I like meat but would like to go vegetarian for 6 months at least to increase my creativity in the kitchen, and find out what it takes to prepare meals according to what local vegetables are available within a given season in Switzerland.
I’m also interested to find out if being vegetarian turns out to be less expensive on the long run.
Do you have any tips or feedbacks?
It really deepens on your Style.
The marketed ready to eat “vegetarian” or Vegan options, often are really expensive even if not costly to produce, for Example the vegetarian Cordonbleu or Vegan chocolate… Yeah, every dark chocolate is basically vegan.
Also Cheese is as expensive as meat, so if you substitute meat with cheese you are not going to save much.
Here are my Takeaways:
Best is to have lots of vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, soy tofu and many Asian dishes are easy to make vegan/ vegetarian.
Dry tomatoes are a good substitute for bacon in sandwich or sauces.
Oat milk and Oat cream are a good substitute for milk.
Italian cuisine offers a lot of vegetarian options, like risotto can be made in 20 different styles.
Being vegan, I’d say you can live cheaply or expensively, it really depends. Processed vegan/vegetarian foods tend to be as expensive or even more expensive than budget meat (some hormone-contaminated mass production meat from countries with cheap labor).
However, you can live cheaply by eating tofu, lentils, beans and seasonal local vegetables and fruits (such as cabbage, carrots, potatoes, apples etc.). If you go organic/bio though, you might spend a lot (sadly).
If cost is your main driver, you might get a kick out of this website:
Not sure if the price tables fully translate to Switzerland, but I guess something like pinto beans will be efficient here too. I’d be more worried about covering all your nutrient needs though, and less the CHF / gram protein ratio of a 20kg bag of dried beans.
Thank you all for your answers, just to be clear, I will not buy any pre-made food, my goal is to make meals with unprocessed vegetables. And I’m not going to be vegan, I believe vegetarian is feasible, vegan, not so much. Interesting feedback so far.
If you like Indian cuisine, being vegetarian is a breeze. They have hundreds of years of experience creating vegetarian dishes.
As far as saving money, that depends on how much your time is worth, and how demanding you are when it comes to food. Having a good variety of vegetarian meals generally requires a lot of time spent in pre-prepping and cooking. There are a few simple and good vegetarian dishes, and if you’re happy with those, you’re good. But if you like more variety, you should count on 1-2 hours a day pre-prepping and cooking to get the same variety you would get as an omnivour with around half the cooking time.
I have a vegan friend, and he spends around 3 hours per day preparing his food, because he doesn’t buy processed factory food. So the bit of money you save by not buying meat, you generally lose in time. That said, I enjoy cooking, and consider it time well spent.
You can go Mediterranean as well, as some have said, many Italian families eat risotto or pasta every day and never run out of recipes, most are quite quick to prepare too. You can bake your own bread and flour derivates as well.
The main factor in enjoying (any) food, I found, is the quality of the ingredients - and sadly Switzerland is underwhelming when it comes to variety and quality of fresh fruit and vegetables options.
If you have a garden or the option of using a communal garden or joining a gardening cooperative, you could grow your own. At least where vegetables are concerned, you can get a lot more variety that way. I grow around 30-40 different kinds of vegetables, in several varieties. Fruit is more of a long-term project where growing is concerned, but you can buy quite a big variety (at specialty shops, etc.) if you are willing to cough up some extra money. I find if you use 80% cheap fruit (apples, bananas, etc.) but blend it up with 20% expensive exotic stuff, you can keep your fruit diet interesting at minimal extra cost.