There is a movement in this country that I’m sure you’ve heard about called “Meatless Mondays.” The idea is to consume one or two meatless meals on Mondays to reduce the carbon footprint while at the same time improving one’s health status. You may also have heard of the Flexitarian Diet which minimizes the use of meat but doesn’t exclude it entirely.
Many people save money by adding meatless meals to their weekly menus. Meatless meals are built around vegetables, beans, grains and nuts instead of meat (which tends to be more expensive). Meatless meals offer health benefits. There is no cholesterol in plant-based foods, in fact, the soluble fiber in beans and lentils helps reduce cholesterol. Beans and vegetables are full of fiber which makes one feel “full” or satiated, promotes digestion and prevents constipation. Less meat in the diet may reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity.
In other parts of the world meatless meals are commonly on the daily menu. In Latin America beans are often consumed with rice and/or tortillas. In the Middle East bulgur wheat may be combined with chickpeas, falafel (made of chickpeas) may be eaten with pita bread and hummus (also made of chickpeas) is popular. In Asian countries soy is combined with rice, barley, wheat or millet. These cuisines offer many delicious meatless dishes. (I really like falafel – try it if you live near a restaurant that has it one the menu!)
When dining out, review the menu for meatless or vegetarian choices. At a Mexican restaurant that I like (Azteca) I felt adventuresome one day and ordered the Expresso Vegetarian Burrito. It has rice, beans, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese inside and is served with guacamole and sour cream. It is so good! Now it is my favorite dish to order there. (Note: the sour cream and cheese do have fat and cholesterol.)
In today’s post I’d like to share with you two of my favorite meatless dishes that are “tried and true.” The first is Bulgur Veggie Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise. I am truly shocked when we go to one of the “big box” stores and the prices of veggie burgers are often as high or higher than the price of burgers made from meat. I’ve had this recipe for some time now and I think it is so superior to the frozen veggie burgers that are mass-produced. The lime mayonnaise is wonderful and adds much flavor as do the various spices such as cumin and cayenne and lime juice and zest that are incorporated into the burgers.
- 1/2 cup chopped onion, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
- 1/2 cup bulgur
- 1 cup water
- 1 (15.5 oz.) can pinto beans, rinsed & drained
- 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup parsley (or cilantro)
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
- 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
- Cook half of the onion (1/4 cup) with 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, 5-7 minutes.
- Add bulgur and water and cook, covered, over low heat until water is absorbed, 15-18 minutes.
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in beans and soy sauce.
- Pulse bulgur mixture, walnuts, garlic, parsley, cumin, cayenne, a rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and remaining onion in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Form rounded 1/2 cups of the mixture into 4 (3 1/2" diameter) patties.
- Chill at least 10 minutes.
- Brush patties all over with oil.
- Brush oil on grill pan and cook on each side until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes total. (May also be cooked on outside grill if desired.)
- Spread lime mayonnaise on bread or bun of choice. Add burger and enjoy!
- Burgers need to be chilled 10 minutes before cooking so plan accordingly.
Black Bean Burrito Bake is a quick meatless meal to whip up for lunch or any time. It uses several pantry items – canned black beans, green chilies, salsa, and canned corn. Fresh or frozen corn may also be used – your preference. Green chilies are mild so don’t be afraid to try them – they add so much flavor.
- 1 (7-oz.) can mild green chilies
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 (15.5-oz.) can black beans, rinsed, drained & divided
- 1 cup whole-kernel corn (may be fresh, frozen or canned)
- 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas
- 1 cup bottled salsa
- 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded cheese (Cheddar or Monterey Jack is good)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place half (3/4 cup) of the black beans in a food processor; process until finely chopped.
- Mix together sour cream, green chilies, chopped beans, corn, sour cream and whole beans together.
- Spoon 1/2 cup bean mixture down the center of each tortilla.
- Roll up tortillas & place, seam side down, in an 11 x 7 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
- Spread salsa over tortillas and sprinkle with cheese.
- Cover and bake for 20-25 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
I’ll be featuring more meatless dishes in future posts as well as some other fall favorites such as Apple recipes.
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
Have a nice fall, ya’ll!