Monday, February 21, 2011

Introducing: Meatless Mondays

I guess "Meatless Mondays" is a project that we actually have quite a good handle on.  We've been doing it consistently for probably over a year, although we sometimes swap our Monday for another day (ruining the alliteration), or give ourselves a by-week when we're traveling. 

Why Meatless Monday?

I initially wanted to do it because, I admit, I can be a green-bandwagon jumper.  I read about it on a lot of the blogs I read, and it seemed like a good environmentally-friendly thing to do, as well as a bit of an interesting challenge.  I figured you might want some more compelling reasons, so I found a great Meatless Monday resource, sponsored by The Monday Campaigns and Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health.  I'm so happy that I looked for this site; it has a ton of great recipes and resources for Meatless Mondays! There was a recipe for baked apple donuts that might be in our future.  In any case, here are the reasons to have one meatless day a week, according to them:

Health Benefits

Environmental Benefits

  • REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend.
  • MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to
  • 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound.
  • HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand. 
But what I really wanted to do is share the recipe we tried tonight.  I had some iffy-looking potatoes and cauliflower that's been sitting around, and these ingredients were swimming around in my mind when I thought, "Isn't there some kind of Indian dish with potatoes?"  There is, so, viola, tonight's dinner was Aloo Gobi, courtesy of

I've made a few attempts at homemade Indian dishes, and this one was a little different for me because it didn't really have any type of sauce.  I made a few changes - I excluded the serrano pepper (didn't feel like hunting one down, and was, frankly, a little scared) and added about a half cup of chickpeas because

a. I wanted to add some protein
b. I love chickpeas.  Seriously.  I would have put 3/4 of a cup into the recipe, but didn't because I popped the rest like Cheetos while I was waiting for the potatoes to cook.

It was good! The smell was amazing.  When it was just the toasting cumin and frying onions, I wanted to climb in the pan and close the lid and just SMELL.

Kevin's preference is for something a little "saucier," but admitted that it grew on him.  One issue that I've had the 2-3 times I've prepared Indian (not from a jar) is that even if the dish has HEAT, it doesn't have as much FLAVOR as we would like.  Does that make sense?  Any suggestions?


  1. Come over and look at my Indian cookbooks! Tons of recipes from two of the more respected names in the world of Indian cooking. Have you tried paneer or any kind of dal (cooked lentils, sometimes even soupy)? I have to warn you though, Indian cooking can be extremely labor intensive, but you can easily make a dish on Sunday to eat on Monday.

  2. You need to do it on FRIDAYS! Go on! Embrace your secret Catholic side! ;)

  3. Agree with Katie. Authentic Indian cooking takes TIME. But you can cut it down if you just go for flavor and not necessarily getting every spice in the mix that you are supposed to. Mainly, I do not bother with grinding my own spices from seed or any other source. That seems to be important to authentic Indian cooks. I cheat and usually just use a commercial curry, if it is called for, or just use commercial spice powders in place of cardemon pods or whole cloves, for instance. But get a good quality powder. Since you mentioned chick peas, I have a Chickpea and califlower curry recipe I made a few weeks ago. It turned out awesome and got the thumbs up from an Indian co-worker who tried it and said told me I got the authenticity right. I'll email it to you.

    Outside the world of Indian, check out the Food Network sight. They actually have a number of good meatless recipes. I am eating one now. It is a penne pasta based dish with roasted butternut squash and onions topped with a goat cheese sauce. Also, don't underestimate the dinner possibilities for a hearty soup. I have a split pea soup that I jazzed up with smoked paprika, garlic and fresh ground pepper that along with a couple slice of a good crusty bread makes a great meal.



What do you think?