In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including:better health, animal rights, food safety, frugal living, public health, global food crisis and the staggeringly huge contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change/land and water depletion.
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!
Today we're giving thanks that we have an easy and delicious way to be part of the solution to stopping the worse effects of climate change. Reducing or eliminating our consumption of meat and dairy products is the fastest and most effective (pdf) way of reducing our individual carbon footprint.
A beautiful and Earth-friendly Thanksgiving feast is the perfect way to honor Mother Earth and to show respect for the bounty she has provided. Today I'll share some meatless Thanksgiving entrees which are real show stoppers; you won't even miss the big bird.
This is the only turkey you'll find on my Thanksgiving table. It's fun to make and the kids will enjoy helping create 'the bird'
Romaine or leaf lettuce
1 cucumber, sliced
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
2 black beans or black olives
1/3 celery bunch (about 4-5 stalks)
handful asparagus (optional)
Slice the bell peppers crosswise and then cut each circle in half. Cut one 1/2" piece off of one of the red pepper slices and set aside (this will be used for the face). Set aside the bottom part of the peppers for the turkey's body.
For the feathers: Cover a platter with the leaves of lettuce. To make the turkey's feathers, start with forming a circle with the cucumber slices towards the bottom of the platter. Above the cucumbers, form a semi-circle with the red peppers, then the yellow peppers, then the green peppers. Place the baby carrots vertically above the last row of peppers.
To make the turkey's body and face: Break two toothpicks in half. Put two of the toothpicks where the eyes will go. Push the black beans onto the toothpick making sure that the toothpick doesn't go all the way through. Cut a triangle out of the leftover bottom from the yellow pepper. Attach with a toothpick below the eyes. Attach the reserved red pepper piece to the left of the yellow pepper "beak".
For the Legs: Cut the piece of celery in half lengthwise. On each piece, carefully slice lengthwise from the end of the celery piece to almost the center. Do this twice on each piece. Place the celery in ice water and place in the refrigerator until the ends curl. When curled, nestle the un-curled end under the cucumbers. Delicious served with warm hummus
Have you tried warm hummus? It's awesome with the veggies above and lovely for a chilly evening.
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 15 1/2-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
3 tablespoons tahini
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon kirmizi biber or Aleppo pepper (see note below)
Flatbread and crudities for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With food processor running, drop garlic, cumin seeds and large pinch salt through feed tube, and process until minced. Add chickpeas, 2 tablespoons hot water, tahini, oil and lemon juice, and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to shallow casserole, preferably earthenware.
Heat butter in small skillet. Add pine nuts and kirmizi biber, stirring briefly, and pour over chickpea mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, and serve hummus warm with wedges of flatbread.
Kirmizi biber, is Turkish red pepper. A mixture of equal portions sweet paprika and cayenne pepper rubbed with a few drops of olive oil can be substituted.
This veg version of an Argentinean stew (carbonada criolla) is perfect for a show stopper entree. The filling can be made up to two days ahead, then baked in acorn squash shells just before serving. Thanks to Vegetarian Times
6 dried pitted apricots
4 dried pitted prunes
6 small acorn or butternut squash
1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for coating squash
1 small Spanish onion, diced (1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 small red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
1 14.5-oz. can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved
1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1. Place apricots and prunes in bowl, and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Soak 2 hours, or overnight. Drain, and coarsely chop fruit, reserving liquid.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut circular opening in squash tops, and reserve tops. Cut small slices off bottoms of squash so they stand up straight. Scoop out and discard seeds and fiber from squash. Rub outsides of squash shells and lids with oil, and place on prepared baking sheet.
3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and oregano; sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomatoes and juice; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add potato, sweet potato, and reserved apricot-prune soaking liquid, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are almost soft. Add corn and apricot-prune mixture, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more. Add beans, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer 5 minutes more.
4. Ladle 1 cup stew into each hollowed squash; place lid on top. Bake 60 to 90 minutes, or until fork can easily pierce through squash.
Again thanks to Vegetarian Times for this savory compote which will be the star of your Thanksgiving table. You can also make this filling a day ahead, then stuff and bake the squashes on Thanksgiving Day.
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 medium-sized onions, thinly sliced
1 15.5-oz. can chickpeas, drained
About 3 cups red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tart apples such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup dried cranberries or dried red tart cherries
1 cup snipped dried apricots
½ cup port, brandy, or dry white or red wine
¼ cup honey
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
8 small acorn squashes (about 1 lb. each), cut in half and seeded
Fresh thyme sprigs for garnish
1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté until medium brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in chickpeas, kidney beans, apples, dried fruits, port and honey, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Season with thyme leaves, salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Filling can be made to this point, covered and refrigerated up to 3 days.)
2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3. Pack squashes with filling, place on baking tray and bake, uncovered, 25 minutes. Cover with lids, and bake 20 to 30 minutes more, until squashes are tender. Garnish with thyme, and serve.
If you find that your holiday is not complete without the traditional American Thanksgiving plate shown below, it's easy to make Earth-friendly by simply using a faux turkey product such as the Field Roast below. Prepare by following directions on package. Just serve it with your favorite sides for a nostalgia trip back to your childhood.
My Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without this cranberry pie. It's the perfect traditional finish especially for a non-traditional feast.
2 sheets prepared pie crust either store bought or homemade
4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1'4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon melted butter (I use Earth Balance)
1 recipe plain pastry
wash berries and chop in food processer and mix with next 5 ingredients.
Line 9" piepan with pastry, pour in filling and arrange strips of pastry over top in lattice design. Bake in hot oven 450 F 10-12 minutes reduce to 350 F and bake about 30 minutes longer.
"Cold Turkey" John Lennon
"In My Life" The Beatles
Archives for Meatless Monday Thanksgivings can be found here
What have you all been cooking? Please share your recipes and fave Beatle music here!