Happy anniversary, readers. I've been writing weekly Meatless Monday posts for four years now. And they said it wouldn't last.
After the first month, my editor gently asked, "How many different ways can you encourage people not to eat meat?" At least 208 so far and still going.
A meatless diet:
1) benefits the planet by reducing water and carbon output and enabling better soil
2) allows us to feed more people
3) cuts grocery bills and health care costs
4) cuts our support to agribusiness and factory farming
5) enhances our connection to all living and loving things
6) offers awesome eats
Not only does it give me endless topics to explore, eating meatlessly is the most delicious way to multitask I know. It's an easy thing each of us can do to make a difference. And in a world where drones are watching us and we can't seem to get a climate change policy off the ground, it can count as a radical act.
The problem is, a diet of agribusiness processed food and antibiotic-choked factory farm meat has left us dulled, drugged and weak. It's hard to start a revolution that way.
A revolution is what we need, one that values people rather than profits and provides a healthy, accessible and sustainable and compassionate food system that will feed and nourish all of us.
It may be happening. Over the past four years, I've connected with and introduced you to chefs, animal rights activists, educators, authors, farmers, organic growers, food policy experts, doctors, chefs, famous vegan pioneers and unsung vegan foot soldiers. They're all heroes, all working for positive, plantcentric change. "There's an awakening, a food movement. More and more people are listening," says The Food Revolution Network's John Robbins.
In my book "Feeding the Hungry Ghost," I say when change your food, you change your life and you can change the world. I believe that. I also say there is nothing is more precious than you. I believe that, too. The world needs you. The world needs all of us, and we can't create a sustainable environment when we're fat and sick (which now is the same thing as far as the American Medical Association is concerned).
A plant-based diet is still our best hope for a nourishing, sustainable future. I'm keeping the Meatless Monday love going. I hope you will, too. Join in. Go forth. Eat vegetables.
Tunisian Roasted Vegetables
The recipe that launched 208 posts (and counting). As I wrote in my first-ever Meatless Monday post, it's kinda spicy, kinda sexy, very easy, very healthful and your plate will be a meat-free zone. You can take quadruple bypasses off the menu, rack up serious positive personal and global karma and who knows, you might start looking forward to Mondays.
Serve over whole grain couscous, brown rice or quinoa and/or greens.
1 large onion sliced
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
3 carrots, sliced lengthwise into strips
1 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into strips
2 ribs celery, sliced lengthwise into strips
8 ounces mushrooms, quartered (or halved, if small)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon harissa* (Moroccan chili sauce) or your favorite chili sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
a pinch of sea salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 400.
Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan or line it with a silpat or sheet of foil.
Take your sliced vegetables by the handful and plop them all into a large bowl. Add the minced garlic. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, tomato paste, harissa, cumin and lemon juice. Stir until it forms a thick, smooth sauce. Pour over vegetables. Mix in gently to coat.
Spread vegetables on the baking sheet or roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes, giving vegetables a stir halfway through. They're done when tender and tips are dark and roasty-looking.
Sprinkle with sea salt to taste and garnish with chopped cilantro.
* Available at Middle Eastern markets and many natural food stores.