Meatless Meals: Eat Better for Less
Gone are the days when every meal has to revolve around a slab of beef, pork, or poultry. Meatless meals are the latest trend, even among those who aren’t full-time vegetarians. According to the USDA, Americans are eating about 12 percent less beef, pork, and poultry than we did five years ago, thanks to popular initiatives such as the Meatless Monday campaign.
Going meatless, even once a week, is an easy way to give the environment, your arteries—and your wallet—a break! The beans for these Black Bean Cakes with Salsa, for example, will run you about $2 versus the $6 you’d spend on ground beef. They’re also higher in fiber and lower in fat and cholesterol, making them good for both your heart and your waistline. (To reduce unwanted sodium, rinse the beans well before using.) Plant-based proteins also use less water and fossil fuel to produce and have a lower carbon footprint than meat or poultry.
You also can’t beat the convenience. Most meatless meals can be put together using ingredients you probably already have on hand—canned or dried beans, fresh or frozen vegetables, canned tomatoes, eggs, and cheese, pasta, rice, or bread. And there’s no need to worry about missing out on protein or other nutrients, or about combining “complementary” foods to create complete proteins. Beans, legumes (including soy), grains, and nuts all supply high-quality protein, and offer countless delicious possibilities. Check out our Quick and Easy Vegetarian Recipe section.
Try these black-bean recipes, from main-dish soups and chilis to hearty croquettes, and beyond.
• Black-and-White-Bean Chili (made with a bit of dark beer for robust flavor)