Meatless Monday – Ole, Ole Ole Ole!

In case it has escaped your notice, there’s a huge soccer (i.e. European football) tournament going on in Brazil. It is FIFA’s World Cup of Soccer 2014. Everywhere I go I see bars and restaurants advertising televised soccer games to accompany their food and drink specials. I wonder what soccer fans eat? I wonder what soccer players eat?

After having a gander at the countries participating I’ve put together a brief overview of vegetarian/vegan friendly cuisines of the 32 teams involved. Today Meatless Monday goes global.

There are a number of South American countries represented at the World Cup along with a handful of African nations and a couple from Asia. There are also numerous countries representing the West (i.e. Europe, Australia and the USA). Though any country and its food can be tailored (some more easily than others) to specific dietary needs, there are a few places where a vegetarian/vegan should have very little if any trouble finding a variety of things to eat:

USA
There exists many vegetarian/vegan/macrobiotic/raw eating establishments throughout the U.S. of A. Your best bet is to seek them out in larger city centres. New York is considered a mecca of plentiful, creative and strictly vegetarian/vegan restaurants.

England
British cuisine has been notorious as the place where vegetables are boiled, beef is king and food is bland. With immigration, however, the food scene has picked up considerably and it is not difficult to find, at least in London, vegetarian/vegan options. This is the country, after all, where the term vegan was coined. Any one for curried chips?

Italy
Can I get an order of pasta and sauce, either white for vegetarians (usually made with cheese and/or cream) or red for both vegetarian and vegan. I’d also like a pizza pie with the meat-free works (vegans can skip the cheese; the topping should be flavourful enough that cheese shouldn’t be required for good taste). And the simpler the better; a margherita pizza is just pizza dough, tomato sauce and basil on mozzarella on top.

Mexico
Salsa, guacamole, beans and corn tortillas are made of ingredients typical to Mexico. These recipes are naturally vegetarian/vegan.

And speaking of competitions…

There are restaurants that specialize in ‘ethnic’ cuisine of a particular region. Some are naturally vegetarian/vegan-friendly. Here’s my pick for the Top 5 places almost certain to have a plethora of meat-free food options:

  • Ethiopian
  • Rastafarian
  • Indian
  • Middle Eastern (in particular Egyptian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian, Jordanian)
  • Italian

And if you’re travelling, don’t forget to check out Happy Cow’s list of vegetarian/vegan-friendly places around the world:
Happy Cow – The Healthy Eating Guide

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