10 Vegetarian Recipes for Celebrating Earth Day
Earth Day’s gotten a bit tattered over the years (although, of course, not has tattered as the actual Earth). Instead of building a compost bin or picking up litter at the playground, why don’t we celebrate April 22 by doing something that will really help the planet? Like eating a vegetarian meal?
Meat-eating is the biggest cause of global warming. It’s responsible for more greenhouse gases than every other factor combined, and—according to the UN—one of the top three causes of every environmental problem on our poor old planet. Plus, there’s the way industrially farmed animals are treated…but you already know about that.
If everyone in the U.S. went meatless for one day a week, we would save 70 million gallons of gas, 100 billion gallons of water, and 33 tons of antibiotics. Plus lots of other stuff. So let’s celebrate Earth Day by trying one of the following meatless recipes. And then try the other nine. And then keep going.
Only the most heartless carnivores would argue with meatless lasagna. Although this recipe looks long, it’s delicious and easy. It does call for a springform pan—but when you see how beautifully it turns out, you’ll agree it’s worth the extra effort.
Vegetarians learn early on that some foods just don’t translate. Burgers are one. Don’t expect a veggie patty to ring your “burger bells”—instead, use it to make a burger that’s great in its own way. This recipe only serves 1, but and multiply for the whole gang.
Finally, something to do with protein-rich edamame besides popping them out of the pods and eating them raw! Risottos are key components of the veggie arsenal, and here’s one that sings of spring.
There are so many reasons to use tofu when you cook. It’s great for you, it’s low in fat, and if you’re cooking for a meat-loving family, it’s easy to disguise. Which is a good idea when you’re serving something as family-friendly as hearty tacos.
Look! A celebrity recipe! Deborah Madison is one of the best vegetarian chefs in the U.S. Her recipes are simple and creative. For this open-faced sandwich, onions are caramelized with smoked paprika to make an unexpectedly delicious pairing with Brussels sprouts. It’s so boring to say “Even sprout-haters will love this recipe!”—but it’s true.
Meatless tamale pie is another family-friendly supper dish. This cornbread-topped skillet recipe has two kinds of beans to boost both the flavor and the look. (Because one of the great things about beans is: they’re pretty.)
Since tofu originated in Asia, it’s smart to take advantage of Asian flavoring techniques when you cook it. Here, it’s stir-fried until brown and glazed, then combined with umami-rich mushrooms. Click here for Eating Well’s Sichuan sauce called for in the recipe.
How many, many times I’ve served this recipe to my happy kids! We call it “sesame noo-noos” at my house. You’re free to use the grownup name, of course, but why would you want to?
Adding a smoky taste generally makes a meatless dish seem more…well…meaty. And mushrooms themselves are…well…a meaty vegetable. And this stroganoff is…well…very, very easy to make. And delicious. (Full-fat disclosure: I always use regular sour cream when I make it.)
You could probably get people to eat a sneaker rolled up in strudel, but cheese and vegetables are way better. These crackling-brown, flaky slices are equally good as an appetizer and a main dish. Frozen puff-pastry dough is a fantastic (and fantastically easy) way to show off.