November 9, 2009

Meatless Monday recipes

Every Monday, I write about food. I didn't plan it that way, but first we started getting a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery of fresh organic produce back in May, and I started taking photos and telling you about what we got. Then, I signed up for Meatless Mondays in June and I'm so supportive of their cause I started writing about it. And I got such good feedback on the meatless recipes I posted, I decided to make it a regular feature by using reader's suggestions.

There are SO MANY delicious vegetarian recipes these days that it gets easier and easier to go meatless. We go meatless several times a week in our house. There are just so many things we love to eat that don't include meat.

If you haven't heard of Meatless Mondays, click here to read all about it. It's a nonprofit initiative that aims to encourage people to go meatless on Mondays, for their health and the health of the planet. If you go to their site and pledge to go meatless, they'll send you a weekly email that's filled with delicious recipes, along with news in the world of food. I already have a backlog of recipes I can't wait to try, and several have quickly become staples.

Meatless Mondays has gotten a lot of press lately because the Baltimore school system was inspired to go meatless on Mondays and the news covered it. Not everyone thinks that teaching children to eat less meat is a good thing, some people will PROTECT THEIR RIGHT TO EAT STEAK at all costs. Click here to see Glenn Beck's take on the subject, which is either insane, farfetched, unhinged, wrongheaded, bizarrely self-centered, hilarious, or all of the above. Sorry to offend any GB fans, but I have a hard time believing anyone who watches him for anything more than entertainment value would be reading my blog. It's unclear who's trying to take his steak away: Al Gore? Paul McCartney? Obama?

Now for some recipes:

Ellen from Within My Means shares this recipe for Squash Casserole, which looks easy and doesn't use a lot of ingredients. One thing it does use is Cream of Mushroom soup, so if you don't like the canned version, I thought I'd share this recipe from Alea at Premeditated Leftovers for a homemade version (which has got to be healthier!)

This easy-sounding recipe for Italian Spinach Pie comes from Reader's Digest. I haven't tried it yet, but I will as soon as I get spinach and leeks in the same CSA delivery. According to RD, you should eat plenty of spinach to keep your heart in tip-top shape with vitamins A and C and folate. Also, when I make it I'll add a pinch of nutmeg which is delicious in any spinach recipe.

And one of my old standbys: Arugula/mushroom salad. I think this recipe was on the back of a bag of arugula at Trader Joe's and I made it and loved it. Now I make it all the time, sometimes for lunch, sometimes for dinner as a side, or as a main dish if I'm really feeling starved for greens. Saute garlic and mushrooms or a shallot and mushrooms in olive oil, and pour it over the arugula. It should wilt the greens a bit. Add salt, toasted pine nuts, balsamic vinegar, and a little crumbled feta or goat cheese.

What do you think about going meatless? To me, it's a win/win/win: healthy, green, and frugal. I love that. Please share your favorite meatless meals in the Comments section, and I'll use them in the next Meatless Mondays post.


Cate said...

The Glenn Beck clip was so nonsensical it was almost painful (not that I expected anything different). I never cease to be amazed by that terrified "you're going to take away all my steak and force me to eat TOFU!!" sentiment. I could talk about Glenn Beck's nuttiness all day long, but instead I'll suggest meatless recipes. :-)

One of the best parts about vegetarian recipes is how simple they are! Beans and cornbread have become one of our staples. I prefer it with black beans, but you could easily use another kind. I just heat them on the stove with some chopped onion and garlic and whatever spices we're in the mood for, then serve them over warm cornbread (my favorite is a sour cream cornbread recipe that's posted on my blog).

Carla said...

I ate very lowfat vegetarian for about three years — and got my weight back to where it ought to be for my height, finally. Alas, I have strayed and the pounds are back on. In spite of all that I typically cook meatless more than one day a week. It's not hard if you remember to combine whole grains and legumes for your protein. After that first rule, the second is to plan pretty colors of fruits and veggies for your plate and you will not have to think any further about "balanced" meals.

Non Consumer Girl said...

My favourite simple meatless meal is an omellette with a handful of baby spinach leaves and some tasty cheese or parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.

I like the sound of the arugula/mushroom salad. We call arugula "rocket" in Australia. I love the flavour.

Vegan Good Life said...

It's also a "win" for the animals. Many opt for the cheapest eggs, meat, and milk, but that's at a huge cost to the health of the animals, who have to produce at unnatural rates in filthy conditions, and the unseen toll: suffering. Pregnant sows cannot even turn around in their 2 feet wide gestation crates (the industry norm), and more than 325 million egg laying hens in the U.S. are confined in battery cages (tiny wire cages stacked in tiers and lined up in rows inside huge warehouses), according to Farm Sanctuary.

So with food, cheaper isn't always better. As chef Jamie Oliver says, "A chicken is a living thing, an animal with a life cycle, and we shouldn't expect it will cost less than a pint of beer in a pub."

I posted excerpts on my blog, The Vegan Good Life, of Jamie's Fowl Dinners, Oliver's look at the real cost of cheap eggs and chicken:

Thank you for your Meatless Mondays feature. There are a lot of free recipes guides on the web:

Yours in frugal, eco-minded and compassionate living,

Angela said...

Cate- Thanks for the idea- we love beans and I can't wait to try the sour cream cornbread. That sounds really good.

Carla- Thanks for the simple tip. I think people are too worried about the protein thing- most vegetarians and vegans are very healthy and the average American gets way more protein than they need. As you say, it's not hard to get, especially if you remember to eat plenty of grains and beans. And people don't realize how much protein is also in produce.

Non Consumer Girl- I agree that a simple omelette can be a perfect meal. And I love spinach.

Yes- I love that - rocket- that's what they call it in England too- and occasionally if you buy it in a bag that will be on the package.
Let me know if you like the salad- I just love arugula. It's really good with a small bit of fruit too- like dried cranberries or apricot, and lately I've been adding a few pomegranate seeds- those are all good combos with toasted pine nuts and a bit of goat or feta cheese.

Catherine- Thank you so much for the information and links. Of course going meatless is also better for the animals- it's so obvious to me that I didn't even say it! But yes, that's a huge positive about going meatless, and why I've tried to do it throughout my life. I'm going to check out the links you provided- thanks again.

Thanks everyone for your comments!

Cate said...

That's a wonderful Jamie Oliver quote! One of the best things for us about going meatless several times a week is that we can then afford humane meat and eggs. It's really important to think about where your food is coming from. My MIL covers her ears whenever my husband tries to tell her about the conditions in factory farms. If you can't stand to hear about those practices, why eat the products?

JudyS said...

Glen Beck is ridiculous! Enough said on that subject! Dh and I eat a lot of vegetarian meals. I buy all our eggs and meat(mostly chicken) from a local farmers' market which sells free range and organic. I will not buy anything from factory farms.

You can't expect everybody to become vegetarians but everyone can eat less meat.

Anonymous said...

For the record, one can read this blog and still listen to what Glenn Beck has to say. He was pointing out that during an interview, Al Gore didn't want to give up his meat eating habit! I myself gave up eating red meat over 25 years ago, maybe Al could too.

Angela said...

JudyS- As far as "you can't expect everyone to become vegetarian, but everyone can eat less meat"- that's what I like about the Meatless Mondays approach. They don't demonize meat-eaters, and in fact don't even like to use the word vegetarian. They just like to focus on making meatless more desirable, and the fact that eating less is better.

Anonymous- Well, I'll be... I said I'd be surprised, and I am (that anyone who listened to GB would also be listening to me by reading this blog), but thanks for clearing up what GB was trying to say, and you're welcome here no matter who else you listen to! It's just surprising because when I hear him talk, it's sort of like we're on the opposite ends of the spectrum on almost everything, almost like we're from different species. Well, I don't know about Al Gore giving up his cheeseburgers or what he said about it, but given the effects of raising beef on climate change, that would be a good thing for an environmental spokesperson to do. Thanks for commenting- I do appreciate it.