When you suffer from a food intolerance or choose to eliminate meat from your diet, eating out can be tough. If you are a vegetarian, then you may find yourself eating fast food french fries and having pizza delivered to your home more often than you would like to simply due to the lack of vegetarian options at many restaurants. If you suffer from a gluten intolerance, then you may have even stopped dining out altogether due to a lack of restaurants that offer any main dishes free from bread, pasta, and other gluten-filled baked items.
If you are a vegetarian or live a gluten-free lifestyle, then one cuisine you need to learn more about is Indian cuisine. Indian restaurants like Deccan Spice offer many dishes perfect for people who struggle to find even one dish they can enjoy at other restaurants.
Read on to learn how eating Indian food can help keep you happier and healthier if you are a vegetarian or eat a gluten-free diet.
Indian Food for Vegetarians: Many Indian Dishes Contain Healthy, Meat-free Protein
If you are a vegetarian and have never eaten at an Indian restaurant, then you may be shocked when you find out just how many Indian dishes are meat-free and packed with healthy, vegetarian protein. That is likely due to the fact that a full 30 percent of all people who live in India are vegetarians. In addition, many people in India do not eat beef and/or pork due to religious beliefs. Just 3.2 percent of all adults in the United States are vegetarians, which may be why there can be a lack of vegetarian options at many restaurants in the United States.
Many Indian dishes are filled with lentils and beans that contain plenty of protein, although the star of many vegetarian Indian dishes is paneer, which is a fresh, protein-packed cheese similar in texture to tofu. If you enjoy tofu, then you will likely love paneer. A 100 gram serving of paneer contains 18 grams of protein, so if you are tired of your other vegetarian protein options, then don't be surprised if you fall in love with Indian dishes that feature paneer.
One Indian main dish featuring this protein-packed cheese is called Palak Paneer. It is a somewhat spicy Indian curry dish that also contains plenty of iron-rich spinach. If you have trouble getting enough iron in your daily diet, as many vegetarians do, then eating Palak Paneer on a regular basis can help you ward off iron-deficient anemia.
If you don't enjoy spinach, then you can try one of many other paneer-based Indian main dishes, such as paneer butter masala, which features a creamy tomato sauce. A great appetizer featuring paneer is Paneer Tikka. To create this dish, chefs roast blocks of seasoned, marinated paneer on skewers on a grill or in an oven. Vegetables are often added to the skewers in-between the blocks of paneer.
Gluten-free Indian Food: Most Indian Dishes Contain No Bread or Pasta
If you have a gluten intolerance, then you may always be on the lookout for a new Chinese or Japanese restaurant in town due to the fact that most Asian main dishes are served over rice instead of pasta. If you are looking to try something different, most Indian main dishes are also served over rice. (Of course, if you have a gluten allergy, you will have to check with the restaurant staff to ensure the spices used to season otherwise gluten-free entrees do not contain gluten.)
Chicken Tikki Masala is a very popular Indian dish that is gluten-free as long as you choose it served over rice and not with naan, which is Indian flatbread. This dish features chunks of grilled chicken coated in a spicy creamy tomato sauce. There are many other gluten-free Indian main dishes that feature chicken, and if paneer dishes sound delicious to you, you will be happy to hear that paneer is gluten-free.
If you are tired of the traditional gluten-free house salad you may eat frequently at other restaurants, then you may love the popular Indian Sprouts Salad as a starter before you enjoy your main dish.
If you struggle to find dishes you can eat at many restaurants due to living a vegetarian or gluten-free lifestyle, then you need to check out your local Indian restaurant to see all the dishes they have to offer that you can enjoy. If you are lucky, you may even find a local restaurant that delivers.