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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, 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.

     

Eating for a Healthy Planet: Trailer from dragonfly on Vimeo.

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!

Our planet is in deep distress. Scientists have sounded the alarm that by 2100 there will be major cities underwater, extreme droughts, wildfires, floods and major species extinction if we continue on current trajectory. The challenge seems overwhelming and it seems the easiest thing to do would be just to throw up our hands in defeat. But, there are many things we can do and some are quite simple. The fastest and most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce/eliminate meat consumption. It's something we all can do with our families and friends which will make us part of the solution to mitigating the worse effects of climate change.

Reducing meat consumption not only helps our planet but it also can improve our health and is kind to our budget. And it's so simple. Today I will share some easy, fast and economical recipes which are great when you're in a hurry to put together a fast healthy meal.

SOUTHWESTERN PINTO BEAN, RICE and CORN SALAD
                                          credit:Rooey202, creative commons, flickr

    1 cup long-grain rice
    1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears) or use frozen corn, thawed
    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1 garlic clove, pressed
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 15 1/2-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained
    2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
    4 green onions, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Bring 2 cups salted water to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Add rice; reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in corn. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer rice with corn to strainer to drain.

Whisk vinegar and garlic in large bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add rice mixture, pinto beans, cherry tomatoes, green onions, bell pepper, and oregano; toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes to blend flavors. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)  

Note: may add fresh lemon juice and chopped, fresh cilantro to taste for extra kick.

FUSILLI CON FAVE e PISELLI
                                          credit:megabeth, creative commons, flickr

    1 14.5 ounce box Fusilli shaped pasta or use whole grain spaghetti
    1 cup fresh baby peas or use frozen
    1 cup fresh fava beans, unshelled (if you can’t find fresh ones, canned will do fine, rinse them first, though)
    1 onion
    2 cups vegetable broth
    grated romano pecorino cheese (optional)
    extra virgin olive oil
    salt and pepper

handful fresh, small spinach leaves (optional)

Finely chop the onion and cook it gently in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until soft. Add the peas and the Fava beans.
Season with salt and pepper and let it cook for about 10 minutes over a light heat, adding a little stock when needed. Cook the pasta al dente and pour it into the pan with the vegetables. May add handful fresh, small spinach leaves at this point if you like.

Stir to combine and season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve, covered with the grated cheese if using.

BLACK and WHITE BEAN SALAD
                                      credit: cookbookman17, creative commons flickr

This salad is perfect for a quick dish to take to a pot luck or picnic. Serve chilled or room temperature.

1 can black beans
1 can white beans
1/2 red onion, chopped
small handful, flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup, olive oil
2 Tbsp., balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

Drain and rinse canned beans. Empty beans into a large bowl. Add red onion and parsley. You’ll need to use your judgment on the amount of onion and parsley to throw into the final product. Use the amount of each that is to your liking and taste. Mix together. Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir one more time being careful not to over mix.

Tortilla Eggplant Pizza
                                          credit: Vilseskogen, creative commons, flickr

It doesn't get easier than this.  Coat a tortilla shell with light layer of tomato sauce or pesto. Use any veggies you like just make sure to slice very thin so they will cook as pizza crisps. Top with grated cheese if you like and bake in 350F oven for about 10 minutes or until tortilla is crisp and veggies are cooked.

QUICK TOMATO SOUP
                                          credit:creative commons, vilseskogen, flickr

Tomato Soup

    1/2 tomato
    1/4 white onion
    1/2 cup tomato-vegetable juice cocktail
    salt and pepper to taste

    In a food processor or a blender, puree the tomato and onion. Transfer the mixture to a small saucepan. Stir in the vegetable juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve hot topped with your favorite cheese or fresh bread. To serve cold just add juice to pureed veggies, season and serve. Serves 1, increase amounts as needed.

Portobello Mushroom Sandwich
Perfect with the soup above.

    1 large field or portobello mushroom (or 2 medium), stalk trimmed
    olive oil
    1 tsp. herbes de provence or Italian dried herbs
    mayonnaise (I use Veganaise)
    small handful salad greens or baby rocket
    2 slices fresh whole grain bread

Rub mushroom in olive oil, sprinkle with herbs and pan fry in olive oil on medium heat until soft and juicy, season

Generously spread mayo on both slices of bread, place the mushroom and it’s juices on one slice, top with leaves and other slice of bread.

"All you need is love"   The Beatles  it's easy, all you need is love

"We can work it out"  The Beatles

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

 

Originally posted to beach babe in fl on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Meatless Advocates Meetup and Daily Kos.

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