Planning your summertime menu? Enjoying a meatless meal is easy when you’ve got delicious, ripe vegetables to work with.
FreshDirect and Meatless Monday have teamed up to bring you tips on the tastiest vegetables of summer and different ways to prepare them. Click through the slideshow below to see the tips we’ve put together and start enjoying these veggies while they are at the peak of freshness.
Looking for more veggie ideas, or have your own tips to share? Join us on Twitter at 9:00pm ET, July 27 for a #MeatlessMondayChat with @FreshDirect and @MeatlessMonday. You’ll have the chance to win meatless meal prize kits and get even more delicious suggestions for the season!
Tips on Tasty Summer Veggies
Stay cool this Meatless Monday with Gazpacho
Summer is in full effect and that means cool foods are on the menu. This includes gazpacho, a soup that is typically made with raw produce and served cold. A dish with ancient roots, gazpacho was originally prepared using a mortar and pestle. These days a blender or food processor will do the trick, but the essence of the dish remains the same. It’s a nourishing meal on a hot summer day, and will keep you cool while still delivering a hefty dose of fruits and veggies.
While the most popular version of the dish features tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, almost any type of produce can be incorporated with a little creativity. Remember this tip from Food52: “If the vegetables pair well in a salad, they’ll probably pair well here.” And “When in doubt, color coordinate!”
Ready to find the gazpacho that will makes your taste buds sing? Take a look through these tasty and inventive recipes from Meatless Monday Bloggers and friends. From a light and bright watermelon base to a creamy garbanzo bean version, there’s something for everyone!
On Monday July 13, Meatless Monday, Natural Gourmet Institute, and Gotham Greens teamed up to present a delicious competition – the Meatless Monday Summer Skewers: Recipe Conversion Contest. The challenge? Take a traditional meaty skewer recipe, re-invent it in a meat-free way, and use a bit of fresh basil. Skewers would be judged on flavor, creativity, and presentation.
Where others saw a jungle of buildings, Gotham Greens saw sunny rooftops and a place to grow fresh produce in the heart of the city. Basil – they call it their “green gold” – is one of their most popular (and delicious) crops. Basil is in season now, and its bright, fresh flavor that makes it a favorite herb for inventive summer cooking.
Natural Gourmet Institute chose skewers as a meal that fit the tastes and festivities of summer. Skewers showcase the delicious produce of the season, and are an ideal meatless item for the grill at cookouts, camp outs, and barbecues. Cultures around the world are known for skewer delicacies, giving chefs a huge range of styles to choose from for their dishes.
The night of the competition the chefs sliced, marinated, baked, and roasted their unique recipes before the eyes of four judges and a room full of guests. The competing chefs described the flavors and textures of their recipes while they worked. Competitors surprised everyone in the audience by helping one another finish their dishes in time and improvise last minute additions.
Chef Alisa Kogan prepared a tandoori tofu and vegetable skewer drizzled in spicy mango-basil chutney, served with a cucumber carrot yogurt sauce and a salad of pickled red onion and plums. Chef Iris Fitzgerald served a skewer with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes stuffed with roasted garlic with a basil gremolata on the side. Chef Naliaka Wakhisi prepared a red lentil kofta kebab with coconut quinoa and a basil tahini sauce, served with an improvised fresh herb salad.
Judges included Beth Lipton, Food Director of Health Magazine, Tim Ferrell, Chef du Cuisine at Pickle Shack in Brooklyn, Arielle Haspel of Be Well with Arielle, and our very own Peggy Neu, President of Meatless Monday. Each brought their knowledge of food, health, and flavor to the table as they evaluated each dish.
And the Winner is…
Choosing a winner was a difficult task; the flavor combinations, presentation, and creativity of each entry deeply impressed the judges. In the end, Chef Alisa Kogan’s tandoori skewers won her the grand prize: a tour of Gotham Greens’ rooftop greenhouse and a gift certificate for The Pickle Shack.
Check out the winning recipe here on NGI’s site to recreate designer skewers yourself for Meatless Monday!
Craving crunch between meals on Meatless Monday? Snack foods are a perfect way to sneak healthier foods into your day. These five crispy, crunchy snacks also make delicious side dishes and potluck options. Everyone loves a crunchy snack!
Want a new chip for your favorite dip? Crunchy root vegetable chips and crispy leafy green chips are easy to make at home. Thin cut root vegetables can be fried or baked, and are perfect for meatless protein-rich dips like hummus. Kale chips and chips from other coarse greens have taken the snacking world by storm, and can be oven-roasted with the spices of your choice.
Need more veggies in your day? Grate firm veggies like raw carrots, turnips, radishes, or broccoli stalks, and toss with salad dressing for a fresh veggie slaw. Left over grated veggies? Add them to a sandwich, wrap, or salad, for added crunch and fiber.
Sweet on hard candies? Try frozen berries as a sweet replacement. Rinse fresh berries, pat dry, and spread a dish in the freezer. Let the berries freeze, then pour them into a freezer-safe container. Frozen berries also make a festive replacement for ice cubes; they’ll keep your drink chilled without watering it down!
Love the crunch of nuts? Add it to almost anything by crushing them. You can smash nuts quickly and cleanly: pour a handful in a sandwich bag and pound lightly with the bottom of a bowl or pan. Enjoy crushed nuts on their own or add them to any foods that could use a little extra texture.
Looking for more protein on Meatless Monday? Crispy roasted chickpeas are quick, easy, and packed with healthy plant-based protein. Simply rinse canned chickpeas, pat dry with paper towels, toss with oil and bake until crispy and golden brown. Sprinkle your roasted chickpeas with spices to taste, and enjoy!
This summer when you hunt for snacks, try the produce aisle first! Fruits and vegetables make it easy to add texture to your routine and crunch to your snacks.
Miki Haimovich, one of the most famous anchorwomen in Israeli history, told TEDx IDC why she wanted to build an initiative for the greater good.“I felt the need to devote my time to something important,” she explained in her talk this summer. After seeing fellow vegetarian Paul McCartney launch Meat Free Monday in the UK, Haimovich decided to bring Meatless Monday to Israel.
Working with program founder Sid Lerner and her own network of contacts, the former news anchor began spreading the word about skipping meat once a week. Since launching in November 2012, her program has been extremely popular, gaining support from parliament (the first parliament to adopt Meatless Monday in the world), popular chefs, and public figures.
“It’s a great feeling not just to report the news, but to make news,” Haimovich says, “Especially… good news.”
Recently CNN reported on a high-risk trend: around the world, communities are adopting the so-called “Western” diet. Ian Myles of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases describes the hallmarks of the Western diet as “…overconsumption of over-refined sugars, highly refined and saturated fats, animal protein and a reduced intake of plant-based fibers.”
Globally, more and more people are living and working in cities and adopting a Western lifestyle – a trend that’s starting to negatively affect diet and exercise habits. City life can lead to a larger income, but it leaves little time for exercise and supports convenient, rather than nutritious, food choices. “People around the world, as incomes go up, choose more calories and meat in their diet,” says David Tilman, professor of Ecology at the University of Minnesota.
Unfortunately, as the Western diet spreads, so do the risks and diseases associated with it. Eating larger quantities of meats, processed foods, and refined sugars can lead to increased obesity and diabetes rates, higher cancer risks, and problems with the natural gut bacteria that aid in digestion. The diet packs a problematic one-two punch, simultaneously increasing health risks while decreasing fiber and nutritional value.
The good news? According to Tilman, maintaining health while communities develop more Western appetites will be based on the “… voluntary choices people make.” Making conscious changes in diet can have an immediate impact on health; removing foods that strain the digestive system will start reducing inflammation right away, lowering the risk for many related concerns. Making healthier eating (less meat, fewer sugary/processed foods, more plants) a habit has even more long term health benefits.
While the dietary habits of the West are becoming an international trend, making conscious choices about what and how much we consume is small, sustainable step we can make to keep ourselves and the planet healthy.
Trying a new food is exciting; especially if it’s a vegetable you’ve never seen before. But what is it called? How can you prepare it? And really… what is it? Farmer’s market odd-balls are a delicious way to make your Meatless Monday extra special or punch up a meal any day of the week.
This farmer’s market favorite is a leafy green with a thick, bulbous stem about the size of a baseball. Try the greens in your favorite kale or collards recipes, and enjoy the stem raw or cooked, just like a turnip (simply peel off the woody skin first).
These white root veggies have a spicier kick than many other radishes, and can be over a foot in length! Like more typical radishes, they can be eaten raw on salads, sautéed in stir-fry blends, or roasted.
These curly, woody greens sprout from the everyday garlic bulbs you know from the grocery store. You can use scapes to replace garlic (one whole scape is roughly one clove’s worth of flavor) or you can poach, stir fry, steam, or even grill them.
Ramps (Wild Leeks)
Ramps pack a flavorful punch and taste like a blend of garlic, chives and scallions. The whitish bulbs are perfect for pickling, while the green stalks can be prepared in any way that you’d cook scallions or traditional leeks.
These roots can grow up to the size of a softball, and the bulbs have a mildly sweet flavor. Try them raw on a salad or roast them for a more intense sweetness. Pick up a bunch with healthy greens and you can steam or braise those for a tasty side dish!
These potatoes cook up like red new potatoes, making them ideal for colorful potato salads or a strikingly violet mash. To make their color even stronger, try adding a little lemon juice as you cook them.
More like cauliflower than broccoli, this cone-shaped veggie has a milder, sweeter flavor than standard white cauliflower. Try roasting to enhance its flavor or using it as a cauliflower replacement in your favorite recipes.
These violet cousins of the orange carrot have the same flavor and can be enjoyed in the same ways: raw, steamed, roasted, and more. Their bright purple color tends to bleed when cooked, so be ready for your dishes to have a purplish-pink hue!
This tuber is long (many are over a foot long when harvested) with a brown skin. Also known as cassava or yuca, manioc is ideal for mashes or fritters. A ground meal made from dried manioc can be used as a thickener in sauces and puddings.
Hungry for more? Check out these meatless recipes perfect for summer meals and snacking.
On June 23, GRACE Communications Foundation released the new Eat Well Guide, the largest online directory of sustainable food vendors in the country. The free resource features over 25,000 hand-picked restaurants, farms, farmers’ markets, food co-ops and other purveyors of local, sustainably produced food, spanning the entire United States.
The guide allows people to search by location or category so they can find food they know was produced in a safe, humane and sustainable manner.
How many people will it benefit? A 2014 poll by Cone Communications revealed that 83% of Americans consider sustainability when buying food and 81% would like to see more options that protect the environment. This demand is evident in the enormous increase in farmers’ markets over the last 20 years, which are up 370% from 1994 and 123% from 2004.
“People want locally grown, sustainably produced food, so we’re making it easier for them to find it,” said Dawn Brighid, project director of the Eat Well Guide. “Most American shoppers take into account where their food came from when they’re grocery shopping. They want to support food producers who are doing their best by their customers, their workers and the planet.”
In addition to fulfilling a vital need for consumers, the Eat Well Guide helps sustainable food producers and retailers reach individuals beyond their usual customer-base, providing a much-needed marketing boost to small farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants and food co-ops that are often outmuscled by large food corporations’ huge advertising budgets.
“We know that sustainable food vendors offer products that consumers want, but it’s difficult to compete with the enormous advertising budgets of industrial food producers,” said Chris Hunt, food program director at GRACE. “The Eat Well Guide helps to level the playing field by making it easy for consumers all around the country to find these sustainable food vendors for free.”
To be included in the Eat Well Guide, farms must use sustainable practices to produce food while protecting the environment, human health, workers, surrounding communities and animal welfare. Restaurants, markets, food co-ops and other businesses must demonstrate a sincere commitment to sourcing local, sustainably produced food. The guide also lists education and advocacy organizations that work to improve our food system, so you can find who’s active in your area.
The Eat Well Guide can help even seasoned sustainable food enthusiasts find new options close to home, or lead the way to new local food scenes while traveling. Users might even stumble upon one of the largest rooftop farms, a late night farmers’ market or a sustainable food truck. You can also suggest a listing to help the Guide continue to grow and evolve.
For consumers, the Eat Well Guide eliminates the guessing game and helps them find sustainable food options no matter where they are. So if you’ve always wished you could pull up a map of nearby sustainable food spots – well, wish granted!
This Independence day don’t just wear red, white and blue – nosh on patriotic dishes, too! To inspire you we’ve rounded-up 10 tasty, meatless recipes from Meatless Monday bloggers and friends.
Still hungry? Add one of these 15 Mouthwatering Meatless Monday Burgers to the line-up!
This week Meatless Monday released a beautifully designed, free collection of 30 meatless lunch recipes called Meatless Monday Goes to School. The e-cookbook addresses the need of K-12 schools for delicious vegetarian recipes that fulfill the meat/meat alternate component of the National School Lunch Program’s (NSLP) meal pattern.
Providing healthy, delicious meals for students is more important than ever in light of rising childhood obesity rates. All over the U.S., school foodservice providers are doing their part by working to ensure that the meals they serve not only comply with the nutrition standards set by the USDA’s National School Lunch Program, but are also appealing to the kids they serve. After all, “it’s not nutrition if the students don’t eat it,” as many school food advocates have said.
Staff dietitian at Meatless Monday, Diana Rice, R.D., curated the recipes from current Meatless Monday participants as well as brands and organizations that promote healthy school dining.
“When children learn to enjoy occasional vegetarian meals,” says Rice in the book’s introduction, “they’re practicing a habit that will contribute to a lifetime of good health. What’s more, since meatless foods require fewer environmental resources to produce, participating in Meatless Monday is a way for children to know they’re doing their part to protect the environment.”
Rice also makes the point that diets low in meat and high in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains are associated with reduced obesity rates, and also with reduced rates of diseases including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Nutrition experts agree it is important to offer plant-based options that fit in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), as school lunches provide growing children with the nutrients they need for optimal physical and academic development.
“Yet there is a shortage of child-friendly meatless bulk recipes that fit the NSLP requirements,” says Rice. “The lack of resources prompted our organization to approach Meatless Monday partners for recipe contributions.”
Karla Dumas, a registered dietitian on staff with The Humane Society, collaborated on the book and agrees with the strong need for such a resource. “Working for a decade in the field of child nutrition, I have been encouraged to see schools increasingly use Meatless Monday and similar initiatives to support a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Schools are hungry for recipes and resources to help with these programs that are building a healthier future for our kids,” Dumas remarked.
Contributing recipe partners include the Humane Society, Barilla, Beyond Meat, JTM Food Group, SunButter, The Mushroom Council, The American Egg Board, the National School Foodservice Management Institute, The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, The Lunchbox, and participating school districts across the country.
Baltimore City Public Schools were the first district to participate in Meatless Monday, back in 2009. Today, over 50 school districts and dozens of individual schools “go Meatless Monday.”
The e-cookbook is available as a free download from http://bit.ly/mmk12cookbook. There are also free resources like posters and a K-12 School Toolkit available at MeatlessMonday.com.