Meatless Monday. The international campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays in order to improve their health and the health of the planet. Starting off in 2003 as a non-profit initiative of The Monday Campaigns Inc. in association with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future, the goal is to cut each person’s consumption of meat by 15%. By cutting out meat once a week, and why not start out the workweek with a healthy meal, we can improve our health, reduce our carbon footprint and lead the world in the race to reduce climate change. E. and I do it- you should too.
Going meatless, whether full time, or even one day a week can present some challenges. For instance, how can you be sure that you are getting enough protein and enough vitamins without polluting your body by eating a lot of unhealthy things such as refined sugars and flours? Well, make sure that you are starting off by stocking your pantry with a lot of healthy alternatives like white beans for protein and pearl couscous instead of pasta (as it contains twice as much riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, and folate as pasta).
Then I move on to my favorite: fresh veggies. I load up on the season’s freshest produce: red peppers, leeks, zucchini and fresh salad greens. I have to confess that I do venture to the grocery store about 4 times per week. The purchases are usually smaller, and I plan in advance so I don’t come home with too many unnecessary items, but it guarantees that we have a constant supply of healthy ingredients for all meals. Even in the winter when there is a lack of fresh produce, you can find a number of vegetables in the frozen food section.
I want to invite you to try out your own Meatless Monday campaign. Simply by picking on day of the week that works best for you (if Thursday is a better day for you, then go right ahead!), and try substituting in more veggies, beans and legumes for a healthier day, not just for you, but for our planet as well. And please let me know how it goes. Or if there is a recipe that you would like me to post, write me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
White Bean and Pearl Couscous Salad
1 cup of pearl couscous
1 14- ounce can of northern white beans, drained and rinsed
2 red peppers, cubed
2 zucchini, cubed
2 leeks, rinsed and sliced
6 ounces of your favorite salad greens
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 ounce of goat’s cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Boil the couscous in 1 1/2 cups of water until tender. Remove it from the heat, drain it and rinse it in cold water to stop the cooking process. Add it to a large bowl.
Drain and rinse the beans and add them to the bowl of couscous.
In a large skillet, add in the olive oil, garlic, red peppers, zucchini, and leeks and cover them, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Once tender, remove them from the heat, and let them cool. Once they are cool, add them to the couscous and bean mixture, with all of the juices in the pan.
Mix in the salad greens, and top with the goat’s cheese.