Despite the fact that many environmentalists are carnivores, it’s becoming more widely acknowledged that intensive meat production is one of the most serious challenges to controlling climate change.
Taking the decision to become vegetarian (or vegan) is a big lifestyle change. For many, it’s too big a jump to take. However, baby steps work too.
Reducing meat consumption, especially when done on a mass collective level, can make a significant difference. And that’s the idea behind Meat Free Mondays—choose one day a week when we make a conscious effort to not eat any meat at all.
And when that becomes a habit, we might think about stretching it to two or three days a week. It all adds up!
When starting out with a meat-free lifestyle, it does help to plan ahead. So here’s a suggested meal plan with an Italian twist.
Breakfast: Savory Breakfast Biscotti
Biscotti are twice-baked Italian cookies—so you’re going to need to make these on Sunday to have for breakfast on Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday). I haven’t made these yet but I’m excited to try them as this particular recipe includes zucchini—and I’m always looking for interesting ways to include zucchini in recipes. “Mangia!”
I don’t think I’ve had a spice-free day for about two weeks, and arrabiatta sauce is a great way to combine a love of Italian food with a desire for a chili punch. The great thing about this sauce is that you can usually whip it up with whatever you’ve got in the cupboard. If you don’t have fresh chilies or basil to hand, use chili flakes and dried herbs. There is a twist to this recipe as it includes mushrooms, which isn’t typical for this sauce. I like their inclusion, but feel free to leave them out if you don’t want to overdo the mushrooms in one day.
Dinner: Wild Mushroom Risotto
There is (in my opinion) a myth around having to constantly stir risotto while it’s cooking. I cook over a moderate heat and stir regularly, while cooking the veggies in a separate pan. So don’t fret about the suggestion that you cook this dish as part of a team of two—it’s very doable on your own. Even if it’s your first time to cook risotto, give it a go—it’s not hard at all.
Desert: Fig Ice Cream
Since I gave up dairy at the start of this year, the biggest challenge for me (and I have slipped at times) is missing ice cream. It looks like I’m going to have to get an ice cream machine, because it’s clear I can’t live the rest of my life without it—and recipes like this make me drool. Please try it out and let me know what you think.
As this is a weekly post, feel free to suggest favorite elephant recipes for inclusion in future meal plans. And if you have your own favorite vegetarian or vegan recipe, why not share it with our readers too?
Author: Hilda Carroll
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina