The do's and don'ts of a vegetarian diet
As a vegetarian, it's simple to avoid eating meat but it's not always so easy to spot the non-veggie ingredients that are added to foods. Don't get caught out by hidden ingredients. Always check the label!
Margarine with added Omega 3 can contain fish oils. Some are also fortified with vitamin D3, which is derived from lanolin from sheep's wool and therefore unsuitable for vegans. Pure Soya Dairy Free Spread, widely available, is suitable for vegans and can also be used in baking. Use in this tangy cheesecake with strawberries recipe
Although there are many lovely vegetarian cheeses, it's worth remembering that Parmesan and Gorgonzola are made with calf rennet. Look for vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese instead (and, in place of Gorgonzola, use creamy Loddon Blewe or Barkham Chase. Use in this leek and Gorgonzola risotto recipe.
Some contain gelatine to improve the texture of the product. Avoid this by going for clearly labelled vegetarian yogurts such as Total 0% Greek Yoghurt from most supermarkets. Use in this Mumbai potato wraps with yogurt relish recipe.
Look out for one that's free from shrimp paste or fish sauce. Marks & Spencer does a great range, including rendang, red Thai and green Thai pastes. Use in this Thai coconut and vegetable recipe.
Ready-made pastry can contain ingredients such as lard. Marks & Spencer's Shortcrust Pastry and Waitrose Cooks Ingredients Puff Pastry Sheets are both suitable for vegetarians. For vegans, try Jus-Rol Puff Pastry (Frozen) Sheets, available in most major supermarkets. Use in this mushroom and spinach tart recipe.
Cheese powders used to flavour cheesy varieties are often non-vegetarian. Both Fairfields Farm Crisps (with the exception of its Wicks Manor smoky bacon flavour) and Kettle Chips are veggie-friendly.
This article originally appeared in Good Food Vegetarian Summer 2010.