Meat Free Meals To Save The World
Changing your diet to eat less meat, and incorporate more plant-based options, has many advantages.
For many people, eating meat is part of their heritage, culture and religion; therefore, it may seem harsh or unfair to criticise those who find it difficult to shake off these old traditions. However, many people do not realise the sheer impact that the livestock industry has on our environment. The industry generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined.In addition, Cattle ranchers have destroyed millions of square kilometres of forests for grazing pastures, which has decimated natural land, animal habitats, and has caused mass soil erosion. One of the easiest ways to reduce this horrific impact is to incorporate more vegetarian meals into your diet, thus reducing the amount of meat you eat.
While changing up your established eating traditions can be difficult, these five simple recipes will start you off in the right direction and create a bridge for even more sustainable cooking.
If you are looking for a meal that can incorporate almost any dietary preference, pizza is the best option. I tend to make pizza from scratch, but there is truly no harm in a frozen one now and again!
For the dough, I use Martha Stewart’s Basic Pizza Dough, which is my personal favourite as it can be easily frozen, and defrosted relatively quickly. Again, I tend to make my own tomato sauce flavoured with onion, garlic and oregano (or whatever herbs I have in the cupboard at the time).
Once these components are complete, you can simply add as many veggies as you want; roast them beforehand or leave them fresh and crunchy.
Pizza is one of the most universal meals, and is a great bridge meal into eating a more sustainable diet.
This is another customisable meal, but the basics of it are super simple. Just chop up some of your favourite vegetables – personally, I chop onions, peppers and mushrooms – add some Quorn pieces if you want to, and cook them up in a pan with your spices of choice. You can obviously buy premade spice mixes, but I like to create my own flavour using smoked paprika, herbs de Provence, chilli flakes, and Cajun spices.
Tortillas, cheese, guacamole, salsa; the list of condiments are endless, and I promise you won’t miss the chicken in this dish once you have tried it without.
#3 ‘Get Well Soon’ Soup
Chicken noodle soup is one of the most comforting meals when you aren’t feeling 100%, but what do you do when you don’t want the meat?
Simple! Make it without. I often modify this recipe by adding some yellow split peas instead of the chicken, and vegetable stock rather than any chicken flavourings. Again, I tend to use whatever herbs and spices I have in my cupboard, but bay leaves, sage and thyme all give a good ‘chicken flavour’ without the chicken itself. It really is this easy to eat nutritious, filling food without leaving such a harsh footprint on the planet you inhabit.
#4 Katsu Curry
If you’ve ever had the innumerable pleasure of Wagamama’s before, you will know of, or at least have heard of, the infamous chicken katsu curry. Following this recipe from Jamie Oliver, I simply substitute the chicken for vegetables – sweet potato, butternut squash and roasted bell pepper are tried and tested favourites of mine. You could also add other protein sources such as lentils, tofu or tempeh – whatever you feel like would be the most satisfying for you.
I tend to add a little bit of honey to the sauce, as well as add far more garlic and ginger than in the original recipe, but feel free to chop and choose as you please.
#5 Bolognese Sauce
Using Lentils, Quorn mince or even quinoa, this recipe is incredibly versatile – both with what you can use in it, and what you can create with it. While I usually just wing it with the quantities of ingredients, following this recipe will stand you in good stead for a great Bolognese, just substitute the 350g of Quorn mince for your protein replacement of choice if you want to.
Furthermore, while this sauce goes great with spaghetti (of course!) there are a whole host of things that will go great with Bolognese. For example, you could make a meat-free shepherd’s pie, turn it into a chilli or use as a filling for savoury crepes.
Changing ingrained lifestyle habits can be incredibly difficult, but trying to incorporate more meat-free meals into your everyday is a sure-fire way to become more sustainable and help end the climate crisis we see ourselves in currently.