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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, animal rights, food safety, frugal living, public health, global food crisis and the immense contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletion.

Welcome to the city of mushroomly love: Philadelphia joins Meatless Monday campaign!

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!

It's perfect picnic weather in Florida but summer cook-out food doesn't cut it in this crisp fall weather.  A lovely, substantial room temperature salad utilizing available fall produce fits the bill.  It can be made ahead, travels well even for hiking and also makes a welcome make ahead dinner for a busy day.

AVOCADO WASIBI ROCKET SALAD
This salad has a spicy kick from the wasibi. If carrying to picnic pack greens, dressing and chickpeas separately and toss when ready to serve.

    Greens of your choice, for 4-6 people ( I used arugula, aka. rocket)
    1 Carrot, shredded
    2 TSP Olive Oil
    3/4 CUP Celery, chopped
    1 Mango, chopped (frozen can work here)
    1/3 CUP Toasted Slivered Almonds
    1 Recipe Wasabi Chickpeas, below
    1 Recipe Avocado Wasabi dressing, below
    Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Wasabi-Tamari Chickpeas

    2 TSP Olive Oil
    1 CUP Chickpeas, cooked, drained & rinsed
    1 TSP Wasabi Powder
    1 TSP Sugar
    1 TBS BRAGGS Soy Sauce (if you don't have Braggs use regular but Braggs is so good!

Avocado Wasabi Dressing

    1 Ripe Avocado, diced
    2 TSP White Wine Vinegar
    3 TBS Hummus, plain or garlic
    1 TSP Stoneground Mustard
    1/2 TSP Salt
    2 TSP Wasabi Powder
    1/3 Cup olive oil

    Whisk dressing ingredients together, except for oil, until smooth. Slowly add oil until emulsified and smooth, refrigerate.
    Toast almonds, set aside.
    Mix wasabi-tamari chickpeas and set aside.
    In large bowl, add your salad ingredients and wasabi-tamari chickpeas (leave some almonds and chickpeas for garnish). Toss with dressing to lightly coat.
    Dish salad, garnish and crack fresh black pepper over the top. Serve immediately after tossing!

CRANBERRY CHICKPEA SALAD
A wonderful seasonal salad. Just pack some pitas for an easy, healthy picnic or quick dinner.  Serves 4

    FOR THE DRESSING:
    1 garlic clove, minced
    ¼ cup olive oil
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
    ½ teaspoon sea salt
    ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
    FOR THE SALAD:
    1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    1 cup edamame beans
    ½ cup finely chopped green peppers
    ½ cup finely chopped red, orange or yellow peppers
    ½ cup shredded carrots
    ¼ cup dried cranberries

    PREPARE THE DRESSING: Combine garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and seasonings in a large bowl; whisk well.
    MAKE THE SALAD: Add all the salad ingredients into the bowl with the dressing. Toss to evenly distribute and dress the ingredients.
    Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until ready.

PEANUT SOBA NOODLES with KALE and EDAMAME SALAD
Delicious for a quick picnic in the back yard or patio.

    8 oz soba noodles
    2 cups Kale, chopped and hearty stem removed
    2 cups edamame (not in pods)
    2 garlic cloves, chopped

    Peanut Sauce
    1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 tsp sriracha
    1 tsp honey or use agave
    2 Tb soy sauce
    1 Tb rice vinegar
    1/2 in piece ginger, peeled and grated
    1 garlic clove, grated
    1 lime, zest and juice
    Few table spoons water (to thin out sauce, if needed)

    Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook soba noodles. These cook much faster than regular pasta, about 3-4 minutes at a rapid boil. When done, drain and run under cool water to stop cooking.
    If using frozen edamame, run under hot water for a few minutes to defrost. Set aside.
    In large skillet, heat olive oil and saute garlic until lightly brown. About 3-5 minutes. Add kale and allow to cook and wilt. Season with salt and pepper. About 5 minutes. You don't want it to cook down all the way, just tender.
    Using a food processor or blender, add peanut sauce ingredients and pulse until smooth. Add a few tb of water to thin out, it needed.
    Now in a large bowl, add the soba noodles, kale and toss with peanut sauce. Add edamame and toss gently, not to break the edamame.
    Serve at room temperature or chill in fridge.
   

POMEGRANATE and QUINOA SALAD
Lovely picnic salad or festive holiday side. Serves 6-8

    1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed in cold water 3 times
    6 cups water
    1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
    ½ cup scallion greens, washed and sliced into thin rounds
    ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, washed and roughly chopped
    Seeds from 1 pomegranate (about 1 cup)
    ½ cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a large pot, add the 1/2 salt to the 6 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, and cook until tender (about 8 minutes). Using a sieve, drain well. Cool to room temperature, and set aside in refrigerator.

Mix the parsley, scallion greens, pomegranate seeds, olive oil, red wine vinegar and sugar in a bowl.

Add the quinoa, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. To serve, top with the toasted almonds.

SPANISH RICE SALAD
One of my fave entree salads. Perfect to make ahead and have ready when you walk in the door. Serves 2-3

    1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
    1 small garlic clove, minced
    Salad:
    1/2 cup uncooked medium-grain rice
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    2 large globe artichokes or use one can, water packed, drained
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon black pepper
    3/4 cup canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
    1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
    1/4 cup diced piquillo peppers or roasted red bell peppers
    1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

    1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Set aside.
    2. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.
    3. Fill a medium bowl with cold water; stir in 1 tablespoon juice. Work with one artichoke at a time; cut off stem to within 1 inch of base. Peel stem. Remove bottom leaves and tough outer leaves, leaving tender heart and bottom. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise. Remove fuzzy thistle with a spoon. Slice artichoke heart into eighths; place in lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichoke. Drain.
    4. Place artichokes in a saucepan; add water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 10 minutes or until tender. Drain well.
    5. Transfer rice to a large bowl; stir in salt and black pepper. Add dressing, artichokes, chickpeas, and remaining ingredients to rice mixture; stir well. Serve warm or at room temperature.

"Save Us"  Paul McCartney from his 'New' album

"I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist and Shout"  Paul McCartney and 'The Boss'
A little long but worth every minute..enjoy!

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

Originally posted to Meatless Advocates Meetup on Mon Nov 11, 2013 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS and Daily Kos.

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