Meatless Monday is a growing trend around the world to reduce the amount of meat we eat – for our own health and the health of the planet.
But it's not all just rice, beans and tofu.
Cooking and eating vegetarian and vegan meals can be just as satisfying as ones with meat. Below we'll share five Meatless Monday recipes offering nutritious, protein-rich and most importantly, delicious, options for reducing your meat consumption.
Canadians And Meatless Diets
A 2018 Dalhousie University survey estimated that just under a fifth of Canadians – 6.4 million people – followed some kind of diet that either fully or partially restricted meat.
The principal investigator on that study says researchers have since revised that figure to 10.2 million. "Things are changing really fast, faster than ever really," Sylvain Charlebois, senior director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab, told the Canadian Press last year.
For those looking to reduce their meat consumption, integrating at least one "meatless" day of the week into your routine is a great option. The Meatless Monday campaign began in 2003 in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, but it has roots in World War I rationing efforts. It's now in 40 countries.
Why Mondays? "Starting each week practicing Meatless Monday can lead people to eat more fruits, vegetables and plant-based meals throughout the rest of the week," the campaign writes on their site.
So, are you ready to take the challenge? Try out these recipes to kickstart your Meatless Mondays.
What To Cook For Meatless Monday
1. Make Monday A Taco Night
These chickpea-based vegan chorizo tacos pack 8g of protein into every tortilla. Want to add a few more vitamins to the mix? You can add some sweetness by sprinkling diced mango on top, or a nice bite of freshness with small cucumber slices for Meatless Monday tacos everyone will love. For dessert, a vegan piña colada – virgin or otherwise – may do the trick.
2. Set It And Forget It
Slow cookers can be a vegetarian or vegan's best friend, and this recipe for a portobello pot "roast" proves it. Prep it at lunchtime so it's ready for dinner. The cooking time will infuse your mushrooms with the delectable flavours of the melded spices, liquids and other additions. This pairs well with all kinds of finishing touches: roasted potatoes or cauliflower, crisp green beans or even a tomato-cucumber salad.
3. Spice It Up
When you think of barbacoa, you may think of meat – but the secret to this Mexican dish is all in the spices. In our vegan take on barbacoa, we use mushrooms and eggplant as the base to showcase a medley of spices including cumin, chipotle and chili powder. When serving this Meatless Monday recipe, you can opt to keep it totally vegan, or top your tortilla some sour cream or cheese. Brighten it up with lime and cilantro!
4. Comfort Food
This tofu-based vegetable thai curry is a quick meal to whip up at the end of a long workday, especially if you have rice noodles on hand. Otherwise, popping some rice into your pressure cooker or into a stovetop pot about 30 minutes (45 minutes for non-instant brown rice) before dinner will help you make sure everything's ready at the same time. Add a bit of sweetness with this spicy mango salsa. Got some time to kill and a sweet tooth? Try this homemade vegan coconut ice cream.
5. Bite Into A Juicy Burger
Jackfruit is a versatile fruit that performs really well in vegetarian and vegan cuisine because it has a meaty texture and can be cut into chunks or shredded. It also has a fairly neutral taste, meaning it takes on the flavours you add to it. That's why it's perfect for these BBQ jackfruit sliders!
These vegan recipes, with vegetarian options, are five great ways to kick off — or continue! — your Meatless Mondays.