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We’re in the foodie era. An era where food has transformed into an art and recipes are supplied religiously. We are also a far more informed nation, with health consciousness on a rise.

Join the Meatless Monday revolution! This habit may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Meatless Monday also helps reduce our carbon footprint and saves precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water.

Try the following Meatless Monday recipes:

1. Crunchy Black Bean Tacos

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups 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
1 heaped cup of cheese
2 tablespoons canola oil
8 corn tortillas

For the Topping:

Avocado
Tabasco
Salsa
Sour cream

METHOD:

Add beans along with red onion, cilantro, cumin, and paprika in a bowl.

Add a pinch of salt and mash all the ingredients together.

In a large, nonstick skillet, add 2 tablespoons of 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. Do not overload the tacos.

Carefully fold the other half of the tortilla over to form a shell. Press down lightly on the tortilla so it holds its shape.

Cook each taco until they are nicely brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per side.

Place the cooked tacos in a warm oven while you finish the rest.

Serve tacos with toppings like Tobasco, salsa, avocados, and sour cream.

#1 Meatless Monday hack- Start with the one thing you consume the most and substitute it with the vegan version.

2. Spanakorizo

Spanakorizo is a Greek vegetarian dish of spinach and rice. The dish is packed with spinach, a ‘super food’. Spinach contains iron, calcium, vitamins C, A, K, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, lutein and zeaxanthin, that helps promote bone, eye and skin health.

INGREDIENTS

1kg spinach, rinsed and stemmed
200g rice white rice
1/2 cup olive oil
4 spring onions, chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 leek, sliced
1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped
(optional) 150g tinned chopped tomatoes
(optional) 1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper

METHOD:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Add the onions, spring onions and leek and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.

Add the spinach and cook stirring for a few minutes, until wilted.

Stir in the tomatoes, the tomato paste, a glass of hot water, the rice and season.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the rice is tender.

During cooking, stir the spanakorizo once in a while and check if the pan appears to be getting dry, and add some more hot water, if needed.

Finish the spanakorizo with fresh chopped dill and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve with a squeeze of a lemon and top with crumbled feta.

#2 Meatless Monday hack- Don’t view a vegan lifestyle as the finish line, but as an evolving process of conscious eating.

3. Vegan Pizza

INGREDIENTS

1 tsp active yeast
½ cup warm water
1 tbsp flour
1¼ cup flour (unbleached white or a combination of white and wholewheat)
⅓ tsp salt
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano or other herbs
¼ tsp garlic powder (optional)

For the pizza toppings:

Pizza sauce
Sliced bell pepper
Sliced red onion
thinly sliced white mushrooms
sliced zucchini or other sliced veggies of choice
sliced olives
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
fresh basil
vegan Parmesan
pepper flakes

METHOD:

In a bowl, mix warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp flour. Let it sit for a few minutes to activate.

Add 1 cup flour, salt, herbs and garlic and olive oil and mix in.

Add another 3 tbsp flour and mix in. Mix and knead for a few seconds into a soft, sticky dough (Add another tbsp flour if needed).

Gather the dough into a ball and let it sit for 15 minutes in a warm place.

Add a ½ tsp oil over the dough and spread with your hands. Gather the dough into a ball and place on parchment lined sheet.

Use a bit of flour to spread the dough into a 13 to 14 inch size oval. Spread it depending on on how thick or thin you want the crust to be. Keep the edges thicker than the centre.

Let it sit for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Spread the pizza sauce on the crust.

Distribute the sliced veggies, mushrooms and olives evenly.

Mix chopped garlic with a tsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt and oregano.

Sprinkle over the pizza.

Sprinkle salt over the veggies.

Sprinkle vegan cheese on the veggies.

Bake the pizza for 17 to 18 minutes or until golden on the edges.

Sprinkle vegan Parmesan of choice, chopped fresh basil, and pepper flakes.

#3 Meatless Monday hack- There are vegan protein powders you can add to water and shakes. These staples along with protein-rich veggies like asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli meet your daily requirements.