With today’s ever changing community profile, there is an increased need to incorporate new diet types into Long Term Care (LTC) dining.  These new diets not only have to meet nutritional requirements, but are also required to meet resident preferences and religious beliefs.  They also provide a familiarity to residents, which in turn can improve their nutritional outcome while residing in LTC.  One such dietary practice that is growing in popularity and demand is Vegetarianism.

What does Vegetarianism mean?

Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from eating meat.  There are several forms of vegetarianism depending on the desired choice or belief with some including animal by-products such as dairy, eggs and honey.

Some popular vegetarian diets are:

  1.  Ovo-vegetarian:  includes eggs, but no dairy products.
  2.  Lacto-vegetarian:  includes dairy products by no eggs.
  3.  Lacto-ovo vegetarian:  includes both eggs and dairy.
  4.  Vegan:  excludes all meat and products from meat (eg. eggs, dairy, honey)

In LTC, the most commonly provided diet is the Lacto-ovo vegetarian. Meals will continue to include eggs, dairy, honey, gelatin, etc. Vegetarian meals are typically made from beans, lentils, eggs, dairy, soy analogs and vegetables. Examples include: vegetarian chili, falafels, omelets or Aloo Bangain (Eggplant and Potato dish).

As an individual who eats vegetarian (lacto-ovo) for approximately 90% of my diet because of allergies and choice, I love to experiment with using various beans and lentils. One of my go to recipes during both the summer and rest of the year is from “The Big Book of Little Lentils – Cooking with Lentils made Easy”  – Mini Lentil Sliders

Recipe/Ingredients – Makes 20

1 3/4 cup dry red Lentils

2 cups vegetable stock

1 tbsp canola oil

1/6 cup onion, fine diced

1/2 tbsp garlic, minced

1/4 red pepper, diced

1 carrot, shredded

3 mushrooms, grated

1/4 tsp each of salt, black pepper, red chili pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp chives, chopped

1/2 tsp thyme

1/3 cup bread crumbs (or quick cooking gluten free rolled oats)

1 large egg, beaten


  1. Rinse lentils and drain excess water. In large saucepan, cover with stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 12-15 minutes or until tender.
  2. Saute onions with oil until they are golden brown in color. Add garlic, red pepper and carrot, and saute for approximately 5 more minutes. Add all remaining vegetables, salt, pepper, chili pepper flakes, cumin, coriander and paprika. Cook on medium heat until tender and most of the water has evaporated.
  3. Stir in chives, thyme, egg and half of the bread crumbs into the cooled lentils. Season to taste. Add sautéed vegetables.
  4. Using a scoop, form lentil patties.  Coat with remaining bread crumbs to prevent sticking. Note: if using gluten free rolled oats, they can be processed into finer pieces using a food processor.
  5. Place on a tray, cover and refrigerate (or freeze) until needed.

These sliders can be cooked in frying pan or on the BBQ. Make them a little larger (double in size) to create a full size burger.


For additional recipes using lentils, visit http://www.lentils.ca