Raven: I respect that you don't eat meat. Please respect that I don't eat fake meat.
In real life, the various forms of vegetarianism involve eating a multitude of different foods as long as they don't contain poultry, red meat, or fish (contrary to popular belief, pescatarianism is not considered vegetarianism) or are cooked alongside them. In fiction this is watered down considerably. Characters will eat diets consisting of mostly tofu, common vegetables, and random "health foods" that their non-vegetarian friends find odd or even gross.
This is often the result of many vegetarian foods using foods that are considered Stock "Yuck!", such as tofu, various vegetables, and "vegetarian substitutes". Fictional vegetarians also don't tend to cook these foods in appealing ways, either for comedic exaggeration or due to the writers lack of knowledge on veg-friendly recipes, and will mix foods in a way that makes them have a Bizarre Taste in Food. Seeing characters eating plain tofu is very common, despite the fact that most people don't eat tofu like that. In real life, many vegetarians don't even use tofu as a way to get protein and they don't eat veggie burgers or veggie nuggets (instead opting for foods that are naturally vegetarian-friendly).
As with many food tropes, this is culturally dependent and can invoke Values Dissonance. In countries with a large vegetarian population or in cultures where tofu and soy products are common, such revulsion to these foods is unusual.
Often overlaps with If It Tastes Bad, It Must Be Good for You, as many vegetarian foods are relatively healthier than their non-vegetarian counterparts. Sometimes a character eating unconventional foods is one of the signs they're an Evil Vegetarian.
- There was once a Scooby-Doo comic, which predates Shaggy becoming vegetarian, where Shaggy and Scooby have a meal of artichokes and hummus. The pair visibly grimace while eating the meal, and Shaggy declares that the food tastes of "old paste".
- In FoxTrot, Andy frequently makes "health food" of this style for her family. Easily the worst example is when she took this approach to fruit salad — which is vegetarian to begin with — and protested that the ingredients she used (pumpkin, peas, tomatoes, beans, and eggplant) are biologically fruits.
- One The Far Side cartoon has a pack of lions disgusted to discover that they've caught a "tofudelope".
- In one Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin is not particularly pleased when his mom serves him a vegetarian dinner. To be fair, it looks quite similar to the unidentifiable gruel she serves him regularly.
Calvin: I'm not a vegetarian! I'm a dessertarian.
- In Bedtime Stories, Skeeter's sister serves a gluten-free wheatgrass cake at her daughter's birthday party that nobody wants to eat. When he walks in and asks what smells so bad, some kid says, "It's the cake." He quips, "What did she make, donkey cake?"
- In The Amazing Days of Abby Hayes, Casey goes to Thanksgiving at his father's cousin's house and ends up being served beets, brussels sprouts, lentil stew, spelt bread, and unsweetened cranberry apple pie with whole wheat crust. After the meal, his father comments that he's never going to become a vegetarian.
- Laurie, Abby's mother's friend from college, is a hardcore Straw Vegetarian who will not eat anything non-organic, subsisting almost entirely on nuts, seeds, soy products, and the like. Abby is not pleased when her mother tries to follow Laurie's example and buys her papaya peanut granola instead of her favorite Tooty Frooty cereal.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Wounded", much humor is made out of contrasting the culinary tastes of newlyweds Miles and Keiko O'Brien. First Keiko makes her idea of breakfast: kelp buds, plankton loaf, and sea berries. Miles isn't very enthusiastic about it (and shows an expression of shock and disbelief that this stuff is really food), but Keiko argues that it's healthy. Miles's suggestion of muffins, oatmeal, corned beef, and eggs is met with shock by Keiko. Attempts to introduce her to scalloped potatoes, mutton shanks, oxtails, and cabbage are met with equal disinterest. It's not stated whether or not Keiko is vegetarian, but perhaps she sticks to fish.
- Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Downplayed. When Rebecca tries to turn a new, healthy leaf, this includes eating mainly vegan and vegetarian food. When she and Greg go on a date to a taco festival, she insists on only eating vegetarian tacos, and while she seems to like them, Greg insists they can't compare to a juicy meat one. And sure enough, at the end of the episode, she completely abandons her healthy pledge and devours a pork taco before sleeping with a random dude.
- In Parks and Recreation, this is downplayed. Health nut Chris is known for eating stereotypically healthy, frequently vegetarian food to the horror of proud carnivore Ron. In one episode instead of bringing cake (which, while vegetarian, is made with eggs and dairy), Chris brings a disgusting vegan vegetable bread to the dismay of many.
- Beast Boy from Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! is vegetarian due to being a shapeshifter; he feels uncomfortable eating animals when he's been most of them. He is most frequently seen eating tofu and soy products (including uncooked blocks of tofu); however, none of his friends are interested in trying them. His meat-loving best friend Cyborg especially hates vegetarian foods.
- Sam from Danny Phantom has been shown literally eating grass on a slice of bread. Her friends (especially the meat-loving Tucker) find it less than appealing.
- Chef McMuscli from Camp Lazlo is known for his disgusting vegan recipes. None of the campers enjoy eating them.
- Being Ian has this all over the place in the Kelly household, such as tofu waffles ("toffles") and "soy-rup". "Hurry For Hollywood" takes this Up to Eleven with "foods" like topsoil and literal mud pie, to the point that even Vicky, the resident health nut mother, cannot stand it, and is driven to eat non-tofu hot dogs because of it.
- In Arthur, "Sue Ellen Vegges Out" is about Sue Ellen becoming a vegetarian, with Muffy and Francine doing it too as a personal contest between them. At the mall, Muffy goes to a chicken restaurant and asks if they have vegan items; the worker puts mustard on a slice of pickle and serves it.