In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian/vegan diet including: better health, animal rights, public health, food safety, frugal living, food insecurity and the staggeringly huge contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletion.(pdf)

PB&J Numbers:

Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 2.5 Pounds

Each time you have a plant-based lunch like a PB&J you'll reduce your carbon footprint by the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over an average animal-based lunch like a tuna sandwich, grilled cheese, or chicken nuggets. For dinner you save 2.8 pounds and for breakfast 2.0 pounds of emissions.

Those 2.5 pounds of emissions at lunch are about forty percent of the greenhouse gas emissions you'd save driving around for the day in a hybrid instead of a standard sedan.

If you have a PB&J instead of a red-meat lunch like a ham sandwich or a hamburger, you shrink your carbon footprint by almost 3.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

Conserve Water: 133 Gallons

You'll conserve water at lunch too! How about 133 gallons of water conserved at lunch versus the average American lunch? To put this in perspective, five PB&Js or other plant-based lunches per month would save more water than switching to a low-flow showerhead. If you're replacing hamburgers, it should take you just three lunches to conserve more water than the low-flow showerhead.

Save Land: 24 Square Feet

Don't forget the land you save from deforestation, over-grazing, and pesticide and fertilizer pollution: about 24 square feet at lunch.

Macca's Meatless Monday/Meatless Advocates is a solution oriented activist group, with solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time including: climate change, global food/water insecurity and public health. Here we don't just talk about the severity of the crisis. Armed with knowledge about how our actions can contribute we become part of the solution.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney (Macca) who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat. We not only discuss the advantages of a less meat diet we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle music!

We now know that reducing meat consumption is the most effective individual action one can take to reduce the worst effects of climate change and there is no better time to make a commitment to becoming a part of the solution to climate change than the first day of the New Year. You have a fresh start and can think about what would work for you. Small changes work best for some and others (like me) prefer to jump right in once we have made the decision. Either way it takes a little planning in choosing the meatless recipes you want to have on a given day and then making sure that you purchase the ingredients you will need when you do your shopping. If you're just starting out it's best to keep it simple. Select some simple recipes with ingredients you already like or buy a product such as prepared veggie burgers or even frozen veggie meals (such as Amy's) and proceed one meal at a time. If you're making the change in this New Year; I salute you. You will feel great and empowered to know that your actions are contributing to a solution to mitigating the worst effects of climate change.

Once eating meatless meals becomes a habit, it's easy to plan veggie meals even for special holidays. Today I will share some meatless recipes for a New Years Blast. Most of these recipes I selected are fantastic nibbles to go along side your favorite drinks. If you're drinking beer, champagne or even soda these snacks will keep you going way past midnight!

I love this take on mojitos! A refreshing, delicious way to start the New Year!

    Leaves from 8 fresh mint sprigs
    2 tablespoons organic raw cane sugar
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    1 bottle chilled champagne or sparkling wine

    Using a mortar and pestle, pulverize the mint with the sugar and lime juice.
    Combine mint mixture with the champagne or sparkling wine (add slowly) and stir well.
    Strain the champagne or sparkling wine into a large pitcher and serve immediately in champagne flutes.

This beautiful veggie pate can be made completely ahead of time and even the kids will like to spread this colorful pate on their favorite pita or baquette rounds. Makes a spectacular potluck offering. Serves about 20

For the white bean layer:

    2 15 ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    2 garlic cloves, pressed

For the roasted red pepper layer:

    1 7 ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
    4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

For the pesto layer:

    2 garlic cloves
    1 cup fresh basil leaves
    1 cup Italian parsley leaves
    1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

To complete the dish:

    1 3 ounce jar sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped

Prepare a 10×5 inch loaf pan with a light coating of cooking spray or oil.

To make the white bean layer:

Mash the cannellini beans in large bowl.

Combine the mashed beans, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and garlic together in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the white bean mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan.

To make the roasted red pepper layer:

Combine the peppers and feta in a food processor and blend until smooth. Spread the red pepper mixture evenly over white bean layer in the prepared pan.

To make the pesto layer:

Pulse the garlic in the food processor until minced. Add the basil, parsley and pine nuts and pulse until all ingredients are minced and thoroughly combined.

With the food processor running, gradually add the oil to the garlic basil mixture through the processor’s feed tube. Process until smooth.

Mix the ricotta into the pesto. Spread the pesto evenly over the red pepper layer.

To complete the red pepper pesto pâté:

Sprinkle the chopped sun dried tomatoes evenly over the pesto layer.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To unmold, invert the pâté onto a serving platter. Peel off the plastic wrap and enjoy.

As a southerner I gotta have black eyed peas on New Years; it's tradition and good luck! This Indian style recipe takes the peas to another level.

    1 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil
    ¼ tsp. cumin seeds
    1 16-oz. can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups frozen black-eyed peas, thawed
    1 tsp. ground coriander
    ½ tsp. salt
    ¼ tsp. ground turmeric
    ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
    2 tsp. lemon or lime juice
    ¼ tsp. garam masala
    ½ cup finely chopped red onion
    2 Tbs. chopped cilantro

Heat oil in skillet over medum-high heat. Add cumin, and cook 10 seconds. Stir in black-eyed peas, then add coriander, salt, turmeric, cayenne, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer 10 minutes, or until water has been absorbed. Stir in lemon juice and garam masala. Transfer to serving dish, and garnish with red onion and cilantro.

A brilliant take on deviled eggs from vegweb; better imo.

6 new potatoes, peeled and halved (choose similar size for uniform serving)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I use veganaise..so yummy!)
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
dash hot sauce
dash garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
dash turmeric , optional, for yellow color
paprika, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a cookie sheet. Coat all sides of each potato with olive oil. Place potatoes face down on prepared cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until soft (but not too mushy).
2. While the potatoes are roasting, mix the rest of the ingredients (except paprika) together. When the potatoes are done, allow to cool a bit, and then use a sharp knife to cut into the flat side of each potato and then hollow it out with a spoon. You want to be left with a little cup-shaped potato.
3. Add the scooped-out potato to your mayo/mustard mix and blend well. You can then fill the hollowed out potato shells with the mixture piping it on with a cake decorating bag, or do it like he did and just blop it in there. Dust each potato with paprika.

In Japan, black soybeans cooked in a sweet syrup (kuromame) are eaten as part of osechi ryori, the customary New Year’s meal. Black soybeans can be found at Asian markets and some specialty health food stores; if you can’t find them, substitute regular black beans. This is a fave TV watching snack at my house; goes great with beer! Thanks vegetarian times!

    1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
    10 oz. cremini mushrooms, quartered
    1 large red bell pepper, chopped (1⅔ cups)
    2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
    1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
    1 15-oz. can black soybeans, drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups cooked black soybeans
    2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
    2 Tbs. rice wine vinegar
    1 Tbs. sriracha sauce
    12 leaves butter lettuce, washed and dried (from 1 head)
    2 Tbs. finely sliced green onions

1. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and bell pepper, and sauté 8 to 10 minutes, or until mushrooms have released their juices and begin to brown.

2. Add garlic and ginger, and sauté 
30 seconds. Add soybeans, hoisin, vinegar, and sriracha, and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until soybeans are heated through and mixture is well combined.

3. Remove from heat, and scoop 1/4 cup soybean mixture into each lettuce leaf. Sprinkle each wrap with green onions, and serve immediately.

Nothing goes better with drinks than onion rings from Vegetarian Times and these are healthy too. What a way to start the new year; pass the ketchup please!

    1 cup all-purpose flour
    ¾ tsp. salt, divided
    ¾ cup tonic water
    1 cup plain breadcrumbs (I use panko)
    1 Tbs. vegetable oil
    2 medium sweet onions, cut into ½-inch-thick slices

1. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Whisk together flour and 1/2 tsp. salt in bowl. Whisk in tonic water, adding more, if necessary, to make pancake-like batter.

2. Combine breadcrumbs, oil, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt in shallow bowl.

3. Separate onions into rings. Dip each onion ring into batter, shaking off excess, then dip into breadcrumbs, coating completely. Place on prepared baking sheet, then place baking sheet in freezer 20 minutes to set batter on rings.

4. Preheat oven to 450°F. Bake onion rings 7 to 10 minutes, or until they begin to brown on bottoms. Flip, and bake 7 to 10 minutes more, or until golden. Season with salt, if desired.

This Sicilian antipasto is perfect served with your fave wine. Really I could live on this.
Serves about 6

    2½ tsp. olive oil, plus more to grease pans
    2½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary, divided
    1¼ cups walnut pieces
    ¼ tsp. kosher salt
    1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
    ½ tsp. agave nectar
    1½ cups large red seedless grapes
    1½ cups unpitted firm black and green olives, drained and patted dry

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 shallow baking dishes with oil.

2. Warm 2½ tsp. oil with 1 tsp. rosemary in skillet over medium-low heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in walnuts and salt. Spread nuts in 1 prepared baking dish.

3. Whisk together vinegar and agave nectar in bowl. Stir in grapes, olives, and remaining 1½ tsp. rosemary. Spread mixture in remaining baking dish.

4. Roast walnuts 9 to 12 minutes in oven, or until golden-brown. Remove, sprinkle with more kosher salt, if desired, and cool. Increase oven heat to 400°F. Roast olives and grapes 20 to 25 minutes, or until sauce is syrupy, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle walnut pieces over grapes and olives, and serve warm.

If you're looking for a traditional New Years entree, you can't do better than post punks kitchen Hoppin' John bowl. You'll go crazy for the tahini sauce which you'll want to use on everything! Thanks Chandra Moskowitz

For the Hoppin’ John:
1 1/2 cup dried black eyed peas, soaked in water overnight
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt

For the Red Hot Tahini:
1/2 cup tahini
1/3 cup Louisiana Hot Sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot)
1/4 cup water (plus more as needed)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic

For the Tomato Parsley Salad:
2 cups diced tomatoes
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
1 cup finely sliced green onion
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Several dashes fresh black pepper
Dash salt

1 pound steamed greens (collards are traditional but kale works great!)
6 cups cooked rice for serving (red rice is beautiful here but any will do)

Make the Hoppin’ John:
Drain the soaked beans, and place them in a 4 quart pot. Submerge in water, with water coming about 2 inches above the beans. Add bay leaves, salt and liquid smoke. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring the heat down low, and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Check often so that they don’t overcook. When beans are still firm, turn the heat off and uncover. Let them hang out until everything else is ready. They will continue to cook in the hot water, so turning the heat off ensures that they don’t overcook.

Make the Red Hot Tahini:
Simply blend everything up in a little blender until smooth.  Add water by the tablespoon to thin as needed. Taste for salt and spiciness.

Make the Tomato Parsley Salad:
Toss all ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Taste for pepper and vinegar.

Place greens and rice side by side in a large bowl. Top with black-eyed peas. Drizzle with sauce and top with the tomato salad. Serve immediately

"Revolution"  The Beatles

"New"  Paul McCartney

What have you all been cooking? Please share your recipes and fave Beatle music here!
Happy, healthy New Year to all; thanks for being my inspiration this pass year!

Originally posted to Meatless Advocates Meetup on Mon Dec 30, 2013 at 03:00 PM PST.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing and Daily Kos.

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