Many of us dream of taking a trip around the world, but few of us ever actually buckle down and get to it. There’s always a reason: school, work, kids, money, etc. Hey, there are lots of valid reasons why it doesn’t happen, but ultimately, valid or not, many of us are left with a bit of a hole in our lives. We bury a quite yearning that seems to squeak away into the distance, only to pop up every now and then to make us wish we would’ve gone when we had the chance.
Well, we here at One Green Planet can’t actually right the wrongs of round-the-world trips gone awry, but we are here to help by providing some great suggestions for one week’s worth of vegan recipes to soak up the flavors of the places that might or could have been. We’ll be touching down all over the world, sampling a new cultural cuisine every night. While it might not be at the Eiffel Tower or The Great Wall, it will be an adventure and it will be fun.
Put your tray tables down and let’s venture out.
Sunday: Paris, France
French cuisine is renowned, but unfortunately for us plant-based (and generally health conscious) folks, that reputation is largely built of cream and butter, which means most of it is off-limits anyway. But, fear not, here on the OGP tour, all things are possible, including French food.
So, start thinking of French onion soup starters with a delicious quiche, fresh baguettes, raw chocolate mousse for a sweet treat, and some macadamia nut “brie” for civilized after dinner conversation. What a destination!
Monday: Istanbul, Turkey
Turkish cuisine is widely regarded as meaty kabobs and gelatin-y sweets, which makes staying plant-based a bit more of a challenge there. However, there is a great selection of widely beloved produce, like eggplant, parsley, olives and spinach. So, going there from home will definitely have its benefits.
Begin things by sampling a nice and light simple tabbouleh (known as kisir), moving on to a second course of vegan lahmajun (a kind of Turkish pizza), and filling up on a regional veggie bake before rounding out the evening with a fusion still (because that’s what Istanbul is all about) Turkish Delight cake.
Tuesday: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
A true melting pot of religions and cultures, most of us wouldn’t know what to expect from a meal in Ethiopia. It’s not exactly a country known for its dishes, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have them. In fact, Ethiopia has a cornucopia of special spices and flours that make for some enticingly filling fare.
A sourdough flatbread called injera is the big staple in Ethiopia. With one piece of injera used as our plate and another as spoon, we can sample a couple of classics, such as misir wot (spicy lentil stew), and shiro wot (ground lentil and chickpea stew), and gomen (for some greens). End the meal with a fasting macchiato (use an Ethiopian blend and sunflower milk). Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee after all.
Wednesday: Bangkok, Thailand
If there is one stop on this around-the-world journey that, in theory, might be readily vegan-friendly, it’s Thailand. Thai food has become a favorite for many people in the last couple of decades for its beloved spicy dishes, fresh bursts of flavor, and for not being particularly heavy on the stomach. Can’t wait to eat Thai!
Spring rolls are a perfect way to start this meal, with fresh vegetables and a spicy peanut sauce. Then, to do it right, for the feeling of authenticity, street-style pad thai is the way this has to go. For something sweet, coconut milk, tropical fruit and a bit of Thai basil will do just fine for a raw fruit popsicle.
Thursday: Tokyo, Japan
Food gets a little more adventurous within the confines of Japanese culture, which will at times challenge our pallets, but also offer up some interesting health benefits. Though largely based on seafood, Japanese cuisine has plenty of mushrooms, seaweed, tofu and vegetables. And, of course, rice and/or noodles will be on the menu as well.
We cannot go to Japan without trying some version of sushi, so it starts with the best and basic veggie roll. But we can’t miss out on miso soup either. Two starters? But, there is still udon noodles and tofu! We’ll put those together with some pumpkin in something delicious. For giggles and another healthy addition, why not take on matcha green tea ice cream for dessert (watch the video)?
Friday: Mexico City, Mexico
Mexican food is probably getting back to a bit more familiar for many of us. But, the truth of the matter is that it just never feels wrong. With everything from the street-slung tacos on fresh corn tortillas to slow-cooked, food-of-love style stews, Mexican food more than satisfies.
We definitely don’t want to fill up too quickly, but chiles rellenos are just too good to put off, especially with a little tequila in the batter. And, we need to mix in some street food, perhaps some non-GMO, fully funked up corn on the cob. A spot of slow home-cooking might add a bit more soul to the menu. Then, there has to be something sweet to finish us off; hot (as in spicy) chocolate should do the trick.
Saturday: New Orleans, Louisiana
For some of us, Louisiana will always be home, and Cajun food will always be the answer to what we crave. It’s that explosion of cayenne pepper. It’s the richness a roux brings to a pot of beans, the way food is more than just sustenance but rather is an all-out experience to be savored every time. Ah, home sweet home.
Gumbo! If there’s something that says Cajun cuisine, a steaming pot of gumbo gets it done and gets us into the mix quickly. There’s need to be something fried, so why not go all the way south and opt for fried green tomatoes with a rich aioli? And, while the oil is hot, might as well fry up some Cajun quinoa cakes with a remoulade. Finally, my grandmother always makes me sweet and sticky pecan pie when I visit, even if this isn’t her recipe.
My word, that is the way to take a trip. Food is such a major part of culture and provides such a feeling about places. It seems such a shame to stop eating and traveling now. Luckily, there are still loads more places to put on the next culinary itinerary. Checkout our recipes and try some of our different cuisines!
Lead Image Source: How to Make Vegan French Baguettes