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

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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 so some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle music!
   Greek Flag Olives Feta Pictures, Images and Photos
With the local weather in the 90's I tend to think of Mediterranean style cooking with plenty of fresh vegetables and light herb seasonings.  Greek cuisine fits the bill perfectly with it's emphasis on fresh flavors enhanced by the freshness of lemon, mint and fresh oregano.  So today I'm sharing some Greek influenced recipes perfect for a light summer meal.
     Greek salad
For a light supper I'll serve this with some whole wheat pita bread & hummus. Perfect no cook meal for a hot night. Serves 6-8

    1/2 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon dried oregano

    1 large head romaine or iceberg lettuce, torn into 1-inch pieces
    2 medium cucumbers, peeled, halved, seeded, thinly sliced
    4 large tomatoes (1 1/4 pounds), cut into thin wedges
    1 large red onion, sliced paper-thin
    12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (or use vegan feta)
    3/4 cup large round black Greek olives or other brine-cured black olives
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Note:  May add chopped green, red or yellow peppers and may omit lettuce if you like

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic powder, and oregano in small bowl to blend. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, cheese, and olives in very large bowl. Drizzle with lemon juice and toss to combine. Add vinaigrette to salad and toss to coat
Greek lemon rice soup.  This is the only hot soup I'll cook in summer.  The lemon juice & zest give it a refreshing taste.  Serve hot or cold.   A fantastic vegan soup!  Serves 4

6 c vegetable broth
1 c Arborio rice
1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 lb silken tofu
the zest of 1 lemon
fresh cracked black pepper

In a large stockpot, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add Arborio rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until rice is cooked. Blend the lemon juice and tofu until well combined. Add to the stockpot, stir and continue to simmer five minutes. To serve, ladle into soup bowls and top with lemon zest and black pepper.
         Vegan Greek Lentil Salad
A one dish entree salad great served over a bed of leafy salad greens.  Good warm or cold and perfect for a picnic.!.  Serves 3-4


    1 cup green or brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
    1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 cup diced cucumber
    1 cup chopped green onions
    1/3 cup chopped fresh mint or Italian parsley


    1 small clove garlic, peeled
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 cup olive oil (I cut this in half and it was still great)
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

    Place lentils in saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, 25 to 30 minutes, or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain.
    To make Dressing: Place garlic clove on cutting board. Sprinkle with salt. Mash into paste with side of chef’s knife. Transfer to bowl. Whisk in oil, lemon juice, and pepper.
    To make Salad: Toss lentils in Dressing. Cool to room temperature. Stir in cherry tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, and mint.
                   Soy Feta Pictures, Images and Photos
For me, it's hard to think about Greek food without feta cheese so let's talk about it.  Cheese production causes very high carbon emissions, third after lamb and beef.  I do love feta cheese could even be called a feta fanatic but there is no way I will eat feta knowing about the carbon emissions especially as there is a great substitute in the faux feta product I show above.  So that is what I use in these recipes.  You don't have to give up great food to be eco-friendly.
               Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas, Kalamata Olives & Mint Recipe
Refreshing, super healthy and delicious lunch or dinner entree salad. Serves 2-3

    1 cup quinoa
    2 cups water
    1 can (14 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
    1 1/2 cups quartered cherry tomatoes
    1/2 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
    2 tbsp white wine vinegar
    1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    3/4 tsp honey
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
    1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    4 large mint leaves, thinly sliced

    In a fine-mesh strainer, rinse quinoa well and drain. Or use pre-rinsed quinoa & cook to package instructions.
    In a medium pot, combine quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn heat to low. Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa and transfer to a cookie sheet, spreading the quinoa in a thin layer, to cool.
    In a large bowl, mix together cooled quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes and kalamata olives. Stir well.
    For the dressing, whisk together white wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. While whisking constantly, slow pour in olive oil until combined.
    Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad, toss to coat and stir in fresh mint. Serve.
            Vegetarian Keftedes
Greek 'meatballs'.  Sometimes you want something hearty and traditional and I have to warn you-these are addictive!    Serves 4-5

    20 oz Vegetarian burger or other faux beef crumbles (I use Boca crumbles)
    1 small onion
    3-4 cloves of garlic
    1/3 cup oregano or Italian seasoning blend
    2 eggs (I use Ener-G or egg replacer here)
    2 cups bread crumbs
    1/3 cup flour
    1/2 cup oill for frying
    salt and pepper to taste
    or Cavender's Greek Seasoning to taste
    1 Tablespoon fresh mint (optional but gives great greek flavor)

Mix faux meat, eggs, and seasonings together in a large bowl
grate onions directly into the mixture to get the onion juice in the mix
add chopped garlic to the mix
add breadcrumbs - I prefer to make my own by throwing crusty bread into a food processor
Add mint if you prefer
Season to taste with salt and pepper or Cavender's Greek Seasoning
Heat oil in a pan for frying
Pour flour on a plate
Shape mixture into balls and roll in flour
Fry balls in the hot oil
Once well browned all over, remove from oil and allow to drain
Serve with tzatziki or heat in your fave tomato sauce and serve over pasta...yummy!
       Greek Nachos
Told you we were going to get cool and easy and it doesn't get faster and easier than this.  Serves 2

Top 4 cups pita chips with 1 cup each hummus, diced cucumber, tomatoes and feta, 1/4 cup each chopped red onion and kalamata olives, some tzatziki sauce and oregano. (Do not bake).  
      Greek-style salad with spaghetti squash
A hearty entree salad with awesome flavor.

3 tbsps red wine vinegar
2 tsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 garlic cloves (minced)

3 cups spaghetti squash (cooked)
2 cups tomato (chopped)   
1 cup cucumber (diced)
1/2 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
1/4 cup green bell pepper (diced)
1/4 cup red onion (diced)
2 tbsps kalamata olives (chopped pitted)
15 12 ozs garbanzo beans (chickpeas, drained)

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Combine squash and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Add vinegar mixture; toss well. Cover and chill.

"Let It Be"  The Beatles  "speaking words of wisdom

"Obla Di Obla Da"   The Beatles

What have you all been cooking?  Please post your recipes and fave Beatle music here!


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