Quarantine cooking: Vegetarian style

    Cheerful young female blogger browsing for online recipe to prepare salad of fresh vegetables and post on vlog

    As much as being stuck inside due to a pandemic seems like the worst thing in the world, there are a few upsides. One of them includes learning to cook more! I know that to some people cooking seems more like a chore than a fun activity, and I thought that way at first, too. But if you slip some fun jams on your speaker, dance around while creating something new out of only ingredients, I have to say it make you feel pretty accomplished. Whether you consider yourself a seasoned chef or have never touched a pan before, there’s always more to learn. These five easy and delicious recipes take little time, are all vegetarian, and are super fun to put together.

    7Vegan Banana Bread Muffins

    Photo: Ava Rosen

    Where I live, bananas happen to be both yummy and always sitting around. And bananas go bad pretty quickly if not eaten. The good news is that no matter how brown your bananas seem to be, making banana bread is a super yummy way to save them from the trashcan and create something sweet. I like using a muffin pan to make them more bite-sized, but if you’d prefer a larger pan, that works too.

    Ingredients: 3-4 large bananas, 1 ¾ cup flour, 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1 tsp baking soda, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp vanilla extract, ¾ cup dark chocolate chips.

    Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Oil your muffin tin pan or use paper liners. Mash the bananas in a large bowl. Add sugar, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla to the bowl. Stir until well-mixed. Add the flour to the bowl, then sprinkle in the baking soda, cinnamon, and salt on top of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. Spoon into your pan and bake! These should take about 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

    6Veggie Stir Fry

    Photo: Ava Rosen

    A good veggie stir fry is the perfect side dish or topper to rice or noodles. I started making this one day when I had extra broccoli and peppers sitting around. You can use pretty much any vegetable, and don’t be afraid to try out a different vegetable even if you’re not sure how it’ll come out. Remember, cooking is all about the experience. This is such an easy dish to make – but this is my favorite version:

    Ingredients: Olive oil, onion, garlic, broccoli, peppers, spinach, and/or your choice of veggies.

    Start with a large frying pan, and add enough olive oil to cover the bottom. As this is heating up, dice some onion and garlic (as much as your preferences call for), and add them to the pan. I’m a huge fan of both of these, so I do about half an onion and three garlic cloves. Then cut about a full head of broccoli into small pieces and ¾ of a red pepper into small slices. I also like to add a handful of spinach. At this point, the onions and garlic should be slightly brown. Add the fresh veggies, and cover the pan. The broccoli takes some time, but depending on what veggies you use, it could be very quick. Check them with a fork every few minutes. When they are all soft, add a splash of soy sauce. This will add some flavor and make these veggies irresistible. I like to serve this over white rice.

    5Vegetarian Burrito Night

    Photo: Ava Rosen

    Have a free night and want to figure out something to cook? Burritos are the perfect delicious and filling dinner, and you can make them completely customizable. Put everything into separate bowls, and everyone can put what they like into their burrito.

    Ingredients: rice, onions, garlic, black beans, cheese, sweet yellow corn, tomatoes, tortillas.

    The only thing that needs a little extra prep is the rice. Sautee some onions and garlic in a pan with olive oil while the rice is cooking. After the rice is done, add the browned onions and garlic to the rice. This will create a yummy twist to plain rice. Everything else can be chopped/ prepared into separate bowls to create a mini burrito-bar. Take your tortilla and place it flat on a large pan to heat up. As it’s warming, sprinkle some cheese and let it melt. After it’s melty, slide the tortilla onto a plate, add your ingredients, roll, and enjoy!

    4Roasted Potatoes

    Photo: Ava Rosen

    Potatoes can be boring and flavorless when done the wrong way. But when you add some spices, they’re perfect as a side dish or if you’re like me, just to eat by themselves!

    Start with a large pan and use a sheet of parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil or cooking oil of your choice. Chop your potatoes into small pieces and put them on the pan. Now is the fun part! Add salt, pepper, rosemary, paprika, thyme, and any other favorites. Make sure the potatoes are evenly spread so they cook well. Roast them at 425°F (218°C) for about 25 minutes for a crispy, golden-brown dish!

    3Israeli Salad

    Photo: Ava Rosen

    If you’ve ever been to Israel, this one is a no-brainer. It’s so simple and tasty that I’m surprised Americans haven’t hopped onto the trend. All you need is to chop up some cucumber, tomato, and onions if you’d like. Add a dash of olive oil, fresh lemon, salt, and pepper, and you have the perfect healthy side dish or quick fix.

    No matter how much experience you have, cooking can be fun and rewarding. Especially with all that’s going on in the world, we can all use some good eats to bring people back together. These recipes can be made using household ingredients or a quick, masked run to the grocery store. Either way, they’re easy and super yummy for your quarantine lifestyle.

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    Ava Rosen
    Ava Rosen is a creative writer, athlete, and recent high school graduate from New Paltz, NY. She’s currently studying with Aardvark Israel in Jerusalem, and has already loved finding the very best foods, views, and rich history that this city has to offer. Travel is very important to Ava, and she hopes to continue to find new and exciting places to visit in the coming years. She has hopes to study somewhere in Boston next year and aspires to become an author or business owner.