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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian/vegan diet including: better health, animal rights, food safety, public health, frugal living, global food insecurity and the staggeringly huge contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletion (pdf)


We feed almost half the world's grain to livestock, returning only a fraction in meat...while millions starve
It takes up to 16 pounds of grain and soybeans to produce just 1 pound of beef in the US
Does that information sound shocking and new to you? Well it shouldn't because that information was included in Frances Moore Lappe's book  "Diet For A Small Planet"  which was written in 1971!

Frances Moore Lappe has written a 20th anniversary edition to her book which includes the following:

producing one pound of steak uses 2,500 gallons of water! Livestock production, including water fed to US crops fed to livestock aboard , account for about half of all water consumed in the US.
Macca's Meatless Monday/Meatless Advocates is a solution-oriented activist group, with solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time, including climate change, global food/water insecurity and public health. Here we don't just talk about the severity of the crisis. Armed with knowledge about how our actions can contribute, we become part of the solution.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney (Macca) who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat. We not only discuss the advantages of a less meat diet, we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle music!

Meet below the fold for more Macca's Meatless Monday!

We now know that the worst effects of climate change will continue on their current disastrous trajectory unless we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere.  The focus of a transition to green energy has been to reduce the dangerous C02 levels in our atmosphere and this must be done.  But it will not happen in time to mitigate the worst effects of climate change because CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.  So here is where reducing the short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP's) of Methane, Black Carbon and ground level ozone becomes essential.  By reducing the atmospheric concentration of these short-lived GHGs, it should be possible to see strong and relatively quick climate change mitigation. A recent NASA study estimated that 0.5oC of global warming could be avoided by reducing the atmospheric concentrations of key short-lived GHGs like Methane and Black Soot. And we now know that the greatest source (pdf) of the SLCP's is livestock production.  This gives us all a way to participate directly in reducing GHG's by simply reducing/eliminating meat and animal products in our diet.  This is important as it buys us the time for the necessary reduction of the long living C02.

We are fortunate that we have a fast and easy way to be part of the solution to mitigating climate change by just reducing and or eliminating our consumption of meat and animal products. It's also healthy, delicious and a budget saver.

It's easy to get started by just trying some recipes that sound tasty to you and today I will share some of my favorite early Fall recipes that make a good transition to the more comforting recipes of the season.

GARDEN CORN CROWDER
Fresh corn is still plentiful here in Florida and perfect for making the first chowder of the season.

1 tablespoon coconut oil or veg oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 cup fresh corn (from 5 to 6 ears) frozen also works, just rinse and add to recipe
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 lb thin skinned potato (like yukon gold), cut into 1/2 inch chunks
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon corn starch or arrowroot
3/4 cup coconut milk, regular or lite
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Salt to taste
Fresh black pepper to taste

To garnish: (optional)
Chopped fresh chives (1/2 cup should do it)
Thinly sliced fresh basil (1/2 cup or so)
Thinly sliced radish
A few extra fresh corn kernels

Preheat a 4 quart soup pot over medium high heat. Saute onion in oil with a pinch of salt until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for another minute. Add corn and carrots and cook for 3 more minutes or so.

Measure one cup of the broth into a measuring cup. Mix in the cornstarch with a fork until dissolved. Set aside.

Add remaining 3 cups of broth to the pot, along with the potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, break the corn cobs in half and add them to the pot. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove corn cobs. Add remaining vegetable broth and starch mixture, and cook to thicken, about 3 minutes. Add coconut milk, black pepper, salt to taste and lime juice.

Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender then transfer about half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth then add back to the pot. If the soup is still steaming hot, make sure to either keep the opening on top of your food processor open, or lift the lid often for steam to escape. If steam builds up in a close container it can explode the lid off. Ouch.

Taste for salt and seasoning. Serve garnished with fresh corn kernels, fresh herbs and radishes.

ROASTED DELICATA SQUASH with KALE
A simple warm salad healthy for you and the planet. Great for the first winter squash from the market.

    1 medium delicata squash
    1 bunch kale or other dark leafy greens
    1 clove garlic
    2 tablespoon, divided olive oil
    salt and pepper

    Preheat oven to 425F. Scrub squash well. Slice off the ends and cut in half length-wise. Scoop out seeds (I use a melon-baller). Cut into half-moons or quarters no more than 1/2″ thick.

    Toss squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast at 425F for about 20-25 minutes, until uniformly tender and golden, turning after 10-15 minutes.

    While squash is roasting, rinse kale and remove stems. Chop roughly. Chop garlic clove.

    Heat additional tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat and add kale with a pinch of salt. Saute until dark green and wilted. Add garlic. Cook one more minute, then add two tablespoons of water. Stir briefly and remove from heat.

    Serve squash on top of garlicky greens, hot or at room temperature. Add salt and pepper to taste.

ROAST BEET, LENTIL and BALSAMIC ONION SALAD
An entree salad served warm or room temperature and great for a early Fall picnic. Serves 2  

    1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
    250g (9oz) cooked lentils [recipe here]
    10 pieces roast beets [recipe here]
    3-4 tablespoons balsamic onions, optional [recipe here]
    small handful roasted almonds

Whisk vinegar with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a large bowl. Season.

Toss in lentils, onions if using and divide between two plates.

Top with beets and almonds.
Note: you can save some time by using canned lentils or beets.

POLENTA and VEGETABLE BAKE
A savory, warm pie fresh from the oven makes a comforting meal served with a small salad.

    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 medium eggplant, diced
    1 small zucchini, finely diced
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1/2 cup water
    10 ounces baby spinach
    1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce, preferably lower-sodium
    1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
    14 ounces prepared polenta, sliced lengthwise into 6 thin slices
    1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella, divided (I use Daiya vegan Mozzarella..delish!)

Preheat oven to 450 degree F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, zucchini, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add water and spinach; cover and cook until wilted, stirring once, about 3 minutes. Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil.

Place polenta slices in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, trimming to fit if necessary. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup cheese, top with the eggplant mixture and sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 cup cheese. Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

UPSIDE DOWN LENTIL SHEPHERDS PIE
It doesn't get more comforting than this yummy entree. Serves 2 may double etc.

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
1 zucchini, diced small (1 1/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several pinches freshly ground black pepper
1 cup carrots, peeled and diced small
3/4 cup du Puy lentils (aka French lentils), rinsed
3 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup frozen peas

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent, about 5 mins. Add the shiitakes, zucchini, garlic, tarragon, thyme, salt, and pepper; saute for 5 more mins.

Add the carrots, lentils, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 25 mins, stirring occasionally. By this point, the lentils should be tender and most of the broth should be absorbed. If it's not, then just let it simmer for longer and check on it. (Mine took about 15 mins longer than this.) Conversely, if the broth has evaporated and the lentils are soft, then add a bit of water and simmer for a bit longer.

Once the lentils are soft, stir in the Worcestershire sauce and peas. (I added 1 c. of peas instead of the 1/2.) Let sit for 10 mins or so for maximum flavor. Taste for salt.

To serve: Scoop a cup of Caulipots into a bowl and serve a cupful of lentils over it.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (Caulipots)
Gluten and Soy free and really delicious!

2 russet potatoes, cut into 3/4 inch pieces (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets (1 lb, or about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 to 4 tablespoons vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

Place the potatoes in a 4-quart pot in enough cold water to submerge them, making sure there are about 4 inches of extra water on top for when you add the cauliflower. Bring the potatoes to a boil. Once boiling, add the cauliflower and lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 mins, until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender.

Drain them in a colander, return them to the pot, and use a potato smasher to mash them a bit. (A regular fork works just fine.) Add the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of broth, the seasonings and mix well. If needed, add another 2 tablespoons of broth. Taste for salt. Serve warm.

SPANAKOPITA
A healthy and Earth friendly entree, a perfect meal served with salad

    ½ c olive oil
    2½ pounds fresh spinach, cleaned and trimmed
    6 green onions, minced
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 c fresh dill, chopped
    2 pounds firm tofu, squeezed dry
    1/3 c lemon juice
    2 t dried oregano
    dash of nutmeg
    ¾ c walnuts, ground
    ¼ c nutritional yeast
    1 t salt
    pepper
    1 pound filo pastry

Preheat oven to 375º. Oil the baking pan.

Heat 2 T oil, add spinach, green onion, garlic, and dill, and sauté, stirring frequently until spinach is limp and the liquid that sweats out has boiled away. Set aside.

Place tofu in bowl and use whisk (or your hands) to mash it. Add spinach, lemon juice, oregano, nutmeg, walnuts, ¼ c olive oil, yeast, salt, and pepper and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Lay out a sheet of filo in the baking dish (it will overlap the sides). Brush with oil, lay another on top, brush with oil, and repeat for a total of 8 sheets.

Spread half of the spinach mixture over the dough. Lay out another 8 sheets of filo as above. Spread the rest of the spinach on top, then lay the rest of the filo on top.

Brush the top with oil and tuck the edges of the filo sheets into the pan.

Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB CRUMBLE
Oh yum, a sweet, warm, old fashioned crumble!

3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup sugar
Large pinch of salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes or use Earth Balance vegan 'stick butter'- it's yummy and great for baking
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup husked hazelnuts, toasted , coarsely chopped
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 pound strawberries, hulled, halved (about 4 cups)
12 ounces rhubarb (preferably bright red), ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces

Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend. Add butter. Rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps. Mix in oats and nuts. DO AHEAD: Topping can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 11 x 7 x 2- inch glass baking dish. Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; whisk to blend well. Add strawberries and rhubarb to sugar in bowl; toss to coat well. Scrape fruit filling into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over filling.

Bake crumble until filling bubbles thickly and topping is crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes. Spoon warm crumble into bowls.

"New"  Paul McCartney  "we can do what we want, we can live as we chose"   Pauls first release from his new album, which he will sing on Jimmy Kimmel tonight!

"Yesterday"   Paul McCartney  

What have you all been cooking?   Please share your recipes and fave Beatle music here!

Originally posted to Meatless Advocates Meetup on Mon Sep 23, 2013 at 03:03 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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