup of water and stir to combine. Turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 40 minutes, until the cabbage is tender.

3. Remove the juniper and allspice berries, cloves and bay leaf. Serve the cabbage hot or at room temperature. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Photo by Quentin Bacon from Largeman-Roth’s book, Eating in Color.


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