We’re starting a new series here at Shrinking Jeans – Meatless Mondays! I won’t be coming at you every Monday – there are too many other great writers here for me to hog all the attention – but I hope you’ll take in what I say, let it ruminate, and make ALL your Mondays meatless! If I can do it 24/7/365, surely you can do it one day a week!
Meatless Monday is a campaign to encourage people to eat less meat for the betterment of their health and the planet. A great way to start eating less meat is to give it up just one day a week. Monday. It’s a day for fresh starts. It’s a day for getting back to business after a laid back weekend. Also? It’s alliterative, which I suspect is the real reason behind the chosen day. Meatless Monday as we know it dates from 2003, but the roots of the movement go back much further. During World War I Americans were encouraged to ration their meat and wheat intake (among other things), and “Meatless Mondays” were born!
There are plenty of reasons to go meat-free, even for one short day a week:
- it’s good for you! Eating more fruit and veg is good for your health – that’s no surprise! Less saturated fat (0, actually), 100% more fiber, plenty of antioxidants… the list goes on and on. And if you’re not eating meat, you’re going to be eating more fruit and veg, right? The idea here isn’t to fill up on Oreos and the like, you know!!
- it’s good for the planet! Cutting out meat just once a week can help reduce your carbon footprint, save water, and reduce your fossil fuel usage. Every little bit helps!
- it’s good for your bank account! The price of one pound of ground beef: according to my stateside “experts”, anywhere between $1.99 and $7.98, depending on location, fat content, grass fed versus typical grocery store, etc. And the yield? Four servings, right, give or take? The price of one pound of lentils: $1.35 at my store. The yield from that one pound bag? 13 servings. The math is pretty convincing, methinks.
Chances are you already have several meatless meals in your repertoire: pasta with pesto, your grandma’s famous vegetable soup, or bean burritos when you have no time for anything more. Chances are you also have many many recipes that can be easily adapted to be meat-free. A few examples:
- replacing the ground beef with lentils in recipes such as spaghetti bolognese or sloppy joes.
- substituting chickpeas or cubes of tofu for chicken in recipes like “chicken” noodle soup, stir-fry, or our Sisterhood favorite General Tsao’s.
- using vegetable broth instead of beef or chicken when making an otherwise meat-free soup.
These are some very simple, very non-scary ways to introduce more meat-free meals into your life. And if you’re looking for another, slightly more concrete option for your first foray into Meatless Monday, I present you with one of our family favourites, Spaghetti with a Vegetable-Lentil Bolognese Sauce. So simple, yet so satisfying. And perfect for the cold fall weather that’s currently whipping at my window panes.
Vegetable-Lentil Bolognese Sauce
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water, as needed
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 zucchini, quarterd and thinly sliced
- 4 large button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups marinara sauce, either homemade or your favourite brand
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- In a medium saucepan, sauté onion and garlic is a small amount of broth or water for about five minutes. Add carrot, and zucchini, continue satuéing another three minutes, adding more broth or water as necessary to prevent sticking. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until they soften.
- Pour marinara sauce and tomato sauce into the saucepan. Add basil and oregano, then add your precooked lentils.
- Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for twenty minutes. The longer, the better!
- Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve over spaghetti or your preferred pasta shape.
http://shrinkingjeans.net/2012/11/welcome-to-meatless-mondays/ Will you join me? Just one day a week? Are you willing to move out of your kitchen comfort zone and investigate new dishes? Are you brave enough to try something new? Or are you… chicken? Bwahaha! I crack myself up! (Visited 8 times, 1 visits today)
Mom, housewife, daughter, sister, friend. All-around good person. Expat, French speaker. Introvert. Vegan with leather furniture. 30-year dieter, now retired from the sport. Making peace with my body as it is while continuing to improve what it can be