October 1 is World Vegetarian Day, which also marks the launch each year of Vegetarian Awareness Month during October. This annual observance is popular among vegetarians and vegans alike, but on 1 October in spite of vegan-themed messaging you do not have to be strictly vegan to appreciate or participate.
World Vegetarian Day will be celebrated on Sunday, October 1, 2023.
Scroll Down for a List of Vegetarian Recipes ⬇
Origins Of World Vegetarian Day
Some food-based holidays have murky origin stories. They are sometimes either untraceable, or the origins have something to do with marketing and PR. In the case of World Vegetarian Day, there are actual names and dates that represent the origin story.
In 1974, the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) formed. It was originally created as an organizing body for the 1975 World Vegetarian Congress in Maine.
That event, spearheaded by the International Vegetarian Union (IVU), is noted as one of the most important happenings in the U.S. vegetarian movement from the 20th century. In 1977, NAVS created World Vegetarian Day, which found support from the IVU the following year.
As mentioned above, World Vegetarian Day is the starting event for Vegetarian Awareness Month. When that observance ends, it helps usher in another event on 1 November each year–World Vegan Day.
Celebrating World Vegetarian Day
The organizers of World Vegetarian Day are clear in their purpose for October 1. You DO NOT have to be a vegetarian or a vegan to participate. The whole idea of the observance is to raise awareness of the health benefits of vegetarianism.
It’s a time meant for inclusion, and not exclusion of non-vegetarians. In fact, one of the selling points of the holiday is that it’s a time for the curious to give vegetarianism a try even if it’s just in the sampling of plant-based dishes popular amongst vegans and vegetarians.
Some people’s primary objection to a meat-free diet includes the notion that vegetarian foods are lacking somehow. There are the usual complaints of low protein, a lack of B vitamins, and other hoary old myths associated with a meat-free diet but October 1st is meant to answer those concerns and more.
If you have never tried a vegetarian meal or even a vegetarian side dish, doing so could erase some of your objections to an alternative lifestyle that simultaneously reduces your carbon footprint, offers a healthier set of eating choices, and helps support local businesses such as farmers’ markets and local growers.
One of the stated purposes of World Vegetarian Day is to support vegetarians and vegans, local farms and/or other affiliated groups. Another purpose is to inform people about the benefits of going meatless.
Things You Can Do
There are many ways to observe October 1st. If you take the “awareness raising” part of the holiday to heart, you could take some vegetarian food to share with coworkers on the job, you can invite family and friends to have a vegetarian potluck or come to your home for a vegetarian meal.
The World Vegetarian Day official site lists some other suggestions for this day, but many of them are a bit recruitment-oriented such as hosting a screening of a vegetarian documentary or asking local libraries to consider a vegetarian themed book display. The site even goes so far as to suggest a vegetarian day at a local homeless shelter or soup kitchen.
That may be a bit too far for some folks, who prefer to simply enjoy the day or try a new type of eating they never considered before.
You don’t have to go out on the campaign trail for vegetarianism to support 1 October, it’s equally important to work within your comfort zone when trying out a new lifestyle choice. That said, it’s likely that some of the advice offered for 1 October is actually meant to extend into the rest of the month when vegetarian awareness campaigns kick off in earnest.
For some, participating in World Vegetarian Day is the first step into a different, healthier world while for others it’s simply another option in the “food palette” for those who might want to add some vegetarian considerations into their food choices without going fully meatless.
See our big list of National Food Holidays!
Celebrate World Vegetarian Day with these delicious recipes!
Stuffed Baked Potatoes
This recipe makes a lot of Stuffed Baked Potatoes, so feel free to cut in half if you're not serving a crowd. It's a perfect make-ahead recipe for the holidays!
Cracked Pepper and Goat Cheese Zucchini Roll-Ups
An easy, fresh appetizer that's perfect for summer!
Bruschetta with Peaches, Lemon Ricotta and Honey
This easy bruschetta recipe is made with homemade lemon ricotta cheese (it’s simple!), fresh grilled peaches and a drizzle of Tupelo honey.
Caprese Appetizer Salad
Fresh summer tomatoes are key to amazing flavor in this recipe.
Grilled Peach Salad with Basil Vinaigrette
Grilled Peach Salad with Basil Vinaigrette couldn't be easier to throw together and it's filled with flavor! It's a perfect summer salad that can be a side dish or served as a main with grilled chicken or shrimp.
Roasted Summer Tomato Bisque
Tomato Bisque with Hatch Chiles – easy, healthy and DELISH!!
Pico de Gallo
Baja is where I solidified my love for pico de gallo and discovered how satisfying it is with salty chips and an ice cold Mexican beer.
Roasted Carrot Souffle
Roasted Carrot Souffle – so easy you won’t believe it. This has been the one staple on our holiday table for years and is a huge hit with all ages!
Roasted Radishes with Balsamic & Honey
Roasted Radishes are sweeter without the bite of raw radish. Add a little balsamic & honey and they make a fantastic side dish or snack!
Roasted Vegetable Medley
You’ll never believe how easy it is to turn a simple Roasted Vegetable Medley into a show-stopping dish!
Garlic Herb Browned Butter Cauliflower
Every once in a while, there’s a recipe I make that I can hardly wait to share with you. This Garlic Herb Browned Butter Cauliflower is at the top of that list!
Easy Hummus Dip - Salsa, Greek, or Mexican
This is a super easy and quick appetizer recipe that also tastes delicious!
Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Soup
This pumpkin soup recipe is easy and healthy and the perfect starter or side dish at a quiet dinner or a Thanksgiving feast.
Roasted Purple Brussels Sprouts
You'll love this easy recipe for an easy, delicious side dish.
Skinny Chopped Veggie Salad
My go-to recipe for healthy lunches all week long.
Fresh Fall Fruit Salad
The crisp, crunchy texture of this Fall Fruit Salad pairs well with its creamy dressing. It uses produce that's available year round, so don't limit it to only the fall season.
Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers with Goat Cheese
These easy and delicious Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers with Goat Cheese, Asparagus & Cherry Tomatoes are the perfect recipe for spring, summer or anytime!
Carrot Ginger Soup
This healthy carrot ginger soup is easy to make, delicious and so good for you!
Mexican Quinoa Casserole
This Mexican Quinoa Casserole is incredibly flavorful and super healthy to boot! It’s easy to make ahead of time or double the batch and freeze one.
Baked Cauliflower Mash with Parmesan
Steaming the cauliflower until it’s soft, mashing it until it’s smooth as silk then baking it with a buttery parmesan topping makes this cauliflower dish worthy of your fanciest dinner parties!
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