Meatless Mondays open up the world of delicious, healthy and sustainable eating - find out more and learn the best recipes to start eating healthier! Click To Tweet
Meat-free Mondays are something everyone can implement, with proven health and environmental benefits. Dedicating one day a week to eating plant-based is a fun and healthy way to experiment and expand your eating habits. It can also be cost-effective, teaching you how to make delicious vegan and vegetarian options to accommodate everyone, inclusive of lifestyle and dietary needs.
This small but easy introduction encourages you to be more sustainable in your eating habits and find four direct recipe suggestions.
Overarching benefits of meat-free Mondays
Plant-based alternatives contain less saturated fat and more folate, fibre and protective antioxidants, including vitamins C, E and carotenoids. Not to mention, typically, there is a higher chance of exceeding the recommended five-a-day fruit and vegetables.
There are fewer reported cases of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes in non-meat eaters. In addition, those with high blood pressure may benefit because studies show a lower incidence of elevated blood pressure in those following a vegetarian diet. Moreover, some studies suggest that those on vegetarian diets may also have a lower overall risk of cancer, even more so for vegans.
You can benefit from introducing plant-based alternatives if you have high blood pressure. However, be mindful that with any lifestyle or dietary change with pre-existing health concerns, contact your doctor to find the best way to manage your health needs.
Every diet needs balance, with a variety of proteins, carbohydrates, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Alongside regular physical activity and consuming the recommended level of water for hydration.
The official Meat Free Mondays organization has summarised the effects of reducing meat consumption and livestock’s impact on the environment. For example, reducing the consumption of meat can help contain the production of greenhouse gases that impact climate change.
It can also help lessen the demand for precious environmental resources such as land, water, and energy.
- Livestock production creates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector–all the cars, trucks, planes, and trains in the world.
- Livestock production uses 75% of the earth’s agricultural land.
- Producing ONE quarter-pound beef burger uses 425 gallons of water, the equivalent of 10 full bathtubs.
- Producing ONE quarter-pound beef burger uses up enough energy to power an iPhone for 6 months.
- Skipping one serving of beef every Monday for a year saves the equivalent emissions of driving 348 miles in a car.
Delicious vegan and vegetarian recipes
Here are four recipes to implement for a month of meat-free Mondays. Feel free to play around with them. Turkey and Chicken rank high as they have a lesser impact on greenhouse gases.
However, if you want to reduce your impact on the environment, one of the best ways to achieve that is through leading a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. So if you wish to lead a complete, partial vegetarian lifestyle or just want to try out meat-free Mondays, these tasty recipes are a good introduction.
These suggestions can feed a family of five or be portioned, refrigerated, or frozen for later use.
1. Vegan bean Chilli
|1 tsp of Oil||1-2 Medium to small Onions, finely chopped|
|½ tsp ground cumin||½ tsp paprika (sweet or smoked, depending on preference)|
|pinch of chilli flakes or chilli powder||1 ½ 400g can chopped tomatoes, drained and juice reserved|
|½ tsp of tomato puree||2 400g cans of mixed beans, drained and rinsed|
|1 vegetable stock cube||1-2 squares of dark chocolate|
|soured cream, to serve (optional)||½ tsp chilli paste (optional – for extra spicy)|
|coriander, to serve (optional)||2 garlic cloves, finely diced|
|1. Add the onions, garlic, seasonings and tomato puree to a medium-temperature saucepan.|
|2. Add the drained beans, tomatoes and vegetable stock, stirring the mixture together.|
|3. Bring the mixture down to a simmer, adding in the chocolate.|
|4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.|
|5. Cook until the onions are cooked through, and the mixture is blended. Over and add water if necessary.|
|6. Plate, enjoy on its own or pair with rice, tortillas or pitta bread.|
2. Vegetarian Butternut Squash Curry
|200g brown basmati rice||1 butternut squash, diced|
|1 tbsp olive oil||4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped|
|1 red onion, diced||400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained|
|2 tbsp mild curry paste||3 tbsp fat-free Greek yogurt|
|300ml vegetable stock||A small handful of coriander, chopped|
|1. Cook the rice in boiling salted water, as per pack instructions.|
|2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the butternut squash for 2-3 mins until lightly browned.|
|3. Add the onion and the curry paste and fry for 3-4 mins more.|
|4. Pour over the stock, then cover and simmer for 15-20 mins or until the squash is tender..|
|5. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas, then gently cook for 3-4 mins, until the tomatoes slightly soften.|
|6. Take off the heat and stir through the yoghurt and coriander.|
|7. Plate the rice and some wholemeal chapattis if you like.|
3. Vegan Lentil soup
|2l vegetable stock||150g red lentils|
|6 carrots, finely chopped||200g or 2 medium leeks, sliced|
|a small handful of chopped parsley to serve|
|1. In a large pan heat the stock and add the lentils.|
|2. Bring to a boil and allow the lentils to soften for a few minutes.|
|3. Add the carrots and leeks, and season with salt and pepper.|
|4. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 mins-1 hr until the lentils have broken down.|
|5. Scatter over the parsley and serve with buttered bread, if you like.|
Vegetarian sweet potato shepherd’s pie
|1 tbsp olive oil||1 large onion, halved and sliced|
|2 tbsp chopped thyme||2 large carrots, cut into bite-size chunks|
|200ml red wine||400g can of diced tomatoes|
|410g can of green lentils||2 vegetable stock cubes|
|25g butter||85g Grated mature cheddar|
|85g Grated mature cheddar.|
|950g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks|
|1. Add the oil and half the onion to a frying pan on medium heat until golden.|
|2. Add the carrots and chopped thyme, reserving a sprinkling for later.|
|3. Pour in 200ml red wine, 150ml water and the can of chopped tomatoes, crumbling in the 2 vegetable stock cubes and set to a simmer for 10 mins.|
|4. Empty the can of green lentils into the mixture, cover and simmer for another 10 mins until the carrots are slightly tender and the lentils are slightly fuller.|
|5. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes in a separate pan for 15 mins until tender, drain well, then mash with 25g of butter and season to taste.|
|6. Transfer the lentil mixture into a pie dish, spoon the mash on top, sprinkling the cheese and the remaining thyme. Cook at 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cook for 20 mins or until golden and hot all the way through.|
|7. Serve with vegetables on the side.|
But remember, you can always replace and introduce meat alternatives as replacements in your favourite dishes, so the meat-free recipes you can make are infinite!