Meatless Mondays: An Introduction
Alliteration. I adore alliteration.
That’s part of why I have found the idea of Meatless Monday so appetizing and appealing. (See what I did there? Alliteration.)
Some of the blogs I follow share meatless recipes on Mondays. With my own arsenal of meatless entrees, I’ve been wanting to join the fun for a long time now.
But first, let me explain our reasons for occasionally choosing meatless, in no particular order:
- Going meatless can save you a lot of money: Our grocery costs for pasture-raised poultry and meats can really add up if we’re eating meat daily. Even when I was picking out sale meats at the store, it was definitely one of the most expensive items in my cart.
- I’ve learned to cook without it: Meat was the “go-t0” meal when I was working full-time and still learning my way around the kitchen. Now I know I can produce a fantastic meal without needing a big ol’ slab o’ meat in the middle of the plate.
- We enjoy meatless dishes: Yep, even my meat-and-potato-eating husband is on board. In fact, he asks me to make certain meatless dishes again and again. He’s a stud.
- Going meatless is good for you: Toxins are stored in fat. So when we eat meat, we’re getting all the toxins our meat was exposed to in its lifetime. These can build up in our own fat cells and increase our risks of health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Plus, when you increase beans and decrease meat, you get more fiber and protein with less saturated fat.
- Going meatless is good for the earth: I know you might not care about carbon footprints and saving beef cattle from extinction (that’s a joke, by the way). But the reality is that it takes about 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. It takes 7 tons of grains to produce 1 ton of beef (and cows are not even designed to digest grain — they were created to eat grass. Corn makes cows sick.) With water and food shortages worldwide, it would be nice if we could give up some of our cheeseburgers and find a way to convert that use of water and land to create healthier people, not fatter cows.
- You get to meet a bunch of new foods and new meals: Spaghetti was on our menu a lot during our first couple years of marriage. Boxed noodles, canned sauce, and a pound of beef: Done. I had never purchased a zucchini or parsnip before. Now our fridge is more colorful and healthful as we’ve come to rely on a greater variety of grains, veggies, and beans to create our meals.
- Meat is a treat, and we’re grateful for whatever we eat: Now we appreciate what we have — be it rice and beans or a pot roast. Not having a meat-centric meal every time we sit down makes us more grateful for the variety of foods we do eat. And when the occasional pork shoulder takes center stage, we savor it instead of expect it.
***I want to add a closing comment here: I know a lot of great meat-raising farmers. I have meat in my freezer. I love cheeseburgers. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. And I don’t know if I could live without cheese or sour cream to top my rice and beans. But going meatless works for us. I hope you’ll give it a try, too.***
A Quick Meatless Recipe: Rice and Bean Bowls (or Burritos)
Be-Ready Tip: Cook large batches of rice and beans ahead of time. Freeze them and you’ll be ready to make this meal even on the busiest of nights. (I hope to offer more detailed “be-ready” tips in future posts.)
- Long-grain rice, like basmati or jasmine, cooked (After you’ve cooked the rice, add salt, lime juice, and fresh cilantro to get that Chipotle flavor. I freeze it plain and add these ingredients after reheating the rice. That way, I have plain rice pre-cooked for other dishes like stir fry.)
- Dry black beans (or pinto or red — your choice!), cooked
- Salsa (we like it homemade with tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, red onion, salt, cumin, and chili powder.)
- Optional: Avacados/guacamole
- Optional: Cheese
- Optional: Sour cream
- Optional: Something green — leafy green lettuce, spinach, etc.
- Optional: Tortillas (I use this recipe – with 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all purpose flour – without all the soaking.)
Build your bowl (or burrito) and enjoy!