There are people who will tell you that every day should be meatless. We get it. We’re friends with them, and they have some compelling reasons, many of which are environmental. For instance:
1. Meat production is responsible for 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, including the potent methane and nitrous oxide.
2. It takes 1,850 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. (You need just 39 gallons of water for a pound of veggies.)
3. Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.
The truth is, some of us just aren’t ready to go whole hog just yet. That’s why we practice by eating meatless every Monday. Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way to make it simple and stress-free.
Figure out what you’re going to eat—before Monday morning. Nothing will send you to the drive-thru faster than being starving and having no idea what to make. Our friends at the Kitchn have 23 recipes to get you going.
2. Eat enough
Meat gives us a huge dose of protein and fat, which makes us feel satiated and energized. Vegetarian food can do the trick, but you need to make sure you are eating enough carbohydrates from whole grains and breads, fats like nut butters, avocados and oils and protein from legumes, soy, nuts and dairy products.
3. Try new foods
Yes, mac and cheese is meatless. But why not make Mondays an adventure? Try cooking an Indian dish. (We love this Chana Masala recipe.) Go out for Vietnamese food. Sign up for a farm box from a local community farm and force yourself to cook what they give you. You may find you like rutabaga!
CRUNCHY BEAN TACOS
This is one of our all-time favorite Meatless Monday recipes. So satisfying and on the table in 30 minutes flat.
Serves: Makes 8 tacos
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups or 16 ounces cooked black beans
- 1/2 cup minced red onion
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of salt
- 4 to 6 ounces (1 heaping cup) grated Pepper Jack cheese
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
- 8 corn tortillas
In a medium bowl, add beans along with red onion, cilantro, cumin, and paprika. Add a pinch of salt and lightly mash all the ingredients together. Grate the cheese and have it ready as well.
In a large, nonstick or cast-iron skillet, add the 2 tablespoons oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add one corn tortilla at a time and let each get hot in the oil for a few seconds. Then add about 1/4 cup of the bean filling to one half of the tortilla. Top with a sprinkle of grated cheese. Try not to overfill the tacos, or you might have issues flipping them without losing filling.
Using a spatula, carefully fold the other half of the tortilla over to form a shell. Press down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape. If some cheese spills out, don’t worry — it will get crispy and delicious.
As the first taco cooks, move it to the side and begin a second one. Depending on the size of your pan, you can cook two or three tacos at once. A griddle will hold even more.
Cook each taco until they are nicely browned and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. When flipping the taco to cook on the other side, use a spatula and flip the taco toward the fold so the filling doesn’t fall out. If your pan is very dry between batches, add another drizzle of oil.
Place the cooked tacos in a warm oven while you finish the rest. If the tacos are very greasy, blot them with a paper towel before moving them to the oven.
Top tacos with hot sauce, salsa, avocados, and sour cream and serve on Repurpose plates.