The thing about taking one trip around the world is that it ultimately further flames the desire for more travel. Eating your way around the world has the same outcome: You just want to try more global cuisine, sample the scrumptious dishes different cultures with different edible resources come up with. It’ll open the mind up to new experiences, enticing flavors, smells and textures. Luckily, here at One Green Planet, it’s possible to take that second round-the-world adventure without having to wait for the bank accounts to refill.
If you missed our first tour, a tasty romp through the likes of Paris, New Orleans, Istanbul, Mexico City and more, then it’s not too late to go back and retrace those meals. Now, we are set to embark on a whole new journey, setting down in seven new countries and even more cultures for a week of delicious evenings of plant-based eating. There will be appetizers, desserts, the whole bit, so buckle up those safety belts for take off and let’s get started.
Getting good eats in Italy hardly requires a compass. Something delicious seems to decorate the window of every other shop. Renown for its pizzas, pastas and gelato, Italian food is popular the world over, but on this trip to Italy, we’ll strive to find dishes a little less obvious.
For tonight, we should skip the trademark Caesar salad and go for a stack of garden tomatoes and fresh pesto. And, no meal would be complete without warm bread, focaccia being our choice. Then, instead of pasta, why not go with a nice mushroom risotto, all of it followed with panna cotta doused in caramel sauce.
Israeli staples like hummus and falafel are often amongst the top favorite eats for vegans, something we have quite often, so it would make sense to try new delights on this adventure. Jewish foods are steeped in tradition and can be really fun way to explore the ingredients of the region.
Dinner specials this evening kick off with a healthy starter, latkes, a sort of potato cake usually eaten at Hanukkah. Our appetites stoked, lots of us have heard of matzo ball soup, but how many of us have actually tried it? Holishkes, stuffed cabbages, will help stuffing our stomachs just in time for some bite-sized bimuelos, reminiscent of sticky donut holes.
Indian cuisine is a great addition to any vegan’s repertoire. A bevy of curries, delicious flatbreads, stewed vegetables and dhal—mouth-watering is the word that comes to mind, and truthfully, any Tuesday seems a great day for Indian. While dishes differ wildly between regions, we will pick and choose from all over the country.
For any full-on Indian affair, samosas — tiny, fried pockets of deliciousness — are a must for getting things going, and even better with a smidge of chutney on the side. My favorite, palak ‘paneer’, is a combination of spinach and country ‘cheese’, and it works best with a few rounds of flatbread to scoop it up with. Then, it’s almond halwa, a rich pudding, for dessert.
Welcome to toasty Indonesia, with a cornucopia of exotic fruits to enjoy, as well as a national vegan specialty in tempeh. Like many East Asian countries, rice reins supreme here. Many dishes will drip with coconut milk, and a quick stir-fry is to Indonesia as the hot dog is the US. It’s going to be tropically delicious.
Getting straight out into the streets, a market stall style veggie stir-fry with noodles is a great way to start this relationship. Tempeh, then, is a must try for plant-based visitors, as is the coconut rice. To finish things off on a sweet note, it’ll be getuk lindri, mashed cassava formed into tiny cakes then topped with grated coconut.
In Peru, it’s all about amazing ingredients, stuff uniquely grown in the unique combination of equatorial regions with high altitudes. Peru has fantastic potatoes, as well as superfoods like quinoa and maca. The cuisine is pretty straight forward, utilizing the natural flavors of native roots and spices.
One of the most popular traditional dishes is ceviche (raw seafood marinated in lime juice), but for a great vegan version, we can just soak strips of eggplant in a dressing of lime juice, diced red onions, peppers, cilantro and garlic. A shout out to potatoes — why not Peruvian purple ones — will be necessary, as well an appreciation of quinoa, perhaps with some delicious quinoa-veggie cakes. Lastly, we’ll need to sample the local super root, maca, with chocolate and chia, for dessert.
Then, it’s all the way up north to the Caribbean, where Jamaica celebrates more than reggae. Food in the Caribbean is a fine mix of sweetness and eye-popping spice, combinations that make for a real home-cooked feel with flavors that may not be wholly familiar. It’s a great place to eat.
Anytime tropical fruits are around, it seems pertinent to get them into the belly ASAP, and a tropical smoothie is fantastic means of doing so. But, be careful not to chug the whole thing down as no Jamaican tour would suffice without a sampling of jerk, quite a spicy endeavor that goes well with a bit of rice and legumes on the side. Finish off with a little more fruit, say banana cake with coconut frosting.
For our last continent and country this go round, it will be a delectable venture into Morocco, where Mediterranean type ingredients receive a whole new spin. Moroccan cuisine is a fantastic amalgamation of cultural influences that reach the table with stacks of fresh spices and herbs. It’ll be inspiring way to end the tour.
We’ll dive into the scene with some delicious flatbread and an eggplant-white bean spread that’ll get the taste buds warmed up. Then, chickpeas are a necessity and provide the crux of a vegetable-chickpea stew with a zippy side of spicy orange couscous. Finally, stuffed dates —filled with a bit of simple almond cheese (blanch a cup of almonds, soak them for a day, and blend them with a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and a pinch of salt), nuts, a drip of syrup or whatever else seems appropriate — will satisfy the sweet tooth.
And, there we’ve done yet again: all new countries, all new dishes, and all new inspiration for getting out and tasting the world. Hey, we’d all rather be out traveling than another day in the office, but what’s the next best thing? Eating our way around the world seems a pretty decent substitute.
Lead Image Source: Chili Tortilla Lasagna