Chef Oz Blackaller has put Meatless Monday on the menu at Cueva Bar for a simple reason: members of the community were asking for it, and he loved designing dishes for it. “A woman from the San Diego Ladies Vegan Cooking Club loved [the vegetarian dishes], so she asked if I would collaborate with the group.” Cueva Bar’s first Meatless Monday event this spring was a huge success, with all bookings for the restaurant sold out within 2 days of posting about the upcoming event. “Everyone who made a reservation came – we even had to turn away a few people during the night.”
Since then Chef Oz has been hosting a special evening of Meatless Monday dishes once a month that continues to sell out and leave customers begging for more delicious meatless meals. Last month for Meatless Monday feature a number of produce-focused dishes, half from the regular menu, and half invented for the special event.
Cooking Chef Oz began cooking early on for a simple reason: he was hungry! “I got tired of cereal or bananas. ‘Mom I’m tired of having cereal and fruit till you wake up!’ She taught me how to poach eggs, cooking in water so I wouldn’t burn myself with oil.” Making eggs soon branched out into a variety of foods for breakfast – French toast, pancakes, and so on. In high school he began cooking for friends and fellow boy scouts, making simple dishes and experimenting with food preparation.
Chef Oz might be best known for his appearance on Cutthroat Kitchen. “The whole process was awesome, it was my first time on national TV,” Chef Oz told Meatless Monday, “I was mesmerized by the production.” While on the show, he shocked the other contestants and judges by betting all of his allocated $10,000 at once. “Everyone’s jaw dropped and they asked ‘Are you sure you want to bet $10,000?’ Everything after that was a series of unexpected events. I ended up cooking on a baby chair made for an adult sitting 7 feet above the ground. Very interesting!” All in all, though, the experience was more of an exciting adventure than anything else. “Yes, we’re competing, and it’s awesome to win, but we’re there to have people enjoy the show and have a good time.”
Cueva Bar is a local hotspot, and now that conscious eaters are coming in and ordering plate after plate of delicious meatless fare, Meatless Monday is sure to be a part of their menu for many Mondays to come. If you’re in the San Diego area, be sure to make a reservation and say hello to Chef Oz when you visit!
Celebrate the many flavors, spices, and cultural traditions of chili during National Chili Month. The spicy dish has a long history, and has many regional interpretations across the country. Many states and cities are very proud of their local recipes, and why not be? Local tastes and traditions are a big part of how we choose and enjoy our foods.
Seasoning a pot-cooked meal with chile peppers has been a tradition in the Americas since long before Columbus sailed. Many states say that their chili recipes were handed down from long-standing native American cooking traditions. But chile pepper dished are by no means exclusive to the US – chile peppers have global appeal, springing up in the cultural foods of China, India, Indonesia, Italy, the Caribbean, France, and the Middle East. It’s clear that people around the world really love their spicy peppers!
Carroll Shelby, the automotive designer, racing driver and entrepreneur, was a founder of the Terlingua International Chili Championship in Terlingua, Texas and had this to say about the diversity of recipes for the dish: “The beauty of chili to me is that it’s really a state of mind.” “It’s what you want when you make it. You can put anything in there you want, make it hot or mild, any blend of spices you feel like at the time. You make it up to suit your mood.”
While many traditional recipes call for meat, meatless chili is a favorite for a spicy, protein-rich meal that’s easy to make, pack, and eat anywhere. These meatless recipes come from the Meatless Monday recipe bank and Meatless Monday bloggers.
For even more meatless options, check out our Meatless Monday Chili E-Cookbook. Try as many as you like, and then try your hand at making your own recipe! Often the best part of making a beloved dish is putting your own personal spin on a time-honored culinary tradition.
As part of the Cooking Meatless with Top Chefs video series here at Meatless Monday, we are excited to bring you interviews, advice, and tips from top chefs who love creating dishes that put delicious meatless foods at the center of the plate.
Chef Bryce Shuman opened Betony in 2013 and was named Best New Chef of 2015 by Food and Wine Magazine. Meatless Monday caught up with Chef Bryce at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City to see how he shops for the produce that goes into the elegant meatless dishes he serves.
Watch the video below for Chef Bryce’s take on the vibrant, fresh produce available from local growers:
Fresh, local produce is a key part of preparing meals at Betony. While touring the market, Chef Bryce shared that one of the lessons he learned early on in his career was that “the great stuff is grown by the growers that we know and respect.” Walking from stall to stall in Union Square, he described each farm in detail, and told us about what made the produce and the people from that farm particularly special.
For Chef Bryce, health is definitely a consideration in designing courses around meatless foods. By eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, diners can “improve health by getting a variety of minerals and vitamins that they aren’t necessarily getting in meat.” In a time when high rates of poor nutrition coincide with an increase in the demand for and consumption of meat, nutrient dense plant-based foods may be the answer to a number of challenges. “In a lot of cultures they believe that food is medicine… you really have to consider that as a chef.”
You can read more about Chef Bryce and his work at Betony, and even make a reservation when you’re in town, here.
Get ready to enjoy Meatless Monday Night during football season with a menu of game day dishes that have all your favorite flavors. This year Meatless Monday is partnering with Silk’s Sideline Meat campaign to help people enjoy meatless game nights. Even the meatiest men in America are getting in on the Meatless Monday action: professional football players Justin Pugh, Rashad Jennings and Geoff Schwartz are proving that you don’t have to eat meat to get the protein and energy you need for the field. Delicious meat- and dairy-free dishes made with Silk were created by celebrity chef Candice Kumai!
Want to join Silk’s pledge to sideline meat on Meatless Monday? Click here for more information and new weekly recipes featuring Silk products. Additionally, watch the players try some of Candice’s delicious dishes that they awarded a touchdown for great taste!
Getting ready for a #MeatlessMondayNight party? Use these recipes from Silk and Meatless Monday bloggers to make delicious snacks that are sure to keep football fans happy from kickoff to touchdown.
Show us what you’re cooking up for game night this week and make a #MeatlessMondayNight pledge at Silk.com/SidelineMeat!
“It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food.”– United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2
This week the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit made eliminating world hunger by 2030 an official goal for the next 15 years. The UN has drawn up a series of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, all focused on human and environmental welfare. One of the first goals in the series: ending hunger through a series of specific, measurable goals.
“If done right, agriculture, forestry and fisheries can provide nutritious food for all and generate decent incomes, while supporting people-centred rural development and protecting the environment.
Right now, our soils, freshwater, oceans, forests and biodiversity are being rapidly degraded. Climate change is putting even more pressure on the resources we depend on, increasing risks associated with disasters such as droughts and floods. Many rural women and men can no longer make ends meet on their land, forcing them to migrate to cities in search of opportunities.
A profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if we are to nourish today’s 795 million hungry and the additional 2 billion people expected by 2050.
The food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication.” – United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2
One of the top changes experts recommend reducing red meat consumption around the world.
Red meat is one of the most ecologically costly foods eaten by humans, and it is consumed around the world at an increasing rate. The production of red meat requires 11 times the amount of water needed to produce chicken or pork, and creates greater quantities of green house gases than either of these more sustainable livestock animals. We’ve known for some time that meat over consumption was a global problem, but the spread of the western diet and climate-related issues have brought meat production costs into the spotlight.
Researchers have found that moving to a more plant-based (rather than animal-based) diet would be a healthy change for individual wellbeing, public health, and the environment.“Sustainable and healthy diets will require a move towards a mostly plant-based diet,” said Colin Khoury, a biologist at the Colombia-based International Centre for Tropical Agriculture. If the global population were to reduce the amount of meat in their diets, there would be lasting global benefits.
“Today we could easily feed everyone – it’s a distribution issue,” said Michael Obersteiner of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. The current system for producing meat uses a massive amount of land, water, and other resources to produce a relatively small amount of food. Growing grain, fruit and vegetables for direct human consumption would be a far more efficient use of the land, but people will have to start making more room for these foods at the table. “Diets will have to change,” Obersteiner said.
“I don’t think it’s all that ambitious to eliminate hunger,” said Jomo Sundaram, assistant director-general of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Achieving the SDGs means that over over the next 15 years, the international community will need to find ways to produce and distribute nutritious food for the 795 million people currently living in hunger. By focusing on the most efficient means of producing human sustenance – farming plant-based foods for direct consumption rather than for livestock farming – we could see massive change in how humanity feeds itself moving into the future. A daily diet with a little less meat could be an important piece of the puzzle.
A healthy breakfast can help you power through your busy day with focus, clarity, and energy. Whether you’re looking for more stamina, working on staying focused, or trying to lose weight, a nutritious breakfast can be the key to success. Get your your whole week off to a great start with a high-protein breakfast on Meatless Monday!
Advice specialists at Livestrong, Greatist, Entrepreneur, and Medium all recommend starting the day with a protein-packed plate. Focusing on protein in the morning gives your body fuel it will need to power through your day, and can help you feel full longer. From breakfast traditions like eggs and whole grains to Meatless Monday favorites like lentils, black beans and tofu, you won’t have to sacrifice flavor or nutrition by skipping meat on the first day of the week.
Looking for delicious high-protein breakfast ideas? These recipes from Meatless Monday bloggers are full of protein and taste wonderful. Try one for breakfast this week and you might discover your new favorite way to start the day!
This summer the NRDC and Green Sports Alliance released Champions of Game Day Food, a report on fresh sustainability initiatives at sports venues. From stadiums to racetracks, venues across the country are making major strides in going green. One of the top items to change at the old ball game? Adding delicious meatless options to the menu.
In the introduction to the report, Professor David Russell, Chairman and Founder of The Russell Partnership explains the significance of changing the food options at sports venues: “Food served at sports venues… delivers an incongruent message regarding sports, nutrition, and wellbeing.” In the past, foods served to sports fans have spanned a range of sweets, snacks and meals that rely heavily on processed meats and sugars. By changing the menu available to patrons, venues have the opportunity to make a real impact on game day traditions as well as health and the environment. “With food consumption so closely linked to the game day experience, it’s only logical to incorporate environmentally responsible food strategies into venue management.”
“Consumer interest in the sustainability, sourcing, and environmental impact of food production is increasing. More importantly perhaps is the growing recognition by the food industry that both the food production and food service businesses can contribute to environmental initiatives as part of successful growth strategies.” – Professor David Russell, Chairman and Founder of The Russell Partnership
How are sports venues using meatless options to become more sustainable? Some highlights from the report’s case studies include:
Levi’s Stadium (home of the San Francisco 49ers)
Levi’s Stadium serves a total of 40 vegetarian items (more than 20 percent of the full menu), of which more than 32 are vegan (17 percent of the full menu). As of June 2015, it has more vegan and vegetarian items than any other NFL stadium, with at least one vegan item at every concession stand. ”We hope that we are copied. We hope people try to one-up Levi’s Stadium and get the Leed Platinum,” says San Francisco 49ers’ CEO Jed York, “People are going to start to ask questions: why isn’t our stadium like this? When your fans start asking that, you better deliver what consumers want.”
AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys)
AT&T Stadium sources thousands of pounds of organic produce each year from the WE Over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College. The farm was once the college’s own football field, but the school made the decision to convert it into an organic farm where students and staff volunteer. “They can’t keep up with our full demand, so they give us everything that they can and then we source elsewhere to fulfill our needs,” says AT&T Stadium Executive Chef Orazio LaManna. “It’s a celebration from their football field to our football field.”
Sonoma Raceway’s organic garden was established in 2013. As of 2014, it produces more than 15 vegetables and herb varieties. It is the first organic garden planted at a NASCAR racetrack. The garden’s produce and herbs are featured at concessions, in private suites, and at specialty catered events. ”We are focused on developing a resilient food system at Sonoma Raceway, which is very exciting. It shows our fans what can be grown in this region and it communicates our commitment to the quality of food we serve,” says Director of Operations Victoria Campbell.
Several of the case studies offered vegetarian and/or vegan meal options at all concessions area through out their venue:
- Levi’s Stadium (home of the San Francisco 49ers )
- Firstenergy Stadium (home of the Cleveland Browns)
- AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys)
- Citizens Bank Park (home of the Philadelphia Phillies)
- Petco Park (home of the San Diego Padres)
- Safeco Field (home of the Seattle Mariners)
Sports bring people together from all walks of life and across political, cultural, religious, and socioeconomic barriers. Making our food system more sustainable will take united effort and innovative thinking – changing what we eat during our favorite cultural passtimes could be a perfect way to start. “Can the sports industry instigate that change by itself? No, it cannot. Can it make a big contribution in shifting cultural consciousness and supply chain operations towards ecologically responsible healthy food? Yes, for sure it can.” – Allen Hershkowitz, Phd, President, Green Sports Alliance.
September is Whole Grains Month, and there’s no better time to discover all the delicious, healthy reasons to eat whole grains!
This year the Whole Grains Council is celebrating in September by running an Instagram photo contest throughout the month. The contest theme is Share the Goodness of Whole Grains, it’s a perfect excuse to share your favorite whole grains with others! Make some muffins for friends with whole-grain flour, whip up a flavorful cous cous dish for a potluck meal, or share your quinoa with coworkers. Click here to learn more about the promotions they’ll be hosting all month long.
What are whole grains?
All grains start out whole, but refined grains have certain parts of each grain taken away. Seeds, also called kernels, are made up of three edible parts – bran, germ, and endosperm. Whole grains are intact kernels, containing all three parts of the seed, while refined grains include only the endosperm.
What makes whole grains so healthy?
Whole grains are packed with fiber, protein, and essential nutrients for a healthy body. The bran and germ contain about 25% of a grain’s protein, a large amount of fiber, and at least seventeen key nutrients, making the whole grain a more nutrient-dense and healthy choice.
Getting started with whole grains? Try these delicious whole grain recipes for Meatless Monday!
Grains can be more than just baked goods! These recipes showcase some of the many ways to enjoy whole grains for any course at any meal.
Chances are you’ve seen some delicious recipes that call for some interesting ingredients that might be a bit unusual. Foods like tempeh, tofu, seitan, and jackfruit, are rapidly taking the spotlight in dishes that are perfect for Meatless Monday meals. These foods add the texture and protein we often crave without using any meat at all – but what are they made of, and what’s the difference between them?
Tempeh is growing in popularity in the US, and has begun showing up on restaurant menus and grocery store shelves. Originally from Indonesia, tempeh is made of soy that has been fermented with natural cultures. The fermentation process turns the raw soy into a fairly firm cake-like consistency.
Tempeh is known for providing over 18 grams of protein per serving, and easily-digestible B12 vitamins. The food as an innate nutty flavor, but takes on the taste of spices an marinades well (just like its cousin, tofu).
Tofu is one of the most popular meat substitutes, and is an essential ingredients in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Tofu is made by coagulating fresh soy milk (made from raw or sprouted soy beans) until curds form, pressing the curds to release the remaining liquid, and cooling the resulting blocks of curd. Differences in how the tofu is pressed account for the differences in texture between silken/soft tofu and regular/firm tofu.
Tofu is known for its ability to soak up flavors of spices and marinades, and is popular in healthy recipes as a robust source of protein and minerals that is entirely cholesterol free.
Seitan (pronounced say-tan) is made of protein-rich wheat gluten, and boasts an impressively meat-like texture. Because of this texture and its ability to pick up flavors in cooking, seitan is frequently used in restaurants as meat substitutes like faux-duck. Seitan can be purchased seasoned and prepared, and is made by combining vital wheat gluten with water and any desired spices.
Seitan is known for its texture, but it is also a prominent source of protein with up to 36 grams of protein per serving (more than tofu or tempeh) and has a high concentration of carbohydrates per serving.
Jackfruit is a tree fruit indigenous to tropical regions, and has recently been making waves in western meatless cooking. The flesh of the fruit is highly versatile and is perfectly healthy to consume raw or cooked in a recipe to mimic or replace meat.
Jackfruits are high in protein and potassium, and are a rare example of fruits that are high in essential B-complex vitamins including B-6 (pyridoxine), niacin, riboflavin, and folic acid.
With kids heading back to school, parents and teachers agree that a nutritious lunch is key to helping students succeed. While more and more schools are offering Meatless Monday dishes in the cafeteria, bringing lunch from home is another tasty option!
There are many benefits to packing a creative, healthy lunch for students of all ages. Here are just a few reasons why packing a Meatless Monday lunch is an excellent choice for the student in your life!
Nutrient-dense, plant-based foods are often thought of as side dishes or snacks. Make these foods the main event and you’ll have a lunch packed with all the things growing minds and bodies need (even protein!).
Solve the picky-eater problem by creating new meals that will help them explore new foods. Have a kid that can’t get enough take-out? Pack them up a helping of tempeh fried brown rice. Have a student hooked on French fries? Whip up some sweet potato fries for a new twist.
Encourage kids to connect with the planet by eating foods that are in season where you live. Talk to students about how plants grow, and why some fruits and vegetables in their lunches are only ripe at certain times of the year.
Introduce students to cultural foods from family tradition or from other parts of the world. Part of the fun of Meatless Monday is finding delicious new-to-you recipes. Food can help kids learn about geography and social studies when they try new dishes!
Turn a favorite snack into a meal that kids from kindergarten to high school will enjoy. Bananas quickly become peanut butter and banana sandwiches, while carrot sticks are transformed into tasty carrot slaw.
Get kids excited about making meals by including them in planning and making their school lunches. Choose favorite fruits and veggies or experiment with new ones in the store, and encourage kids to help prepare meals with you in the kitchen.
Send kids back to school with the best possible supplies: healthy meals to get them through the day. Nutritious food is key to helping students succeed – food that is rich in the vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber that kids need help them focus in class, get active on the playground, and grow and develop into healthy young adults.