Meatless Monday: Taking Stock

We interrupt today’s regular recipe program for a wee bit of meat-less reflection (in other words, the recipe I planned to share with you failed miserably during testing).

Rather than mope over my meatless mishap, I’ve decided to turn this unexpected turn of events into an opportunity – to talk about what we’ve done, where we are and what we’d like to accomplish going forward. We’re now in Month 10 of this weekly meat-less recipe feature, which we kicked off last September in response to a speech by UN climate change official Rajendra Pachauri, who said if there was one thing we could to do to help save the planet, it’s taking a break from meat once as week.

As noble and virtuous of an idea this may sound, implementation – and consistency -- are very different things altogether. If we are going to talk the talk, we really needed to walk the walk -- and put these ideas into practice with a weekly recipe.

I’m having a ball sharing my meatless finds with you every week; in fact, here at the Casa, we’re now doing meatless suppers twice (and sometimes three times) a week without batting an eye. We both agree that we feel physically better eating less meat and that our diet is infinitely more interesting these days.

Assuming that you’re recreating the meatless recipes at home, I’m curious if you’ve noticed any changes over the past nine months -- in your own eating habits, overall health and/or energy levels, interest in new ingredients, cuisines or cooking methods? What would you like to see more of as this feature goes forward, and similarly, what could you do without? Are you interested in this idea for health reasons (less saturated fat), environmental reasons (18 percent of all greenhouse gases come from livestock production) or both? Or is there another reason altogether that inspires you to practice meatless one day a week?

And maybe you just don’t buy the idea whatsoever or are new to this idea. Tell me what’s on your mind as it relates to taking a break from meat once a week and if you think it’s relevant to the times in which we live.

By Kim ODonnel |  June 8, 2009; 8:30 AM ET Meatless Monday
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i'm meatless 7 days a week! keep it coming!

Posted by: mee3c | June 8, 2009 9:58 AM

I too am meatless 7 days a week and love that you share tasty meatless recipes every Monday. For a BBQ this weekend I made your chickpea burgers and zucchini "crab" cakes and gosh I just have to say what a hit they were with meat and non-meat eaters alike!

Posted by: LMcP | June 8, 2009 11:02 AM

I have been trying very hard to do meatless at least twice a week, one of the days I aim for vegan. This started out as an environmental thing and then evolved into a health (cholesterol) thing. I would like to see more non-bean/lentil ideas that still have plenty of protein. I love beans, but would like to broaden my horizons. I like tofu, but seem to be stuck in a stir fry rut. I tried the barbeque seitan, but confess that I was not a big fan.

Posted by: Agfras | June 8, 2009 11:11 AM

I eat meatless many nights a week, but not all. I enjoy the recipes from other cultures like Asian and Indian. I also like to be introduced to new ingredients (for example, I tried chard for the first time after reading about it here.)

Posted by: chiquita2 | June 8, 2009 11:47 AM

I love the Meatless Monday entries, for someone growing up in a meat-and-side vegetable home it provides me with a lot of new ideas (and support!). Not that I "needed" to have meat for every meal before, its just what I knew. Since then we have been going meatless several times a week for our health and our wallets (most of the time).

I look forward to continue being a meatless monday warrior.

Posted by: The_Dude_Abides1 | June 8, 2009 12:35 PM

I began my meatless life 7 months ago, for many reasons, all of which boil down to living my beliefs: I want to be a good steward of the environment, I object to animal cruelty, and I'm deeply concerned about animal farming practices(the unsanitary conditions, and the high doses of antibiotics, hormones, steroids, and who knows what else that are being inserted into the food chain). Oh, and yes, I had hoped to magically lose some weight when I cut out the meat, but sadly, that never came to pass....

Kim, your bean-burger recipie has saved me many times when I'm craving a savory dinner (oops, maybe this explains the lack of weight loss). I do find it much harder to satisfy my umami cravings without meat. I miss (of all things!) beef jerky, pot roast, and prociutto, but I feel good about my decision, and I'm going to stick with it! Thank you so much for your meatless Mondays - it has been wonderful to have the company of other veggies, vegans, and flexitarians!

Posted by: redweather | June 8, 2009 2:28 PM

As one who has been meatless for nearly 30 years, it is nice to finally see "mainstream" actually creating a recipe that is more than a salad with a bit of protein, or a side dish that can be paired with something else. There are limitless combinations of ingredients that can be paired for proteins and complements to achieve the necessary protein and vitamin requirements. Would love to see more uses of quinoa which is not only a wonderful source of protein, but also easy to cook and relatively inexpensive. Thanks for the sweet potato recipes - they've been delicious!

Posted by: gypsy420 | June 8, 2009 3:18 PM

We eat meatless frequently as a way to save money, be healthier, and be kinder to the environment. I donate a small amount of food to a local food pantry every week,and I want to eat the same kinds of food I donate (and I can't afford to donate and use more expensive food). I have been experimenting with a lot of recipes featuring dried beans, and am developing a good variety. Generally speaking, the recipes you share are too expensive or time consuming for me to try, but I like reading them, and I look for good herb/spice pairings that I can use in simpler, cheaper recipes. Thanks!

Posted by: janedoe5 | June 8, 2009 3:28 PM

We eat meatless 2-3 times/week, but not usually not vegan. I am a big fan of fritattas (sp?, soups and the bean burgers. One of the great benefits with these meatless menus is that generally they cook very quickly, without much prep work. - Kim, keep your recipes coming, I really depend on them.

Posted by: NewtonMom | June 8, 2009 4:32 PM

I moved to Switzerland about 8 months ago and we have found the meat to be quite expensive. The produce however is beautiful and plentiful. That has made it easy to move to meatless meals - my husband was the one who l
really loved his steaks and he even says he doesn't miss them much. I think that is due to variety, spices, etc. Please keep new ideas coming!

Posted by: junkford2-1 | June 8, 2009 4:33 PM


I went meatless about 18 months ago and haven't looked back. I love your recipes and they have really helped me to find great, tasty, easy meatless recipes. It's so easy to be what I usually call a "lazy vegetarian" and eat easy-to-grab carbs and cheese (pizza, bread, pasta, etc) - your posts have helped me get excited about eating vegetarian and being smart about it every day. Keep them coming!

- A fellow Seattleite

Posted by: kkn4 | June 9, 2009 9:35 AM

Kim, I've been a vegetarian for 40 years and love the MM column. We are always trying to find interesting recipes without beans or pasta, the old stand-bys. I liked the green gumbo from a few months back. Thank you!

Posted by: pacovka | June 9, 2009 10:14 AM

I really appreciate the weekly meatless recipes. We tend to eat meat free meals 2 times a week and I love all the new ideas especially as we get into the bountiful seasons at the Farmers Market.

Posted by: jenrellis | June 10, 2009 6:21 PM

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