With zucchinis at the height of their season, what can you do with this popular form of summer squash that won’t require an oven or stove? Just in time arrives our latest “No Cook Summer Recipe” video, featuring Pad Thai Zoodle Salad.
Pad Thai is a traditional street food from Thailand, a vegetable stir-fry made specifically with rice noodles to distinguish it from other Asian cuisine. In our version, we’ve retained the classic Pad Thai flavors but gave it a healthier spin, exchanging rice noodles for raw zucchini. You can find zucchini easily in local groceries and even fresher and organic at farmer’s markets. If you’ve been growing your own zucchini, perhaps you’ve got a major surplus right now. This is a great way to use it up!
For our Pad Thai Zoodle Salad, we’ve used a spiralizer to create spirally noodles from the zucchini (watch our video). If you don’t have a spiralizer, a Julienne cutter works well, and you can even use a box grater. Tossed into the salad goes sliced red peppers, shredded carrots, chopped green onion, and tamari-marinated tofu chunks, sprinkled all over with crushed peanuts. So light, so easy, so delicious, and so much fun to eat those spirals with chopsticks!
Next week stay tuned for our last “No Cook Summer Recipe” video: Vegan Ceviche Lettuce Cups. It’s a fresh veggie “sandwich” delightfully inspired by the cuisine of Latin America.
Whether you’re headed for the beach or your own backyard, packing the perfect picnic foods can make the difference between a seriously fun day and a soggy one! Just in time from our “No Cook Summer Recipe” video series is Artichoke Panzanella in a Jar, a juicy layering of fresh vegetables, oil, basil, garlic, and day-old bread that marinates in your own ready-to-travel Mason jar. Watch our how-to video to see how easy it is to make!
Other tips for packable treats that’ll survive the heat: Finger foods like fresh cucumber slices, radishes, and snap peas are great for healthy snacking. Cut veggies like baby carrots and broccoli go great with our Spicy Sesame Hummus. For a main dish that travels well, check out our how-to video for Chickpea Salad Niçoise Sandwiches. And for easy desserts, indulge in juicy fruits that pack well like peaches, plums, cherries, and grapes. Use sealable containers to avoid leakage, and don’t forget utensils, napkins, paper towels, and even garbage bags.
This summer keep everything fresh and cool. Besides stuffing your cooler or picnic basket with ice packs, toss in some pre-frozen bottles of water and you’ll be able to enjoy cool liquids all day long. Just remember to throw out perishables if the ice has been melted for more than two hours.
Get ready for next week’s Pad Thai Zoodle Salad, chock full of fresh spiralized veggies dressed with a delicious, light dressing!
Last week, at the Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association in San Antonio, Texas, three hardworking teams of high school students faced off to create delicious, student-approved meatless meals in the final round of the Powered by Pulses Great School Lunch recipe contest. The contest is part of the year-long celebration of the United Nations’ International Year of Pulses.
The contest, sponsored by the American Pulse Association, the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council and Bush’s Beans, brought together talented aspiring chefs from high schools in Salem, OR, Wood River Junction, RI and St. Louis, MO to celebrate the important role that pulses (dried beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas) can play in school meals.
Each of the three teams of finalists, selected from a national pool of entrants, created two recipes featuring at least one pulse item each. They then crafted complete National School Lunch Program-compliant meals that included their recipes alongside side dishes like steamed broccoli and diced apples. The competitors were also responsible for submitting a marketing plan for their meals, designed to educate fellow students on the delicious benefits of pulses.
Meatless Monday’s registered dietitian and recipe editor Diana Rice served as a guest judge for the contest. “It was very inspiring to see such young, talented chefs working hard to offer up these delicious meatless meals. I honestly had a hard time picking my favorite! Each recipe was absolutely delicious and each team worked extremely hard,” Rice said.
The recipes included:
Sweet Potato & Bean Burgers and Cinnamon Apple Lentil Muffins
from West Salem High in Salem, Oregon
Aztec Shepherd’s Pie and Mexican Salad Bowl
from Chariho Career and Technical Center in Wood River Junction, Rhode Island
Awesome Egg Rolls and Sweet Chickpeas with Rice
from Ritenour High School in St. Louis, Missouri
Although the contest was close, the students from Ritenour High School took home the top prize for their Awesome Egg Rolls and Sweet Chickpeas with Rice. The school plans to introduce the dishes on their lunch menu this upcoming school year as Meatless Monday options.
Around the country, school districts including Los Angeles, San Diego and Detroit (and many more!) are serving up delicious meatless meals to thousands of students each Monday. If your school or district is interested in joining the movement, check out our free e-cookbook, Meatless Monday Goes to School, our free K-12 toolkit and contact us at email@example.com.
Cooking videos are exploding everywhere, and Meatless Monday is excited to join the fray and kick off our brand-new “No Cook Summer Recipe” video series. Designed to add an extra-healthy twist to your summer fun, our original series of how-to videos features recipes that are meatless, easy to make, and don’t require even looking at a stove!
This week we kick off with “Chickpea Salad Niçoise Sandwiches” –our meatless reinvention of the traditional Niçoise. Perfect for picnic hampers and even late-night snacks, our version combines spicy chickpea mash and sliced boiled eggs, nestled in a hollowed-out country bread lathered with tapenade. Next week we go really summer-lite and feature Artichoke Panzanella, a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes that we’ve made in a jar!
Then be on the lookout for our Pad Thai Zoodle Salad and Vegan Ceviche Lettuce Cups—easy, light, meatless, and delicious. So, stay cool and stay tuned to Meatless Monday this summer. We’ve got a lot of delicious to share!
What’s patriotic? It’s not a color (red, white, and blue). It’s not hot dogs and grilled burgers. It’s a feeling inside—a feeling of pride, of being proud to be part of a country and a planet that can be free and sustainable. It’s a feeling of commitment to make that sustainability a reality.
This year July Fourth falls on Meatless Monday—the perfect opportunity to refrain from eating meat once a week in support of our own well-being and the well-being of the planet.
Those of us who follow Meatless Monday do it with joy. Holidays included! But what if you’re invited to a Fourth of July barbecue that’s overloaded with meat?
Not to worry! Here are 5 ways to stay proud and and go Meatless Monday on a prime grilling day!
Meet them burger for burger. There’s absolutely no need to give into carcinogenic charred meat any time of the year. Instead, protect your health and choose from our delicious stock of TWELVE different kinds of meatless burgers—from Supreme Crispy Quinoa Burgers to Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers to Grilled Watermelon Pineapple Teriyaki Burgers. Send our recipes to your hosts ahead of time or bring along the ingredients and cook together. Just make sure you bring enough; one bite and guests will be wanting more.
Grill the fruit and veggie aisle. Nothing says Meatless Monday better than delicious fruits and vegetables. And don’t be intimidated by the word “grilling.” From avocados to artichokes, there are lots of unusual fruits and vegetables you can happily throw on the rack and nudge that steak aside! For even more ideas, check out our Recipe section.
Commandeer the sides. Even meat-packed barbecues usually feature great summer side dishes like crisp salads, grilled corn, and juicy chunks of fresh watermelon. Bring along a can of garbanzo beans or feta cheeseand sprinkle onto your salad for an extra boost of protein.
Give a toast to Meatless Monday. Pick up a glass of bubbly (kombucha works great!) and make a salute to everyone’s health. Follow-up with a shout-out about Meatless Monday and explain how it’s one of the best things you’ve ever done to lower your cholesterol and reduce your chances for chronic disease.
Brag about your lowered emissions. When your friends rave on about their new low-emission vehicles, tell them that by not eating meat for just one day a week, you are saving the carbon equivalent of driving your car every day for a month! Not to mention, you’re also helping to conserve the planet’s water supply. Check out this video for more eco-oriented talking points.
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!
Photo Credit: DSG Fotografi
If you haven’t eaten his food (he owns 30 restaurants and markets worldwide), you probably know his face. He’s been a judge on the reality TV shows “Master Chef” and “Master Junior Chef” and the host of “Restaurant Startup.” He partners with famed chef Mario Batali and has written two award-winning books on Italian wine as well as Restaurant Man, a saucy, no-holds-barred look at the restaurant industry. But most importantly, Joe Bastianich is a hero for us at Meatless Monday. Surrounded by rich Italian food all his life (his mother is famed chef Lidia Bastianich), Joe experienced a wakeup call a decade ago that inspired him to change his ideas about eating meat and create a healthy new lifestyle for himself. In our exclusive interview with Joe below, find out how he did it.
Joe, you are a real New York City boy born into an esteemed culinary family. What are some of your earliest food memories from your home and the streets of New York?
From a very young age I was enamored by the everyday NYC classics that most kids enjoyed regularly during the 70s. I didn’t have the constant access to them that my friends did, as we ate very ethnic foods at home like tripe. I used to daydream of McDonald’s hamburgers and dirty water dogs. Of course, what I was learning from my family, both at home and abroad during our summers spent in Italy, was real Italian food sensibility, regional cuisine, the art of winemaking, etc.
You were just a little bambino when your Italian mama Lidia Bastianich became famous for her many cookbooks and cooking show. What’s the best thing she instilled in you about food and serving others?
In our house, cooking and serving food was seen as an act of love. It is how you showed that you cared for one another. The importance of being a good host is definitely something I got from my mother. It never leaves you.
Get Joe’s recipe for Spaghetti Pomodoro.
As you were developing your restaurants around the world, your days and nights were jam-packed with activity. What happened to your health that inspired you to change your lifestyle?
It’s easy to overindulge when you have access to great food and wine 24/7. But eventually it catches up with you. About 10 years ago, I took my doctor’s advice and started running. I ended up falling in love with it and the intense runner’s high and energy it brings. It changed my life. My first marathon was the 2008 New York City Marathon and it was unforgettable. I run it every year. Marathons turned into triathlons, and in 2011 I was fortunate enough to compete in the Iron World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. It was the most physically intense experience of my life and very emotionally rewarding.
What changes did you make in your diet? And how do you stay on track when you’re surrounded by delicious temptations all day? Do you have an on-off philosophy?
I don’t believe in diets. Deprivation is not sustainable for most. You have to find a balance. It’s really about using common sense and being realistic about what will work for you. I modified the foods that I was already eating—smaller portions, olive oil instead of butter, more vegetables, less red meat. I love cheese and pasta, so instead of heavy butter-fat cheeses, I choose Grana Padano, which is lower in fat than many cheeses and has more protein per ounce than most meats. Fettucine Alfredo became Spaghetti Pomodoro, made with the best pasta di gragnano, San Marzano tomatoes, and extra virgin olive oil. High-quality ingredients prepared simply make the most gratifying meals.
“A love of food doesn’t mean sacrificing one’s health, you just have to be smart about the choices you are making.”
Why did you become a partner to Meatless Monday and how have you incorporated the program into your restaurants?
Meatless Monday is a good way to bring attention to the health crisis we face in this country while simultaneously helping the environment. The focus is also on moderation, which is easier for people to integrate into their behavior.
What’s your best advice for making vegetables mouth-watering?
First and foremost, it begins in your grocery cart. Look for quality products. If you buy the best produce you can afford, then you really shouldn’t have to do much to them. Take the time to check out the produce at your area markets and spend a little more for the best vegetables. A pantry staple that you can almost use on anything is extra virgin olive oil, and again, quality is key. Take the most expensive bottle you can afford, add $20, and buy that one. It is worth it. Not all olive oil is created equal. The best ones will have the harvest date on the packaging and are at their freshest when consumed 6 months after this date. A plate of raw or steamed vegetables drizzled with a great olive oil and a little kosher salt can be extremely satisfying.
Since you’re someone who can cook anything and knows food inside out, please share with us two of your most favorite dishes. First, what’s your best pre-marathon meal?
A simple Pasta Primavera (pasta with vegetables) or Pasta Scoglio (pasta with seafood).
Second, what’s the meal you’d love to eat on your last day on earth?
There are so many options, but why not go out with gusto?! Maybe White Truffles over Agnolotti dal Plin (pasta filled with a lush mixture of veal, pork, and cheese), paired with a great Barolo (considered one of Italy’s greatest red wines, made from the Nebbiolo grape).
Rip Esseltyn is a real man. Okay, he got the nickname Rip when he was two days old, not because of his lean ripped look. But it fits. An all-American swimmer in college, he became a world class triathlete, which is when he adopted a ‘plant-strong’ diet. After ten years in that grueling profession he needed a break. Friends suggested he might want to be a firefighter.
“It’s an awesome profession,” said Rip. “You help people, you save lives. It’s like a big old slumber party. You get to go through red lights and stop signs with sirens blazing. And you do good deeds. Cook good food. No two shifts are ever the same.”
He applied to the Austin fire department, one of 4000 applying for twelve positions. “It’s more competitive than getting into Harvard,” he joked. It took two years but in 1997, he made the transition from full time triathlete to full time firefighter.
Triathlete, Texas firefighter, stand-up guy – he definitely qualifies as a real man. And he grills veggies. And occasionally fruits.
“At the firehouse we had a nice grill in the backyard and we would grill every chance we got. Portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, corn on the cob, onions, every kind of squash you can imagine, white button mushrooms, romaine lettuce…oh and pineapples. I love grilling.”
Of course, when he first started at the firehouse, they were doing a lot of grilling but it wasn’t veggies. “Oh it was an abomination,” recalled Rip.
“I like to say the four major food groups of the Texas male firefighter are: Big old honking burgers with cheese and mayonnaise on white bread with a side of deep fried French fries; Beef fajitas with sour cream and cheese, full fatty beans and white rice – and if there are onions and bell peppers they’re slathered in oil and butter; Pizza with as much pepperoni, ham and hamburger meat you can throw on that guy; And the other food group is bluebell ice cream. They have bowls of bluebell for breakfast lunch and dinner.”
For years, he brought his own food, did his own thing. But then in April 2003, Rip was sitting out of the front porch of the fire station with a couple of his fellow firefighters and they made a bet on who had the lowest cholesterol. It’s fortunate they did because one of the men, whose family had a history of heart disease, found out his cholesterol was 344 mg/dl. That put a scare into the whole crew and over a period of time they started to change what they ate. Rip challenged his friend with the dangerously high cholesterol to go all in with a plant-based diet for 28 days and see what happened. The cholesterol number plummeted to 197 mg/dl.
“Vegetables, fruits, and tofu and other meat substitutes are delicious when cooked over coals or a wood fire. Toss them lightly with a marinade first. Spray the bars of the grill with a fat-free cooking spray or employ one of those neat-o perforated skillets or cooking baskets.”
In his latest book, My Beef with Meat, he includes a recipe for BBQ Seitan Grilling Kabobs and a Grilled Romaine salad. He also warns that when you’re grilling any kind of meat – chicken, beef, pork, or fish – “what you are really doing is growing carcinogens on it. There are two that appear only in grilled meat: heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS.)”
He told us that the great thing about veggies is they don’t have the inherent building blocks to create any of these carcinogens. “Grill veggies and you get all char and no carcinogens.”
For the last five years Rip’s been working with Whole Foods to spread the word about eating plant-based food. He has a line of Engine 2 health food products, exclusive to Whole Foods, that includes everything from cereals and almond milk to pizza crust and veggie burgers.
Finally, he talked with us about how fat and cholesterol in animal products can clog arteries to the heart, head, and…other extremities important to real men. In contrast, when you’re eating whole plant-based food it keeps your blood vessels useful and elastic. “So I’d say real men eat plants,” said Rip, “and drop the blue pill in exchange for a bunch of green leafy vegetables.”
Meatless Monday is in the news again, this time in relation to whether the US military should offer Meatless Monday options in their cafeterias. Critics of the plan state that eating meat every day is needed to meet the US Dietary Guidelines and get an adequate amount of protein in the diet.
Meatless Monday’s scientific advisers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) say that cutting down on meat is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines and doesn’t have to mean a shortage of protein in the diet. In a recent blog, CLF explains:
The recommendation on “protein foods” has actually not changed since the last Guidelines, issued in 2010: 5.5 ounces of protein food per person per day. But this year’s Guidelines break it down more: we have a recommendation to eat 26 ounces of meat, poultry, and eggs (combined) per week, which is 3.71 ounces per day. By contrast, Americans eat between 4.4 and 5.9 ounces of meat each day. That’s 20 to 60 percent above the recommended level.
The post continues:
The Guidelines do acknowledge specifically that men and teenage boys are consuming more protein than they need, and they suggest that we all shift to alternate forms of protein, such as seafood, beans, seeds, and nuts. It’s an indirect way of advising that we cut back on meat.
Meatless Monday is a simple, memorable way to cut back on the overall amount of meat you consume and meet the Dietary Guidelines. Read CLF’s full analysis of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans here and learn more about getting the protein you need from plant sources with these helpful articles:
Check out what Dr. Robert Lawrence, scientific adviser to the Meatless Monday initiative has to say about the benefit of joining the movement:
As of 2016, Meatless Monday campaigns are active in over 40 countries around the world. While many of these campaigns are grassroots efforts led by individuals or small groups of motivated individuals, several initiatives are actually official declarations or policies implemented by world governments: Israel’s Knesset, the Taiwan Ministries of Education, Health and Food & Agriculture, the cities of Ghent, Belgium and Barcelona, Spain – all have decided it is in the best interests of their constituents’ health and the health of their environments to go meatless at least one day a week.
Despite common misconceptions about physically active people needing meat for protein, even the Norwegian military and Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense have developed policies that require the provision of meatless meals to their staffs and soldiers on Mondays. The government of China also released new dietary guidelines around reducing meat consumption that are expected to foster the growth of the Meatless Monday movement in mainland China.
All around the globe, governments are beginning to recognize the importance of cutting back on meat, and suggesting Meatless Monday as a reasonable step towards that end is netting positive results!