This Meatless Monday menu planning blog offers both food for thought and yummy Mexican vegetarian cooking ideas.
Last week I featured East and West Indian chickpea (channa) recipes and also provided some ideas for sides. One of the sides was a fresh cucumber salad with oil, vinegar, lemon, fresh mint, and spices. Although the recipe is called “Indian Tomato Salad“, cucumber is a major ingredient–I left out fresh tomatoes. Despite the omission, I was particularly happy with the results–with time the flavours deepened and the vinegar soaked in creating cucumber pickles. Since one recipe used up only one half of the bunch of mint I purchased, I’ll be making another batch this weekend (and probably many more this summer).
The tortillas and quesadillas I’ve made for Meatless Monday went over so well that I was asked to feature vegetarian Fajitas this week. Traditional fajitas consist of grilled meats, spiced with chili powder, garlic, onion, cumin, paprika and cayenne; often served with cooked peppers, onions, and rice–all rolled in warm flour or corn tortillas. Vegetarian fajitas use similar spices and a variety of vegetables. Popular condiments include sour cream, salsa, avocadao, guacamole, and shredded cheese.
I discovered three vegetarian fajita recipes that I am interested in trying. They are similar, having slightly different mixtures of spices and vegetables. Two recipes cook salsa with stir fried veggies, while the other uses salsa as a condiment.
Colourful Vegetable Fajitas–a stir fry of red onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, garlic, and yellow squash (presumably a soft summer squash such as zucchini) seasoned and cooked with cumin and salsa; served in warmed tortillas.
Easy and Delicious Fajitas–A stir fry of red onion, portabello mushroom, red pepper, yellow pepper, cumin powder, and chili powder, simmered with lime juice and salsa, and served in warmed tortillsas with fresh avocado slices and sour cream, to taste.
Vegetable Fajitas–Steamed carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and zucchini with fried onions and peppers, parsley, oregano, cumin, garlic and cayenne; served with rice in warmed tortillas and garnished to taste with salsa.
Now the food for thought–Reducing meat in our diets, choosing vegetarian options in restaurant menus, eating local foods when possible, and avoiding food waste are ways of reducing our carbon footprints and fighting climate change.
Large scale food production, in particular, raising animals for dairy products and meat, clears forests, uses up water and grain crops, and creates carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock production has been estimated to account for almost 20% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. Non-composted food waste releases methane gas in landfills.
These reflections are inspired by an April article in the Atlantic Magazine called “Recycling isn’t the answer: to save the planet eat plants“. Penned by Helene Yorke, director of an on-site restaurant management company, the article points out why attention to food consumption must join other more well-known initiatives, such as recycling. Not long ago I didn’t fully realize that eating a vegetarian fajita is an action that contributes to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting back meat consumption by millions of people will have a significant impact, not only on human health but on the health of our planet.