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In this series we have been discussing the many advantages of a vegetarian diet including; animal rights, global food crisis, frugal living, and today we will focus on both the health and environmental benefits of a veggie diet.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian food activist Paul McCartney(Macca) who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat. Air America now broadcasts a Meatless Monday segment at 9pm est each monday. Tonight they will be interviewing Kathy Freston a health and wellness writer who has writen some excellent articles for Huffington Post; Conscious Eating, Okay, But  where (on Earth) do you get your protein? and Vegetarian Is the New Prius.

Of course, we don't just talk about the advantages of a vegetarian diet we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to some great Beatle/McCartney music!

Tonight to celebrate Cinco de Mayo I will share some Mexican style recipes.  I think mexican cooking with its' emphasis on beans and rice is a natural for vegetarians.  There are thousands of delicious vegetarian mexican style recipes I could share with you. Here are just a few that are fast, easy, economical and delicious!

MEXICAN STYLE CHICKPEA SALAD (serves 4-6)

This could be a light lunch or dinner served over dressed lettuce and accompanied by some quesadillas.

2-3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo* (available on the ethnic aisle in cans in most supermarkets,if you haven't tried these babies you are in for a treat-medium heat and very flavorful)
2 fresh jalapeño chiles
1 medium onion
2 garlic cloves
3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
4 cups drained canned chick-peas (two 19-ounce cans)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice plus additional to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (or more to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse chipotles.  separately seed and mince chipotles and jalapenos.(I don't seed mine as I like very hot food) Mince onion and garlic. Chop tomatoes. Rinse and drain chick-peas and in a large bowl stir together all ingredients except additional lime juice. Chill salad, covered, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Season salad with salt and add additional lime juice. Serve salad at cool room temperature.

FRIED EGGS WITH CHIPOTLE-COFFEE MOLE  (serves 4)

If you have some free-range eggs this is a fantastic way to serve them.

1 cup drained stewed tomatoes (from a 14-oz can)
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo (or to taste)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (may use olive oil)
1 teaspoon finely chopped bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened)(or to taste)
8 large eggs

Accompaniment: sliced avocado

Purée tomatoes, coffee, onion, garlic, chipotle, and 1 tablespoon oil in a blender until smooth. Simmer purée in a 10-inch heavy skillet, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in chocolate and season with salt. Remove from heat.

While sauce simmers, fry eggs in 2 batches in remaining tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until cooked as desired. Serve eggs topped with sauce. Good over white rice.

BLACK BEANS AND RICE SALAD

This is a go-to meal for me very fast, easy and delish!

1 cup raw white or brown rice  
1 can black beans.. drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lime (or half if very large lime)
about 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
handful of fresh cilantro..chopped
salt & pepper to taste

cook rice according to package instructions should have about 2 cups cooked rice. While rice is still warm add juice of 1 lime and rest of ingredients. Serve at room temp or cold (2-3 servings)

ps..this is great as a filler for wraps with tomato, avocado and salsa or mojo.

To get us in the mood for Cinco de Mayo here are The Beatles with
"Fixing A Hole(Mole)"

To celebrate the end of tax season here are The Beatles with George Harrisons' song: Taxman

What are you all having for dinner?  Will you be having a Cinco de Mayo feast tomorrow?  Share your veggie recipes and fave Beatle/McCartney music here!

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Mon May 04, 2009 at 03:01 PM PDT.

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