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Meatless Monday: Margherita Pizza with Olive Oil Dough

Margherita Pizza

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of lifeEating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Want an easy trick for mustering up a smile on a Monday? Eat pizza. This classic recipe has no haters for a reason — it’s simple, delicious, and wonderfully hearty (not to mention completely vegetarian). Don’t be intimidated by the dough; while it’s time-consuming, it’s very simple to prepare. As an alternative, ask your local pizza place if they’ll sell just their dough. Once it’s ready, just roll it, top it and bake it. In a few minutes, you’ll be in pie heaven, no delivery required.

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Meatless Monday: Veggie Burgers

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Vegetarian burgers have a bad rep, but can actually be quite delicious. You just need the right recipe, and these really simple black bean burgers are it. Mashed black beans help bind the patties while the whole beans bring a hearty texture. Give your burgers a Cajun spin or stick to the classic seasonings. This recipe is a great starting point for a number of fun variations. All you need to know is that it’s easy and tastes good, too.

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Meatless Monday: Risotto con Radicchio e Vino Rosso

radicchio risotto recipe

David Rocco's risotto gets its color and flavor from red wine and purple-colored radicchio.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

There aren’t many vegetables I don’t like, but among the few I’m averse to is radicchio. Unwelcome leaves floating in a salad get flicked to the side and when I get the inevitable head of radicchio in my CSA share, I head to the swap box to see if I can trade it up. But it turns out that I just don’t like raw radicchio. I ordered a pasta dish at a restaurant recently that I did not realize included radicchio (if I’d known, I would have avoided the dish). The radicchio was sauteed with garlic, lemon and hot pepper flakes and with tossed broccoli rabe and homemade pasta. I loved it cooked this way. So I’ve amended the radicchio clause on the food rules I keep in my head to “I don’t eat raw radicchio.”

But now that I know I like cooked radicchio, I’m all over it. Radicchio, sometimes called Italian chicory, is known for its bitter flavor, but when you cook the purple leaves, the flavor totally mellows. You can grill radicchio or saute it and serve it with pasta. David Rocco uses radicchio in his creamy risotto recipe with similarly-hued red wine for a rare dish where the color matches the flavor; both are equally lovely.

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Meatless Monday: Caprese Di Farro

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Farro is a whole grain similar to wheat berries; it’s sometimes called emmer (especially in Italy or in Italian import stores). It’s a flavorful little grain with a nutty, chewy texture. You can throw cooked farro into a green salad or use it in soups in place of pasta. Bonus: it freezes well so you can cook a whole bunch and freeze it in freezer bags for when you don’t have time to wait for it to cook. You can find farro in Italian stores, health food stores and in many grocery stores; I like to buy it in the bulk bins at the health food store because it’s cheaper that way.

Debi and Gabriele’s Caprese Di Farro salad is a good introduction to this grain; it’s foolproof so even if it’s your first time cooking with farro, you can’t really mess it up. “Caprese” means “in the style of Capri,” an Italian region best known for the mozzarella-basil-tomato combination everyone loves. Be sure to use real, high-quality fresh mozzarella cheese in this simple salad; the processed kind isn’t the same.

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Meatless Monday: Chiles Rellenos With Cherry Tomato Salsa

chiles rellenos

Chiles rellenos, stuffed with goat cheese and herbs: Serve with a big pitcher of sangria or margaritas.

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Cinco de Mayo can be a slippery slope for vegetarians. I’ve been to many a fiesta where the margaritas and chips and salsa were the only vegetarian options. Margaritas for dinner always seems like a good idea, until the next morning when your head is pounding and you can’t find your shoes.

Luckily, Mexican fare is easy to make meatless (though if you’re at a restaurant, ask about the refried beans; sometimes they’re made with lard). Bean burritos, veggie enchiladas, Mexican lasagna made with beans and corn, portobello tacos — you don’t have to starve if you’re skipping the carne.

One of my favorite Mexican-restaurant meals is chiles rellenos, but I try not to order them too frequently because they’re not only stuffed with cheese, but deep-fried. (Paired with a coupla’ margaritas and a basket of free chips and you’ve got a meal that has about a billion calories.) But chiles rellenos don’t have to be deep-fried, and they’re super easy to make at home. Think about it: they’re basically just stuffed peppers, made with chiles instead of bell peppers.

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Giada De Laurentiis Joins the Meatless Monday Movement

giada de laurentiis

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Giada DeLaurentiis, host of Everyday Italian, cookbook author, Today Show contributor, wife and mom to 4-year-old Jade, has joined the Meatless Monday movement, preparing meatless meals in her own kitchen, and continuing to offer plenty of veggie-friendly recipes on her show and in her cookbooks.

In her latest cookbook, Weeknights With Giada, she says: “In an effort to eat healthfully and mindfully, we’ve started having Meatless Mondays in our house, which has coincided with my discovering my new favorite ingredient, quinoa. It’s got a nutter texture than rice and is higher in protein, which is great for vegetarian-friendly meals like quinoa with purple Peruvian potatoes, green peas, black olives, fresh herbs, lime juice and a little agave.”

Eat like you’re a member of Giada’s family tonight: Try the Quinoa and Purple Potato Salad Giada’s so crazy about, or one of Giada’s many meatless recipes.

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Meatless Monday: Southwestern Potato Quesadilla

quesadilla

A quesadilla is quite possibly the easiest meal in the world to make. For the most bare-bones version, all you need are a couple of tortillas, cheese and a dry pan, plus some salsa for topping. But you can get way fancier than that and still come up with a meal in a few minutes — experiment with different cheeses, use blue corn tortillas instead of yellow corn or flour, or pile on some vegetables or beans to up the health factor of your quesadilla.

These Southwestern Potato Quesadillas are made with poblano-spiked mashed potatoes and cojita and Jack cheese, so they’re a little spicy, a little creamy and all kinds of tasty. You can make the mashed potatoes just for these quesadillas, or if you have leftover plain mashed potatoes, mix in some canned or jarred chiles. Baked or roasted potatoes work too, just smash them up with the chiles.

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Meatless Monday: Frittata With Asparagus, Tomato and Fontina

frittata with asparagus

A frittata is a fancy-looking way to clean out your fridge.

Frittata is dish similar to an omelet or a crustless quiche, except that it’s not folded in half (like an omelet), and it’s made in a skillet (instead of the pie plate a quiche is made in). But it’s similar in that its made from eggs and you can add just about anything to it — vegetables, potatoes, even pasta — making it an ideal weeknight meal and also a great way to clean out the fridge. I imagine that frittata was invented 100 years ago by a little Italian grandma, who peered into her icebox and saw just 4 eggs, a hunk of cheese, some withering vegetables. Needing to feed her family, she stretched the ingredients she had into an entire meal, and thus the frittata was born.

Giada’s asparagus frittata is made with sauteed asparagus, tomato and sharp fontina cheese, cooked in a skillet on top of the stove, like an omelet, but once its almost set, the skillet goes under the broiler until its golden. Asparagus is just now coming into season, so it should be available at farmers’ markets and grocery stores. If you can’t find it or want to make a frittata with what you have in your fridge, you can substitute broccoli or zucchini.

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Meatless Monday: Grilled Vegetable Panini With Herbed Feta Spread

grilled vegetable sandwich

Way better than grilled cheese.

When I stopped eating meat about 15 years ago, I stopped eating sandwiches. Not on purpose, really, but it seemed that most were pretty meat-heavy — Italian mixes and Reubens and French dips and such. If I wanted a meatless sandwich, it seemed like the only option was grilled cheese. My first vegetable sandwich happened accidentally, at the dinner table when I was in middle school. My family was eating beef of some sort and I had, on my plate, the vegetarian offerings from that meal: broccoli and bread. So naturally, I made that into a sandwich. Soon I requested broccoli sandwiches at every meal.

I like to think I’ve evolved since then, and so have sandwiches. Vegetable sandwiches are no longer a novelty, but a regular item on restaurant and deli menus, enjoyed even by meat-eaters. Vegetables are pickled, roasted, grilled or raw and thinly sliced, layered with hummus, goat cheese, fried egg or fresh mozzarella, topped with a vinaigrette, a lemony dressing, or nothing at all; the juices from the vegetables soaking into and flavoring the bread. Kelsey Nixon’s Grilled Vegetable Panini is one such sandwich — it combines grilled vegetables (Kelsey calls for mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, but you can use whatever you like. Add asparagus, Brussels sprouts, roasted butternut squash or eggplant if that’s what you have on-hand), with a creamy herbed feta spread on ciabatta, pressed in a panini maker or between two skillets until it’s warmed through and the flavors of the grilled vegetables meld with the cheese forming a dressing — no mayo needed here.

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Meatless Monday: Stuffed Peppers

Bal Arneson's potato-and-rice stuffed peppers.

American stuffed peppers are usually packed with ground meat and rice or breadcrumbs, sometimes covered in tomato sauce, and baked till they’re tender. But the American way isn’t the only way; stuffed peppers are common across the globe — in Mexico, Chiles Rellenos are poblano peppers stuffed with cheese, then battered and fried. The Spanish stuff their peppers too, often the piquillo variety, filling them with rice, manchego cheese, cod or beef, and in India, peppers are stuffed with mashed potatoes, onions and spices. Spice Goddess Bal Arneson adds brown rice to mashed potatoes in her Indian-spiced stuffed peppers, making them a filling meal and a great way to use up leftover rice or mashed potatoes.

The recipe calls for pomegranate powder — you can find that in Indian markets, health and specialty foods stores or online. If you can’t find pomegranate powder, use a squeeze of lime juice instead, but if you do buy it, also try it in Bal’s Vegetarian Burgers, or add a teaspoon to a fruit smoothie.

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