About 50 percent of Americans eat at least one vegetarian meal a week, according to The Vegetarian Resource Group, and at least 4 percent are full-time vegetarians or vegans.
Made from soybean curd, tofu is a good source of protein and is often eaten by vegetarians. Pressing the water out of a brick of tofu makes the texture chewier and more like meat. Many recipes call for pressed tofu and, though it is possible to press it by hand, a tofu press makes it easy to produce the right consistency every time. A press is also a time saver; a block of tofu can get pressed overnight and be ready for tofu scramble the next morning. “Tofu Press” is a popular brand. A complete tofu-making kit with press is a thoughtful gift for hardcore bean-curd lovers who enjoy making their own.
Green smoothies are a vegetarian favorite, but getting that half-bushel of kale, apples, cashews and cabbage to whip up smoothly in a regular blender is just about impossible. It takes the power of a food processor/blender/juicer to do the job and that’s exactly what the Vitamix is. It’s not an inexpensive gift; the standard “starter” model costs around $450 at Macy's.
It takes a lot of chopping to prepare a healthy vegetarian meal. A hand-powered vegetable chopper saves time and strain on the wrist. When shopping for a chopper, look for one that can handle nuts — vegetarians depend on them as a quick source of protein and they’re a common ingredient in meat-free cooking. The Ninja QB 1004 is a high-end hybrid — it’s also a mini-food processor and drink mixer. You can find several good choppers that are also budget friendly. The Chef’n Veggi Chop costs about 20 dollars.
Whole grains like brown rice, bulgur, barley and quinoa are a crucial source of nutrition in the vegetarian diet. They’re filling and they provide an extra boost of protein that non-meat eaters require. When preparing grains like these on a regular basis, a rice cooker makes life so much easier. Consumer Search recommends the economical Aroma 20-Cup Digital Cool-Touch cooker. This model lacks the bells and whistles of more expensive cookers, but it rates high in durability, ease of use and versatility. It also doubles as a slow cooker.
No matter what kind of diet you follow, there’s cleanup after every meal. The vegetarian cook would probably appreciate a collection of eco-friendly linens to make the job of washing up more pleasant. Bambeco, a sustainable living retailer, offers a beautiful selection of linen tea towels printed with water-based ink. A gift basket filled with natural kitchen sponges, eco-friendly cleansers, a bottle of vegetable wash and an extra fancy tea towel would be a welcome gift in any kitchen.