Happy Meatless Monday everyone!
Welcome to my first Meatless Monday post and the latest addition to my blog. What’s Meatless Monday you ask? Why, I’ll tell you.
Meatless Monday is part of the Monday Campaigns, including Healthy Monday, Move It Monday, and Kids Cook Monday, created by visionaries in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Their goal is to reduce our meat consumption by 15% to both improve our health and our environment.
According to the Monday Campaigns, going meatless will:
- LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer.
- REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
- FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass indices. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain.
- LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality.
- IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat.
- REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
- MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
- HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand.
I wanted to participate in this movement for a long time now but I never fully committed. I’d usually forget and find myself eating a chicken salad for lunch or something. Part of my goals in establishing and promoting a healthy diet is also doing what I can to be more environmentally-conscious with regard to my food choices. A healthy lifestyle is more than what we eat and how much we exercise. It’s also about being mindful of the processes we have in place to sustain our way of life, and how they have the potential of harming us in the long run.
So I stopped procrastinating and making excuses (a major personal theme for 2013) and finally jumped on this mighty bandwagon!! I’m really excited to share this new adventure with all of you each week with brand new recipes and ideas featured each Monday.
Without further ado, my first Meatless Monday recipe. 🙂
Who doesn’t love a mini-pizza? A crazy person that’s who. As an alternative to a classic pizza crust, I chose to go with the very meaty, but veggie-friendly, portobello mushroom cap. I’ve used these bad boys as faux hamburger buns for my Moroccan burgers, and I thought they’re perfectly sized and sturdy enough for a pizza.
You can pretty much fill it with whatever you want. I chose to go with a classic tomato-based pizza, slices of fresh buffalo mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes topped with fresh basil. I absolutely love the taste of sun-dried tomatoes and I think it brings a nice burst of flavor to each bite. If you’re going fully vegan, you can skip the cheese and keep this fully red. The best thing about this recipe is that each portobello cap is individually sized, so if you’re making this with your kids or for a group of people, each person can customize their own pizza with their favored toppings.
Serving 1 person
- 1 large portobello mushroom cap, approx. 4 inches across
- ½ cup of crushed and peeled plum tomatoes
- 1 chunk of buffalo mozzarella (removed from water), sliced
- 1 garlic clove (or 2 small cloves)
- 1 shallot
- 1 ½ tbsp sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil) chopped
- 2 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ tsp ground oregano
- ½ tsp Herbes de Provence
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- couple cracks of ground black pepper
- small handful of fresh basil leaves
- Cooking brush
- Jelly-roll pan
1. Preheat broiler.
2. Finely mince the shallot and garlic and add to the oil/herb mixture. Mix well.
3. Clean the mushrooms by wiping the top with a napkin. Cut the stem off and remove the gills by gently scraping with a spoon.
4. Brush the oil/herb, garlic, and shallot mixture all over the top and bottom of the mushroom. Place the cap on a aluminum foil-lined jelly roll pan and put under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Remove from broiler when done.
5. Preheat oven to 375° F.
6. Fill cap with crushed tomatoes, then top with sun-dried tomato and mozzarella. Sprinkle a bit of salt, pepper, and crushed oregano over the top. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.
7. Place pizza back on the pan and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Remove.
8. Tear up several fresh basil leaves and drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over the top. Serve.
There you have it! Yummy, healthy, and completely meat-free. Easy peasy. 🙂
How many of you are willing to go meatless one day a week? If you’re curious, but not quite sure how to get started, then join me here each Monday as I bring you something new to try on your own. I’d love to hear from you, so drop me a line!