Columbus Vegetarian Dining Guide: Vocabulary

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

Michael Pollan says we shouldn’t eat foods our grandmothers wouldn’t recognize. These days, some veggie-friendly ingredients are not only alien to our grandparents (you’re not going to find tempeh in Irma S. Rombauer’s original “Joy Of Cooking”) but are downright off-putting to an untrained ear. Let’s shed some light on the scarier-sounding words.


(pronounced FAR-oh)

Light-brown, fiber-rich Italian grain that looks like rice and behaves like risotto (without becoming gummy). It’s found in soups, salads, desserts and wherever hipsters buy vegetables.

Find it at: Skillet, occasionally a special at Rigsby’s


(pronounced kom-BOO-cha)

Flavored fermented tea. (Imagine fruity beer without the alcohol plus some sort of health benefit.) While it’s technically not an ingredient used in vegetarian cooking, it is something that is often in the proximity of vegetarians, themselves.

Find it at: Co-ops, independent grocers, farmers markets and, interestingly enough, locally owned theaters


(pronounced KEEN-wah)

Native to the Andes mountains, these edible seeds come from the goosefoot crop. (Goosefoot? We’ve never heard of it, either.) Quinoa wins mega-points both for being high in protein and for taking less than 15 minutes to cook.

Find it at: Little Palace (in patty form), Madrid (in salad form)


(pronounced say-TAN)

The versatile meat-like protein portion of wheat is, quite literally, our food system’s biggest threat: gluten. (It’s no coincidence that it sounds like Satan.) For those who aren’t avoiding gluten, seitan is an ideal meat substitute in that it can be magically formed to resemble chicken strips, cubed beef or ground turkey.

Find it at: Till Dynamic Fare and Whole World both make their own


(pronounced TEMP-pay)

A firm and chewy cake-like block made with fermented soybeans. Originally from Indonesia, tempeh is high in protein and less processed than its soy-cousin tofu.

Find it at: Explorers Club, Till Dynamic Fare