The idea of Meatless Monday is simple – don’t eat meat on Mondays. If everyone skipped meat even one day a week, the impact on our environment and health would be remarkable. For vegetarians, this is a given. The goal of Meatless Monday is to effortlessly convince dedicated meat eaters to make the move – for health, for the environment, for animal rights, or maybe even all three.
As October is Vegetarian Awareness Month, each Monday becomes a double opportunity to eat more vegetable- and plant-based meals. We want to make that an easy (and delicious) transition for those who aren’t as used to a meatless meal. With four Mondays remaining in October, you’ve got four prime opportunities to do some good for your health.
Grilled Portobella Mushroom Burgers
You don’t even need a recipe for these, but you do need a big appetite. Brush the in-season mushrooms lightly with olive oil, add freshly chopped herbs like rosemary or thyme for more flavor, then place top-down on a hot grill. Really bulk up this veggie burger by grilling red bell peppers, too. Then, pile the mushroom and pepper on a bun with your favorite burger toppings and enjoy. This pairs well with a pile of homemade baked sweet potato fries, or we like the Alexia brand frozen sweet potato fries.
Soup and Salad
The options are practically endless with soup and salad. This is a vegetarian meal you’ve probably enjoyed for years and didn’t even recognize that it was meatless. Whether you go canned or homemade, your favorite soup, like this Hunky Vegetable Soup, will warm up a cool fall evening while filling and satisfying. A crisp salad with fall’s seasonal vegetables, including kale, apples, pears, and broccoli, will offer a cool, complementary crunch. A slice of homemade vegan bread will finish this meal perfectly.
The Crock Pot can be your closest cooking companion in the winter months as you make heartier meals that require a slow, warm simmer. These stuffed peppers practically make themselves when you stuff them with brown rice, black beans, corn, green chilis, and flavor agents like onion, garlic, cayenne pepper, and cumin. Even your meatiest eaters won’t realize there’s no meat in these.
Pizza is always a crowd pleaser whether it’s piled with sausage or not. When you make the pizza at home, you control the ingredients, and in this case you get to pile it high with fresh veggies. This Nicoise Pizza is simple and gourmet with Gruyere cheese, Kalamata olives, and roasted red peppers. Fresh spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, and even fruit like pear and pineapple are all perfect pie toppers.
A healthier alternative to traditional pasta is to bake a spaghetti squash. The mild flavor and sticky texture are so similar to spaghetti noodles that you’ll be able to pass this by the pickiest of eaters. Squash are in season during October, making this meal even more environmentally friendly. A homemade marinara tops this like a traditional spaghetti dish, or you can make your own with simple fresh ingredients.
You could take your vegetarian night to the next level with a hearty shepherd’s pie that is not only meatless but completely free of animal-products. Tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, or black beans become your vegetarian protein, kale or spinach, mixed vegetables like peas and carrots, and of course a heaping helping of mashed potatoes. With leftovers, your lunches can be meatless, too!
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