Web feast can satisfy kosher vegetarians

In my last column, we began our look at Jewish vegetarianism and the places where you can find information on the World Wide Web. From gefilte fish to kreplach to chicken soup, meat and fish have become central to the Jewish palate. So finding vegetarian replacements that maintain links with our tradition can be a bit of a challenge.

The single-best kosher vegetarian recipe site that I came across draws its suggestions from the Jewish Cuisine newsgroup, www.cyber-kitchen.com/rfcj/category.cgi?category=VEGETARIAN. There are more than 150 recipes here including: Buricche with Eggplant Filling, Mushroom Schnitzel, Quinoa Pilav and five varieties of good-old mock chopped liver. There's an added bonus. The site starts with some biblical and talmudic sayings about vegetarianism, and then quotes Isaac Bashevis Singer, who, when asked if he was a vegetarian for health reasons, answered: "Yes, for the chicken's health."

The Kosher Kitchen Vegetarian Cuisine Web site is also worth a visit, at www.screaminmeemies.com/kosher. There's quite an eclectic assortment of recipes here with everything from traditional (Cold Borscht) to celebrity favorites (the late Linda McCartney's recipe for Hungarian Goulash).

Beit HaChatulim describes itself as a "Jewish Vegetarian Homeschool." Check it out at www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/1259. Not only will you find out their philosophy about home-schooling, but you can pick up some tips on preparing Garlicky "Cream" of Celery Soup, Pumpkin Biscuits and Corn Bread. I particularly like the recipe titled "Not-Chicken Soup." You can find a large selection of Jewish Vegetarian Books along with some excerpts at www.micahbooks.com/jewishvegbooks.html, and yet more Jewish recipes at www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/1259/bhfood.htm.

One of the biggest challenges facing kosher vegetarians is Passover. As they point out at Beit HaChatulim, once you rule out meat, fish, beans, rice, corn, and peas and anything chametz, putting together a vegetarian meal is difficult but not impossible. Check out www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/1259/vegypass.htm.

In addition, the about.com site has some suggestions for meatless seders that can be enjoyed year-round such as Cauliflower Fritters and Broccoli Knishes, at www.vegetarian.about.com/food/vegetarian/library/weekly/aa041000a.htm. And over at Vegetarian Fat-free Passover Recipes, you'll find Seven-Vegetable Stew, Cabbage Soufflé Pudding and Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote. Find the recipes at www.sunvalleyfinefoods.com/Jewish1.htm.

There are many more general vegetarian recipes out there on the Internet. Yahoo's index is found at http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Food_and_Drink/Cooking/Recipes/Vegearian. There are a couple of Usenet newsgroups geared toward vegetarians, including news:rec.food.veg and news:rec.food.veg.cooking. Or you can join a general (not specifically kosher) e-mail list for vegetarian recipes, at www.egroups.com/group/Veg-Recipes.

Sometimes eating right can lead to more than just a trimmer waist and lower cholesterol. Jewish Vegan/Vegetarian Singles can be found at www.jewishvegan.com/singlejvveg.html. You can even get a free e-mail account that ends with @jewishvegan.com.

You can still keep kosher and vegetarian even if you're on the road. The Kosher Restaurant Database at http://shamash.org/kosher has information about almost 300 restaurants around the world where you can enjoy a kosher vegetarian meal. The Jewish Vegetarians of North America maintains a Web site at www.orbyss.com/jvna.htm and Jewishvegan.com has a site at www.jewishvegan.com/restaurant.html. To find out more about Israeli vegetarian organizations and restaurants, go to the listings at the World Guide to Vegetarianism at www.veg.org/veg/Guide/Israel/all.html.

In Israel, military service no longer means an end to a vegetarian lifestyle. According to the Jerusalem Post, the Israel Defense Forces Nutrition Division has introduced vegetarian rations following years of complaints from hungry vegetarian soldiers in the field. Check out the Jerusalem Post report at www.jpost.com/Editions/2000/09/12/News/News.12046.html.

B'tayavon and es gezunterheit.