As a vegetarian, you may sometimes struggle to find dishes to order at restaurants. However, some cuisines are more vegetarian-friendly than others. Nigerian cuisine may be one of the best options for those who prefer a vegetarian diet. Here are a few of the meat-free dishes you may see on the menu.
Jollof rice is an incredibly common Nigerian dish. It's often served on the side of other stews and similar dishes, but it can absolutely be enjoyed on its own as a full meal. Jollof rice is made with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, along with garlic and chile for seasoning. Many restaurants will also add ginger and bay leaves for more depth of flavor. There is never any meat used directly in the dish, but it has a really hearty and balanced flavor from all those veggies and spices. The orange-brown color is appealing, too.
Fufu is common throughout West Africa, and particularly in Nigeria. It is made from cassava, which is a root vegetable similar to a potato. The cassava is boiled, ground up, and shaped into balls. Often, fufu is used to soak stock or broth from a stew or soup, and some restaurants may serve it with a dip made from pureed veggies. The fufu itself is always vegetarian, so just ask the server to be sure whatever is served alongside it is also meatless.
Egusi is a really popular Nigerian soup, and one of the few that are usually vegetarian. It's named for the egusi, which is a type of melon that's a bit like spaghetti squash, and contains onions and pumpkin leaves. Usually, the soup is also flavored with bitter leaves and garlic. Occasionally restaurants may add meat or seafood to egusi, at least in the United States, so just ask the server to be sure the dish is vegetarian before ordering.
Tuwo is another starchy food that is always vegetarian. It's really just sticky rice that is cooked until soft and then formed into balls. Sometimes the balls are pre-seasoned, and other times they are served with soups and sauces for dipping. As with the fufu, just make sure you ask for vegetarian dips, only. Most restaurants will have a few.
Nigerian cuisine is actually a great cuisine to try if you're a vegetarian. You're sure to find several options on the menu, likely including some or all of the foods above. Reach out to a local Nigerian restaurant to learn more about your options.